No carnival on Labor Day Minister De Weever says

POSTED: 05/9/12 2:00 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever has sent a letter to the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) asking to observe Labor Day next year by not organizing any activities during the daytime on May 1.

SCDF has already published their 2013 carnival dates, which are April 19 until May 3, 2013. This year the second day parade was held on Labor Day, May 1, along with planned Labor Day activities. Minister de Weever stated that we must give our labourers the respect they deserve and acknowledge Labor Day, next year and beyond.

SCDF public relations officer and Secretary Michael Granger said that the request is not a big issue. “We will work around it and honour it,” he said. A couple of years ago a similar request came from the unions, Granger said, and the foundation also honoured that one. “But then in the end the unions did not organize anything for Labor Day.”

The issue is not a new one for the foundation, Granger added. “We have dealt with the discussion regularly over the last 25 years. The SCDF has honored similar requests in the past only to see organized labor and/or government not do anything on May 1.

In fact, in the early nineties, the Commissioner at the time (Rene Richardson) said that labor and Carnival should jump together. The SCDF had also suggested that the Second Day Parade be called the Labor Day Parade of which organized labor could also form part or even lead. Laborers over the years have also come out against stopping any Carnival activities to take part in possible government or union events which could not involve a large segment of laborers like a second day Grand Parade could.

Granger said Labor Day is not a gloomy memorial, it’s a celebration of all laborers and Carnival provides the perfect avenue for celebration. “For us being creative with the Carnival schedule is not an issue, there are always ways for us to keep our people in high Carnival spirits,” he said.

“The SCDF is a foundation comprised of hard working volunteers who work year-round on Carnival and has obligations to our regular jobs, so we hold the utmost respect for our laborers. However, it would be encouraging to see the Minister and/or organized labor do something with May 1 in 2013 and beyond together with Carnival, instead of leaving it pass as a dead day as has been the case in the past when we honored requests to observe the day. If nothing is planned, then why not let laborers enjoy a nice day off with the family at a parade,” Granger said.


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