Tough luck for man with soft hands - Claims he was turned down for farm work because of ‘delicate’ palms
Nicholas Green thought he had received the opportunity of a lifetime when he applied for the Overseas Employment Programme offered through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Green, 28, told THE STAR that he was a farmer in his home parish of Trelawny for two years. But after migrating to Duhaney Park, St Andrew, with his mother and younger brother, he had to choose a different path.
“Mi build mi foot scrubs and sell downtown. Mi sell it to the Chinese dem. But mi walk and sell to,” he said.
However, Green said he always wanted to return to the farm. So, when he got the application form to be part of the farm work programme, he eagerly filled it out, and showed up at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for the interview last Wednesday.
But Green didn’t make it past the first interview.
“When mi go in deh, the man ask mi what kind of farming mi do. Mi tell him callaloo and tomato. Him ask mi which part mi farm, and mi tell him Falmouth, and that mi have a piece a land dung deh,” Green said.
“Him tek mi papers dem and look pon dem, and tell mi fi stretch out mi hand, and look pon mi hand and squeeze dem. Mi nuh know if a true mi hand dem did wet, because mi have sweaty hands. So him look pon mi hands dem, and him just seh step back. Him look pon mi from head to toe and seh mi nuh qualify fi di permit.”
Green insists that he didn’t get chosen because his hands were too soft.
“Mi see a next man seh the same man seh him must show him him hand and a whole heap a corn inna him hand and ting. Him nuh feel him hand or nothing. Him just give him the ting,” he said. “Yuh hand nah fi hard fi be a farmer, because mi use mi gloves dem sometimes.”
But a source at the Ministry of Labour told THE STAR that while being a farmer is a requirement to be chosen for the programme, the candidates’ hands do not need to be tough.
To be selected for the farm-work programme, candidates must: Be between 21 and 45 years old; possess a Tax Registration Number (TRN) and a National Insurance Scheme (NIS) number; possess a valid passport; be literate; have not been refused a visa in the last year by the Canadian or United States of America authorities; not have been previously deported from any country; and possess no criminal record.
The whole situation has left Green disappointed, and he is saddened that the financial relief that he was hoping to give his family has slipped right through his hands.
“Mi feel upset. Mi couldn’t even eat. Mi deh over deh di whole day, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mi go in bout 3 o’clock. Mi tell all mi brethren seh mi feel like mi woulda walk out inna a bus. It woulda mean a lot to me fi own a likkle house. When mi come back, if a even fi buy a piece a land or something like dat, and mek mi madda comfortable,” he said.