Prime Minister Freundel Stuart receives a copy of The Red Book: A Guide to Employment Relations in Barbados from the BEC’s Executive Director, Tony Walcott at today’s Social Partnership Meeting at Hilton Barbados. (A. Gaskin/BGIS)

Government will host a national consultation on this island’s economy next month.

This disclosure came today from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as he delivered remarks at a meeting of the full Social Partnership at Hilton Barbados.

Mr. Stuart told the gathering, which included members of Cabinet, the private sector and the labour movement, that the meeting will be held on Friday, June 28, and urged them to prepare for the discussion so as to ensure it was useful and fertile.

The Prime Minister said the Social Partnership had served Barbados well over the past 20 years and had justified its existence. He thanked the members of the Social Partnership for the cooperation and understanding they had extended to Government in these very difficult circumstances. "In the absence of that kind of understanding and cooperation, I think the mountains which we have been called upon to climb would have been much more difficult to climb. We do not know when what we are going through will come to an end and we certainly cannot fold our arms despairingly and just decide to wait it out. We have to continue to battle our challenges and to try to come up with solutions to our problems," he contended.

He reminded his audience that the early 1990’s, in which the Social Partnership was conceived, challenged people’s innovative instincts, their initiatives and self-reliance.

"And, I suspect that we have to challenge those same instincts again because as we have had to acknowledge here in Barbados over and over again, nobody anywhere else in the world owes us a living, but we have a duty to live and survive on our little rock as best we can.

"We cannot in one breath boast of how literate a country we have and how high our education standards are and when we are faced with daunting challenges such as those with which we are dealing now, we cannot press into service that same education of which we so glibly boast to come up with the right solutions to our problems," he stated.

Mr. Stuart expressed the view that citizens must use their intelligence to get to the bottom of the country’s problems and try to come up with solutions that would make life in Barbados better for all.

Acknowledging that Barbados was not responsible for a lot of the challenges it faced, he noted, however, that because of the structure of the economic arrangements here, the country was feeling the full effect of mistakes and bad decisions made elsewhere. "And, in that context, we have had to become a little more inward looking and to try to determine how we can maximise and optimise the use of those resources – human and non-human – which are available to us as we confront these challenges," he stressed.

During the meeting, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Delisle Worrell, presented a status report on the economy.


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