JIS News

Hundreds of Jamaican hotel workers who returned to Jamaica following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the United States (US) could soon find themselves back in the US under the Jamaican government’s Overseas Hotel Work Programme.
Public Relations Manager at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Gerry McDaniel, told JIS News that up to Tuesday (September 12) some 160 workers had been interviewed. The successful applicants are expected to take up a variety of hospitality jobs at the South Seas Resort located on Captiva Island off the coast of Florida.
Mr. McDaniel further informed that in keeping with the Labour Minister’s recent announcement, those displaced following the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina would be given preferential treatment in the selection process.
He pointed out however that not all the workers who returned to the island were interested in going back so quickly after the tragedy. “Not all of them want to go. Some want to chill out, some want to go back next year. But those who want to go, would be considered most favourably,” Mr. McDaniel explained.
More than 300 Jamaican hotel and hospitality workers were directly affected by Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the US Gulf Coast on August 29. The distraught workers were assisted by the Ministry in returning to Jamaica, were given food and phone calls to relatives and relocated to other parts of the US.
Some 175 displaced workers have since arrived in the island and Mr. McDaniel informed that the Ministry would be continuing to offer its support to those who made requests.
Approximately six weeks of employment and wages is expected to be lost due to the extent of damage caused by the hurricane.