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‘Labour Dept needs kudos from all around’- Hon Pickering

- Said department faced many challenges but persisted
Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7) believes Labour Department has been doing a great job and deserves ‘kudos’ from all around. Photo: Andre Dawson aka ‘Shadow’/File
The long lines seen daily at Immigration Department earlier this year and late last year were mainly of people looking for an extension of time in the Territory because their work permits were not processed in time over at the Labour Department, which is headed by Janice I.F. Rymer, right. Photo: VINO/GIS
The long lines seen daily at Immigration Department earlier this year and late last year were mainly of people looking for an extension of time in the Territory because their work permits were not processed in time over at the Labour Department, which is headed by Janice I.F. Rymer, right. Photo: VINO/GIS
Late last year and earlier this year, more than one hundred persons were turned away on a daily basis from the Department of Immigration, most of them seeking extensions to remain legally in the Territory while their work permits were processed. Photo: VINO/File
Late last year and earlier this year, more than one hundred persons were turned away on a daily basis from the Department of Immigration, most of them seeking extensions to remain legally in the Territory while their work permits were processed. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- While many persons have been pointing their fingers at Labour Department for their alleged slothfulness in processing work permits, which have in turn resulted in long lines at Immigration Department, mainly due to persons having to frequently go to get more time to remain in the Territory while their work permits are processed, Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7) believes Labour Department has been doing a great job.

Speaking in the House of Assembly on April 26, 2018, Hon Pickering said the Ministry of Natural Resource and Labour is a good example of public servants who go above and beyond to ensure the Territory continues to grow from strength to strength.

“The issues in Natural Resources are also the most difficult for any government because, apart from the work permit fees in the Labour Department, which is a significant part of Government revenue, the Ministry itself does not generate much other revenue although in the area of the non-belonger land holding licenses the inland revenue does collect a significant of revenue from the work that is done in the Ministry. So there are a lot of unsung heroes in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour…”

Former Labour Commissioner and Seventh District candidate with the Opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP) in the 2015 General Elections, Oleanvine Pickering-Maynard, while being interviewed by Paul A. Peart aka ‘Gadiethz’ on Fresh Radio Vybz on February 25, 2018, had blamed Labour Department for the long lines being witnessed at Immigration Department.

“There are certain things that the Immigration Department cannot do unless Labour Department processes what needs to be processed.”

The former Labour Commissioner told Mr Peart that “…some of the bottlenecks that you see ending up in immigration, could be attributed to the Labour Department not being up to par from where it used to be, or where it should be, in order to assist the Immigration Department with getting the people processed and out of there…”

No issue of having people in the sun

Following the hurricanes of September 2017 the Immigration Department had seen long lines for services and many persons had to stand in the sun while they awaited service. Many too turned up at the department in the wee hours of the morning in the hope of being attended to early.

This had cause much uproar on social media, forcing the department to introduce an appointment system.

And according to Hon Pickering, the Labour Department did not have an issue where persons had to be in long lines in the sun waiting for service.

“Sometimes the Labour issues get confused with immigration. The Labour Department has not had an issue of having people out in the sun waiting to receive services. In fact, Madam Speaker, the Labour Department needs kudos from all around.”

No congratulations?

Meanwhile, Hon Pickering noted that the Labour Department has faced many challenges following the floods and hurricanes of 2017, and staff had to be relocated.

He said; however, that the Department has persisted despite the challenges and between October 2017 and March 2018, the Labour Department processed a total of 749 work permits. For the entire year of 2017 the Labour Department processed 9481 requests for work permits, including renewals and new work permits.

“What is important to recognise, Madam Speaker, is that since the storm they have processed almost 2000 temporary work permits, and between the work that is done in the Ministry itself and the Labour Department on a daily basis, certainly I as a Minister sign off on work permit waivers, because we initiated a policy that we could give a work permit waiver for up to 3 months and if the persons are in the country and like to stay longer than that they can apply for the work permit. I have not heard anybody complain about that system, and I haven’t heard anybody congratulated the Labour Department or the Ministry for the work they have been doing, but that has been literally the engine that has kept this economy running.”

Hon Pickering added that the Department had been working without internet for most of the time.

Lowest funded Ministry

It was also noted by Hon Pickering that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour gets 4.49 percent of the total budget or a total of $16M to run the entire Ministry, which, according to him, is the lowest of any Ministry.

