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Plans to eliminate unemployment

KINGSTON — The country’s struggle with unemployment could, in another decade, be a thing of the past as the Ministry of Labour and Social Security steps up efforts to satisfy the global labour demand with qualified Jamaicans.

Labour and Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier yesterday made the pronouncement while responding to questions during a courtesy call by Caribbean Airlines Ltd at his downtown Kingston offices, where a partnership between the airline and the country’s overseas employment programme was highlighted.

“That is my hope,” Kellier said when asked if unemployment — based on the work programme — would no longer be an issue in another 10 years.

“That is really my hope and that is why the ministry is working so hard to get the labour market information so that we can prepare ourselves along with the people in the HEART Trust, in the Ministry of Education and other training agencies to prepare our people to [fill] jobs in the global marketplace. So whether it is in India, Pakistan, down in the [United Arab] Emirates… we can find people to send there.”

The minister said that in Canada alone there are some 300,000 jobs to be filled in areas, ranging from fast-food restaurant workers to tax auditors, accountants and engineers.

Between Canada and the United States, an average of 14,000 Jamaicans are hired on the Government’s farm work programme alone, which is 60 years running.

Should Kellier’s dream become a reality, Jamaica could see a significant jump in remittances, which has for a long time been one of Jamaica’s main foreign exchange earners but which took a hit with the global economic meltdown a few years ago.

Kellier told journalists at yesterday’s event that the “Government and the country” have benefited to the tune of billions of dollars from the overseas employment programme. (Observer)

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