Government and Stakeholders Meet To Discuss The Amendment Of The Public Holidays Act

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The Attorney General and Minister of Labour, the Hon. Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin,
Parliamentary Council within the Ministry of Legal Affairs and high level technicians from the Ministry of Labour engaged a number of stakeholders today to commence discussions on the proposed Public Holiday Amendment Bill, which is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament at its next sitting.

Representatives from the Antigua Workers Union, the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service
Association, Antigua and Barbuda Trades and Labour Union, the Nurses Association, the
Employers Federation and Labour Department participated in the meeting.

The Public Holidays Act Schedule CAP. 354, which identifies Public Holidays states that
Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday are observed as Common Law Holidays.
In that regard every Sunday according to the laws of Antigua and Barbuda is deemed to be a holiday.

Over the years however, this has not been recognized since some businesses open on the Sunday, due largely to the changing economic times in which we now live.
The proposed Public Holiday (Amendment) Bill 2019 seeks to update the law.

The Explanatory Memorandum to the proposed Amendment explains that the occurrence in the law of Sundays being observed as a public holiday is done through tradition. It was handed down as part of the colonial system.

However, whereas in times past it might have been fully observed, this is not the true position now. In fact, only tacit acknowledgement is given to this practice; today whenever a public holiday falls on a Sunday it is observed on the following Monday thereby acknowledging that Sunday is already a holiday.

Antigua and Barbuda being a service- oriented economy, the observance of Sunday as a Public Holiday has been more in breach of the law.

The meeting was lively, and ideas contended. All parties agreed to holding two public
consultations among all stakeholders to discuss the matter further. Effective and meaningful public consultations is necessary before any decisions could be made.

Members of the public are being asked to come out to those consultations and make suggestions on how the country can move forward on this important matter.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. i would suggest all the business place should be closed on sunday even if there is cruiseship in town i have seen people working in public holidays like christmas new year and other public holidays when there in cruise ship in town

    • U sound dumb AF. Sime of these perons who work on a Sunday and christmas and any mojor holiday are heavily dependant of these cruise ships not everyone has the privilage of working a 9-5 job,.

  2. SO LET ME GET THIS RIGHT:

    (1) CHESTER HUGHES and/or the ANTIGUA & BARBUDA WORKERS UNION brought this matter to the
    public’s attention, OUT OF THE BLUE, and ‘ASKED FOR CLARIFICATION’.
    (2) There was ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM and EVERYONE was going about their own business.
    (3) Now there is TOTAL CONFUSION.
    (4) The government first spoke about CHANGING the law and ELIMINATING SUNDAY’S as a public holiday.
    (5) Then the government ‘seeing’ THE POSSIBLE MISCHIEF that ‘might’ have been afoot, decided to take a
    second look at the situation.
    (6) Then we learn from this article that ‘GOVERNMENT AND STAKEHOLDERS MET TO DISCUSS THE
    AMENDMENT OF THE PUBLIC HOLIDAYS ACT’.
    (7) I am hearing that IT WAS PROPOSED BY THE SAME UNION or an EMPLOYEE OF THIS UNION that
    caused this confusion, that persons COULD be schedule to be on a day-off for AT LEAST ONE SUNDAY
    IN EACH MONTH to facilitate going to Church if that is their wish.
    (8) I guess workers do not WORSHIP ON THE SABBATH (SATURDAY).
    (9) WHAT UTTER FOOLISHNESS.
    (10) I HAVE NOT HEARD AT ALL THAT THE ANTIGUA & BARBUDA WORKERS UNION HAD A MATTER BEFORE
    THE LABOUR DEPARTMENT, THE MINISTER OR THE INDUSTRIAL COURT AND JUSTICE WAS NOT
    FORTHCOMING.
    (11) I JUST WANT WORKERS TO UNDERSTAND that it was the ANTIGUA & BARBUDA WORKERS UNION or A
    PERSON WHO WORKS FOR THAT ORGANIZATION that would be the cause for the loss of benefit that
    WE WILL ALL LOOSE.
    (12) In my humble opinion, that UNION is a DISGRACE.

    • CHESTER HUGHES is powerful lol

      Maybe he should take over the leadership the leadership of the UPP. Badplay then kick out Lovell just like what Lovell did to Joanne Massiah.

  3. Was it an oversight to include the Christian Council in the meeting?

    Seems odd that the meeting was about a religious holiday and the Christian Council was not invited to represent themselves….

  4. Put aside the political or religious aspect of this, I think the hotel association May be at the bottom of this. I have noticed over the years they have not paid overtime for people working on Saturday or Sunday!
    When you work on construction sites, time and a half, and double time, must be paid for those days. Whether or not you get days off during the week. Now, if they changed Saturday and Sunday from being holidays, what will happen to the construction worker on weekends. Now that this has come to the discussion stage, why are hotels not paying overtime on weekends?
    Changing the law is not a good idea. Everyone should have the option of choosing to work or not to work on Saturday and Sunday.
    When and where will the consolation be?

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