May Day - Mayday - Celebratory or Distress

May Day - Mayday Long before mankind had attached significance to “...May Day” as a celebratory event, it was used navigationally for purposes of communicating “...dangerous situations in the course of marine and air travel.” 

For this reason, coining the words (making it one) “...MAYDAY,” signified “...humans and machines were in distress and/or facing imminent danger- possible disaster or tragedy.” Thus, coined “...Mayday,” it signifies an internationally used and recognized “...Call of Distress.” Such calls, when made by captains of “...air and sea-bound carriers,” are known to be indicating “...desperate and frightening situations of possible catastrophic consequences and/or magnitude for Souls at sea or airborne. Research showed that the words were coined by Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio operator at the London Croydon Airport in 1923” [Wikipedia: 1897-1962]. Its meaning was reportedly taken from the French word “...Ma’aider- “...Come help me” [American Heritage Dictionary-2000].


Thus, ‘Mayday’ is a call that Air Traffic Controllers and Maritime authorities most fear. Depending upon the situation, it may mean something horrible was happening or a carrier was about to descend from the air or submerge beneath the sea or river beds. It brings eerie and jittery feelings to those on board or terra firma that “...Souls and/or Cargo” are about to be perished and lost. Frequently, these were due to “...uncontrolled and inescapable forces or acts of nature; ...instrumental, mechanical, hydraulic failures; ...navigational negligence or other human errors to involvement in freak accidents; ...or being attacked by pirates over the Somali, South American and Tenerife coastlines or high-jacked by terrorists. These possibilities spell endless danger. Additionally, even when Law enforcement appeared to have been overwhelmed by criminals and is faced with crises in arresting or seen “...effectively impotent” in controlling “...Crime and Violence,” there may be no reason why “...desperate, distressed and/or traumatized victims” may not shout incessantly to enforcement and/or executive authorities “...Mayday! ...Mayday...Mayday!”


The significance of “May Day,” may be seen in two contexts or perspectives. Thus, when used separately, the words mean the “...Fifth month of the year and the First day of the month of May.” Celebratory, it has been used “...commemoratively for festivities and observances.” Universally recognized and set aside as a public holiday, May Day is used for hosting special events. For instance, in the United States, there are the usual “...May Day Street Parades.”In the Barnes Hill community, [Antigua and Barbuda], the day is primarily used for communal social gatherings, including the almost extinct “...May Pole Dancing.” It was known that high profile personalities usually make their presence felt at this particular event. However, though they may stand aside and look, one may quicker hear a “...Battle Hymn” or some adversarial rhetoric, than see Dean Jonas and Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro dancing with “...preferential colors,” that the multi-colored strings will be skillfully and spectacularly woven into a kaleidoscope of colors. In such instance, May Day will have lost its “...commemorative significance;” the events, their social meanings and the residents, the celebratory spirit and community cohesiveness. Conversely, “...MAYDAY,” when used as a single word, means something frighteningly different- “...tragedy, death and destruction.”


In the true context, “...May Day” is recognized as an international public holiday, commemorated in “...honour of the inestimable and invaluable contributions of workers in the various fields of human endeavor to humanity. These range from, but not limited to workers in “...sanitation and healthcare facilities; ...gardens and farms; ...bakeries, restaurants, kitchens; ...service stations; ...manufacturing industries; ...private security companies; ...hotels; ...department stores; ...public utilities; ...professionals and ancillary workers in offices-private and public; ...to educators in instructional classrooms of learning institutions.” These are some of the people who have served societies across the globe as they help in stimulating economic activity and growth with their labour. Not infrequently, however, most have been forced to complain of their lot. Like Law enforcement, their “...Lot is not an easy one.” Thus, consequent upon inhuman treatment, deplorable working conditions and negligible pay, even away from the workplaces, on “...MAY DAY,” workers have been shouting “...Mayday! ...Mayday! ...Mayday!”


