My fellow Jamaicans:
Once again the nation’s attention is directed toward the celebration of the workers’ movement as we mark Workers’ Week 2012. This year, Workers’ Week takes on added significance as Jamaica celebrates its 50th anniversary as an Independent nation.
The theme chosen: “Step Forward…Make Jamaica Beautiful” is a call to action for all citizens and, indeed, all who inhabit our island space to unite and step forward boldly to create a beautiful Jamaica in this our golden jubilee year.
Creating a beautiful Jamaica is not only about attention to the physical landscape such as improving the appearance of the parks, streets and other public spaces that we share. It is also about encouraging our people to cultivate that beauty of mind and spirit that will promote tolerance for difference and improve our relationships with each other and with those who so love to visit our island.
Workers Week is a time for us to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of Jamaican workers, especially those active in the 1930s labour protests that resulted in the legalization of trade unions, the right to collective bargaining and other economic and social rights enjoyed by our workers today.
We salute the Jamaican worker in all areas of endeavour — in agriculture, hospitality and tourism, sports, the arts, mining and minerals, the health sector, commerce, industry, manufacturing, the creative and cultural industries, for their outstanding performance and accomplishments in the development of the nation.
Yet, even as we salute the workers and their contributions, the current era of global economic transformation is proving to be a most challenging one for today’s workers, who are called upon to adapt, to tighten their belts, and generally not to become disheartened by the impact of change and new challenges.
My administration will continue to advance the cause of the Jamaican worker through implementation of relevant programmes and support legislation that will enable them to excel in their chosen field of endeavour in conditions of freedom, equity, human security and dignity.
To all the workers I say, our beloved Jamaica will only increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity when we all play our part to advance this beautiful island of ours. Such advance and progress are not outside of our ability.
Our first national hero the Rt Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey long reminded of us of this when he said: “There is no force like success, and that is why the individual makes all effort to surround himself (and I am sure he also meant herself) throughout life with the evidence of it; as of the individual, so should it be of the nation. Let us combine our efforts this Workers Week 2012 and step forward to make Jamaica and its people beautiful, inside and out.
Contact: Communications Unit-OPM