Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick

Despite criticisms levelled against the existing Social Partnership Agreement in some quarters, a Government Minister believes that it is a crucial element in Government’s efforts to tackle the current global economic crisis.

This assertion was made by Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick while addressing participants of HLM Academy’s forum, entitled: Managing in a Recessionary Environment. The event was held recently at Hilton Barbados.

The Minister noted that a coordinated and collective response from Government, the private sector, trade unions and society as a whole, was necessary in dealing with the negative fall-out from the economic crisis.

Dr. Estwick said: “In this regard, the Government of Barbados can pride itself for adopting a model of governance which recognises the Social Partnership as critical in the management of the responses to the global economic and financial challenges.  In essence, this arrangement that we have adopted, has ushered in a new era of participatory democracy.”

The Economic Affairs Minister also challenged technocrats to re-tool their business strategies, and acknowledged that “it has become more apparent that the current economic and financial crisis brings with it enormous responsibility.
“Our economic agenda must therefore be more about communication, consultation and changes in the way we do business, than it will be about theoretical

Dr. Estwick further stated that “the type of action that I am referring to treats specifically to a new ethos of branch reform of the public and private business administration, which must become relevant and competitive. Such actions are necessary if this country, that we love so much, is to weather the current economic crisis and emerge as a competitive player in the global economy,” he stressed.

While cognisant that the region had weathered similar economic challenges in the past, the Economic Affairs Minister warned that “failure to put in place now, the appropriate institutional structures that will create the new foundations for lasting prosperity, would be an irreversible mistake of enormous consequences”.

To this end, Dr. Estwick pointed to some of the initiatives being implemented by Government, including the Short and Medium Term Action-Plan formulated by a Special Working Group on the Economy, a more than $80 million stimulus package, an injection of $20 million into tourism marketing and a $15 million Tourism Relief Fund.                                                                                                                                                            

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