Thus, on Labour Day, demonstrating “...unity in strength, cohesiveness, purposefulness, resolve and resilience, workers may have been sending clear messages that when Management flexed its employment muscle “...displaying insensitivity; ...demoralizing and frustrating workers by discriminatory practices and policies or victimizing them;  ...refusing to accord them treatment dissimilar to indentured servants; ...refusing to see them as reasonable human beings; ...treating them with disdain and incivility;  ...showing disregard to their dignity and worth;...using and/or manipulating them as machinery, mechanical tools and/or robots,” with their “...Collective Bargaining Unions” and Trade Union representatives, the “...Wigley George’s; ...Chester Hughes’; ...David Massiah’s; ...Ralph Potter’s and Stafford Joseph’s,” they are a force with which to be reckoned.” Today, however, when Bargaining Agents intervened on workers behalf for an increase in pay, management has been brazenly saying to representative agents “...No way! ...No Way! ...No Way!”


Managers who are placed in “...manipulative, docile or positions of subserviency,” have been more of a “...liability than they are of asset to particular entities.” Most, were seen as oppressors and “...Managerial Wimps, evidenced by attitudes consistent with “...Slave Mentality.”Invariably, they become the subject of “...employee’s grievances, discontent, dissatisfaction and complaints, and ultimately the focus of attention and Union visits. Conversely, many who were seen as “...independent risk-takers, pragmatic and adventurous,” did not survive to see entities realized their goals and/or achieved their objectives. Former LIAT CEO Mark Darby may not be found guilty of such mentality. Ironically, when he had reportedly selected employees for consideration of “...financial incentives” for their devotion to duty; work ethics and productivity and their commitment to the“...operational and marginal financial success,” seemingly, for that and other reasons “...his head was made to roll.” Having been “...FIRED,” reflecting on his equally troubled stewardship with and assessing his performance on “...Managing Risks,” in hindsight, the former ‘CEO’ retorted “...I hadn’t appreciated the complexity of three countries owning LIAT; ...It became clear that the expectations of small island-States are not always entirely realistic” [Flightglobal: 2006-2009]. Mark Darby shall have known or reckless not to have known that even where there are no visible flames, there is “...FIRE.” He too had to shout “...Mayday! ...Mayday! ...Mayday!”


Way back then, industrial officers had developed “...Mortal Strategies” in dealing with “...stiff-necked employers.” Equally as much as there were “...genuine worker’s grievances,” there was also evidence of radicalism in their representatives. In the workplaces, they had created a “...climate of intimidation and an atmosphere of fear.”  Hence, the industrial climate appeared to have been consciously made unstable and/or explosive. Hence, employers/management appeared mortally fearful, not just of “...intimidatory industrial tactics or rhetorical expressions,” but also had to contend with expeditious “...coercive settlements” in meeting workers’ demands. These resulted from the “...persistency and brashness and sometimes with expressions of impending, and/or actual industrial actions. Historically, the case of “...O’Neal v Bird et al” makes the point on “...Pragmatism and decisiveness in leadership.” It was not necessarily about amicable industrial relations, but primarily about “...workers rights and social justice.”


The tenacious attitude of a handful of industrial officers, inculcating and/or cultivating disruptive attitude in workers,” while injecting timidity in management, suggested that even when they had not slept, “...induced Nightmares.” The officers stood head and shoulders above those who were positioned and/or entrusted with management functions. They represented a unique force and tower of strength. With workers’ welfare at heart, and an element of “...Industrial Radicalism,” they were the immortalized “...George H. Walter’s and the “...Industrial Bullies- the Malcolm Daniel’s; ...Donald Halstead’s; ...William Robinson’s; ...Bradley Carrott"s; ...Lionel and Denfield Hurst's;" ....Adolphus Freeland’s; ...Robin Bascus’ and the ...Keithlyn Smith’s.” Then there were the equally determined stalwarts, “...the Baldwin Spencer’s and Maurice Christian’s; ...Lionel Gomes’; ...Lesley ‘Dooley’ John’s; ...Joshua ‘House’ Samuel’s, and the lone female industrial warrior, Nathalie Payne.” Thus, in their stewardship, when workers demanded better working conditions and more pay, it was Management that was shouting “...Mayday! ...Mayday! ...Mayday!” 


