Doctor Gale Rigobert, Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, has been addressing an international forum on migration and the impact on transnational families.
Rigobert called for research and the collection of data on a number of issues that will better inform government policy on the issue.
“If we can’t measure it, perhaps we will have difficulty fixing it,” she told the forum on migration which was organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The event is being held in Uruguay from October 25 to 28.
Rigobert asserted that there was need to know the gravity of the problem.
She emphasized the need to undertake “serious research”.
“I cannot help but wonder to what extent we have witnesses a change in the dynamic of the migratory patterns since the demise of the banana industry,” Rigobert told the forum.
She stated that she observed casually an emptying of villages and rural areas as a result of a mass exodus of sorts and what that has meant for some of the rural farming communities and the family structures that emerge thereafter.
“As a casual observer I remember coming home on vacation one time and observing that in the church there were elderly people and little children,” the Micoud North MP said, adding that there were no people in her age group.
Rigobert explained that the children did not belong to the elderly persons in the church, who were caregivers.
“I thought that told a remarkable story. Where were those twenty, thirty, forty year old people who really are at their productive peak but not with us?” She told the forum on migration.
The Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development called for an investigation into the impact of the demise of the banana industry on migratory patterns and what that has meant especially for rural communities as well as “push factors.”