Statue To Be Commissioned For Workers Monument

Story Highlights

  • A statue is to be commissioned by next year to complete the Workers Monument located in the vicinity of the Kingston Craft Market on Ocean Boulevard, downtown Kingston.
  • The monument was dedicated to Jamaican workers who participated in the 1938 Labour Riots at the Kingston Wharves. Full restoration of the monument will coincide with the 80th anniversary of this event in May 2018.
  • Restoration work on the structure is in keeping with the focus on national monuments and memorials for Workers’ Week 2017, which culminates on Labour Day (May 23). The Week pays tribute to Jamaican workers and the important role they play in socio-economic development.

A statue is to be commissioned by next year to complete the Workers Monument located in the vicinity of the Kingston Craft Market on Ocean Boulevard, downtown Kingston.

This commitment was given by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, at a Rededication and Remembrance ceremony today (May 22), at the site of the monument.

The monument was dedicated to Jamaican workers who participated in the 1938 Labour Riots at the Kingston Wharves. Full restoration of the monument will coincide with the 80th anniversary of this event in May 2018.

Miss Grange said she has instructed the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) to commission an appropriate statue to complete the structure.

The Minister said she will be seeking the assistance of the Ministry’s usual partners, as well as the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), to fund the venture. The Jamaica 55 legacy project Secretariat will also have a role in its restoration.

In her remarks, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, highlighted the significance of the monument, noting that such structures “help us to understand and share the space and spirit of our forefathers; therefore they must be preserved”.

She informed that the ceremony also served to rededicate a replacement plaque, as the previous one was stolen by scrap-metal thieves.

The Minister noted that the new plaque is now cemented on the monument, with the inscription ‘To the workers of Jamaica who struggled in 1938, the nation salutes you’.

 

Mrs. Robinson said the monument was also significant, as it gave birth to political parties and trade unionism. It also paved the way for freedom from British Colonial rule and was a pre-cursor to constitutional reforms which today have redounded to the nation’s benefit.

“Arising from the 1938 conflicts, and through legislation, all categories of workers today have the right to union representation and can bargain and make reasonable demands for wages and improved working conditions,” she said.

The Labour Minister also commended the trade union movement, especially the JCTU and all other labour activists, for the work they are doing in promoting and protecting the rights of the workers.

Meanwhile, President of the JCTU, Helene Davis-Whyte, lamented that the significance of the monument is not recognised by many Jamaicans, noting that many of the things Jamaican workers now enjoy “come on the backs of the sacrifices of workers of that era, and many paid with their lives”.

Mrs. Davis-Whyte said she expects that work will be done to ensure that it becomes part of the heritage trail, “so that anybody who passes will know what it is about”.

Restoration work on the structure is in keeping with the focus on national monuments and memorials for Workers’ Week 2017, which culminates on Labour Day (May 23).  The Week pays tribute to Jamaican workers and the important role they play in socio-economic development.

Workers’ Week and Labour Day 2017 are being observed under the theme ‘Restore. Preserve. Beautify’.

JIS Social