Speech

Good day my fellow Jamaicans. I greet you well.

Labour Day is normally a time when we come together in voluntary work for the betterment of our communities.

However, for the second year in a row, the global COVID-19 pandemic has touched almost all aspects our lives. So this Labour Day we are being asked to “Tan a Wi Yard” and do productive work at our homes – for example, cleaning up, planting trees or starting gardens.

Jamaicans are resourceful and resilient. Let’s make this an opportunity to bring positive change to our immediate environment, in celebration of Labour Day.

The ravages of this pandemic have taken a heavy toll on the workers of the nation. Our labour force, and in particular essential workers, have served on the frontlines in the pandemic.

We owe a debt of gratitude to these workers, including healthcare professionals, transport workers, supermarket and gas station attendants, police officers and firemen, and so many others.  You have continued to play their critical roles, without which the society cannot function.

In these most challenging times, we must recognize the immense contribution that our Labour Movement and the Working Class have made to Jamaica’s development, throughout our history.

We cannot forget that in 1972 it was Prime Minister Michael Manley, reflecting on the fact that Labour Day was once a holiday known as Empire Day that harked back to the days of colonial rule, decided that Jamaica must reclaim the day to celebrate the dignity of work.

Today, as we labour at home, I extend heartfelt gratitude to the Jamaican labour force.  Let us celebrate our workers, and recognize the essential dignity of all forms of honest labour.

Have a wonderful and productive Labour Day.

 

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