One Chinese national has accused a locally registered Chinese construction entity of myriad human rights and labour law violations. This as he says at least a dozen Chinese nationals at the Kingston 5 construction site have contracted COVID-19 causing major construction delays.
Meantime, the accused manager says the claims are unfounded, adding the company is the victim in the situation.
The Chinese worker alleges that since his start of duties on the construction site nearly six months ago it has been a series of inhumane conditions and treatment from his employer also Chinese, operating a construction company in Jamaica.
The worker says the residential apartment being constructed in the Kingston 5 area features many a sad story from other Chinese nationals, some of whose work permits are said to have expired but continue to function on the site.
The worker also told CVM Live that a recent COVID-19 outbreak at the site left many of the foreign nationals anxious, seeking to return to China or find work elsewhere.
It is understood some 60 Chinese nationals are on the site. The worker alleges that COVID-19 infected workers remained on the site working alongside their colleagues some of whom are Jamaicans.
It is alleged their main problem is that their travel documents have been taken by the company to include visas, passports, and work permits. It is further understood many of the Chinese workers are barely literate and speak little English limiting their prospects of seeking help or work elsewhere.
He claims that many of the foreigners though scared are not being allowed to leave the country as the project is behind schedule by several months. It is alleged the workers share bathroom facilities and are housed in garbage-filled basements on the compound, with one toilet facility open to nearby traffic.
The worker says despite a visit by representatives from the Labour Ministry between July and September 2021, nothing has changed. The worker says the company has placed money over human lives.
Meanwhile, when CVM Live contacted the company’s manager, he insists the claims made by the whistleblower are untrue. He also says the workers have not complained about their condition until now, adding they have been treated well and their documents are not being held by the entity. The manager says the company remains a good corporate citizen, and the national in question was fired for failure to perform.
More in this CVM Live story from Neika Lewis: