The Labour Department can help! That was the resounding message on 19 November, when the Department commenced its mandatory orientation session for perspective work permit holders and employers.
Labour Commissioner, and Chair of the event Mrs. Janice Rymer explained that the orientation was taking place in Virgin Gorda; and she stated that the purpose of the orientation is to ensure that sound labour practices are followed through the enforcement of the BVI Labour Laws/Code. This Mrs. Rymer explained is a critical step to ensure a harmonious working environment between the employer and employee.
Mr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour urged the new employees to acclimatize to the Territory. He said that he knows that the workers will experience the necessary emotions that come with moving to a new country, but he told them that it will help them to learn about their new home:
“You will meet some challenges in your quest to becoming acclimatized. And please don’t be fooled by the fact that you may know someone from your home country. You need to keep in mind that that person has been here for a while and has already gotten used to the prevailing ethos of the Territory; the good thing though is that they should be able to assist you in your journey, as it were,” he said.
“I urge you to get involved – read the local papers, watch the local news, join a social club, join a gym, in short any extra-curricular activity which can serve as both a personal outlet and a means by which to improve your cultural knowledge…There is nothing worse than being on the periphery of a community; this will happen, however, if you fail to get involved,” he added.
Mr. Trefor Grant, Chief Operations Officer at Driftwood Resorts spoke about his good experience with the Labour Department as an employer. Ms. Marcia Brown spoke on behalf of expatriate workers in the Territory. She announced that she encountered difficulty with her employer and was able to get assistance from the Labour Department: “As an employee, sometimes you might face some discomforting challenges with your employer, and I am here to encourage you the public – as employees, the Labour Department is here for you pertaining to issues which might occur on the job.”