Speech

Today is the culmination of a week-long celebration of the Jamaican Worker and a commemoration of the Labour Movement in Jamaica. Citizens across the Island, supported by the government, are volunteering their time, labour and resources to undertake meaningful projects to improve their communities and the nation as a whole.

The theme for Workers Week 2019 was, “Yes to Decent Work, no to Child Labour”. Our government is committed to the Jamaican Worker. We believe that the only sustainable way to secure peace, social equity, economic independence, prosperity and personal fulfilment for all Jamaicans is through work; that sacred process by which our physical labour and mental ability creates wealth, or as simply put by the Bible, “by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread.”

We want every Jamaican to have the opportunity to work, to have a job, to be employed. In January 2019, our unemployment rate stood at 8% the lowest ever recorded. Male unemployment at that time fell by 1.3% to 6.1%, female unemployment fell by 1.9% to 10.3% and youth unemployment fell by 2% to 21.8%.

We are proud to say that more Jamaicans are employed today than at any other time in our independent history. More Jamaicans; men, women and youth from all walks of life are engaged in that sacred process of transforming their labour and creativity into wealth, earning a living from their effort, eating their own bread through work; not by crime, not by immoral means, not by dependency, not by pity; but by work!

As we move towards full employment of labour, the government is paying keen attention to the quality of jobs and the conditions of work. We are committed to the Decent Work agenda. This means empowering our citizens with education and training to make them marketable, employable and productive in a competitive labour market and economy, thereby attracting and generating high quality jobs in our economy.

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