ECCB Gov. suggests Caribbean’s brain drain conundrum can be resolved via remote work opportunities
PLYMOUTH, MONTSERRAT — The vexing problem of brain drain could be resolved if Caribbean natives had better opportunities to work remotely from their home countries, according to Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Governor Timothy Antoine.
The governor recently addressed the brain drain situation in Montserrat specifically, expressing his hope that digital transformation can turn things around.
“Notwithstanding the important level, significant remittances that we get from our people who have migrated, those remittances cannot compensate for the loss of critical skills,” Antoine noted.
“In other words, were we able to keep these people home, our economies would develop even faster.”
He acknowledged that Montserratians “have had to leave to seek opportunities” given the island’s challenges with its volcano.
But he added, “What I hope is that with the rise of the digital economy, new opportunities will be found for people to work for Montserrat and make a living.
“So, for example, in coding, I’m told there are people who are making USD$3,000 a month from coding.
“You don’t have to be in the US or the UK to make that money; if you have those skills, you could operate in Montserrat.”
Digital nomads can also contribute to the economy
The other side of the remote work coin that can benefit Montserrat is foreigners having the opportunity to live on the island while working remotely for foreign companies.
With more foreign workers and members of the diaspora coming to Montserrat to live while they work, the economy could gain a significant boost, Antoine asserted.
“That potentially can bring more people into Montserrat or at least have them work out of Montserrat, and that is one way,” he said.
“If people see that they can work from their island home and make money by working for companies in the US, some of the remote working that we see now, for example, that is a niche area.
“You get 1,000 of these people in Montserrat, that’s a big number.
“That would be a 20 percent increase or thereabout, so just think about what that could do if you have the right setup…
“We are going to always be faced with our small size, but if we can create those opportunities through the digital platform, I think that’s the best chance of being able to get more people to work from home or to come back home and work from Montserrat.”