CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Labour commissioners and permanent secretaries from ministries of labour in the OECS have been applauded for their high percentage turnout and participation at a recently held unprecedented two day meeting in St Lucia from June 6 to 7, 2013.
Discussions covered various issues confronting OECS departments of labour (DOL) in setting up the OECS labour market information system (LMIS) in their respective countries, paying special attention to the computerisation of labour departments.
The OECS labour market information system will update the student, researcher, employer, “job-seeker”, investor and other interested persons on the status of labour and training opportunities on the job market. The OECS LMIS will also inform policy makers, analysts, employment organisations and other interested individuals through research data on areas of employment such as agriculture and tourism, gender distribution, and job skill sets.
Reynold Simons, an official of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), welcomed the high level of enthusiasm shown by the participants at the historic workshop towards an OECS labour market information system.
“Everybody is in and people really want this,” he said.
On a scale of ten, Simons rated the success level of the meeting as a nine in terms of the engagement of the current crop of stakeholders in the process.
Labour commissioner of the British Virgin Islands Janice Rymer described the first time meeting of labour commissioners and permanent secretaries from ministries of labour in the OECS as revealing.
“It’s been quite an eye-opener, particularly since I have been in this position for about a year and a half. So this particular conference allowed me to have an idea of what’s happening in the region, to know what funding is available and to know what projects are on stream. We are particularly interested and delighted in the British Virgin Islands that the labour market information system is a project that is currently on board and we have signed up during this meeting for them to come to the BVI, take a look at what we are doing so we in fact can become partners and part of the programme that’s ongoing,” she said.
Rymer said, as they track developments on the labour market, data from the OECS LMIS will benefit the BVI by helping to inform policy, education and dialogue with other OECS member states on available skill sets and other resources.
Sean Curtis Mathurin of the OECS Secretariat, who is overseeing the preparation of the OECS LMIS, said his institution and the ILO will use the recommendations coming out of the historic meeting to guide the process towards the set implementation date of the OECS labour market information survey.
“Upon completion of the implementation of the programme we are hoping to have a fully functioning OECS LMIS. The department of labour system is designed in such a way that there are several modules, which systematically stores the abundance of administrative data and information that exist at the department as well as facilitating easier access to the data and information,” he said.
The activity, which falls under the economic integration and trade of the OECS region project, is being financed out of resources from the 10th EDF regional programme. It seeks to contribute to the establishment of the OECS Economic Union as a single economic and financial space through the development of a harmonized policy, legislative, regulatory and administrative framework, and the enhancement of the institutional capacity and export competitiveness of OECS economies.