Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Labour Shortage in Trinidad

In Trinidad, hoteliers are complaining that they have unable to find qualified personnel to work in their companies.

Apparenly they are looking to bring in Phillipinos.

Hotelier confronts shortage

Owner of the Arnos Vale Hotel, Bill Bronte, said in a December 2007 Business Guardian article that several of Tobago’s hotels are in need of service staff: waiters, waitresses, housekeepers and maintenance workers.

 The challenge is not only to find people willing to work, but also those who understand the meaning of service.

 “We pay from $12 to $17 an hour. Maintenance staff and barmen earn $17 an hour.”

 Last month, he recruited an accountant from a Trinidad-based pharmaceutical company to join his hotel staff.

 According to Bronte, the Government’s billion-dollar Community Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (Cepep) is to the island’s tourism sector’s detriment.

 “Cepep has absorbed most of the labour you can find. Most expensive cost in running a hotel daily is labour. Four years ago, we paid a worker $8 an hour. It’s almost double today.

 “You are always doing maintenance. Where we got a brick a few years ago for $2, it’s now $8.”

The question I have, is why this is not common knowledge in Jamaica, were we have massive unemployment?



At 1/21/2008 2:58 PM, Anonymous garym said...

I am not sure if it's because in some of the other islands Jamaican labor has a reputation of being difficult.

Asians are more service oriented it is a part of their culture. When you fly an Asian airline or spend time in Asia you receive the kind of service you have only dreamt of.

Remember when we had the manufactures in the freezone here who couldn't get the production level or reliability needed from Jamaican labor. They brought in labor all the way from Asia who met and excedeed the performance of the local staff.

At 1/21/2008 3:20 PM, Anonymous ESTEBAN AGOSTO REID said...

Interesting point Garym!!But despite the supposed difficulty of Jamaican labor,many Jamaicans do work in the the hotel industry in the United States on a seasonal basis.This immediately suggests that with the proper training Jamaican labor can become more responsible,reliable and discipline.Also, since the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is advocating and advancing the views of a viable regional common market,specifically, with respect to the mobility of labor,it is essential that Jamaica and Trinidad who are major players in this regional entity start to address the issue of labour shortages, prospective needs and demands in their respective economies as opposed to looking at Asia.The unemployment situation in Jamaica is extremely acute, and comparatively speaking Jamaica is farther on the learning curve regarding tourism and the hotel industry vis-a-vis Trinidad.Consequently,with proper training licensing and credentialization of Jamaican labour,Jamaica should be able to assist Trinidad in alleviating its labor shortage.Isn't this what CARICOM is designed for? I hope so!!It is about time we hear from the Ministry of Labour in both Jamaica and Trinidad regarding this issue.Also,the CARICOM administrators in Jamaica and Trinidad.RESPECT!!

At 1/21/2008 3:54 PM, Blogger fwade said...


According to one Jamaican worker after being exposed to Asian productivity: "Dem do the wuk of two s'maddy!"

At 1/23/2008 4:53 AM, Anonymous dowilliamson said...

Does Caricom allow for movement of unskilled workers? It was my understanding that to get a skills certificate one has to have a college degree. How then would unksilled Jamaicans get to Trinidad to work in the Tourisim industry under Caricom?

At 1/23/2008 6:27 AM, Blogger fwade said...

That's right -- there is no provision for unskilled labour.

At 1/26/2008 3:21 AM, Blogger Mad Bull said...

Basically, dem no want we! We are considered to be too troublesome.

The Filipinos work hard, and they are very good at customer service. We have many of them here in Cayman, so I know what I am talking about.


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