Leader of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) and Leader of the Opposition, the Right Hon Dr Denzil L Douglas has paid glowing tribute to President of the St Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union (SKNT&LU), Joseph O’Flaherty who died in hospital on Labour Day, Monday 7 May, 2019.
“This comes as a great blow to me, as a personal friend of Joseph’s as well as to the executive of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the leadership of the St. Kitts and Nevis Trades and Labour Union. Mr. O’Flaherty was President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Trades and Labour Union for going on six years. He was only 48 years old. His untimely passing is really unfortunate and has left a gaping hole in the leadership of the St. Kitts and Nevis Trades and Labour Union that will be very difficult to fill,” Dr Douglas said in a statement Tuesday night.
Dr Douglas noted that Mr. O’Flaherty has rendered sterling yeoman service representing workers across the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis. He founded and actively participated in the Tripartite Committee which harmonized the work of the three major social partners – the Union, the private sector and the government in advancing the objectives of the Decent Work Agenda. He played a lead role in representing the Federation in international fora such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and was integrally involved in the national dialogue on matters of public policy and practices affecting our national economy,” Dr Douglas said.
Calling O’Flaherty a tireless advocate for the advancement of social protection and services for workers in the areas of health and education, Dr Douglas said the union president was the son of the late Mr. Fidel O’Flaherty, a former acting Secretary General of the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Union.
He said Joseph was a passionate trade unionist and it was indeed quite poetic that he passed into the great beyond on Labour Day.
“Our nation has lost a true patriot son and his outstanding service to the workers across our beloved Federation will never be forgotten,” said Dr Douglas, who further noted that the 87-year-old St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, which he presently heads was formed out of the bosom of working class solidarity which found formal expression in the formation of the Workers’ League in 1932 and the St. Kitts and Nevis Trades and Labour Union, which was established in 1940.
“Therefore, on behalf of the executive and leadership of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and indeed on my own behalf, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. O’Flaherty as well as his colleagues and members of the St. Kitts and Nevis Trades and Labour Union, particularly Mr. Batumba Tak, the General Secretary. Your grief is my grief as well. May the peace of Christ comfort all of you in your time of sorrow,” Dr Douglas said.