Minister of Labour, Dr. Samuel Joseph and Labour Inspector Dulcie Bramble are in Guyana to attend the Meeting of Caribbean Labour Ministers.
The meeting which runs from May 23 to 25, 2023 is an International Labour Organization event in partnership with the Ministry of Labour in Guyana, and brings together Labour Ministers from 13 ILO member states and nine non-metropolitan territories in the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean.
On Tuesday afternoon, all heads of delegations were asked to share what their nation was doing to tackle social justice and decent work. Minister Joseph spoke about the passing of the domestic violence bill, the updating of the cybercrime legislation to protect women who are primarily the head of households in Montserrat and the wider Caribbean. He also shared that the island now has a minimum wage in the labour code. Noting that 40% civil servants are working poor, the government has eliminated the bottom scales and raised salaries by three percent with a plan to raise it again next year.
The labour minister also said that over 40% of Montserrat’s population comprises of immigrants and immigration reform is in the works. “We need to actually allow free movement of people,” Dr. Joseph told the meeting. He also encouraged his colleagues that the Caribbean needed to prepare for a future with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and transitioning to renewable resources.
Cognisant that Caribbean countries, most of them Small Island Developing States (SIDS)/ Small Highly Indebted Middle Income Countries (SHIMICs), face the daunting task of transforming the structural bases of their economies and engineering resilient societies in the current context of plural crises, the ILO Caribbean Office has focused much of its technical assistance over the last three years, on supporting member States’ efforts to integrate the Decent Work Agenda in how Caribbean labour markets prepare for, respond to, and otherwise recover from crises.
The meeting aims to:
- provide a forum for Caribbean Labour Ministers and social Partners to exchange perspectives on the global, regional, and national actions required to accelerate the mainstreaming of social justice for transformative socio-economic development in the current multi-crisis context.
- address labour migration as a potential enabler of decent work and acceleration factor in Caribbean development, including the importance of systemic, rights-based, inclusive approaches, to addressing governance challenges in a hyper-mobile region.
- examine Caribbean progress on Just Transition policy and institutional mechanisms and determine priorities for action and ILO technical assistance for the 2024-25 biennium.
Hon. Veronica Dorsette-Hector will be acting Minister of Communication, Works, Labour and Energy until June 2nd 2023.