06 May 2011

Sint Maarten Unions call for Emancipation Day holiday


~ To send letter to Govt ~

PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten Chamber of Labour Unions WICLU has re-iterated its call for Emancipation Day, observed each year on July 1, to become a public holiday in St. Maarten.

WICLU President Theophilus Thompson said the Chamber would be sending a letter to government re-iterating its call this week.

Culture Minister Rhoda Arrindell as well as government officials in previous Executive Councils of the former Island Territory of St. Maarten had backed the idea of Emancipation Day becoming a public holiday.

Thompson: "We know already that the minister of culture and education earlier this year had said she supports Emancipation Day becoming a public holiday. It's nothing new coming from government, because before St. Maarten attained its new status, that was also talked about by previous Executive Councils at that time, but we would now like to see it become a reality this year.

"If it becomes an official holiday, then definitely July 1 would be celebrated as such and we will step into this reality." Thompson said the Chamber of Unions had taken a decision to back Emancipation Day becoming a public holiday several years ago and sending a letter to government was just following up on that commitment.
The Chamber of Labour Unions comprises six unions: Windward Islands Federation of Labour (WIFOL), Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU), Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU), St. Maarten Communications Union, Windward Islands Health Care Union Association (WIHCUA) and the Association Staff Employees of GEBE.

Unions in St. Maarten have been lobbying for Emancipation Day to be declared a National Holiday for years, because of its historical significance.