JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles has commended the Jamaica Central Labour Organization (JCLO) for facilitating the employment of thousands of Jamaican workers within the agricultural and hospitality sectors in the United States and Canada.
The Minister was speaking at the annual awards luncheon of the JCLO in Washington, DC recently, where two of the organization’s longstanding employees, Larkland Stone and Pearleta McKoy, who have served the organization in Canada and the United States respectively, were honoured.
Mr. Charles said that through the work of the organization, many hardworking Jamaicans, throughout the years, have been able to receive employment as well as opportunities for training, thereby increasing their economic competitiveness and preparing them for other employment opportunities.
In the meantime, he indicated that the Ministry was undertaking measures to improve the country’s human capital, including a human resources development programme aimed at certifying and training workers for the local and overseas jobs opportunities. “This is the first step in changing our entire focus,” the Minister stated.
“The Ministry of Labour must see itself as having a new mission – one which moves away from its current perception as an institution which is mainly focused on settling strikes into one that is a key component of the Jamaican government’s mission of assisting our country’s development through the training and preparation of the Jamaican worker,” he added.
He noted that the focus on training and certification will enable foreign companies doing business in Jamaica, to more readily source workers from a well trained labour pool. “It is important that this investment be made, given the potential that this would have for several sectors of the economy, particularly tourism,” he stated.
He informed that Spanish tourism interests in the island have committed to offer language training to workers so as to enhance their ability to serve clientele in the hotels. Workers are being asked to make their own sacrifices in terms of their personal time to avail themselves of this training, the Minister said.
Turning to other matters, the Labour Minister said that crime remained a “top priority” of the Jamaican government, as the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination, is linked to its ability to deal with the challenge of crime.
“Let me assure you that (the Jamaican) government is serious about its zero tolerance for criminality. Indeed, despite all the other priorities we have in front of us, government is prepared to make the appropriate sacrifice to give the police the resources to handle the crime situation. Government understands its responsibility, understands the need to act, and it will act,” he stated.
The Minister, who was in the United States for meetings related to Jamaica’s overseas employment programme, was accompanied by the Minister of State, Andrew Gallimore and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alvin McIntosh.