My Fellow Jamaicans:
The theme for this year's Labour Day is the well-known African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." It challenges us to be each other's keepers.
As members of one community we have to take responsibility for each other.
This year the emphasis is on our children. Much of what we do as parents and adults should ensure that we nurture our children.
This theme invites us to come together within our communities, as one family, to build with love the social and infrastructural foundations which will form the basis for a brighter future for all our children.
There are many adults in our Jamaican Family who were raised, supported and educated by neighbours, aunts, uncles, other relatives, and members of the wider community.
Many were partially or fully adopted into other families which shared their love, their time, and often limited resources, to help make a better life for another Jamaican child.
This Jamaican spirit is captured in this year's theme.
This is in fact the spirit in which Labour Day was launched in 1972 by the late Prime Minister, Michael Manley. He believed then, as I do today, that when we come together to care for each other as one community, as one Jamaican family, we can build a better community, a better Jamaica for all.
For thirty-nine years, successive governments have continued to recognize Labour Day as it embodies and gives expression to the indigenous Jamaican community spirit. We are after all, 'Out of many; One People.'
That is why I have always maintained that as Jamaicans, we are one family.
Or, as the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey said triumphantly in the well known Garvey's UNIA Motto, "One God, One Aim, One Destiny!"
Therefore, as we work together, side-by-side, whether as students and teachers; as firemen, policemen and women; as managers and administrators; as parents and guardians; as preachers and mentors; as farmers, builders, taxi drivers, helpers, gardeners, vendors, merchants, truckers; or as politicians and public sector workers, we must each strive:
– To make our livelihood rich and rewarding;
– To make our homes loving and caring;
– To make our schools safe and successful;
– To make our businesses vibrant and profitable;
– To make our communities safe, friendly and nurturing;
– To make our society honest and fair;
– To make our nation proud and blessed; and
– To make our country beautiful, productive and prosperous.
If we do all these things and do them well, we would not have toiled in vain. We would have worked in love and in unity and will reap a great reward for the Jamaican Family.
This is the spirit of Labour Day.
This is the spirit of collective nation-building that was started those many years ago. It is a long journey and we have a long way to go.
But as we come to an important crossroad, on the eve of our 50th Anniversary of Independence, let us make this Labour Day special.
Let us come together and work together on the projects that have been identified and let us show our children a better way of unity and cooperation.
Let us show our children that we can work together and that we care.
As Una Marston said, "what we have sown in tears, our children will reap in joy."
The children of Jamaica are ALL our children. Jamaica is our home. We are indeed One Jamaican Family.
Let us all participate and make this Labour Day great.