Labour Day Message 2010
by Hon. Edmund Estephane
Minister for Labour, Information and Broadcasting
Fellow workers, employers, trade unions and citizens of Saint Lucia:
Every year at this time, workers in many parts of the world traditionally recognise May 1st as “Labour Day” and look forward to celebrating among themselves, with peers and siblings, the results of their production.
Workers in Saint Lucia are not excluded from this equation. As we prepare for this special day, let me congratulate the St. Lucia Seamen Waterfront and General Workers Trade Union as they celebrate their 65th Anniversary under the theme, “Moving Forward with Renewed Vision”. This theme is most apt because we have come to recognise that the Trade Unions know and understand that the way to learn to do things is to do things. The way to learn a trade is to work at it. Success teaches how to succeed. An individual armed with the determination to succeed, is already half way through his task.
It is consensus among most global financial experts that greater efforts are needed, including better policy coordination and larger financial transfers to developing countries, in order to achieve a balanced process of global demand reflation. This allows developing countries to take adequate counter-cyclical action, protect their vulnerable populations and align the response with long-run sustainable development goals.
Developing countries are disproportionately hard hit by the global economic down turn, of which St. Lucia and the Caribbean are not immune. The dramatic impacts include:
· capital reversals,
· rising borrowing costs,
· collapsing world trade and commodity prices, and
· Subsiding remittance flows.
We are very aware that this crisis poses a significant threat, not only to economic activity but has the undercurrent to adversely erode and undermine social development.
Our government, conscious and proactive has moved speedily to introduce clear and sustainable economic responses, in order to mitigate the effects of the crisis, and to launch the platform for long-term sustainable rebalancing and growth of the St. Lucia economy.
We understand and appreciate that in order for us to weather this economic storm (which we will) a united tripartite approach must form the corner stone of our collective response. It has been admirable how employers and trade unions, along with government have worked tirelessly to manage this challenging and critical time in a manner that reflects unity, resilience, respect and steadfastness.
Our labour force forms the back bone of our nation and as we commemorate this special day set aside for workers, I urge you to keep your dreams alive. “Understand that to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”
I believe and I know that you are most certainly convinced that “true strength lies in submission which permits one to dedicate his or her life, through devotion, to something beyond himself or herself”. It is with that unending dedication and devotion that workers and their movement will be able to survive and strive.
So let us therefore work together towards the strengthening and deepening of social dialogue among all parties in the labour movement, while focusing on creating an environment that is safe, rewarding, sustainable, and which encompasses decent work for all!
Let the pursuit of excellence be foremost in all that you endeavour to undertake.
Once again, happy Labour Day, to all and may God bless you abundantly.
I thank you.
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