Fri | Apr 10, 2020

Terrelonge lauds outsourcing sector, blasts critics

Published:Saturday | February 1, 2020 | 12:07 AMMark Titus/Gleaner Writer
Terrelonge
Terrelonge

WESTERN BUREAU:

Alando Terrelonge, minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, issued a scathing rebuke on Thursday to critics of the outsourcing sector and lauded the almost 70 outsourcing firms operating locally for changing the lives of young Jamaicans.

“While there are some people who seek to chastise the growing global services sector, for my part, I want to say a big thank you for investing hundreds of millions of dollars into Jamaica’s economy to sustain our growth and ensure that our youths are employed,” said Minister Terrelonge, while giving the keynote address at the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Global Services Association of Jamaica (GSAJ) first quarterly breakfast, in Montego Bay.

“I recall reading one article where the author cheekily referred to the global services sector as a dead-end job, and I remarked that this author is absolutely clueless … this author has no idea what it means to have young men and women of Jamaica get up every single day and night and go to work,” added Terrelonge.

He further said that while students with Caribbean Examinations Council passes find it difficult to gain employment in other areas of the private sector, outsourcers offer remuneration of $60,000 to $120,000 monthly in basic pay.

“Now I tell you this, there are many people in corporate Jamaica that does not even earn $70,000 per month, so why on earth would you want to classify young Jamaicans going to work in the global services sector as some form of dead-end job or criticise or chastise the sector,” said Terrelonge.

The Gloria Henry-led GSAJ has been kept busy defending the impact of a sector that currently employs over 40,000 workers in about 70 operating firms, and is projecting annual revenue earning of US$1 billion from its membership by 2024.

“Jamaicans, it is time we understand that we are a service industry nation,” continued Terrelonge. “The growth and development that we saw in the bauxite era no longer stand as the same strong player that it used to be.”

“We are moving in the realm of the service industry, so we have to take pride in how we treat, teach and train the next generation of workers because the services industry contributes more to our GDP … the services industry is earning billions of dollars and that is a valuable contribution to Jamaica,” added Terrelonge.

The city of Montego Bay is the fastest-growing economy and the hub of the services industry in the Caribbean, led by the lucrative outsourcing and tourism sectors. Tourism currently contributes US$3.8 billion to the GDP.

Terrelonge, an attorney-at-law by profession, also called for the end of stigmatisation of job applicants because of where they live.

“I am making a special appeal to the private sector, do not turn your doors because of the applicant’s address, do not determine that the person is not the right fit because of where they live or where they are from,” said Terrelonge. “Take it from the young man who was born in Grants Pen (St Andrew), if I had used that civic address or had persons stigmatise me because of my civic address I would not be standing in front of you … give them a chance to grow and realise their dreams.”