THE Ministry of Labour (MoL), on Friday, officially opened a new $7 million labour office on the Springlands, Corriverton Public Road in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
The new office will house officers from all of the ministry’s departments so as to ensure residents can access all of the services under one roof.
In addition to a labour officer, there will also be an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) officer, a Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency (CRMA) officer, a co-op society officer and a Board of Industrial Training (BIT) officer.
“Today is indeed a very significant day in this community. This new office will give access to persons in this area who have issues connected to labour. From the way they are treated by their employer, to issues connected with co-op and BIT,” Regional Chairman, David Armogan, said during brief address at the opening ceremony.
The ceremonial ribbon cutting was done by Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, who commented that opening of the office is part of his overall plan to create a strong labour relations framework.
“We must establish the most robust Ministry of Labour in the history of this country. A lot of people would see that I am moving here and there all the time. I do it because in my head that is what we want to do to ensure we have a robust ministry where people are trained adequately and equally in every region. That is how the system is supposed to work,” Hamilton noted.
The new office will be the second labour office to be opened in Region Six; an office already exists in New Amsterdam. Given the size of the region, the ministry believes that the establishment of sub-region offices are necessary.
“When people in Upper-Corentyne have an issue, they have to travel to New Amsterdam, and then when they go to New Amsterdam the officers there determine when they will come to Corentyne. That must come to an end. This is why we have this office, why we decided to put some money into this,” Hamilton said.
He added: “I would hope that this office serves its purpose at the level of labour. If we have officers functioning here, they can spot the smoke before we have fire and move in to mediate matters before we have placards and police coming in to placate the matter.”
Hamilton charged the officers to ensure that they go into the communities to proactively detect issues at work places.
“The only time they should be in the office is when they are preparing their reports. The officers who are to be at this office, their work is on the road. The labour and OSH [officers] have to be on the road to see the conditions people are working under,” he said
“The office is here so that the activities can come closer to people so that this office can engage continuously with the people up here,” the minister added.