JIS News

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is advising job seekers to be on the look out for fraudulent employment and recruitment agencies. This comes in the wake of the Ministry’s shut down of Tank International and several other employment agencies in recent weeks.
The Ministry released an advisory last week warning that Tanka International, operated by American Peter Ntankey, was not authorized to recruit workers from Jamaica to send them overseas. The Ministry was forced to demand the extradition of the unregistered recruiter, who was suspected of running scams on job seekers.
Senior Director of the Ministry’s Manpower Services Division, Barrington Bailey informed JIS News that arrests have been made as the Ministry continued to clamp down on these illegal operations.
“We have been getting the support of the police and we have arrested a few persons.we had about seven over the past two months. Some have gone to court and have been found guilty, others are before the courts and we still have one or two others that are very elusive,” he informed.
Giving details of the Tanka case, Mr. Bailey informed that the agency had been attempting to recruit some 2,000 workers for jobs in the United States.
Mr. Ntankey tried to carry out his operation by forming partnerships with several local employment agencies and when these partnerships failed to materialize, he contacted the Labour Ministry and a meeting was set up with the Manpower and Services Division Director.
According to Mr. Bailey, the accused outlined his intent to recruit workers and indicated that persons would not be required to pay a fee for his services, which would instead be taken care of by the employers.
While awaiting proof of the agency’s claims, the Ministry was informed that one person had in fact been asked to pay US$1,200 to the recruiter. The police was contacted and a search of Mr. Ntankey’s residence led to the discovery of contract and agreement forms, which confirmed the Ministry’s suspicions. Since then, action has been taken including the order for his deportation from the island.
“He had no work permit and he deceived the Ministry by telling us one thing and doing another. So, once he collected the money, he could have disappeared. He is not Jamaican. He could have disappeared and nobody could have helped them (the workers) and that’s why we put out the release urging the public not to do business with him. We named him in this case because he might have gone around giving the impression that since he came out of America he would have had jobs (and) people might have fallen for it,” Mr. Bailey explained.
Meanwhile, the Senior Director told JIS News that the Ministry was investigating the actions of an unnamed employment agency, which had been contacted by Tanka International to partner in the scam. He advised that though the agency had not been implicated, the Ministry wanted to ensure that it did not breach the terms of its operating licence.
Even as the investigations continue, the Ministry is advising job seekers that they should exercise caution at all times before signing contracts with employment recruiters.
Employment agencies are required to apply for operating licences from the Labour Ministry. These licences are to be renewed yearly.