Labour Minister Colin Jordan has encouraged delegates to the recently-held IX IDB Group Caribbean Civil Society Meeting to view transparency not only in terms of the sharing of information but in the discussing of that information.
Delivering remarks to a packed audience at the Hilton Barbados, Needham’s Point, St. Michael, he stressed the need to both share and discuss information to allow ordinary citizens and civil society members to utilize it in analyses, assessments and for decision-making purposes.
“It can only be understood if there is effort to raise awareness or educate potential users of the information. Information can’t just be placed in the public domain,” said Minister Jordan.
He stressed transparency was necessary even in the face of much misinformation in media, especially social media, and cautioned that such information must not be allowed to hinder the march to transparency, adding that fake news also had to be managed.
The Labour Minister also noted that transparency in public life and in matters affecting the people of the country would allow the ordinary people and civil society organizations (CSOs) to hold their leaders accountable whether they were politicians, policy makers, public servants or business leaders.
“What we are aiming therefore at is a system where people become involved in policy development and formulation, where they, using timely and relevant information, … make assessments and timely decisions, thus enabling them to hold their leaders accountable for the resources that have been placed in their stewardship,” said Minister Jordan, who is also responsible for Social Partnership Relations.
Alluding to the meeting’s theme: Citizen Engagement for Transparency, he told the delegates that civil society had a significant role to play in governance with CSOs functioning in many ways as the conscience of our Caribbean societies.
“You as members of CSOs have a responsibility to understand your role, articulate your role and to ensure that you are fully involved in the governance of your respective societies and also in the holding accountable of those who have been assigned the responsibility of leader,” Minister Jordan stated.