Editorial: Tomorrow is May Day!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

May 1 is celebrated in The Gambia, as in many countries around the world, as National Labour Day.

Each year, countries around the globe join the International Labour Organisation to remember the plights of workers across the globe and those who struggle to ensure that their working class is not alienated or exploited at work.

The day is declared an official holiday for employees in The Gambia, and so many businesses will be closed for the day. In The Gambia, highlights of the event include a march-past by companies and other institutions. In the evening, workers from companies and other institutions interact and participate in various sporting disciplines such as 100 metres, 200 metres, crazy pole and the famous tug of war.

National Labour Day celebrates the inauguration of Socialist International in Paris in 1889 when socialist, communist and anarchist political groups and trade unions came together in an effort to form a bloc that would stand up for labourers.

What is unique about May Day celebration is that the event is not only seen as a festival, but also an occasion that provides an opportunity for sober-reflection. And so doing, workers renew their adherence to the principles upon which the international accords and protocols are premised.

It could be recalled that May Day Sports was conceived in The Gambia in February 1991 by Mr. George Gomez, then the Executive Secretary of the Gambia National Olympic and Sports Committee and started in May of that year. It was designed to encourage the working population to use sports and physical exercise as a means of keeping fit; to encourage friendly relationship among the workers in the different fields of the economy and to ensure a healthy and peaceful environment for a friendly and enjoyable sports competition among the workers of the country thereby creating a good relationship among each other.

“Each year, Labor Day gives us an opportunity to recognize the invaluable contributions that working men and women make to our nation, our economy and our collective prosperity. It gives us a chance to show gratitude for workers’ grit, dedication, ingenuity and strength, which define our nation’s character.”

Tom Perez