The Antigua Trades & Labour Union in celebration of the 78th Delegates Conference opened the
annual event yesterday with a ceremony under the theme A Movement, A Union, An
Institution; at the Emancipation House at 46 North Street.
Prime Minister, Hon. Gaston Brown, Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment
& Energy, Hon. Asot A Michael, and guest speaker Mr. Hezekiah Lewis were in attendance.
Speaking at the opening ceremony guest speaker Hezekiah Lewis congratulated the AT&LU on
their 78th year of fighting for the rights f the working class in Antigua and Barbuda. Lewis said that
in 1939 when the trade union movement started it was not only started to improve the working
conditions of workers, but the trade unionist also fought to educate Antiguans, which resulted
in the building of the Princess Margaret School.
“When our forefathers fought to make things better for the working class Antiguans they were
thrown into prison,” Lewis said.
Lewis in his remarks said the Antigua Trades & Labour Union was the only institution in Antigua
& Barbuda that treated the working class of Antigua as human beings.
Lewis went onto say that had it not been for the AT&LU he would not have been given the
same educational opportunities as those who attended the Antigua Girls High School or the
Antigua Grammar School.
Giving brief remarks Prime Minister Gaston Browne said no other institution in Antigua and
Barbuda has contributed more to the development of the nation than the great institution of
Prime Minister Browne encouraged those that serve the institution to serve it with pride and
spoke of the importance of activism within the institution as it builds the overall skills of the
The Prime Minister said that trade unions are important to the nation as they ensure that there
is no exploitation, unfairness or victimization in the work force.
Hon. Asot Michael in his remarks said he is of the view that this is one of the most important
Delegates Conference to be held in recent years because of the economic and fiscal tests the
country is now undergoing, and because of the resulting implications for employment and jobs.
“The Trade Union that took us out of poverty and ignorance and into the new Jerusalem,”
Michael said The Annual Delegates Conference, usually the focus is only on the pecuniary
interests of workers, and conditions of work on their jobs, however he says the AT&LU
Conference must also focus upon the harmful effects of global climate change, making
reference to the destruction of Hurricane Irma in Barbuda.
Minister Michael said he is aware that on the second day of the conference, the AT&LU usually
invites experts to address delegates on a variety of subject areas, however he urged the
President of the AT&LU if it is not too late to find an expert who can raise the consciousness on
the challenges and the solutions to global climate change.
The ceremony ended with the President of the AT&LU presenting awards to persons who have
shown unwavering support to the AT&LU.
Notable persons receiving awards were Hon. Asot Michael, Ambassador Lionel Max Hurst,
Senator Mary Claire Hurst, Pastor Clifford Haynes and Rupert Lewis.