Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley speaking at at the Naming Ceremony of the CARICOM Building, in honour of Barbados’ fifth and longest-serving Prime Minister, the late Professor Owen Arthur. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced a major transformative initiative for this country and its citizens, including young people.

Ms. Mottley highlighted aspects of the Future Barbados Framework, ahead of it being taken to Cabinet, as she delivered remarks, at the Naming Ceremony of the CARICOM Building, in honour of Barbados’ fifth and longest-serving Prime Minister, the late Professor Owen Arthur.

The Prime Minister said the Future Barbados Framework was Government’s “moonshot factory”.  She stated that Government would work with young people produced by The University of the West Indies and other institutions over the next few years, particularly the first phase between now and March next year, to help it settle on some goals it would like to have by 2026.

“That we want to earn for the Government of Barbados at least $100 million in value, through either new revenue or cost savings; that we want to reduce by at least 50 per cent the prevalence of five major social problems as identified by ourselves, but consistent with United Nations SDGs framework.

“…We would want that there be at least the creation of 2,000 new jobs, against the context of this Future Barbados Framework, not for the entire economy, because we will create jobs separate from this initiative…. We will also seek to use this opportunity to elevate Barbados to the top 10 per cent ranking on the Youth Development Index, the SDGs and also the Social Mobility Index. And that finally, Barbados must be recognised as a hub for social innovation,” she explained.

Ms. Mottley identified five areas to be looked at, namely future health, where a roadmap would be designed to reduce childhood obesity by at least 50 per cent by 2026, and the development of systems, strategies and campaigns to reduce plastic pollution, carbon emissions, and waste production.

“Three, that we will seek through the use of digital technologies to reduce youth unemployment by 50 per cent by 2026. Fourth, that we will use our educational system, formal and non-formal, to ensure that every Barbadian student and every Barbadian who…wants to learn a second language can do so by 2026.

“Finally, that we also develop this partnership systems curriculum and technologies, simply to reduce crime, and to reduce violence in our landscape, whether that be verbal or physical,” she continued.

During her wide-ranging address, the Prime Minister disclosed that she would be leaving the event to have discussions on the global minimum corporate tax rate.  

She said though that a world rooted in fairness and transparency should never exclude the perspective or comments of the most vulnerable among its global community.

“Particularly,” she added, “when it is simply to ask for clarification, and to ask for the framework, and the timeframe within which matters, that can affect as much as 13 per cent of our revenue, will have to be crafted.”

Ms. Mottley insisted: “We accept that the world will go where it wants to go. But we equally accept that the world cannot so disrupt the organisation and functioning of nation states without so much as a conversation, and without so much as the provision of details…. To do so would be horrific and destabilising, as we fight major existential crises, such as climate and such as the pandemic against the background of vaccine inequity.”

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