Thumbs Up For Canada/Caribbean Agricultural Programme

BARBADOS – Even though the numbers employed in the Canada/Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Programme have contracted over the years, Barbados still regards it as a viable possibility for improving the employment situation here.

Barbados’ Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, recently expressed this view at the opening of the 2010 annual review meeting of the Canada/Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Programme in Grenada.

Admitting that the number of jobs in the programme had decreased for various reasons, Dr. Byer Suckoo said it was encouraging to note that despite the current economic climate, farmers were still interested in recruiting workers from the Caribbean.

She told the gathering: “When Barbados entered this programme some 44 years ago, the expressed intention was to enhance and facilitate employment and income-earning opportunities for Barbadians and to bring much needed foreign exchange into the country through home savings.

“Over the years, these targets have been met and as we continue to explore new opportunities for Barbadians in the overseas markets, we hope to continue our success.”

Minister Byer Suckoo surmised that the resolution of issues such as the unauthorised transfer of workers and discussions with regard to agricultural housing would go a long way toward minimising, if not eliminating, some of the concerns of the workers. “The successful resolution of the issues … will have a positive impact on the continued success of the programme,” she assured.

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