The Hon. Zavia Mayne (left), Minister of State, Ministry of Labour & Social Security makes a point to Jodi-Ann Bowen (right), project officer, at the JN Foundation at the studio recording of the panel discussion. Sharing in the moment are O’Neil Grant (second left) , President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association and veteran trade unionists Danny Roberts.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour market, the relevance of the labour laws in place today, and their historical origins are some of the issues to be raised at a Labour Day panel discussion entitled, “From Raising Cane to Remote Work: The evolution of work and labour laws in Jamaica.”

The virtual discussion will be aired on Monday, May 24 on Labour Day, via the JN Foundation’s YouTube Page, at 4:00 p.m.

Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, said the event is being organised by the JN Foundation to raise awareness about the genesis of Labour Day in Jamaica; and to highlight the sacrifices of our fore parents made, so that Jamaicans can benefit from the labour laws being enforced today.

“While there is still work to be done, we cannot disagree that the strong advocacy of trade unionists, community leaders, and political representatives has redound to our collective benefit,” Ms. Allen said.

“With the development of labour laws, which nurture productivity and protect the interests of workers, and employers, we are at a point, where that evolution must continue, if we are to make Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business,” she related.

Jodi-Ann Bowen, project officer, at the JN Foundation, said that the event is being organised by the JN Foundation, through the Parish Histories of Jamaica Project, an initiative of the JN Foundation.

She pointed out that one of the stalwarts of the labour movement in Jamaica, The Hon. Pearnel Charles, Sr. will take viewers on a trip down memory lane; and share some of the historical events, which shaped the Labour Movement in Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah, director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies at The UWI, Mona, will moderate the event. The panellists will include the first female Political Ombudsman, the Hon.  Donna Parchment Brown; O’Neil Grant, President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association; and veteran trade unionists: Danny Roberts and Ruddy Thomas. Minister of State, Ministry of Labour & Social Security, The Hon. Zavia Mayne, will also be featured in the programme. 

The Parish Histories of Jamaica is a project being implemented by the JN Foundation. The project is charged to unveil and illustrate the history of the Jamaican people.

Through a collaborative effort with the History and Archaeology Department at The University of the West Indies, Mona, the histories of the parishes are researched and documented. The histories are written for an easy read; and are accompanied by captivating photographs of historical sites. Completed parish histories are housed on the project’s website, www.parishhistoriesofjamaica.org.

To date, the JN Foundation has published the Parish History of seven parishes on the project’s website. These histories include that of Portland, Trelawny, St Mary, St Thomas, St Catherine, St Elizabeth, and St James. The project is now writing the parish history of Kingston and will soon start the history of Hanover.