The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) welcomes the announcement by General Manager of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Dr Damian Graham, regarding the investments in and timeline for the implementation of the Greater Ocho Rios Development Programme (GORDP) projects.
As reported in the Jamaica Observer on Friday, June 23, 2017, the General Manager said that:
“The Greater Ocho Rios Development Programme, which will be done over a four-year period, includes some 15 projects, which incorporate the development of Ocho Rios Bay comprising of the beach area; divestment of lands that were taken strategically by the Government to release some of the capital locked up there; development of an artisan village; redevelopment of the craft market; creation of a festival area for fine shopping; gastronomy and leisure for visitors; and the redevelopment of market to a first-world experience that tourists and locals can experience and speak about. He is also expecting the development to drive commerce in the St Ann town”
Acting Vice President of the BITU, Rudolph Thomas said: “We totally agree with the GM that “Ocho Rios is yet to realise its fullest ability, as its growth potential has not been tapped into”.
The Union has positioned its support behind a belief that “The success of this programme is crucial to releasing the full economic potential for the parish of St. Ann and, by extension, make a vital contribution to the “5-in-4” growth target currently being pursued by the government, as well as ecological, social and cultural benefits”.
Mr. Thomas however elaborated that “We must remind the GM that, despite our mutual commitment to the economic and social development of the country, we cannot lose sight of the human resources element and the need to ensure that those who are currently employed in the developmental projects, as well as those who are employed by lead agencies, such as the UDC, in St. Ann, are considered in the projections”.
Mr. Thomas added “We urge the UDC to pay some attention to concluding a number of current negotiations for the already concluded contract period 2015-2017, which are being pursued between the BITU and the UDC for several Bargaining Units in St. Ann, including that with St. Ann Development Company (SADCo) and workers employed at Dunn’s River and Parks, regarding improvements in these workers’ working conditions and level of emoluments”.
The Unions Acting Vice President stated that “The patience of the workers currently wears thin and it remains our intention to have an uneventful conclusion of the negotiations, to facilitate the submission of new claims for a new collective bargaining period” and added that “the BITU looks forward to the completion of these negotiations, with some urgency, so that the process of development within the parish, which is heavily involved with the success of tourism, a major foreign currency earner for the country, can be carried through in an environment which is accommodating and facilitative of the personal development of the human resources contributing to the expansion and sustainability of the industry”.