BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 29TH 2013 (CUOPM) – One of the pieces of good news shared at Sunday night’s Labour Party rally at St. Johnson Avenue in West Basseterre was the decision by the St. Kitts branch of the US-owned manufacturing firm JARO Electronics to increase its employee numbers to more than 450 workers over the next two years.
Newly-appointed Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce & Consumer Affairs, Sen. the Hon. Ricky Skerritt told the large crowd attending the political rally, that the company’s decision came just weeks after he had first actively engaged the management of JARO on its needs for the future, something that his predecessor had either never done or had not followed up on.
Minister Skerritt said he was surprised to discover that JARO had been trying to get Government’s support for its expansion plans for some time, and that the dismissed predecessor Minister, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, could have known about the company’s needs and did nothing about it.
Minister Skerritt told the cheering crowd that he had reason to believe that Dr. Harris and his colleague Hon. Sam Condor, were so busy politically undermining Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and his Cabinet, that Dr. Harris had done nothing to help JARO Electronics who had been seeking his Ministry’s help to address a variety of concerns for the past two years.
“JARO’s intention to expand, especially at a time of recession and job loss elsewhere, was never brought to the attention of Cabinet by Dr. Harris,” said Skerritt.
According to Minister Skerritt, in the new agreement, Government will be leasing a piece of land to the company on which a building will be constructed as well as leasing the former Supply building nearby, to be renovated by the electronics manufacturer.
He said that, in exchange, JARO has promised to grow both the level of their exports and the payroll size in St. Kitts, including increasing the take home pay of the average employee.
The company has also promised to take some additional steps to improve workers’ benefits and physical facilities as part of an overall EC$3Million investment.
The Minister said at least fifty workers will be employed immediately, some twenty of whom had already started training last week.
He said the next major step is the formal documentation and processing of the scope agreement he had arrived at with the Florida-based President Jim Mitchell, of the parent company Phasetronics, during his visit to St. Kitts last week.
JARO Electronics manufactures and exports transformers and related products of the highest quality made in St. Kitts, to customers In North America, Europe and Asia.