These officers, undoubtedly, had the “...mandate, following and the backing of workers.” They fought painstakingly and purposefully against “...forced labor, exploitation and unsanitary, health and safety conditions.” More importantly, they fought assiduously “...for increased wages and salaries, enabling more disposable income for the enjoyment of a better quality of life;” Thus, their mobilization influences; ...workers confidence; ...sustained efforts and vigorous and forceful negotiation skills,” were to be seen as critical factors in realizing immeasurable success. In their collective bargaining exploits, they had achieved for workers “...enhanced working environmental and hygiene conditions.” Most have since been peacefully laid to rest and perhaps, might be “...turning in their graves” when today’s workers cried “...Economic Inequality and Social Injustice.” Comparing today’s trade unionists to “...Chalk and Cheese,” without a shadow of doubt and fear of contradiction, even without compromise, finesse and intellectual brilliance, “ ...the trade unionists of yesteryear,” may have been easily declared “...Chalk to today’s Cheese.”


The International Labour Organization (ILO) has attached other significance to workers in those places. For instance, in its “...1930 Convention concerning “...Forced Labour, it looked at Forced Labor as “...All work or service which is exacted from any person under the ‘MENACE’ of any penalty and for which the person has not offered himself ‘VOLUNTARY” is wrong [Convention No.29: Article 2.1: Hrea.Org]. Fifty one years later-1981, the founding principle of the Constitution speaks to the very issue. Principle (b) calls for “...Respect of social justice, stating that “...Labor should not be exploited or forced by economic necessity to operate in inhumane conditions.”


Within the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, “...May Day” is synonymous with “...Labour Day.” It is a commemorative event, celebrated annually, not on the “...First day,” but on the “...First Monday of the month of May.” Hence, for all intents and purposes, it is a day when Trades Unions, Congresses and affiliate associations mobilized and assembled their members in “...Marches of Solidarity.” Such marches are intended to make the point of the currency of their existence and the pivotal societal and national roles and functions. Thus, it is a celebrated event to show to the global community that workers role in diverse workplaces, are as important to the national economy as those providing opportunities for gainful employment.


More fundamentally, they look at those who hire and fire; ...who have ignored best work practices; ...adhering to discriminatory employment policies and/or practices; ... frustrate, humiliate and demoralized workers; ...those who provoke animosity in, and aggravate workers for reasons of “ ...nationality; ...ethnicity and social status; ...gender-based considerations; ...educational achievements; ...under achievement or non-achievement; ...lack of requisite skill-set or evidentiary substantiated poor work ethics. Lest it be misconstrued, and specifically to eliminate “...naivety,” even with a willing spirit and noble intentions, there are those who may not be considered “...employable.”


Currently, there are still those with “...slave mentality-” ensuring that there was no rest for the weary; ...paying ‘Starvation Wages;” ...denying workers profit-sharing and overtime payment; ...withholding gratuity and holiday benefits; ...and/or avoiding provision of justifiable merit-based awards, rewards and/or incentives.” These have always been aggravating issues that provide for unstable industrial climate, “...undesirable management/employee relations; ...inducing absenteeism and low productivity.” These, therefore, are some of the vexed work-related issues workers and their representatives, mostly complained of; ...provoking industrial actions, thereby, prompting participation in the annual “...May Day or Labour Day celebrations.”


Some events may bring back fond memories of yesteryear. Others may bring joyous tears- faith-based experiences such as converting to Christianity; ...baptismal proceedings; ...sorrow over tragedies and other adversities and regrets and disappointments over the evil that men do. On other occasions, there may be special or commemorative events. For instance, many “...Days in the month of MAY,” may have special significance in the lives of many people. Particular days may be days for “...acknowledgment and reception of a newly-born child; ...birthday or wedding celebrations or ceremonies, resulting from romantic encounters.” These are among the many recurring commemorative events and/or human experiences. At other times, “...May Day or not,” people look back in time in reviewing their lives; ...the mistakes they may have made; ...the evil perpetrated; ...opportunities neglected; ...words spoken and their impact on the feelings of the other person; the gladness and/or sadness they have experienced for themselves or their achievements and or successes and/or failures of themselves and others. These are all part of the human experiences.


