Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, discussing??issues relating to Barbadians working in the H2A Programme with (from left) Perry Wells and Joseph Hobbs of the East Coast Travel Services Inc., Chief Labour Officer, Vincent Burnett, and Liaison Officer in Miami, George Mayers. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Barbadians who are interested in securing work in the agriculture industry in the United States of America are a step closer to achieving that goal.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who met today with Executive Director of Florida East Coast Travel Services, Joseph Hobbs, and his colleague Perry Wells, who are here on a two-day recruitment drive for prospective workers of the H2A (Agriculture) Programme.

Dr. Byer Suckoo said the recruiters were looking for 200 to 300 Barbadian men between the ages of 21 and 40 to pick apples and vegetables along the east coast of the USA, from Virginia to Maine, from now until November.

She expressed pleasure that Barbadians would again find employment with the H2A Programme. "I’m extremely excited about the opportunity. It is not a new programme to Barbados as one of the recruiters said he was here in the 80s and 90s and [I know that] many Barbadians were able to make a living for their family through it," she stated.

Minister Byer Suckoo noted that even though Barbadians were interested in working in a range of occupations, some were still keen to work in the agriculture industry.

She admitted that there were some administrative challenges with the programme, but stressed that these were currently being addressed.

The Minister explained that the US Department of Homeland Security had been scrutinising the migrant labour programme to ensure that it was conforming to federal regulations and international standards. She promised: "We will make sure we comply with regulations set out before us and we will do what we have to do. . . We looked at what was required of us in this programme and we will endeavour to do things the right way and through the right channels."

Barbadians who are interested in working in this programme should contact the National Employment Bureau at 426-1511, 426-1436 or 426-4450.


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