Andrew Holness making the case for imported cheap labour

During the official ground breaking ceremony for the 7th RIU hotel in Jamaica on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the audience that there is a labour shortage in Jamaica.

There are so much to unpack from the Prime Minister’s statement.

The first question is, do Jamaica need more hotels? How will these new hotels be more beneficial to the average Jamaican? We are losing our beaches to foreign entities and the average Jamaican have limited access to our lands and the tourist industry.

 Shouldn’t these land be put to better use such has organic farming to provide Jamaica with its own food resources, hospitals, training technical facilities, affordable housing or other infrastructure that are more beneficial to the Jamaican people?

The Prime Minister spoke of mandatory training and that he will need to fill the gap due do labour shortage in Jamaica. Since he has been in office, he has done little to nothing to address the issue of what he called a significant leakage and dropout in the education system.

Mr. Holness discussed implementing a system with some form of mandatory training but in the same breath he is saying this will take time and he cannot allow a labour shortage to be the constraint of growth. In other words, he cannot stall the development of the country to wait for these mandatory trainees. The Prime Minister seem to be blaming Jamaicans for not having the necessary skillset or the training needed to fill these hotel jobs and at the same time scolding the citizens for not understanding what he meant by mandatory training. This is what some would describe as gaslighting because the Prime Minister have made no effort since he is in government to address said issue of school dropouts and a poorly trained society but still blaming Jamaicans for him suggesting bringing in an imported labour force.

Most Jamaicans have little to no knowledge of this mandatory training system he spoke of and even though he said he put the HEART Institute on alert to find these people, the system of finding and training people is not as yet up and running or even been implemented. Therefore, this mandatory system as he stated will not be ready to place Jamaicans into these positions.

One could argue that the Prime Minister using a twisted psychology in order to justify his investors appetite of bringing in their own labour force.

Effective April 1, 2022 the country’s minimum wage will move from $7,000 to $9,000 per 40-hour work week. The is approximately $58.05 USD per week or about $1.45 USD per hour.

Shouldn’t the Prime Minister focus on more fiscally attainable jobs for Jamaicans?

Why focus on building more hotels to supports cheap labour? Jamaica is already of the bottom of the pay scale compared to other Caribbean Islands. The reason most Jamaicans find it hard to maintain and good living standard. Jamaica do not need more hotels. What Jamaica need, instead, are job training facilities that in the end will provide a highly skilled workforce which in turn provide Jamaicans with a better living wage.

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