Politicians from all three parties praised the accomplishments of the Labour Movement in Bermuda yesterday [Sept 3], with various speeches being made as part of the Labour Day celebration.
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Patrice Minors said: “I must first say thank you to the Bermuda Industrial Union, the Executive and all its members who work tirelessly on behalf of our unsung heroes – you, the hard working men and women who keep Bermuda moving forward each and every day;who on this day of rest have chosen to come out and stand shoulder to shoulder as we honour each and every one of you.
“This is a good day where we salute you Bermuda, our Labour Force and the sacrifices that you have made to make this island one of the ‘Wonders of the World,” said Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier.
UBP Leader Kim Swan said: “In our beloved Bermuda, we are indebted to Organised Labour. We must educate our young people of the significance of the labour movement in Bermuda and around the world.”
Minister Patrice Minors full statement follows below:
Good Morning To All of You On This Labour Day,
Thank you for coming out to celebrate our accomplishments and to show your support for our shared struggles. I must first say thank you to the Bermuda Industrial Union, the Executive and all its members who work tirelessly on behalf of our unsung heroes – you, the hard working men and women who keep Bermuda moving forward each and every day; who on this day of rest have chosen to come out and stand shoulder to shoulder as we honour each and every one of you.
You are the hard working Bermudians that drive our children to school and educate them when they get there.
You are the hard working Bermudians that pour the cement, put up the wiring and install the pipes in our offices, hotels and homes.
You are the hard working Bermudians who keep our roads safe, our streets clean and our trash removed.
You are the hard working Bermudians that take the cargo off the ships, move it into trucks and then transport that cargo to our stores.
For many, your commitment, your dedication and your work ethic are either not seen, not understood or not appreciated. Sadly, some in our society will look at you and wonder “Why don’t they get better jobs” yet in the next breath they say “you can’t do the jobs they have available!”
This type of speak is wrong and I am here today to place each of you in the limelight – to celebrate your roles in our society, to thank you for your commitment and to show my respect for the long, sometimes back breaking hours you put in everyday – working hard not just to put food on your childrens’ table, not just to keep a roof over your head but to also keep this island moving forward.
Today is your day. Today, we thank you for everything you do.
This year has been an interesting one, full of challenges, controversy and struggle. We have seen many of our brothers and sisters struggle to stay employed, struggle to get employed, struggle to keep their children safe and away from the gang element all the while struggling to make ends meet.
Some of you have lost homes, some have heartbreakingly lost their sons, the list goes on and on. Yet I am not standing here today to talk of dark times but to talk to you about the progress that is being made and the things that continue to fuel not just my faith in all of us, but in God because I believe that this too shall pass. As was spoken yesterday by Rev. Gardner at your Labour Day service at St. Paul A.M.E., we shall move on. We shall move on through this Red Sea experience.
As I travel from home to home canvassing, I am humbled by what I see.
Despite the struggles many of you are facing, I am welcomed graciously into your homes and hearts. I hear the stories of what you are doing to get by; the neighbours you are helping; the family members you have taken in and the second and third jobs you are working. You also tell me how well your son or daughter are doing in school, the scholarships and awards they have won, the schools they are attending and I see your commitment to their future which in turn is our future.
I am humbled by your resilience and your determination to succeed despite the challenges you face.
It is our understanding of your struggles and respect for your determination that drives us to work hard despite the criticism that is often heaped upon us.
I know that the last few years haven’t been easy. As Prime Minister Spencer noted at your banquet Friday night, it’s not just Bermuda and Bermudians who are suffering – people all over the world are hurting during these tough times…during this global economic recession.
I know that things haven’t been perfect in Bermuda. There’s more work that needs to be done. But, I can tell you now as always, you can count on us, this Progressive Labour Party government to stand strong for Bermuda and Bermudians.
We’ve stood strong for Bermudians by passing the landmark FutureCare legislation that ensures that after a lifetime of hard work, all Bermudians can have access to high quality health care and affordable prescription drugs.
We’ve stood strong for Bermudians by introducing the EEZ, tax incentives and grants for Bermudian owned small businesses that hire Bermudians.
We’ve stood strong for Bermudians by keeping Bermudians working through investments in infrastructure like the Lamb Foggo clinic, the Dame Lois Browne Evans building, the developments at Southside and much more.
We’ve stood strong for Bermudians by introducing the landmark DayCare programme which is helping working Bermudian families take advantage of opportunities.
We’ve stood strong for Bermudians by initiating the drywall and nail technician programs for those seeking to enhance their careers.
And, we’ve stood strong for Bermudians by protecting civil service jobs during this economic downturn!
My brothers and my sisters, I know that things aren’t perfect and that there’s more work to do and I promise you, our work never stops. Keep the faith. Keep it real. Hold your heads high and remember we are standing strong for you and we are standing shoulder to shoulder with you.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you and may you have a very Blessed Labour Day!”
Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier’s full statement follows below:
Good Morning Bermuda and Happy Labour Day!
This is a good day where we salute you Bermuda, our Labour Force and the sacrifices that you have made to make this island one of the ‘Wonders of the World’.
We celebrate this day to show support for those who are not working but want to work.
We celebrate this day to remember as did our grandparents that the only way forward during challenging times is to remember that ‘I am my brother’s keeper’. Caring for your neighbor will indeed preserve self.
Our future depends on how well we look out for each other. Let us not forget that the best social and economic program is a job. The preservation and the creation of jobs is all packaged in remembering that ‘I am my brother’s keeper’!
UBP Leader Kim Swan’s full statement follows below:
I am proud to bring greetings from the United Bermuda Party and acknowledge the work of our former United Bermuda Party Labour Ministers Hon. Quinton Edness, Hon. Maxwell Burgess and the late John I. Pearman who were UBP Labour Ministers in particular, who as MPs truly cared about improving the plight of workers in Bermuda.
Today on Labour Day 2012 we say thank you to the forefathers of the Labour Movement in Bermuda.
Where would we be in Bermuda without the Labour Movement?
In these current times the recession has made living more difficult in Bermuda. In that regard we ask:
What impact did the sub prime mortgage collapse have on the recession?
Who made the decisions that led to the sub prime mortgage collapse ?
Who made the decisions which led to the Banks and financial institutions around the world, including the crippling of Butterfield Bank in Bermuda?
What has the impact been on the entire community – especially the workers – caused by bad decisions in the Board Room ?
Are these misdeeds held to the highest scrutiny in our country by those who know the real deal?
Today I give thanks for Labour Movement in Bermuda and in particular the efforts of:
Mr. Ottiwell Simmons
Ms. Molly Burgess
Mr. Calvin Smith
The late Alfred Bean
The late Lionel Pearman
The late Dr. Barbara Ball
The late Dr. EF Gordon and many others.
In answer to my own question “where would we be in Bermuda without the Labour Movement?” we state:
In our beloved Bermuda, we are indebted to Organised Labour. We must educate our young people of the significance of the labour movement in Bermuda and around the world.
Lest We Forget that Four Years Ago it was the BIU that were among the first to lead by example in Bermuda by accepting a wage freeze, an agreement between the Bermuda Hotel Association and the workers of represented by the BIU.
While we salute the efforts of our labour forefathers we recognise that ‘Labour’ continues to remain necessary in 2012.
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