In other context, whether on “...Ash Wednesday or May Day,” in the corrupt human heart, all that is “...evil, desperate and wicked” are manifested. The heart, therefore, is the reservoir of man’s “...treacherous thoughts, words of fury and evil deeds.” Hence, while it has been said that “...There is spiritual wickedness in high places,” so too is the saying that “...There is secular wickedness in high places.” It was the experience that treachery and evil often usually bring demise to “...the unethical and grossly incompetent; ...the devious, dangerous and the treacherous.”  Graver, however, were the misdeeds, influenced by ignoble intentions. Manifestations of these were evidenced by disloyalty among organizational colleagues-operating clandestinely, desperately and with despicability. Frequently, when memories were aroused, they may either return to inspire “...gladness or sadness in the hearts of mankind.”


Furtherance to the development of the “...May Day Story,” hence, it is intended to refer to a particular unprecedented occurrence on the night of “...Friday, May 19, 2005.” To the great majority of aggrieved members of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda (RPFAB)- deeply committed, loyal, efficient, competent and responsible men and women, were accorded a “ ...Rude Awakening.” The occurrence, seemingly connivingly designed with nefarious motive, intent and purpose, may even prevent the “...Dead in Christ from rising.” Shockingly and unsuspectingly, some twenty “...superior, subordinate police officers and Constables” were issued letters with directives from a Constitutional body called the Police Service Commission (PSC). The letters speak to “...instantaneous granting of unsolicited vacation leave.”


Interestingly, of the twenty personnel to whom letters were addressed, only two officers averted the apparent “...high-handed and victimizing actions of the ‘PSC.’ They were then Inspector Alvin “Roots” Thomas and Acting Corporal Olson Hector. In spite of entitlement, neither those two personnel nor the other eighteen had requested or applied for vacation leave. The former had courageously and flatly refused to accept the unsolicited and provocative letter. He proceeded to perform his official duties with official and professional normalcy. The latter, Corporal Hector, had shouted “...Mayday; ...Mayday; ...Mayday,” to the Courts and was “...Saved by the Judges gavel” with a favorable ruling that effectively nullified the “...objectionable directive.”


There are some thirty one calendar days in the month of May. No one knows what might occur or transpires on any given day. The Scripture speaks to this and warns “... Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou know not what a day may bring forth;” It also cautions “...An honest man may become a beggar” [Proverbs 27.1 & 13]. Conversely, a dishonest man may incur his wrath. Such may have been the reason for the spectacular sprint, not of Usain Bolt, but Kenroy Marshall. He may have been “...Running from the wrath of man” [Caribarena: June 3, 2013]. Evidence revealed calculation, that there was a consciousness that they were perpetrating acts of “...evil” in gaining “...meritless secular favors and/or pecuniary advantages over others.” The identified saboteurs had done so “...under pretext of patriotism, yet conspicuously under insularity and treachery.” Traitors shall know that there are “...no free lunches” and like the biblical account on Judas, there is an ultimate price to pay.


Memories, it has been said “...Don’t live like people do.” This without a shadow of doubt is true to the core. Memories of some experiences, particularly those involved “...organizational treachery,” have always had varying effect on the human mind and spirit. Conversely, when people “...Fall from Grace,” it has more telling effect on the mind, than a Curtly Ambrose short-pitched ball to the rib-cage. Within the Police Service [ANU], some falls may have been initiated by the conduct of individuals. Some may be precipitated by “...initiatives,” individually, ambitiously, courageously and purposefully” taken. The action of Gender Affairs Minister Honourable Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro makes the point. Today, even “...her resilience and a determined will to live,” makes her even more appreciative of the right to life and the pleasure of living. She had initiated community mobilization in a “...public march and candlelight vigil against crime and violence.” These were primarily due out of concern for the safety and protection of “...sexually victimized, defenceless women and girls.”