“With respect to development projects, only 2% of the total monies that are made available for development projects, a mere $1.6M, is allocated to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour to do any sort of development work.”

18 Responses to “‘Labour Dept needs kudos from all around’- Hon Pickering”

  • See (27/04/2018, 10:56) Like (29) Dislike (0) Reply
    So out of touch with reality
  • Welsah (27/04/2018, 10:59) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    Campaigns start...the spins will be many...who will be swayed?
  • Well.. (27/04/2018, 11:26) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    If 'Kudos' means 'Slaps' in some other language, well yes!!
  • What!! (27/04/2018, 11:47) Like (22) Dislike (1) Reply
    Has he been there himself to see the utter mess and disorganisation ?
  • cromwell (27/04/2018, 12:40) Like (15) Dislike (6) Reply
    The current disastrous situation in these islands falls primarily at the feet of the government, and, always has done. The state of the territory resembles a third world country and we have not even scraped the surface in terms of reconstruction. There are thousands of properties in ruined condition because the government has, and, continues to suppress outside companies from entering the island to rebuild. The work permit process is a discriminatory protectionist policy that has left us ill equipped to resolve our problems. There is little or no local building trades people to be found on island, the down islands provide the resource for the building trade. The closest local's get to the building site is driving a truck, a concrete vehicle or a back hoe. Now, following Irma we have no local building workers, and, Labour are stalling on issuing work permits to outsiders, ask any local contractor. Tourists do not want to holiday in the third world and as tourism is probably our future, the government needs to bring International contractors in to rebuild the island, before, it's too late.
  • just wrong (27/04/2018, 12:55) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    I'm having serious problems reading this. Surely this has to be a joke, right? Or has Minister "Done Deal" been sniffing too much sargasso weed?
  • Kudos... really? (27/04/2018, 13:08) Like (22) Dislike (4) Reply
    Kudos! Really?
    9,481 applications processed in 2017. That's 790 a month or 40 per day (over 20 working days in a month)... but then he thinks the department deserves 'kudos' for processing 749 permits in the 6 months from October to March... that's 124 a month, or just 6 per day!
    Maybe I'm missing something, but a reduction in output from 40 per day to 6 per day really doesn't sound worthy of praise.
    • Mouth Wide Open (27/04/2018, 16:09) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      The fact that we are proud that we processed almost 10K work permits in itself is alarming. These Department Heads needs going home. I cry for this BVI.
  • huh (27/04/2018, 15:10) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    What????? Is Kedrick working on all his cylinders.
  • wet (27/04/2018, 15:54) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    labour sucks
  • Query (27/04/2018, 17:06) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    People are here waiting for a work permit due to been laid off for over two months now and it’s still not ready those things need to be addressed yperdons was on a work permit before I don’t know why it’s considered a new permit ,why so long and you are and can’t work until the permit process ,your time at immigration expired and the appointments are sometimes two weeks later even though you went in the ten days before expired time ,Mr Pickering sir please shed some light on that ,please sir it’s a little frustrating for us expatriates ,we need your help
  • Insane (27/04/2018, 19:27) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    This man is insane!!! He needs to take a trip to that department or just rest his slobby case. How can you give kudos to a department that has so much slacking? You put work permits in and it takes forever to get them back out now really? We need to stop trying to cover up foolishness to make ourselves look good. Kedrick you can't fool us in 2018 we know that your department is the Pitts the employees working there never in office can't even resolve a dispute can't help us find a job and did I mention they're never in office??
  • Help (27/04/2018, 21:17) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Doc you wake up...vg people still waiting for they redundancy money from bitter end yatch club. This is wrong ...up to now you said no thing to bitter End.this is not good at all.we the people vote for all you to represent us...but now you head in the sand...take you head out the sand and go do you dam job.we want our money.
  • ha (27/04/2018, 22:12) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Permits are submitted with all the proper documents, then someone from the department will call and say some paper is missing and the permit can't be issued until you furnish another copy, the department takes no responsibility for their sloppy work. It all falls back on the clients. Pure joke.
  • So sad (28/04/2018, 00:53) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mr Pickering please have a look at this department something needs to be done immigration was getting blame but now we all see that what happens in immigration comes from labor department,if labor department process those work permit on time then the immigration department would not be overcrowded ,employed staff to work on weekends to clear the back logs please sir help us
  • Yellow trousers (28/04/2018, 08:58) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr. Pickering do you think we are all daft?


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