Apr 02, 2021 News
– as companies urged to familiarise themselves with the laws
Kaieteur News – Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, has affirmed that companies using ignorance of Guyana’s labour legislation as an excuse when found non-compliant will be unacceptable after September, as he urged them to familiarise themselves with the legislation by then.
Hamilton made this pronouncement during the launch of Occupational Safety and Health Month (OSH), which was held at the Ministry of Labour yesterday. Hamilton noted that the Ministry of Labour was removed under the previous administration and in order to re-establish the Ministry, three pillars have been created: capacity building, human development, and the protection of the rights of workers.
As he expounded on the protection of workers’ rights, he stated that at the end of the third quarter, September, “carrots are over” and “stick time starts in October,” to deal with OSH and labour regulations. After that time has passed, “ignorance is not bliss anymore,” according to the Minister.
As he spoke about the human development aspect, Hamilton highlighted the importance of the welfare of workers, stressing that it is not just protection at the worksite, but also the issue of adequate housing, proper health care facilities for the workers and educational development for themselves and their children. Minister Hamilton also revealed that he is pushing to have draft legislation established by the second quarter of this year, which will see new and amended OSH and labour laws included.
During an interview with Kaieteur News last week, Hamilton had disclosed that all laws within every department of the Labour Ministry have been reviewed and in the process of creating the draft, the Ministry will be advised by the Attorney General’s Chambers. “Then we will have the draft that we will discuss with stakeholders. That is it, that is the plan,” Hamilton had said.
During his speech yesterday, Hamilton noted that the current fines for breaching labour legislation are “useless.” Moreover, this publication recently reported that the fines are not costly enough to deter companies from further breaches, as they do not surpass $46,875, however; this is something that Hamilton is adamant to remedy. Yesterday, he reiterated that the fines for the breaches of the laws will be substantial and he had told Kaieteur News that he has decided to have the advice of lawyers, as to how feasible the fines will be in a “legal sense.”
He also highlighted that in the case of persons being taken to court for a breach and who are given an order by a judge, which they fail to adhere to, he is currently seeking guidance on whether they can be returned to the court and have an order of contempt filed against them. That will be custodial sentencing for flouting the court order, Hamilton had said.
“I am exploring and I have to be guided whether the labour officers, or the chief labour officer here or the council I have here, the legal counsel….the law can allow for them to do that,” the Minister had also added.
This publication understands that custodial sentencing is a judicial sentence that imposes punishments, including mandatory custody of the convicted person; meanwhile, non-custodial sentencing sees discharges, fines and community orders.
Furthermore, Hamilton lamented that he has said on multiple occasions, “If I have to make some popular people wards of the state, I have no qualms in doing it; I have no apologies to make, because people who have a lot of money sometimes, the fine means nothing to them.” He added that custodial sentences send the message to those who are non-compliant, and lets them know that “times are changing” and they have to change.
Apr 20, 2021Kaieteur News – Kendall’s Union Sports Club of #19 Village, Corentyne, Berbice on Sunday 11th April 2021 officially secured a sponsor for the club. Mr. Shudeo Bachan (Amar) and his family...
Apr 20, 2021
Apr 20, 2021
Apr 19, 2021
Apr 19, 2021
Apr 19, 2021
Kaieteur News – The AFC had been in power five years during which I must have produced about 2,000 columns of which... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – As undesirable as it may be, governments of Caribbean countries that are not... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]