History

The ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean was established in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on 20 October 1969. Located at 19 Keate Street, Port of Spain, the office was officially known as the International Labour Office for the Caribbean Area and had a staff of six persons. The founding members of staff were:

Cedric Matthews, Director
Hans Langen, Deputy Director
Lucille Duprey - Senior Secretary to the Director
Valerie Guerra - Secretary to the Deputy Director
Grace Walker - Administrative Assistant
Ralph Roopchand - Driver/Messenger

 The Office was relocated to 11 St. Clair Avenue, Port of Spain on 1 October 1985. With the large-scale development of technical cooperation activities under ILO’s Director-General Francis Blanchard from 1974-89, the staff of the Office grew to include Regional Advisers, and Administrative/Finance, Programme and Information Units.

 


In 1993, under the ILO's Active Partnership Policy (APP), the Caribbean Multidisciplinary Advisory Team was established to bring technical expertise closer to the constituents. The functions of the advisory team were to provide technical support and policy advice to governments and employers' and workers' organizations, to conduct training, technical workshops and seminars, undertake research, provide information, support advocacy and develop and execute technical cooperation projects.

The first major technical cooperation project to be undertaken in the Caribbean region was the five-year Cooperatives project sponsored by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). Over the years, the region has benefited from several donor-funded projects, covering such areas as workers' education, occupational safety and health, labour-management relations, child labour and labour legislation.

In August 2004 the main building of the office suffered a fire causing extensive smoke and water damage. Staff housed in the main building had to be moved to two separate locations in Port of Spain. In August 2005, the office was relocated to 6 Stanmore Avenue, Port of Spain, where it is currently housed.

On 15 April 2010, the ILO introduced a new two-tier field structure to strengthen the ILO's capacity to service its members in line with the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization. The Declaration institutionalizes the Decent Work concept developed by the ILO since 1999, placing it at the core of the Organization's policies. The Office was designated the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean.

The ILO Office for the Caribbean reports directly to the ILO’s Regional Director of the ILO’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, which is located in Lima, Peru.

Former Directors of the ILO Office for the Caribbean:
      
Giovanni di Cola
2013-2015
 
Ana Teresa Romero
2005-2011
Grace Strachan
2003-2005
Luis Reguera
2002-2003
Willi Momm
1997-2002

Mr. James Williams
1996-1997 Director a.i.
Hong Trang
Perret-Nguyen
1993-1996
Mario Trajtenberg
1991-1993
Ian Chambers
1988-1991
Oliver Francis
1981-1988
Zin Henry
1973-1981
Interim
Cedric Matthews
1969-1972