Monument of Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow rededicated

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Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton at the rededication ceremony of the Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow monument

The sculpture of Guyana’s Father of Trade Unionism, Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, located in the compound of Public Buildings, Georgetown, was rededicated Thursday – 57 years after it was first unveiled.

During a simple ceremony, Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, reflected on the role the trade unionist played in initiating trade unionism, and fighting for the rights of workers in Guyana.

Minister Hamilton said the greatest tribute Guyana could give to Critchlow is to ensure holistic developments are made to keep persons in safe working environments, whether in the office or factory.

“Going forward as a nation, both government and union leadership have to work together to ensure we can fashion better lives for the people of Guyana, that is the fundamental issue before us,” the Minister said.

He noted that Guyanese may disagree on many things, however, one of the few things they can agree on, is the contributions made by the trade unionist to Guyana’s development.

He said trade unionism remains important to Guyana, and noted that government is working towards improving the working conditions of its people.

“We must together as government and trade unions, fashion a developmental agenda that pays attention to housing and proper housing of workers, education of workers and their children, proper healthcare for workers. All of those are fundamental issues that we can pay tribute to Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow. Thirdly is equal pay for equal work and that is a project we must do jointly, government and trade unions,” the Minister said.

“And so, the three guiding principles of the reestablished ministry of Labour is the issue of training and re-training of workers because fundamentally, to run this state and to run facilities in this country, we have to ensure that we have people who have the requisite knowledge, intellect and capacities. The second pillar is the whole issue of human development,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Parliamentarian and Trade Unionist, Seepaul Narine stated that the movement established by Critchlow was an outstanding victory, although it was initiated decades ago.

“So greatly have the conditions of the working class improved from his entrance into the movement to when he departed, that it can truly be said that he left an outstanding legacy and a lasting imprint in his field of endeavour,” he said.

President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), Carvil Duncan also reflected and shared the pivotal role Critchlow played.

“Critchlow had played a very important role in mobilising Guyanese people into a trade union, but he went on further, he collaborated with the politicians of the day to ensure that he had mass support for the activities that he was embarking on,” he said.

The bronze statue of Critchlow was first unveiled on December 2, 1964, by then premier of Guyana, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, six years after Critchlow’s death. Today, the statue is one of the country’s most historic monuments.