Collaborative efforts on the part of Government, the private sector, labour and international agencies in the fight against COVID-19 in Barbados have been lauded by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.
In an address to the nation from her official residence at Ilaro Court, Prime Minister Mottley showered praise on all entities responsible for planning and bringing the country thus far.
Ms. Mottley praised those on the front line, including the medical profession, the public sector, from her Cabinet to civil servants, consultants, educators, bankers and persons within tourism and religion.
The Prime Minister said: “The plan we will present to you today results from our experts listening to all at home and abroad, without arrogance and pride. When I speak of “We”, I don’t only refer to myself as Chairman of the Cabinet, but I refer to all who have been acting in my stead and I thank them yet again, from the Acting Prime Minister [Santia Bradshaw] to those members of Cabinet who have been working flat out, particularly those who have been on the front line in Government’s administration, as we manage this crisis.
“But I also refer to the senior public officers from the Chief Medical Officer and all of the public health doctors and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health [and Wellness] and those from the security and emergency planning systems; those from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs; those from the Ministry of Small Business [Entrepreneurship and Commerce]; those from the Ministry of Agriculture, all across our sector we’ve taken a whole of Government approach and with also the social partnership is a whole of society approach.”
Prime Minister Mottley further praised the work of the island’s key economic advisors whom she said “navigated us so superbly through this first 20 months of tight-rope walking”. Included in this group were Ministers Ryan Straughn and Marsha Caddle, Dr. Clyde Mascoll, Dr. Kevin Greenidge, and Professor Avinash Persaud.
Stressing that they all “worked beyond the call of duty”, she added this was applicable also to the Social Partnership with whom there continues to be daily interaction.
The Head of the Private Sector, the Chamber of Commerce, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, the Bankers Association, the Barbados Association of Medical Professionals and representatives of all of the unions, including Senators Toni Moore and Caswell Franklyn, Edwin O’Neale, Akanni McDowell and Delcia Burke, as well as representative agencies in the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Association of Barbados were also accorded respect.
“We have been working,” she stressed, acknowledging that the country also had on board for this “national rebirth” the Jobs and Investment Advisory Council, comprising experienced persons and those with creativity.
She noted that it consisted of entrepreneurs, chief executive officers, the Principal of UWI Cave Hill, persons of the cloth, and former Ministers of Finance.
“We have a full team, locals and Barbadians internationally, who have come together and already have had an initial meeting with myself, as Chair of the Council and we expect to receive reports from the various sub committees to our five questions as to how we can justly rebuild and transform our nation,” she said.
Barbadians, who also reached out to the Government selflessly and tirelessly to serve and to share, were also lauded, with Ms. Mottley adding: “They are not in it for the recognition; there are too many, but we know who they are, and we are immensely grateful because this is our nation.”
While reminding Barbadians that all entities had come together to “tackle the greatest threat to our social and economic stability and well-being over the past 70 to 80 years since World War II,” the Prime Minister said: “So, as you can see, this is one of the most experienced and accomplished national advisory bodies as well as a Government that is committed to work, as we move forward in this country. The social partnership is part of our model.”
And, she further stressed: “As daunting as the task might appear, this team, empanelled to take on the assignment, will do its duty by the people of this nation”. And what is that assignment? We have embarked upon a plan to wrestle the impact and effects of COVID-19 to the ground. We want to contain it.”