In collective spirit, they had attempted to “...Take Back the Night” from the menacing and seemingly unstoppable sex predators within the society. At that time such initiative may have been clearly seen as the distress signal “...Mayday.” Enraged, rightly so, when an accused person walked free due to “...lack of substantiating evidence,” she retorted with “...Passionate Displeasure “...Somebody dropped the ball.” By the time expatriate Law enforcement Consultant, Alphonse Breau had completed review of “...the working and effectiveness of the Police Service, providing, inter alia, professional assessments of the “...competency, leadership and managerial skills” of the upper echelon of the Police Service, “...four of the most senior personnel were recommended to be “...Dropped” from the Police Service.” They had seemingly “...Dropped the Ball.”.” She was in fact shouting “...Mayday! ...Mayday! ...Mayday!” 


Subsequently, the “...Termination Axe,” of the Police Service Commission (PSC) eventually fell with telling severing effect upon the “...careers of Delano Christopher and Anthony Hopkins” [Aug. 28, 2008]. Ironically, on “...MAY DAY” May 5, 2009,  the career light for Deputy Commissioner Albert Smith had faded, and remained so, even after he had shouted to a High Court Judge “ ...Mayday! ...Mayday! ...Mayday!” When he sought to have it illuminated, Attorney General Honourable Justin L. Simon QC, stroking his meticulously groomed, snowy white beard shouted to the Court “...No Way! ...No Way! ...No Way!” Assistant Commissioner Davidson White survived and seemingly has no reason to shout “...Mayday! ...Mayday! ...Mayday.”


Except for a definitively “...Referral position,” the constitutional responsibilities and functions of the ‘PSC’ include (i) “...Making appointments and/or confirmation of appointments; (ii) ...Exercising disciplinary control of ranks above Corporals; and (iii) ... Facilitating Transfers as seem meet by the Commissioner of Police” [Constitution Order 1981: Section 105]. Thus, if no matters were referred, it would have nothing to address. Hence, unless such “...Referrals and/or Recommendations” were made by the Commissioner of Police, his responsibilities for “...Superintendence; ...Administration and Operations” of the Police Service are not dependent upon the “...whims and fancies” of the PSC, but are protected by Law. Consequent upon such role, responsibilities and functions, no such or attendant powers and/or authority for “...recruitment, selection and screening” reside with, or vested in the “...Figurehead Body,” neither in substance nor form; the Constitution nor the governing Police Act.


Two critical factors shall be borne in mind (i) ...only general directions shall be entertained from the Minister; (ii) ...responsibility for command and control, administration and operations, rest solely with the Commissioner [Section 6 (i) (a) Chapter 330]. Notwithstanding their’ “...presumptive intellect, honesty, integrity and noble intentions,” frequently, members of regional Police Services Commission appeared to have been confused over their “...prescribed role, functions and responsibilities” and by extension, understanding of the administrative words “...Command and Superintendence.” Invariably, the ‘PSC’ frustrate Commissioners, equally as much as they humiliate, discriminate against, and/or victimized subordinates. Most are seen as hindrances to organizational growth and obstacles to personnel development.


 When apparent overly ambitious members of the Police Service Commission (PSC) knowingly sought to usurp his “...powers. Their apparent “ ...unwelcomed intrusion” in the administrative processes of recruiting personnel to the Police Service” had prompted Attorney General Honourable Justin L. Simon QC into a timely “ ...legal intervention.” He had offered “...Administrative Protection” to Commissioner Vere Browne. There was no evidence that distress calls “...Mayday; ...Mayday” had been dispatched. His official intervention necessitated no litigious proceedings, and goes to his credit. Supporting contentions, that the ‘PSC’ had attempted to intrude in administering functions outside its areas of responsibility, the governing Police Act, states in concise and unambiguous language “...Subject to the provisions contained in the Act “...A Commissioner of Police, who, (i) ...subject to the provisions of this Act; (ii) ...general directions of the Minister’ shall have the COMMAND and be responsible for the SUPERINTENDENCE of the Force”


