Acting Deputy Chief Labour Officer, Claudette Hope-Greenidge (left), presenting Kerri-Ann Codrington with her prize. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Public servants, whether teachers, clerical officers or customer service clerks, all have talent.

This was demonstrated recently at the Labour Department’s annual HIV Poetry Competition.

Emphasising that employees of the government, statutory and quasi-governmental organisations have some "serious skills" when it comes to poetry writing, Acting Deputy Chief Labour Officer, Claudette Hope-Greenidge said, "From time to time we would see public officers doing other things, but when it comes to poetry, you would think it resides with those persons that you would acknowledge as being the artist. This competition has served to discredit that illusion."

Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony for the Labour Department’s annual HIV Poetry Competition at the Warrens Office Complex, Ms. Hope-Greenidge thanked all the competitors for participating.

She also extended heartfelt congratulations to participants.?? First place winner, Jessica Taylor of the International Transport Division of the Ministry of International Business and International Transport, submitted a piece entitled The Kiss; Santone Parris of the General Post Office placed second with a piece called, Mirror Image; while Kerri-Ann Codrington, a teacher at Harrison College, placed third with a poem titled Candice Waits.

Explaining that the competition was part of the Labour Department’s activities for Love Safely Week, she noted that although it was in its second year, and only open to the public sector, the response had been overwhelming.

With a total of 78 persons submitting poems under the theme, It’s time to Kiss Stigma and Discrimination Goodbye, the Acting Deputy Labour Officer pointed out that this was an increase from last year’s figure of 59.

She further observed that given the nature the Labour Department’s work, it was only natural for its employees to be involved in HIV and AIDS education and, consequently, host a competition that focused on such a theme.

"The Labour Department seeks to establish and maintain harmonious working relationships among employers and employees.?? This stretches from safety and health, Industrial Relations and now HIV and AIDS has been given a special place because of complications that may exist there," Ms. Hope-Greenidge pointed out.

"Matters as to how you handle HIV and AIDS in the workplace will impact on safety and health systems, unemployment systems and your industrial relations practices.?? It cuts across just about everything similarly as it does in our lives on a day-to-day basis." She added.

Stating that the department’s focus was on the removal of stigma and discrimination, she said the poems submitted all demonstrated this and she commended the participants for illustrating "positive influences on how to manage HIV and AIDS in the workplace, the home and life in general."

Love Safely Week started on Monday, February 13 and concluded on Saturday, February 18.


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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