DESCRIBING his 25 years as a farm worker as most rewarding, Glenroy Bailey says more young persons should consider career paths in the overseas work programme.
"I built my house out of farm work. I would encourage other young men who feel like there is no hope to join up. It takes hard work to succeed in life," the native of Prattville in Manchester told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
Bailey and 171 other farm workers are scheduled to leave the island today for Canada
and the United States to
work in greenhouse farms for the next six months. They will be joined by 100 female workers in March. Bailey will work in Canada.
"Farm work has sent my children to school and my wife through nursing school. Some men send back small money and don't treat their children right, but that is a no-no," he shared as he and others waited to be addressed by Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier at the ministry's offices in downtown Kingston, yesterday.
He also urged newcomers to the programme to think of their children and resist the urge to abscond when they land in foreign countries.
"When one person runs off, that makes it bad for everyone," he declared.
His advice seemed to have resonated with 43-year-old Calbert Morrisson, who was making his first trip overseas on the programme.
"I am very grateful that I get the chance to be a part of the programme and intend to do my best," he said.
Yesterday, Minister Kellier told the men to steer clear of untoward behaviour and most importantly, remember their families back home when they receive their pay.
"I urge you to hold up the flag; hold it up high. We are on a mission and you are an important part of that mission. You are the true ambassadors," Kellier told the men.
According to the minister, farm workers sent back over US$21.6 million and Ca$55.4 million in the last four years. He lauded their contribution to the economy.