JIS News

Remittances in excess of US$36 million have accrued to the Jamaican economy over the last three years, through the Jamaica-United States (US) Overseas Employment Programme, now in its 60th year. The programme, which is administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, now accounts for more than 8,000 farm workers, many of whom have been upgraded from ordinary workers to farm managers, front desk managers and supervisors, employed to about 100 US employers.
Addressing a two-day joint meeting of the Regional Labour Board and US Employers at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay, yesterday (January 28), Minister of Labour and Social Security, Horace Dalley said the programme had enhanced the well-being and standard of living of countless Jamaican families.
“We can think of the thousands of families who have benefited from the thrifty savings of these workers, the children who have been able to acquire an education to better their lives, the homes which have been acquired . and the skills and competences gained as a result of the programme,” he added.
Mr. Dalley assured representatives from the United States Embassy, and the Ministries of Labour in Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago who were in attendance, that the Ministry would be taking the necessary steps to ensure that the recruitment “is done scrupulously”.
“The Ministry will have to ensure that in a global economy, we recruit persons with suitable competences who are able to provide you with a comparative advantage and increase the efficiency and profitability of your company,” he said.
“As employers you have shown great faith in our workers, and that partnership of mutual benefit and goodwill we must preserve and protect,” Minister Dalley emphasised.
He said that while all concerned rejoiced in the success of the programme, the need to safeguard against illegal recruitments and to deter those who use the programme as an opportunity to abscond once they arrived in the United states, must now be given due focus.
“I therefore make a special appeal to present and future employers to seek to recruit workers only through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. This is the best safeguard against recruiting the wrong persons,” the Minister said.
Mr. Dalley paid tribute to all employers in the programme for their dedication and service over the many years, stressing that the Ministry was committed to “constantly seek ways to improve the programme and to make it worthwhile for employers and workers”.
The two-day meeting, which ends today (January 29), discussed issues related to farm workers who abscond (absent without leave), remittances, training and recruitment.