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Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier has hailed the Overseas Employment Programme for providing economic opportunities for thousands of Jamaican workers and their families over the years.
Delivering the main address at the 86th Joint Meeting of the Regional Labour Board and United States Employers of Caribbean Workers at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club in Montego Bay, yesterday (January 16), Minister Kellier said that no efforts should be spared to protect and safeguard the sustainability and integrity of the programme.
“I am pleased to be hosting this reception, which officially marks the opening of the three-day conference . It is clear that both the Government of Jamaica and the employers view the Overseas Employment Programme as a useful and valuable partnership, placing approximately 25,000 Jamaican workers in employment across the Caribbean, Canada and the United States of America over 2005 and 2006,” he said.
Mr. Kellier pointed out that despite the many challenges faced by the programme, including serious and genuine security concerns, the Ministry would continue to work with the employers and the US and Canadian authorities and their representatives in Jamaica, in order to ensure that at all times, the best quality workers were provided.
“We continue to lobby and to hold dialogue on the political front to ensure that legislation aimed at regulating illegal workers do not harm our legitimate programme. We are also vigilant to see to it that this programme does not contribute to illegal migration or to the narcotic trade through drug smuggling,” he said.
The Minister emphasized that the Jamaican government and the governments of all the Caribbean countries represented on the Regional Labour Board were committed to the growth and development of the US hotel and farm work programme.