It was no doubt well-intended, but the William Marlin Cabinet has created a lot of confusion with its announcement after office hours on Thursday that the annual Carnival holiday set for this Saturday, April 30, is being moved to Tuesday, May 3.
With all due respect, that is just plain ridiculous.
The holidays had been scheduled since last year, as were the various parades. To make such a change at this late hour is downright irresponsible and frankly reeks of improper governance.
After all, the Carnival holiday is normally used for the various parades, in this case the Junior Parade of Saturday afternoon. Moreover, St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) apparently hadn’t been made aware of any date shift before the notice was issued either.
It’s obvious that Government wants to give people who normally don’t work on Saturday an extra day off, but what about those who do? Will they now be unable to assist with or even watch the Children’s Parade after all that participants have done to prepare?
Labour Day already was switched from Sunday, May 1, to Monday, May 2, as is the custom when a holiday falls on a Sunday. Does it really make sense to also move up the Carnival holiday by no fewer than three days from Saturday to Tuesday, May 3, when the only activity is the Last Lap Jump-Up and burning of King Momo that take place at night?
Perhaps more important, there is a need to plan ahead at least in the private sector and many companies have not only already adapted their schedules, but made such known to both their employees and the general public. Government did apologise for the inconvenience, but in this case that simply doesn’t cut it.
In addition, Thursday, May 5 is Ascension Day, which is also a public holiday. This means that the entire next week will have only two normal business days, namely Wednesday and Friday.
What must be taken into account as well is that according to labour laws employers are supposed to pay their personnel more if they choose to work on a holiday. Having already planned this scenario for Saturday and Monday, it will be difficult at best, if not impossible, to change suddenly from Saturday to Tuesday.
In fact, this newspaper had already announced that The Daily Herald won’t be published on Saturday and Monday, while all preparations for such were put in place by now. It’s therefore far too late to change the schedule and the first paper after the long weekend still will appear on Tuesday as planned.
It is not clear how many others are in the same predicament and how they intend to resolve such. Suffice to say that any complaints should be directed to the only right address, namely the Council of Ministers in Philipsburg.
Source: Daily Herald
To the right address