Labour Commissioner, Ray Narcisse, has downplayed assertions that Saint Lucia has major problems with child labour.
“We have no official documentation or report indicating that coming from the government of Saint Lucia,” Narcisse said.
He said he did not know where such information came from.
Narcisse disclosed that the Labour Department has not been able to uncover those issues of child labour.
Nevertheless the Labour Commissioner said it is believed that child labour exists in clandestine forms.
“If you have school dropouts for example – if you have young kids dropping out of school, they are most likely doing some job,” Narcisse explained.
He observed that according to the law, youngsters are required to be at school up to the age of fifteen.
“We have had connections with other agencies and they have said they have taken children out of work situations, so I have no doubt child labour exists,” Narcisse asserted.
However he stated that a holiday job is classified as light work and is allowed by the law.
Narcisse explained that child labour is detrimental to the health and well-being and schooling of children.
He spoke as labour officials met yesterday with a visiting expert from the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The expert is here to assist the labour department with its work in three main areas, including conducting a study on child labour.
Estimates for the Latin American and Caribbean region point to a conservative estimate of eight percent of the total children of school age engaging in labour activities.
Labour conventions prescribe that no children below the age of 12 should be engaged in any work.
Between the ages of 12 and fifteen children are permitted to engage in light work.
Between fifteen and eighteen years old they can work, but not be engaged in activities that are hazardous or detrimental to their health.