228 Jamaican farmworkers head to Canada

Migration Counsellor, High Commission of Canada in Jamaica, Candace Brooks (left), is about to place a Canadian pin on the shirt of the oldest participant in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme, Maurice Plummer (right). Also pictured is Head, Temporary Farmworkers Programme, Canadian High Commission, Alexandra Normandin.

The first batch of farmworkers for 2020 began departing the island for Canada on Friday, January 3.

A total of 228 workers will be leaving between Friday and Monday (January 6) to take up employment opportunities under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme.

“Wherever a Jamaican goes, much is expected, and only the best will be respected.”

— Robinson

The customary send-off ceremony was held for the workers at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Overseas Employment Services Centre in downtown Kingston, where they were treated to solid advice from Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson.

Maintaining a good name

In a speech read by State Minister for Labour and Social Security, Zavia Mayne, Robinson reminded the workers that as ambassadors for Jamaica, they are expected to always maintain a good name, character and reputation, “not only while at work but also in your personal time and space”. 

Rolando Downer (left), a participant in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme, gives an impromptu performance of an original song in which he gives hilarious advice to his fellow farmworkers.

“Wherever a Jamaican goes, much is expected, and only the best will be respected. Those of you who have already travelled, kindly assist those who haven’t to relax, acclimatise and become familiar with lifestyle and social environments. The orientation offered by the Ministry goes a far way, but additional help is always a plus,” she said.

Robinson reminded them that they are not alone or on their own when they arrive in Canada, noting that the Liaison Service and its competent staff “are available to you every day, all day, and you will be given contact information for them”.

She also implored the workers to keep in contact with their families after they have left the island.