No case of Child Labour on coastland- Chief Labour Officer
Though there are no statistics on Child Labour in Guyana, Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle says Child Labour does not exist on a large scale on the coastland and challenged persons to point out such instances.
As the Ministry of Social Protection joins in the observance of World Day against Child Labour, he pointed to Regions Two, Three, Four and Six where the Labour Department has offices and conducts daily inspections.
“Could we go anywhere now and say where we could see children being employed? Could we point to a Saw Mill or anywhere in Georgetown or the Coast, East Bank to say children are being employed? I’m not aware,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Social Protection’s Cornhill Street, Stabroek, Georgetown, office.
As of Monday, the Department will be having an officer in Regions Five and 10.
However, Ogle says more work needs to be done in the hinterland region as a recent survey pointed to child labour in the mining industry and riverain communities.
Instances of children being tasked with selling water on street corners was posed to the Labour Officer, who dodged the question and instead said, “There are different definitions (for child labour); the first world definition or the third world like Guyana definition will be different,” adding that “light work” is not considered child labour, but it should not be during school hours.
World Day Against ChildLabour was observed on Tuesday (June 12) to raise awareness on the need to protect children against exploitation. According to the International LabourOrganisation (ILO), 541 million persons between ages 15 and 24 account for 15 per cent of the world’s labour force, globally.
The Labour Department today held a march from its Cornhill Street office, along Brickdam and culminated at the Jubilee Park to bring awareness to the issue. Though 12 schools were invited to be a part of the March, the parade set off with only students from five of the schools.
Additionally, the Chief Labour Officer said the Ministry on Tuesday validated a policy to tackle the issue here.
“It is a document to say what should be done to prevent, eradicate, all the measures that should be in place to ensure that the Guyanese public should observe and adhere to, to prevent child labour,” he said.
The policy, which was formulated after consultations in seven administrative regions with Trade Union bodies and employers, is expected to be completed by September of this year.
The ministry is still accepting suggestions to improve the document, which will be the first of its kind in the Caribbean Region.