|Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo|
Government is committed to tackling unemployment in this country, and despite Barbados’ modest economic growth, it has maintained jobs in the public sector, and will continue to work with the private sector.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this assertion as she delivered remarks to open the 37th Sir Winston Scott Memorial Lecture, which was last Monday at the Frank Collymore Hall.
Dr. Byer Suckoo stressed that although Barbados was affected by the global economic crisis, the Ministry of Labour would continue to create jobs for the unemployed and enhance the skills development of the island’s workforce.
She added that the government not only maintained jobs within the public sector, but helped to reduce the incidence of job loss in the private sector through incentives, relief funds and tax waivers.
"We are creating employment where we can, working with local and foreign businesses to create more employment, and growing our economy to support jobs," the Labour Minister said.
She continued: "It is a journey which, we hope, will help us to reduce our unemployment and ensure that all Barbadians continue to enjoy a high standard of living.?? We endeavour to see all Barbadians productively employed, perhaps we even encourage them to create that job for themselves."??
Reiterating that her Ministry was assiduously working to find employment for Barbadians, she said: "We have been actively seeking to expand our External Employment Programme by pursing new employment opportunities in the cruise and hotel industries overseas, which I might add have resulted in tremendous success.?? We are also investigating new opportunities in Western Canada, particularly in skilled and non-traditional areas."
Moreover, the Labour Minister inferred that initiatives such as the Medium-Term Development Strategy 2010-2014, the National Employment Policy and the Decent Work Country Programme further addressed employment creation.
Talking about the Medium-Term Development Strategy, she explained: "The objectives are protecting jobs now, as well as broad-based economic growth and development in both new and existing areas."
She pointed out that the strategies to accomplish these objectives were: improving the labour force skills to function in the global economy by strengthening education and training; and implementing major governmental, capital, and infrastructural projects.
The Labour Minister added that other strategies included accelerating job-based labour market reform; facilitating access to regional, hemispheric and global jobs; ensuring that fiscal and other policies attracted investment and creating employment opportunities through training and investment for small businesses and innovative ventures.
Dr. Byer Suckoo noted that Barbados’ Decent Work Country Programme had five priority areas and was built on the International Labour Organisation’s Decent Work Agenda.
She outlined: "[It includes] strengthening national employment policies; enhancing competency-based technical and vocational education and training and lifelong learning; developing a culture of entrepreneurship and strengthening local entrepreneurs to be competitive in existing and new economic activities; strengthening the capacity of the tripartite partners to contribute to economic and social development and improving public awareness of their roles and functions and promoting policy coherence."