NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Union leaders have revealed that there will be no vehicles allowed on the 2019 Labour Day Parade, which is slated for Saturday June 7.
The new rule has been enforced following the Labour Day tragedy which unfolded last June where an unmanned truck rolled down East Street Hill and plowed through a group of parade participants.
The runaway vehicle killed four female members of the Bahamas Financial Services Union (BFSU) and injured many others.
In the wake of the tragic incident there was public discourse as to whether or not motor vehicles should be removed from future Labour Day Parades.
One year later, Theresa Mortimer, President of BFSU revealed that union leaders arrived at a consensus that vehicles will now be banned from the annual parade.
Mortimer made the revelation concerning the new rule at a press conference held that the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) headquarters on Farrington Road.
“We had a meeting with law enforcement and we are happy to note that the police force will be enforcing the new rules that there will be no vehicles between the members on the parade,” Mortimer revealed.
“This year’s celebration will be in memory of our four fallen sisters that died in last year’s tragedy.”
Bernard Evans, President of the National Congress of Trade Unions of The Bahamas (NCTUB) made a clarion call for all workers throughout the country to join the parade in celebration of the labour movement.
“I can’t stress enough that this is about you and this is our day; everyone who draws a pay cheque, even if you are self-employed; we encourage all of you to come out with us,” he said.
“This is an emotional year for us but we want to encourage all workers to come out and participate,” he said.
The introduction of the new parade rule means that unionists will now use marching bands for music to accompany the parade.
“This unfortunate event has now caused us to roll back in time when we only marched with marching bands and sang chants and held placards; and so we are encouraging everyone who is out there – whether you are a part of a union or not – come out and participate with us and make this a nostalgic parade,” Evans said.
Evans has called on local marching band leaders to step forward to volunteer their talent for the parade.
“We are encouraging all of the marching bands to come out to render support to us as best as they can,” he pleaded.
The 2019 parade will be held in honor of the four female unionists killed in last year’s tragedy; Kathleen Fernander, Tabitha Haye, Tammy Gibson and Diane Ferguson.
The parade will begin at Windsor Park at 8:00 a.m.
The parade will travel north on East Street to Bay Street, west on Bay Street to Navy Lion Road, south on Navy Lion Road turning into West Bay Street and then west on West Bay Street concluding at Arawak Cay.
There is usually a Junkanoo Rush-out which commences after the parade, but according to Evans, parade attendees are often unable to attend the parade which has customarily been held on Bay Street.
He noted that there have been changes made which will now allow unionists to enjoy the Junkanoo Rush-out as well.
“We are happy to be able to participate because often times because of the way the march is laid out we don’t get to participate in the parade; but now we will be able to participate in the rush out which will start on Nassau Street and end at Arawak Cay,” Evans said.