Labour Day parade crackdown pending, says Foulkes

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Minister of Labour and Senator Dion Foulkes

Stricter regulations to govern the way future Labour Day parades are executed in the country could be on the horizon, according to Minister of Labor Dion Foulkes.

In the wake of the Labour Day tragedy, there has been some concern raised by union members and family members of the victims, that parade organizers should consider removing vehicles from the parade entirely.

“On past marches, we used to march with bands and stuff like that. We didn’t have so many cars. Maybe we can look at going back to that,” suggested Mario Williams, brother of Tami Gibson, one of the four women killed in the tragic incident on Labour Day.

“At first, when we heard that there was a truck that caused the havoc, I thought that it was one of the big rigs that got away, because so many people got hurt.

“But, despite the size of the vehicle, it was clearly big enough to cause major damage, which led to the loss of life. So, it might be a good route to consider removing these vehicles from the parade entirely.”

Labour minister Dion Foulkes confirmed Tuesday that the concern is currently under review.

“I have spoken to the president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the president of the National Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas (NCTUB). As a result of the tragedy that occurred on Friday, we are reviewing the whole process and content of the parade,” shared Foulkes.

“The union leaders and the entire nation is very concerned about how the parade has been transformed to what it is today. There is a strong feeling among labor leaders that maybe we should go back to how it was in the past, without so many flatbeds and big trucks and the type of music that is currently played.

“It is their (labor leaders) parade, so it is something they will have to decide and I respect that. Of course, I will consult my colleagues to get their views also before a decision is made.”

On June 1, during the Labor Day march, an unmanned F150 truck – which was a part of the parade – struck dozens of persons including children, before hitting a parked Nissan Marche on the corner of East and Shirley Streets.

Two women died on the scene, one woman died in Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and the other in Doctors Hospital.