Workers picking apples on one of the farms. (GP)

Barbadians who journey to Canada to work in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Programme or Temporary Farm Workers’ Programme have been encouraged to continue being ambassadors for their country.

The call came today from Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, at the start of a 2019 Review of the Canadian Workers Programme at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill.

He said: “You are ambassadors for this country, and if you mess up people will not pick you out and say ‘Jeffrey messed up’; they will say ‘those Bajan workers’ and there is always the tendency to paint with the broad brush ….  So, I want you to take that responsibility seriously, but I also want you to be both your brothers’ and sisters’ keeper and also your country’s keeper.

“So that when/if you see any of your colleagues misbehaving, doing what they shouldn’t do, I want you to ‘pull them up’.  You have to because you may not want to be taking bread out of their mouths, but if you don’t pull them up you may be taking bread out of your own mouth and out of the mouths of those who depend on you and what you earn.  So, let us recognize our role and our responsibility in terms of representing our country overseas.”

The Labour Minister also acknowledged that it was the responsibility and goal of his Ministry to “equip Bajans for work and then to find work for Bajans”, and said there would be upcoming opportunities in the United States and United Kingdom.

Echoing similar sentiment was Senior Employment Officer responsible for the Overseas Programmes within the Barbados Employment Career & Counselling Services (BECCS), Pauline Farnum.

She pointed out that Barbados had enjoyed a long relationship with Canada, having joined the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme back in 1967, and was happy to remain an important partner in their foreign workers’ programme.

Ms. Farnum said: “The number of repeat requested workers gives testimony of the great work you provide and the great relationships that are developed. Such relationships can only reap good success for Barbados as word-of-mouth spreads and employers would therefore not be hesitant to recommend Bajans to other employers.  It is for these reasons that it is important that you see yourselves as ambassadors for Barbados, and always fly that Barbados banner high.”

The Local Annual Review Meeting of the Canadian Workers’ Programme was facilitated by BECCS.

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