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St. Lucia to receive $10 mn to boost employment opportunities

St. Lucia Prime Minister, Kenny Anthony

San Juan, Dec 2 (EFE).- The Venezuelan-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, known as ALBA, gave the government of St. Lucia a $10 million grant to support an employment initiative for the next two years.

The new grant from the ALBA Bank will help continue the work of the National Initiative to Create Employment, or NICE, the St. Lucia government announced on Tuesday.

“Currently, about 1,118 persons are employed by NICE,” Prime Minister Kenny Anthony said in a statement.

He said a total of 1,412 persons have benefitted from apprenticeships and training programs, including crop production, boat engine maintenance, multimedia production, customer service, office administration and beauty therapy, among others.

The government said it will use the additional ALBA financing to invest in training for employment in the cruise sector and increase support for small firms to expand employment opportunities.

Officially launched in June 2012, NICE has benefitted 4,847 people so far, Anthony said.

The Ministry of Finance estimates St. Lucia unemployment rate is 21 percent.

ALBA is composed of Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela, with Haiti as an observer.