In agencies such as Law enforcement, it is difficult enough fighting the elusively dangerous and deadly criminals. Conversely, it is even worse contending with forces adverse to “...ethical standards of behavior and professionalism; ...management principles and best practices in Law enforcement.” For the most part many people have not the slightest inkling of Police management and/or Law enforcement procedures-“...administratively and operationally.” It was the experience that many members of Police Services Commission had created situations, injecting acrimonious feelings, as they “...sewed seeds of discord among Law enforcement administrators and subordinates.” These had the effect of fermenting and fuelling resentment, animosity and/or rancor toward them. Consequently, many were seen as “...Retarding Progress,” while creating divisions and/or rifts, enabling an environment that is conducive only to “...news-mongering, animosity, internal frictions and organizational instability.” If “ ...perceptions, beliefs and insularity” are to be eliminated, then perhaps, the time may have come for streamlining Commissions with members appointed, not necessarily on merit or “ ...Performance Capabilities,” but for reasons of environmental affiliation. Then there may be no need for Commissioners and other members to perform their duties on “...MAY DAY,” without having to shout “...Mayday! ...Mayday! ...Mayday!”


Seemingly borne out of “...calculated vindictiveness and obscurity, the Police Service Commission (PSC) “...suspected courses of action” had brought days of reckoning for all a sundry- “...opportunist law enforcement personnel and a victimized and timid citizenry. Now “...Christopher and Nelson “...gone; ...Bennette honorably demitted,” and as crime and violence escalate, it places Commissioner Vere Browne in a rather “...awkward an unenviable position.” Consequently, either himself or the policy-makers might be forced to shout to Senators Dr. Errol Cort, Collin Derrick and consultant Alphonse Breau “...Mayday! ...Mayday! ...Mayday!”


Frequently, the simpletons, gullible and even those intellectually equipped were sometimes “...deceitfully influenced or persuaded to act against conventional wisdom. Invariably they had acted to their “...detriment, that of the community and against the national economic and security interest. Such reflects “...impulsivity in behavior and un-reasonability of actions.” There are endless possibilities for effective enforcement agencies. However, whatever the situation and/or motivation, experience has taught that in organizations, such as Law enforcement, where expediency and/or experimentations were miscalculatedly and/or irrationally used in “...circumventing established rules, procedures and protocols,” these have often proved problematic and costly. These, ultimately, have been the price of “...shortsightedness and/or mismanagement.” Thus, in the event of impending disaster, imminent danger and/or the exponential rise in “...Crime and Violence,” since the latter signifies nothing to celebrate, for their “...safety, protection and peace of mind,” as there may be no immediate respite, Prime Minister Dr. Baldwin Spencer, Dr. Errol Cort, actual victims of crimes and all peaceful and law abiding citizens, reserve the right to shout “...MAYDAY! ...MAYDAY! ...MAYDAY!”

Hits: 1931

2 Comments In This Article   



#2 John French II » 2013-08-26 18:20

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! To the Venerable Pompey, SOS - Save Our Souls Lest We Perish!
Politically, Economically, Socially & Technologically, The Good Ship PEST is sinking fast! There is no one, not one to whom the Bewildered & Bemused Citizens & Residents may cry: Master Save Us!
Add to our woes,This Cyber Violence from Foreign & Domestic Forces which our PSC, Min of Security, AG & CoP lack the capability to attend to & stem calls of MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY! to the ''Victorious God Willing' Arab Minister of IT.
Oh Gad! Pray Fuh Mi Picknees!
Go Well! Much Appreciated with Respect!

John French II


#1 Antiguan » 2013-08-26 09:43

Mr. Pompey, it seems to me that on every aspect of out lives here in Antigua we need to cry MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY ...


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Mr. Rawlston Pompey

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