Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labor
Press Release
May 1, 2022
Labour Day Message 2022 from Hon Saboto Caesar
The world of work has been impacted significantly since December 31st 2019, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines has not been exempted. The COVID 19 Pandemic, the 32 explosive volcanic eruptions of 2021, intense climate change and the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine all combined to press Vincentians to become a truly resilient work force. Lives and livelihoods evolved rapidly on account of these disruptions of immense proportions.
 The cost to provide goods and services has increased exponentially in recent times. Naturally, this has implications for productivity and competitiveness with wider developmental consequences.
For the past two years the government has spent and continues to commit millions of dollars to assist those adjusting to the changed labour market and to ease the financial strain brought on by these unforeseen events. As a nation we are leading a people – centred recovery plan – which will always be inclusive, sustainable and responsive.
Today, we come together to reflect on our journey as nation builders; to celebrate our workers as creators of a better world; and to recognize the best efforts needed to prepare all Vincentians to unlock the true strength and potential of our labour force.
From fisheries centre to fisheries centre; factory to factory; field to field; from office to office, house to house and from street to street, the labour of our hands has transformed this country for generations. It is a fact, without labour, there is no prosperity. Without a doubt, labour is the game changer of all progress.
This is why today,  with thanksgiving in our hearts, we show love to all workers for the fruits of our labour .
Labour Day commemorates past labour struggles against workers’ rights violations, including lengthy workdays and weeks, poor conditions and child labour.
The first day of May is an official holiday in many countries. May 1st  became associated with the labour movement in the late 19th century after trade unions and socialist groups designated it as a day specifically to recognise workers and the role played by workers in contributing to development. Our Government has ensured that today is specially recognised on our calendar.
The International Labour Organisation has stated that work has changed profoundly and would not return to a state of normalcy (pre-2020).
It noted that:
(1) Virtual work has become a reality, hence some jobs would be lost forever.
(2) Technology demands that there are new skill requirements for a number of individuals in the workforce. Hence, there is a dire need for retraining in most fields to adapt to the technology for basic communication in the workplace.
 Now more than ever before, we need a collective effort from all sectors of the society to continue to build a responsive economic platform for our nation, centred around hard and smart work. All workers must see this as a noble ambition since an excellent work ethic is the hallmark of any thriving society.
So, today as we celebrate another Labour Day let us never forget the atrocities against our indigenous people which continued during slavery. Today,  all workers are invited to join in solidarity with freedom fighters who battled for the continued advancement of the cause for both improved labour relations and reparatory justice for both slavery and genocide.
The Labour Department will continue to work with stakeholders to improve working conditions for all. We have recently conducted both a Labour Market Analysis (what employers are looking for in workers) and a Labour Demand survey (Skills and competencies that currently exist, including those necessary for the future).
Let us celebrate the rights of our workers and continue to defend against encroachments. I wish all a Happy Labour Day!
Hon. Saboto Caesar
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour
St. Vincent and the Grenadines