Human progress is still uneven in Barbados and the true potential of our nation’s people remains untapped.
Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo lamented these findings last Tuesday, while speaking at the media launch of the 2016 UNDP Human Development Report, at United Nations House.
Making reference to data trends in the report’s Human Development Index (HDI), Senator Byer Suckoo stated that Barbados had made significant progress in the area of human development over time.
She disclosed that the HDI had climbed steadily to 0.795 in 2015, keeping Barbados within the high human development category and positioning it at 54 out of 188 countries and territories.
In addition, she said, Barbadians were also living longer, and demonstrated further progress through a higher standard of living between 1990 and 2015.
In spite of these developments, the Minister indicated that human progress has been “uneven”… and much of the country’s human potential remained untapped.
She therefore disclosed that as the Ministry of Labour continued to develop and evaluate its programmes to address these trends, the synergy between human development and the Decent Work Agenda remained in focus.
“Work is critical for macro level objectives such as equitable economic growth, poverty reduction, gender equality and environmental sustainability… Ultimately, work unleashes human potential, human creativity and the human spirit…
“This specific  report also widened the concept of work to be more than just jobs or employment alone, but to include care, voluntary and creative work, which is often carried out predominantly by women. It also highlighted that the quality of work, the conditions of work and the societal value of work are important considerations,” she stressed.
The Minister of Labour also supported the comments of Youth Economist and panelist Neisha Cave, who in her presentation underscored the importance of having ready access to data, in order to analyse societal trends and develop effective solutions.
As such, the Senator called for the inclusion of suggestions from the youth, minorities and other groups, so that everyone was represented when policies were being developed.