Foreigners will take logistics hub jobs if Jamaicans don't qualify themselves — PM

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller says nothing will be allowed to stand in the way of development, warning that overseas workers will seize the increased job opportunities anticipated from the global logistics hub initiative, if Jamaicans fail to qualify themselves.


"We need to prepare ourselves for the jobs to come when you hear the announcements because if we are not trained then we cannot complain if we have to get people from elsewhere to fill the slots," said Simpson Miller. "Because we are not going to put any hindrance in the way of growth and development investments are a key to this growth and development. When we talk about the logistics hub we need to start to train persons."


Government's position is that the development of the hub will position Jamaica as a major logistics point that will be able to benefit from increased trade activities through the Caribbean as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal.


As such, it is expected to drive investment and create sustainable employment over the long-term.


The prime minister was speaking at the Wexford Court Hotel in Montego Bay at an award ceremony for the Community Training for Empowerment Programme (CTEP) on Sunday.


CTEP, accredited by HEART Trust/NTA, Kelinworth, was conceptualised in 2004 by Derrick Kellier, who has been the member of parliament for South St James since 1989.


Over 1,000 persons have so far graduated under the project, which involves training in housekeeping, food and beverage, information technology, conversational Spanish and values and attitude.


Meanwhile, the prime minister expessed the need to romp up productivity across the nation.


"We need to get our people into successful businesses as small, medium and large producers. We have to create an army of successful entrepreneurs across this land of ours to produce jobs and to produce more," Simpson Miller said. "That's why the Heart Trust NTA is in major expansion mode, and I want to commend them-to widen its training programmes and increase the number of Jamaicans trained in the various skill areas."


Meanwhile, Kellier also stressed the need for improved production to pull the nation out of its indebtedness.


"Productivity is the key to take Jamaica out of its economic woes. If everyone in Jamaica understands that we will be well on our way to pay off the debt that we owe," argued Kellier who is also the minister of labour and social security. "If everyone should understand that and get on to the productivity revolution, then everyone will be better off in the future."


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