Jamaica’s Labor Ministry seeks assistance of Missions to expand Overseas Work Program

WASHINGTON, DC – Jamaica’s Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, has enlisted the assistance of the missions in the United States (US), as the Government seeks to identify more job opportunities for Jamaicans under the US Overseas Employment Programme.

Minister Charles told representatives of the Jamaican Embassy, Consul Generals, and Honorary Consuls, who attended a meeting on Saturday (Jan. 26) at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, that there were enormous congressional and business contacts that they could tap into to unearth a wealth of new job opportunities for hundreds of Jamaicans, in areas such as farming and hospitality.

He appealed to the mission Heads to use their positions of influence to assist this effort, which in turn, will help to alleviate the problem of crime and violence affecting Jamaica.

The representatives, for their part, identified several areas that they could immediately explore to provide job opportunities as outlined by the Minister.

Chief Liaison Officer of the Jamaica Central Labour Organisation, Barbara DaCosta, informed the meeting that earnings from the Overseas Employment Programme amounted to US$154.32 million ($10.03 billion), in 2006.

Earnings under the H-2A and H-2B work programmes were US$82.67 million, and of that sum, workers remitted approximately US$13.79 million in savings to Jamaica. Savings from the government and private work programmes totalled some US$25.74 million.

The Overseas Work Programme recruited 15,037 persons in 2006 and of that amount 3,549 persons held H-2A visas and 11,488 had H-2B visas.

Attending the seminar, which was organized by the Jamaica Central Labour Organization were: Sharon Miller, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Jamaica; Ricardo Allicock, Consul General, Miami; Vin Martin, Honorary Consul, Atlanta; Kenneth Goscutt, Honorary Consul, Massachusetts; Dr. Alston Mead, Honorary Consul, Pennsylvania; Beryl Walters-Riley, Honorary Consul, Virginia; June Royes, Honorary Consul, California;.

Khalfani Omari Fullerton, Honorary Consul, Texas; Joseph Russo, Executive Vice President, Valley Growers’ Co-operative, Inc., and Cecil Weir, Deputy Chief Liaison Officer, Jamaica Central Labour Organisation.

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