Economist: Venezuelans will have positive effect on work ethic
Economist Dr Terrence Farrell says there are benefits of Venezuelan migrants coming into this country.
One major benefit, he says, is an improved work ethic as Trinidadians tend to be "lackadaisical" and Venezuelans are willing to work hard.
Farrell was speaking with reporters following the Rotary Club of Port of Spain's "Luncheon with a Purpose" meeting on Tuesday.
Asked what impact the migration issue would have on the economy, he said there are both positives and negatives.
“I think it is going to have an effect on the work ethic in Trinidad and Tobago that is going to be quite positive,” he said.
“There are Trinidadians who have become very accustomed to operating in a rather more relaxed and lackadaisical kind of fashion. The fact that we now have a set of people who are willing to work extremely hard is going to have a very positive effect on the work ethic in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Farrell, the former Chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB), added that Trinidad and Tobago has been affected by low population growth.
“You obviously don’t want a sudden influx of people coming to a country because that puts a strain on your infrastructure. But Trinidad and Tobago, for a long time, has had an extremely low rate of population growth."
"If you are going to have a market that can support and sustain economic activity, one of the things I think is that our population growth actually needs to be higher to expand the domestic market and so on. So from that perspective I have no difficulty with the Venezuelans coming in or other migrants coming into T&T.”
Farrell, however, said there ought to be some policy in place to guide how this country addresses the migration issue.
He said a programme to target migrants who have skills that this country needs should be developed.
Speaking on the government's Venezuelan registration programme, he said it is a good move to get an idea of how many Venezuelan migrants there are in Trinidad and Tobago.
"One of the problems that we have in this whole situation is that nobody seems to know what the numbers are so I think the registration exercise will be very helpful in terms of getting an idea of that."