From left to right: Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Anne Reid; Director of the BPSA, John Williams; Minister of Labour and Chairman of the Sub-Committee of the Social Partnership, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, and President of CTUSAB, Cedric Murrell, addressing the audience at the breakfast meeting. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

The focus of the Social Partnership of Barbados has evolved over the past 18 years and it is now a body which is more intensely involved in the economic and social development of Barbados.

This view was expressed today by Minister of Labour and Chairman of the Sub-Committee of the Social Partnership, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, while speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by the Barbados Private Sector Association for the participants of the Caribbean-Canada Emerging Leaders Dialogue, who are on study tour to Barbados.

"The role of the Social Partnership has evolved over the past 18 years or so.?? The Social Partnership was born in an era of dispute and social dislocation and initially was more of a trade union bargaining type arrangement…Folks were definitely very much concerned [by this as] sometimes it seemed that the social partnership was the trade unions, and certainly we know that other members of the Social Partnership had from time to time expressed concerns with being a part of that organisation…

"But over the years that has changed, so much so that back in 2008 at the start of this current economic crisis, it was the Social Partnership that established a special working group on the economy and they crafted a short and medium-term action plan to address the global economic crisis. This signaled to the country, it signaled to the Government too, that they were not just about being combative, but they were putting the country first," she explained.

The Minister added that the challenge now was to assist reticent members to recognise the niche that the Social Partnership had carved out for itself and to be a little less fearful about participating in meetings.?? "The focus of the Social Partnership has changed so now the challenge is for members to adjust to the new roles and to understand that we’ve changed the game a little… We are putting Barbados first and we are doing it together. We are learning to appreciate each other," Dr. Byer-Suckoo stated.

As part of the improved arrangement, she noted that all legislation that could impact on how work is done in this country and how it is produced was brought before the committee for consideration before it was passed. "We have also looked at productivity at the airport and how we can enhance the movement of people in and out of the airport, we have looked at entrepreneurship and the Central Bank of Barbados has given us an update from time to time on the economy," the Chairman added.

She also disclosed that the body had collaborated with the Barbados Tourism Authority and was continuing to work with the National Initiative on Service Excellence, which was born out of the Social Partnership.??


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