Montego Bay, Jamaica – Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has mandated the Jamaica Ministry of Labour to develop a system of recruitment by which workers will be employed at tourism development sites across the island. He said the process should involve the Ministry of Development, JAMPRO and other relevant agencies of government as well as the developers.
The decision comes against the background of an incident that occurred at the Pinero Group construction site in St. Ann during which tear gas was used by the police to disperse a crowd of prospective workers. Mr. Patterson who was speaking at the groundbreaking for the Palmyra Resort in Montego Bay last Thursday, November 10 said “the Commissioner of Police had been asked to submit a full report on the incident.”
“We must work with the investors to ensure some system of labor recruitment that is orderly, that allows the necessary skills to be recruited, without exposing those who are in search of jobs to any form of suffering,” Mr. Patterson said.
He said the Palmyra Resort was the direct result of government strategies to boost investment in the industry as outlined in the Master Plan for sustainable Tourism Development. He further stated that it was a confirmation of the progress made in creating a predictable environment for business development in Jamaica.
“These achievements have been recognized internationally including in the recent World Investment Report that ranks Jamaica 17, higher than most countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region with respect to the mobilization of investment flows,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Patterson said that while Jamaica was pleased with the pace of investment in tourism, every effort was being made to attract greater investment and achieve strong economic growth that would create employment for women and young people. He said that in this regard, the tourism industry was a priority area given the labor intensiveness of its operations and linkages to other sectors of the economy.
The Prime Minister said the Palmyra development would bring significant benefits to the people of Montego Bay and its environs in terms of employment as well as the opportunity to supply a range of goods and services during and after construction.
Turning to the environment, Mr. Patterson said the government was adamant that the economy should be developed on the basis of environmental sustainability, to which all projects must be subjected. He pointed out that the government was seeking to enhance the physical surroundings and landscape of resort centers islandwide and that resources have been mobilized through the Tourism Enhancement Fund. Resources from the fund will be used to develop cultural, heritage sites and attractions.