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Jamaicans Urged To “Step Forward” On Labour Day

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Jamaicans are being encouraged to “step forward” on Labour Day and participate in the cleaning and beautification of their communities.

Labour Day and Workers’ Week 2012 will be observed on May 23 under the theme: ‘Step Forward…Make Jamaica Beautiful’.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank held on May 16 at the agency’s head office on Half-Way-Tree Road, Principal Director of Culture in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Sydney Bartley, said that Jamaicans have a duty to contribute to the cleaning and beautifying of the country.

“The beautification of Jamaica is about ourselves, how we ourselves operate toward each other, how we ourselves work together,” he said.

Mr. Bartley, who is overseeing the Labour Day and Workers’ Week activities, said the spirit of volunteerism is an important element of Labour Day, noting that it would be good to see Jamaicans working together, despite the many discussions in the country “about us fighting each other”.

“It is a beautiful thing to show our children, it is a beautiful thing to work as families, it is one day when all of us can come together and do something for the interest of all of us,” he stressed.

Mr. Bartley said that there are many activities in which Jamaicans can get involved, such as the cleaning of drains, gullies or living surroundings.

Additionally, he said that public spaces, including town squares could be given a facelift, as a number of these areas will be used for celebratory activities for Jamaica 50.

“We are saying to communities, identify these spaces and prepare them…whatever those spaces, whether it’s schools or halls or whatever, clean up those spaces,” he urged.

Meanwhile, Workers’ Week will be observed from May 20 to 26. Among the activities is a public forum at Emancipation Park, New Kingston on Monday (May 21) starting at 5:00 p.m., which will focus attention on the labour movement.

Chairman of the Workers’ Week Sub-Committee, Danny Roberts, who is also head of the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute, said the theme for the event: ‘50 Years of Trade Union Struggle…Retrospection, Introspection and Reflection’, reflects “a connection not only to our past, but also for Jamaicans to get a better understanding of our present and the future”.

“If we can, out of this forum, bring to the attention of our society, how significant a part organised labour played in developing our post- Independence period …then I think we would have been able to do one important thing at this forum,” he said.

The panel will include persons from the academia, the trade unions, and workers.

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