Georgetown, Guyana: A team from the International Labour Organization (ILO) met with representatives from the Ministry of Labour, on March 9, 2023, in preparation for Guyana to host the 12th ILO Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour in May.
The last meeting was held in Barbados four years ago. As such, hosting the meeting in the country is a tremendous achievement, especially given the tremendous development that has taken place in Guyana under the leadership of Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
Following the country’s selection to host this historic meeting, several deliberations among the relevant authorities were held to provide well-planned and successful meetings for those involved. Joseph Hamilton, Minister of Labour; Bishram Kuppen, Permanent Secretary; Gwyneth King, Occupational Safety and Health Consultant; Yolanda Grant, Chief Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency; Dhaneswar Deonarine, Chief Labour Officer; and Ambassador Ivan Evelyn, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Chief of Protocol, attended this meeting.
Lars Johansen, Deputy Director of the International Labour Organization; Ingerlyn Caines-Francis, Senior Programme Officer; Resel Melville, Project Coordinator; and Jennifer Jones-Morales, Senior Operations Officer and Security Focal Point, were among the delegation members.
According to the ministry, the meeting serves as a forum for a more in-depth discussion of Caribbean Labour Ministers’ and Social Partners’ contributions to, and leadership roles in, the proposed Global Coalition on Social Justice.
This includes consultation with key regional social partners, establishing priorities and key strategies for ILO support for Just Transition in the 2024-2025 biennium, and developing Quality Apprenticeship frameworks. In addition, the meeting will review previous Ministerial Meetings and their conclusions, including a briefing on ILO support provided to Constituents during the pandemic and in the current recovery stage.
The labour ministry also informed that over the last three years, the ILO Caribbean Office has focused much of its technical assistance on strategic and practical interventions in areas ranging from labour market research and skills development to social security and enterprise development, all of which help Member States integrate the Decent Work Agenda into how Caribbean labour markets prepare for, cope with, and recover from crises.
While concluding the ministry outlined that this approach is consistent with the four priority areas established in the UNMSDCF for English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean countries for the period 2022–2026. The ILO Director General’s revised proposal for a Global Coalition on Social Justice aims to “contribute to the reduction and prevention of inequalities as well as ensure that social justice is prioritised in national, regional, and global policymaking and activities, including in development cooperation as well as financial, trade, and investment agreements,” provides an opportunity for Caribbean Labour Ministries to contribute invaluable perspectives and insights from their experiences and challenges.