Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says no National Labour Day project will be held this year.
She said that Jamaicans are being encouraged to labour at home, adding that the theme for Workers Week and National Labour Day is promoting a clean and healthy environment.
Delivering a statement in the House of Representatives on May 5, she said the theme for National Labour Day 2021 is ‘Stay home, stay safe this Labour Day, clean up your space’.
She said the theme and activities have been developed in keeping with COVID-19 restrictions under the Disaster Risk Management Act.
“As a Government that sets the example for our citizens by practising what we preach, the Cabinet has decided that in keeping with the restrictions, there will be no National Labour Day project this year. The National Labour Day project is normally led by the Prime Minister and includes the participation of the Leader of the Opposition,” she noted.
She said the Prime Minister has already announced that the curfew, which commences at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 23, will continue until Tuesday, May 25, as there will be an all-day lockdown on Labour Day, Monday, May 24.
“This means that in keeping with the theme, the public will be asked to stay home and clean up your space,” Ms. Grange noted.
She said Jamaicans should use the day to rid their homes of mosquito breeding sites, commence or restart their backyard gardens and plant trees.
“This Labour Day, particular emphasis will be placed on ridding homes and their surroundings of conditions or elements which will encourage the breeding of mosquitoes. This is guided by the recent announcements that the Ministry of Health and Wellness is on high alert for a possible increase in cases of dengue fever, especially with the forecast of rainfall in the ensuing months,” she said
Ms. Grange appealed to Members of Parliaments to encourage their constituents to start a backyard garden at home, “if they do not have one”.
She said she has reached out to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change to provide support for citizens for their Labour Day projects and to raise public awareness about their initiatives.
“The National Labour Day Secretariat will be collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to see how interested householders can be assisted with seedlings to establish their backyard gardens,” she said.
She noted, too, that the Labour Day Secretariat will also seek to intensify the efforts of reforestation and tree-planting by encouraging interested members of the public to collect ornamental and timber seedlings at the Forestry Department Nursery and to plant the trees in their yards on Labour Day.
The Secretariat will also be encouraging members of the public to participate in the two programmes and to work on their backyard gardens and plant trees.
Providing the proposed list of activities for Workers Week and National Labour Day 2021, Ms. Grange said on Sunday, May 16, there will be a supplement in the print media with messages related to workers week, while on May 18, there will be a ceremonial wreath-laying at the Aggie Bernard monument in downtown Kingston, led by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
On Wednesday, May 19, there will be an industrial relations webinar hosted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
For Sunday, May 23, there will be a virtual Labour Day/Workers Week Church Service hosted by the Mandeville Church of God. There will also be national observances in churches virtually islandwide.
On Monday, May 24, there will be a floral tribute where, symbolically, two wreaths will be laid at the monument of the Right Excellent Sam Sharpe at National Heroes Park and Sam Sharpe Square.