A three-day consultation aimed at formulating a decent work country programme for Guyana was opened this afternoon by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo at the Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown.
The consultation is being held by the Ministry of Social Protection in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It is the second such consultation held in Guyana and attracted close to 100 stakeholders from labour, trade union bodies, government agencies and the private sector.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister in the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott and other officials at the International Labour Organisation consultation
Prime Minister Nagamootoo, who is currently performing the duties of President, stated that the consultation seeks to advance the decent work agenda in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and compare and share good practices in the Caribbean.
“It is a profound consultation on poverty reduction, gender equality, and economic growth, strong institutions through social dialogue – all of which combined, form the bedrock of sustainable development,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister congratulated the ILO team for their work in improving Guyana’s ranking at the international level. “You have highlighted the most critical areas for attention and, I hope, that the consultation would produce solutions or recommendations that are practical, do-able within your own framework of what works.”
He told the gathering that there is much that participants could learn from the ILO experiences worldwide on ending poverty, improving working conditions, boosting incomes, and enhancing productivity as the Caribbean countries work to release the 2030 goals of the United Nations.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo is being greeted on his arrival at Herdmanston Lodge by Minister in the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott and Chief Labour Officer Charles Ogle
Delivering welcome remarks to the stakeholders, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott who sought to define the term decent work, based on the ILO definition said, “decent work is productive work for men and women in conditions of freedom, quality, security and human dignity, this broad definition encompasses a far day’s work for a fair days pay.”
Minister Scoot urged, “The task ahead is huge and I am sure you have at your disposal the tools and necessary materials to produce a suitable decent work country programme for Guyana.”
Providing an overview of the consultative process, Director of the Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean International Labour Organisation, Claudia Coenjaerts said in order to achieve the goals of the consultation, “we have to come to understand that we can no longer work in singles, we must bring the various ministry portfolios together to really achieve that.”
She told the stakeholders too, that it is important to take into consideration the lessons learnt from the previous consultation and these can contribute to the formulation of a better programme for Guyana.
A section of the gathering at the ILO Decent Work Programme Consultation
“Guyana’s country decent work programme can actually exploit this opportunity and show how integration of all these various elements can be addressed to achieve an inclusive society where no one is left behind,” the director said.
Representing the Consultative Association of Guyanese Industries (CAGI), Samuel Goolsarran said following the programme’s completion, follow ups and monitoring are required for its implementation.
General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress, Lincoln Lewis said that no economy can grow and develop without, “it most vital resources, that is the human capital and so the government who is hosting this conference for its social partners is called on to treat all equally.”
General Secretary of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), Kenneth Joseph told the stakeholders that the consultation is timely, necessary and very important and FITUG welcomes the ILO team in an effort to ensure workers are continuously educated on their rights.
The Guyana Decent Work Country Programme consultation will conclude on September 23, 2016, following which a report will be prepared by the ILO team and presented to the Guyana Government for implementation in areas where possible.