Groups from corporate Jamaica, as well as civil society organisations and schools, among others, are being invited to participate in the National Labour Day Project on Tuesday 23 May which will entail the planting of trees along Highway 2000 in the vicinity of Hartlands Road, St Catherine. The target is 10,000 trees.
Labour Day will be observed under the theme ‘Plant a Tree for Life – Promoting Climate Change Mitigation, Food Security and Road Safety’.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, extended the invitation in a statement delivered in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (17 May). She noted that entry to the work site will be via Hartlands Road, from Old Harbour Road, with no access from the highway. “The National Project will, again, be led by the Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, and he will be joined by the Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding and other portfolio Ministers”, Grange said.
She indicated that the project is being arranged in plots of approximately half hectare in size. Corporate entities with large groups comprising 50 persons will be assigned a plot for the day, which they will be able to brand and provide hospitality for their volunteers planting trees.
The Forestry Department as well as the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will provide thousands of trees to organisations and the public across Jamaica. This will include popular trees in each parish.
Grange informed that the focus for Labour Day 2023 was born out of the Forestry Department’s National Tree Initiative, aimed at planting three million trees in three years. “The drive towards the three million-tree target, which was slowed-down by the COVID-19 Pandemic, is currently at 2.5 million. The plan is to use Labour Day to reignite the nation to strive for the three-million goal by the summer of 2023 through the Parish Tree Initiative, which will bolster the target with the planting of trees that are popular, some endemic in respective parishes”, Minister Grange said.
Grange further noted that within the focus to plant trees, Jamaicans will also be encouraged to start or refresh their backyard gardens, and have their projects registered with the National Labour Day Secretariat. Schools are also being encouraged to either spruce up or start gardens.
Additionally, the Labour Day Secretariat will collaborate with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and other agencies in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to see how best to assist participants with seedlings to get these gardens up and running.
Labour Day will also be used to highlight the importance of road safety, another important element of sustainable development. The day’s activities will end with a Praise and Worship Gospel Concert at Emancipation Park, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The slated performers include Minister Kevin Downswell, Richie Stephens, Petra Kaye, Jai Kingston, Minister Howdy, Minister Treasure, Prince Saj, Oshane Mais, Latoya Hamilton, Kerron Clarke, and Kukudo.