Repatriated farm workers to submit written statements to Labour Ministry amid probe into victimization claims

Some of the persons on the Canadian farm work programme who had been sent back to Jamaica early, are to provide the labour ministry with written statements.

This amid allegations of victimization and a probe being conducted by the ministry.

Labour minister Pearnel Charles Jnr. met with 4 of 5 farmers yesterday. The 5th was unable to attend the meeting.

It’s not clear if these farmers are among those claiming victimization, as they denied being interviewed by another media house that published a story on the matter. 

In a statement last evening, the labour ministry said Charles Jnr, along with other ministry officials, met with the farm workers who were repatriated to Jamaica on August 8, to get a first-hand account of the matter, in a bid to advance investigations into allegations of victimization.

Charles Jnr. assured the workers that while the ministry has a vital interest in protecting the integrity of the programme, the top priority is to ensure that the rights and interests of the workers are upheld.

The workers were urged to openly share their perspectives concerning the circumstances surrounding their early return and to make a full disclosure of all relevant information that could assist on-going investigation.

The ministry said the four workers indicated that they are aware reports in other media but they were adamant that they had not spoken to any media representative, or to anyone connected to the media.

It said the workers also indicated that they were aware that two media representatives visited the farm days prior to their departure.

The workers assured the ministry’s team that they have full access to and are aware of the channels provided to them for communicating challenges they experience with their employment.

Farm workers are to report challenges to their supervisors and to escalate reports to their assigned liaison officers as needed.

Telephone contact numbers for the liaison officers are posted in each bunkhouse, along with numbers for the liaison service in each province, and the number of the liaison service’s head office in Toronto. 

The ministry said the farm workers further expressed their disappointment at returning home earlier than expected.

It said they expressed concerns about their prospects for future participation in the farm work programme.


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