Safety the focus of Labour Day parade after last year’s tragedy
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said yesterday that his ministry is in discussion with the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Trade Union Congress (TUC) to minimize or eliminate the possibility of a vehicular accident during this year’s Labour Day Parade.
On Friday, TUC General Secretary Tyrone ‘Rock’ Morris said the union does not anticipate the elimination of vehicular traffic but they will try to reduce it.
However, speaking to reporters in the foyer of the Senate, Foulkes noted that the government is still in talks with the unions in order to determine exactly what the rules are going to be.
“I know certain things were said at the press conference on Friday but what we’d like to do is to ensure that we minimize or eliminate the possibility that anybody can be injured either by a vehicle or otherwise,” he said.
“What happened last year was a tragedy of the greatest proportions, and, again, we wish to extend our condolences to those families.
“But this year we would like to minimize or eliminate altogether the possibility of a vehicular accident injuring or causing a fatality on the march.”
Last year, four people were killed and 24 injured during the 2018 Labour Day Parade when a runaway truck struck a group of participants.
Police said the accident took place near the East Street and Shirley Street intersection.
Eyewitnesses said the truck rolled down the street, hitting multiple people as it picked up speed. They also said the driver’s seat was unoccupied.
Although the ministry will make its suggestions for added safety measures to the parade, Foulkes said the decision is ultimately up to the unions.
“…We have addressed the question of safety and the use of vehicles,” Morris said at a press conference on Friday at the House of Labour.
“We do not believe that the accident was a result of vehicles that we used on the parade per se.
“Of course, we would wish to get closer to the way the parades used to be held years ago which did not require a lot of vehicles but we’re living in a changing world where things are done differently.
“One of the things that we’ve focused on is safety and having our marshals ensure that the various groups operate in a manner that promotes the safety of the participating marchers.
“Except to pay more attention to the safety aspect of it, we’re asking our members to reduce the amount of vehicular traffic at the parade.
“Sometimes it’s really difficult to eliminate because there are various uses that vehicles are needed for.
“..There are no real changes, even though we looked at how we can make some changes and right now it’s just reducing the vehicular traffic.
“We won’t be eliminating it.
“Our marshals are going to be in charge to ensure that safety is paramount.”
Education: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) 3rd Year