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Today, as we commemorate Emancipation Day, we must reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of our forefathers who fought for freedom from oppression and slavery. Their strength and determination resonate within us, and we must draw from that very spirit as we face our own battles against injustice.

Since 2013, our negotiations for fair wages have been persistently thwarted, and our demands for a dignified increase have fallen on deaf ears. The government’s decision to force us to accept a mere 4% raise using a new, illogical formula, which will ultimately leave us with even less, is nothing short of an insult to our hard work and dedication.

We must not let this ploy weaken our resolve or diminish our hope. The erosion of our purchasing power by over 22% due to inflation compared to the 4% offer is a clear indication of how our standard of living is being undermined. We find ourselves in a state of desperation, vulnerable to political operatives within our ranks pressuring us to accept this absurd wage increase from the government.

However, let us remember the teachings of our ancestral leaders who preached self-reliance and standing firm in the face of adversity. Like our forefathers, we must embrace the strength within ourselves and rise against the chains of exploitation. We will not be swayed by false promises or token gestures, for we know our worth and the value of our labour.

Today, as we celebrate Emancipation Day, let us unite as one and reject the government’s ridiculous offer with unwavering conviction. Our fight for fair wages and justice is inextricably linked to the struggles of those who came before us. Just as they fought for their freedom, so must we fight for ours.

Together, we will rise above the oppressive forces that seek to divide us. We will reclaim our power and demand what is rightfully ours. This battle may be challenging, but with the spirit of our ancestors guiding us, we will triumph.

Happy Emancipation Day, my fellow public officers. Let us stand strong and united, knowing that the flame of justice burns within us, igniting a path towards a brighter and more equitable future.

Happy Emancipation Day!