The Ministry of Labour is trying to address staff issues at the Labour Department, Labour Minister Stephenson King has disclosed.
King’s disclosure follows an announcement that the department will be cracking down on non-nationals who are working here illegally.
The minister expressed the hope that with the passage of the budget, the labour department will be strengthened to address such issues and be even more vigilant.
King explained that the mandate of the labour department includes deploying staff to make spot checks at places of business, to ensure that non-national employees are not working here illegally.
He said under the OECS and Caricom regimes there are protocols that allow for the free movement of people and labour.
“We are very mindful of what the arrangements are, but what we are saying is that persons who are operating outside of the legislative framework – we need them regularized,” King told reporters.
Questioned about the commitment of locals to work, King said whether Saint Lucians want to work has been a burning issue.
However he said the government believes that it has a responsibility to ensure that locals are given access to jobs.
The minister noted that as work permits are issued, the authorities will be seeking to address areas where there is a deficit of local skill by providing relevant training for Saint Lucians.
“We cannot just continue to issue work permits,” King declared.