6,000 people must be trained in hospitality sector by 2024 to avoid crisis – Pres. Ali


By Fareeza Haniff


President Dr Irfaan Ali has tasked his Tourism Minister with recruiting and training some 6,000 people by the end of 2024 in various areas of the hospitality sector in order to meet the demands of the country’s rapid transformation.

Guyana’s massive transformation in such a short span of time includes the construction of at least seven internationally branded hotels in Regions Two, Four and Six.

President Dr Irfaan Ali addressing leaders of several unions (Photo: Office of the President/May 1, 2023)

“6,000 people must be trained in different areas of hospitality by the end of 2024 otherwise we would be in a crisis…the hotels are already saying [they] are not finding workers…A lot of pressure is on the system,” President Ali revealed on Monday during a breakfast meeting with leaders of various trade unions in honour of Labour Day.

Some of the hotels currently under construction include, Lakeside Hotel (Essequibo); Courtyard by Marriott (Timehri); Four Points Marriott (Houston); Aiden Hotel (Robb & Oronoque Streets); Pasha Global Hotel (Liliendaal); AC Hotels Marriott (Ogle) and the Sherriff Hotel (Palmyra, Berbice).

The country has long been battling a shortage of its labour force, especially in the construction sector and this was reiterated to the President when he with major public and private contractors on Sunday.

“Yesterday, I met with all the major contractors – private and public – and they said to me, ‘we can’t find labourers.’ And, [if they] find, because the salary is so large now, people are working day pay, the minimum 10,000.

“The discipline in the workforce is eroding because workers turn up two days or three days in the week, [they’re] happy because they worked $30,000, they don’t want to work for the rest of the week. And that is a major, major problem…that we will have to address,” President Ali told the leaders of the unions on Monday.

‘The Holistic Worker’ plan

In this regard, President Ali noted that his government is making efforts to come up with a ‘holistic worker’ plan that will not only address salaries, but other aspects of making workers’ lives better.

“When I speak about the holistic worker, together, all of us now have to educate our workers on productivity, staying disciplined, staying in the labour force, the consistency of labour, it is going to be a major, major problem,” he emphasised.

The Head of State envisions that this plan will allow people to retire in “dignity” and he hopes to get the discussions started soon.

President Dr Irfaan Ali (centre), other government officials and Heads of various unions (Photo: Office of the President/May 1, 2023)

“That would allow us to be in a position, I would say by the end of this year, where we can have a broad discussion…on what constitutes the holistic upliftment of workers, not just salary…and what are the key attributes of a worker’s holistic upliftment.

“It has to do, of course, with things beyond salary, beyond fixed variable things that would allow a worker to enjoy the best possible working life but more importantly a life that allows them to retire in dignity,” President Ali explained.

He urged for patience so that this plan can be developed and executed by the end of the years.

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