JIS News

The Government, through the Ministry of Tourism, is planning to establish a pension plan for all workers in the tourist industry. According to Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, discussions have commenced with sector interest, with plans afoot the Fund to be established by 2009. The Minister was speaking at an awards reception for ‘Red Cap’ porters who work at the Sangster International Airport, held at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay over the weekend.
“I started working on it from I was in Opposition, and I went to the Bahamas and got copies of their industry pension plan. So, we are using that as the model to craft a proposal, that we will then work with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and the industry to embrace. The government is giving support to it because it’s important, and we think that the largest industry in Jamaica must have a security net for its workers,” he emphasised. Explaining the rationale behind establishing such a pension scheme, the Minister pointed out that there have been concerns within the government that many workers from within the tourism sector had served, retired and are in need, because they cannot maintain their lifestyle and their particular mode of living.
He said the tourist industry, at the lower end, did not pay particularly well, noting that the level of saving that took place among many industry workers was not usually sufficient for their retirement. “We want to ensure that they put aside something, and so this fund will be established. Those who already have funds can also contribute to it, and it will then provide an opportunity for a cross-fertilization of resources, and the workers on retirement will now have something constant and reliable to assist them in their old age,” he said. The Minister said that all the necessary technical work would be done by his Ministry to meet a 2009 implementation date.

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