JIS News

KINGSTON — The focus for this year's National Labour Day will be the children, with the theme: 'It takes a village to raise a child'.

Labour Day 2011, which will be observed on Monday, May 23, will have 14 national projects – 12 parishes and two municipalities (KSAC and Portmore).

Principal Director, Entertainment and Culture at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Sydney Bartley, told JIS News that the National Labour Day Planning Committee decided to focus on children again, due to the civil unrest experienced around the period of Labour Day 2010. The theme for Labour Day 2010 was: ‘Our Children…Show them we Care’.

“Some of what should have been done we were not able to do in some of the parishes, especially in the Corporate Area, and so we thought that we needed to keep that focus,” he said.

Mr. Bartley said that it was important to keep the focus on children, since they are “a source of concern”. He mentioned several issues that have affected the children in recent times, such as violence and children who are perpetrators of violence.

Additionally, he said the theme, a Yoruba proverb,  is appropriate to be used this year, which is being observed as the International Year for People of African Descent, designated by the United Nations General Assembly.

“That encapsulates the real idea of our responsibility for our children, where all of us as a community take on the responsibility for the care and development of our children, whether we are parents of those children or just members of the community,” he added.

The Director called on Jamaicans to come together and demonstrate their love and support for children by finding a project in their communities. He suggested a number of activities that could be undertaken, such as the painting of Basic schools, renovation of derelict school buildings, setting up libraries or  establishing recreational basic school grounds.

He also urged Jamaicans to provide support for vulnerable children as well as those who are doing well.

Apart from the physical activities, Mr. Bartley said that persons could also participate in social intervention projects. “People could offer service as volunteers on Labour Day. It may mean mentoring a child or spending the day with some young men on the street corner, teaching them some mathematics or just reasoning with them, or trying to get them to look at life differently,” he said.

Over the past six weeks, the  National Labour Day Committee has been engaged in preliminary work for  Labour Day and Workers’ Week.

 

By E. HARTMAN RECKORD, JIS Information Officer