Photo: Some of the members of the new executive committee- President Joseph O'Flaherty Jr. (seated center), First Vice President Sydney Bridgewater (left seated); Treasurer Frank Farrell (seated right end). Standing (L to R) - General Secretary Batumba Tak, Rural Area (Western Side) - George Dixon, Basseterre Clerical Workers- Georgina Henderson and Basseterre East Agriculture Sector- Charlotte Salters (Spokesman Snap)

By: Spokesman Newsroom

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Tuesday 30th October 2018)-Under the theme, ‘Strength Of The Past-Empowerment For The Future’, the St.Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union held its 79th annual conference on Sunday 28th October which saw the election of the body’s new executive committee.

The session, held at Masses House on Church Street in Basseterre, saw workers and Union members from all walks of life in attendance.

Joseph O’Flaherty Jr. has been returned as President along with other fellow colleagues including First Vice President Sydney Bridgewater, Second Vice President James Pemberton, Treasurer Frank Farrell and General Secretary Batumba L. O. Tak.

Acting Editor of the Union’s media entity-The Labour Spokesman- Precious Mills was voted Assistant Secretary having previously held the position of Staff Representative; a position now held by immediate past Assistant General Secretary Mitchel Slader.

Others representative of the executive committee also include: Basseterre Clerical Workers- Georgina Henderson, Basseterre East Agriculture Sector- Charlotte Salters, Rural Area (Western Side) – George Dixon, Industrial Sector- Stanley Franks, Agriculture-Ernest Wigley and Food and Beverage- Lorinston Jenkins

O’Flaherty, during his presentation, highlighted that over the past twelve (12) months, the Trade Union has been vigorously representing the causes of workers of St. Kitts-Nevis on the local, regional and international arenas.

“The Union has positioned itself firmly in a posture of strong leadership where it has proven itself a relevant institution which continually serves the contemporary challenges of the world of work in our federation,” he remarked.

He added: “The Union represents workers and protects the rights of all workers of our beloved federation regardless of national origin, gender or age.”
O’Flaherty stated that the Union will continue its course forward into the future to empower our workers for the future of work.

He informed that strategies for implementing training in industrial relations in such areas as Occupational Safety & Health, Gender and poverty assessment and mitigation strategies are currently being developed.

Additionally, he said that the Trade Union sectors are being reviewed and will be made relevant for current and future workforce.

According to the Union President: “The management of the Trade Union and the Labour Spokesman operations shall be reviewed shortly into the new term of the next executive. This process shall seek to optimise business operations in an effort to serve our members more effectively.”

Guest Speaker Dr. Terrance Drew, Chairperson of the St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), in saluting the founders and contributors of the Union of the past, described them to have been of were men and women of impeccable integrity, dedicated, hardworking and selfless among other qualities.

He has applauded such individuals for having been able to make achievements in areas such as comprehensive secondary education, universal health care, housing, the right to vote, the establishment of the foundation of our democracy and the improvement of our people.

He outlined: “What lessons can be learnt from such a strong past to empower us for the future. What is empowerment? It is power given to someone to do something. The movement has to be empowered in order to empower people. The empowerment does not have to be in the future; it has to start now. You have had a good start…”

“Is the Union relevant? Yes, it is! If not then who would fight on the behalf of the people,” Dr. Drew pointed out.

SKNLP Opposition Leader and Immediate former Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas, in giving fraternal greetings, commented that this year’s conference theme is “very relevant and timely.”

“In these challenging times, trade union leaders must play the role of change agent as exemplified by our forebears. The goals that were set for the organisation and its members were always forward-looking in orientation and always sought to empower the people beyond the limits of traditional norms and practices. It is because of their vision that our Federation moved to another level of development which is better than many countries around the world and why the generations which followed them were able to live in a society that is more advanced on every level than anything our forerunners could have ever imagined,” he said.