St. Lucians to understudy overseas volunteers

ST. LUCIA – St. Lucia’s Government has recognized the need to provide training for St. Lucians, by understudying overseas volunteers on the island.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Economic Planning, and National Development John Calixte says the services being provided by overseas volunteers in St. Lucia remain of inestimable value to the island, and the country needs to make full use of it.

Calixte made the observation during a recent site visit to volunteer workstations of the Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV).

“This visit has been very instructive to me. We have met with two Japanese volunteers- one in Vieux-Fort, who is at the Beausejour Agricultural facility and one attached to the Fond Assau health centre as therapist. From speaking to the volunteers, we have noticed that there are no understudies whilst they’re here in St. Lucia,” Calixte noted.

He continued: “I think it is very important that in our future programmes with the Japanese experts who come here, there’s an understudy identified prior to their arrival in St. Lucia. That will ensure that after the volunteers have left St. Lucia, there is continuity with the programs that they have implemented here in St. Lucia as well.”

Calixte cited the short period volunteers are contracted to serve the island as a limiting factor to the quantity of work they are able to undertake.

As a result he suggests that government agencies applying for assistance from overseas volunteers first identify a member of staff to commit to understudy training.

The understudy training coupled with other relevant training and education, Calixte says, will ensure St. Lucia cultivates its own human resources to promote sustainable development.

Calixte notes however, further discussion among stakeholders must take place before the recommendation can be implemented.

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