JIS News

The Caribbean Employers' Confederation (CEC) is recommending that regional governments implement emergency employment and apprenticeship programmes as short-term measures to ameliorate the crisis in youth unemployment across the region.

The recommendations were among the measures coming out of the organisation's annual general meeting held on May 3 at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.

The meeting was held as part of the just concluded Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) Annual Business and Workplace Convention and Expo.

Speaking with JIS News after the meeting, CEC and JEF President, Wayne Chen, noted that the confederation has indicated that these measures, though temporary, will allow unemployed young people to further develop their skills while earning an income.

“It is also felt that longer-term measures to address the deficiencies in the educational system have to be addressed if we are going to create globally competitive workforces in each of our respective territories,” he stated.

He said that issues dealing with attitudes necessary for global competitiveness were also raised as concerns that needed to be addressed.

He noted that these issues would be transmitted to the respective governments, labour unions, other partners and the wider populace as areas that need to be tackled.

“Other issues for regional importance, which came up included regionalism, which we feel is weakening and we view with concern the diminished role of CARICOM," Mr. Chen noted, adding that the Confederation has renewed its commitment to deepen regional integration.

He noted that the aforementioned issues will form part of discussions at the upcoming International Labour Organization (ILO) annual conference to be held in Geneva in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the President said that the CEC, through its member states continue to work assiduously to build capacity in the employers’ organisations with assistance from the ILO, CARICOM and other regional partners.

“We (the confederation) share best practices and best experiences among regions…we believe that the time has come to emphasise regional work, as we have seen where other regions of the world have used their regional bodies to influence global policy and certainly, one of the things that we will be doing with a very sharp focus, is to ensure that global issues of interest to us are placed high on the agenda in the decision-making centres of the world,” Mr. Chen informed.

Antigua and Barbuda; Trinidad and Tobago; St. Lucia; Dominica; Barbados, Suriname and Jamaica were the members present at the annual general meeting. Those absent were Belize, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Bermuda and Bahamas.

The CEC, founded in 1960, is a regional grouping of employers’ organisations in the Caribbean region. It is dedicated to the development and promotion of good industrial relations practices at the enterprise and macro levels and is committed towards achieving productivity and prosperity for member countries and the region as a whole.


By Kadian Brown, JIS PRO