Jamaica could have to import workers amid labour shortage, says PM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared that Jamaica is currently experiencing a labour shortage and could be forced to import workers.
Speaking on Wednesday at a ground breaking ceremony for a new RIU hotel in Trelawny, Mr. Holness said Jamaica is facing major challenges, particulary in construction.
According to the prime minister, there are many unemployed people but not all of them are seeking to be part of the labour force.
He said the government is looking to implement a mandatory national service for training young Jamaicans, especially young men, who are primarily the victims of crime but are also the main perpetrators. 
"We would have loved to have them working on our sites, working in our call centers, working in our logistics operations, working in our hospitals, working in our schools. But we just don't have them. So, we do have underutilized capacity in our population which we need to bring in a structured and organised way into our labour force," he asserted.   
Mr. Holness said HEART National Service Training Agency has been placed on alert to find these young Jamaicans and put them into streamlined training programmes. 
"If we don't do that, then there can be no complaints if we have to import labour into the country, and we are seeing an increase in requests for labour, particularly skilled labour," he pointed out.  
Although he admitted the training will take time, Mr. Holness said the government will not be able to stop the developments in the interim. 

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