JAMAICA | Whose Bread does Tourism Really butter? asks Senator Janice Allen
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, November 14, 2022 - Opposition Spokesperson on Tourism and Linkages Senator Janice Allen, says “the recent ruling by the Supreme Court in relation to Private Security Guards not being Independent Contractors but employees, reads ominously for the island's Tourism Sector.”
Making her contribution to the State of the Nation Debate on Friday, Senator Allen said it was important that operators within the sector familiarize themselves with the details of that ruling and prepare for what may be on the horizon in relation to the industry,as a result of that ruling.
“It is time for the government to do something about contract workers within the Tourism Sector. It is noteworthy that our local owners tend to engage employees – in long term arrangements – but – we must have this become a wide scale practise all across the industry.
“Because security of tenure is critical – for one it addresses the issue of retention of the best of the best within the industry. The finer point Mr President is that inconsistencies, and inequities are a serious threat to the growth and sustainability of the sector,” Senator Allen warned.
“As a nation we bend backwards like limbo dancers for visitors to experience a life that is quite foreign to many of us as locals. Tourists must be safe, but too often we are not safe;Tourists must have access to the best healthcare should they become ill, but we don’t have access to quality and affordable healthcare;Tourists must be met with smiling faces but many times we ourselves are not happy,” Senator Allen told her colleagues in the Senate.
As we move to Re-Ignite this nation for greatness, it is time we rethink Tourism. As soon as the Jamaica that our citizens experience and are exposed to becomes:
- clean in the streets for Jamaicans,
- safe in the towns for Jamaicans,
- healthy in the hospitals for Jamaicans,
“Tourism cannot be sustained as this separate existence, like a parallel society within walls that is foreign to the locals because the truth is we are tourism,” the Opposition Senator declared.
"Workers must NOT be made to feel like they are “dancing for a dollar”. Rather that they are investing equity in an economic dynamo that also takes care of their own dreams, needs and desires to become fulfilled professionals, artisans, entertainers, performers, hosts, chefs, musicians, tour guides – owners – if not of the hotels – of the outcomes – of course commensurate to what they put in!
"No longer should Jamaica have workers masquerading for tourists feeling like second class, fretting if their daughters are safe on bike taxis through the cane fields of Westmoreland because of the absence of a clean planned public transit system that takes them home from school while their parents work the late shift in the sector.
"Every worker is valuable and must be valued. They must live in dignity. We often say Tourism is the bread and butter of our country, but whose bread does it really butter? Mr President – our workers need to be full participants in Tourism and not just experience the so so “ism”! Senator Allen declared.