Holidays and the 'lower class'
Within recent times there have been criticisms of the number of public holidays in Trinidad and Tobago, and in virtually each case the holiday picked to be declared redundant is Corpus Christi. None of the articles/commentaries give a history of public holidays and their origins without which I cannot see the rationale for the arguments.
In the British colonial territories of the past it was the practice to ensure 12 public holidays to ensure that the hourly, daily and weekly paid worker got two weeks leave to compensate them for the fact that in the majority of instances the civil servants, bank workers and other white collar workers got two weeks leave whereas they did not. This number of public holidays was emphasised in British Guyana by a colonial secretary who created two extra holidays known as Clementi days to make up the 12. Sundays were considered common law holidays.
There are 14 public holidays in T&T excluding the two Carnival days. If we are therefore to reduce that number, why Corpus Christi? This feast is the only instance historically that I am aware of where Anglican British allowed the Roman Catholic Spanish to continue observance of a RC holiday to the extent that one pundit pointed out that even the governors of the day (Anglican?) participated. In my mind there is an historical connection.
So if we are to cut the numbers where should we go? Of absolutely no relevance is Boxing Day and possibly Easter Monday. Why not one of them? It is evident that many of the commentaries omit the plight of the "lower class" (for want of a better term). At present most white collar workers get a minimum of three weeks leave plus casual days plus medical leave while the hourly, daily and weekly paid workers rely for their days off on public holidays. One could say there is an argument to increase the number of holidays though one commentator seemed more put out by their irregularity throughout the year than the number.
It is unfortunate that in this country in academia, the legal profession, and the upper echelon of our society, little thought is given to those of us less fortunate. Pity!