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Low pay not driving growth, says Byles

Chairman of Sagicor Group Jamaica, Richard Byles says remuneration provided to hotel workers is insufficient to drive economic growth and transformation.

However, he was quick to point out that even though their wages are unsubstantial, it is much better than to be unemployed.

“Most of the people who work in this hotel are people who take home maybe $4,000 a day. But that is better than no employment. But that is not what our tourism product is built on. It is built on one and half Jamaicans being employed per room, most of them are earning this wage,” Byles argued.

“This is not a foundation that can provide and drive economic transformation and growth and wealth for Jamaicans as a whole. It helps. It is better than having no jobs, but it is not good enough. In business we know how to make that distinction; in politics and economics, sometimes we lose. We are so anxious to get something done even if it is not adequate, appropriate — it is something because the alternative is nothing. But we need to remind ourselves it is not good enough,” Byles said.

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