Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has underscored the importance of the social partnership, saying that even though the country has been affected by the world???s economic challenges, the tripartite arrangement has allowed all parties to work together to keep Barbados afloat.
Mr. Stuart made the comments today at a meeting of the Social Partnership at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
He said the character of the 22-year-old social partnership had been deepened, adding that it had responded to many of the changes in the world that had affected Barbados directly and indirectly.
Saying that he was looking forward to the one-day meeting, the Prime Minister continued: ???I hope we can have a civilised exchange on all of the issues which appear on our agenda. In order to make this meeting as fertile as possible, I decided that I would invite the private sector and their representatives and the representatives of labour to make recommendations as to what should appear on the agenda, and to be prepared to lead off discussion on the items suggested, so we can have a fruitful and fertile exchange on issues of importance to our respective social partners.???
Mr. Stuart stated that at the end of this meeting, he hoped all would be able to say that the pillars upon which the partnership ???rests are securely entrenched and securely protected???.
President of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, Cedric Murrell, said that the social partnership could surmount any challenges by returning to the foundation that created the atmosphere that allowed for the partnership.
Mr. Murrell continued: ???There was a clear decision then to give up, all sides, some aspect of what we would term our rights for the good of the country???and that must be our mantra going forward today. Barbados is too important a country for all of us for us not to understand and recognise that; other people outside of these shores have and we must not forget.???
He suggested the time had come to brush off the protocol, make the necessary revisions and fashion it for 2015 and beyond. ???We need to say to our sides that we must return to the adherence, to the consultative and deliberative mechanisms established by successive protocols,??? he contended.
Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association, Alex McDonald, insisted that its focus was to agree and implement the best possible solutions to keep Barbados on a sound footing. Mr. McDonald noted that during the day, there would be a discussion on the social partnership and the way forward.
???We anticipate that this discussion will define the nature and spirit of how we move forward from here. Collectively, we have the talent in this room to make Barbados soar,??? he remarked.??He stressed that the private sector had led the path of economic growth in the past and remained committed to seeing Barbados return to that state.