Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo

Members of the Barbados Social Partnership sub-committee have recommitted themselves to making the work of that organisation a priority.

That was the word from Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, while speaking to issues discussed at the last meeting of that organisation, held recently at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael.

Dr. Byer Suckoo, who is also Chairman of the tripartite gathering, said that some of the previously scheduled meetings had to be postponed on a number of occasions due to other obligations of the members. However, she emphasised that members remained dedicated to ensuring that they work together for the good of Barbados.

"We have renewed our commitment to meeting, because we are still very cognisant of the fact that Barbados has a number of challenges that require concerted attention and effort.?? So, we believe that ours is a forum to come up with ideas, to look at issues and to even suggest and assist in [the] implementation of some of the ideas through our various constituents – the workers, employers and of course Government," she stressed.

Dr. Byer Suckoo disclosed that the main item discussed during the last meeting was a proposal for the amendment to legislation, which would allow shops to open during the times when cruise ships were in port. "The proposal is for shops to be able to open an additional eight hours.?? Under current legislation, a shop-owner may apply to open an additional four and a half hours," Dr. Byer Suckoo explained.??

Attention was also paid to whether trading should be done on days designated ???closed’ by legislation, which are Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Independence Day and Christmas.?? The Minister explained that it was decided that these days should remain closed.??

The possibility of allowing casino gambling on ships, while they were berthed in the port, was also dealt with by the committee.?? This, the Minister pointed out, was being investigated by the Ministry of International Business and International Trade. "It was just a discussion, but essentially what was discussed was to make it more attractive for ships to stay in Barbados for a longer period, and thereby have more opportunity to entice its passengers off the ship and onto our shores," she stated.

Noting that there was also a presentation on the importance of apprenticeship training by the Barbados Vocational Training Board, the Minister said she would like to see a more collaborative effort in this area.????

??"For example, the point was made that in Germany the apprenticeship programme is developed by the employers and the unions, and then presented to Government: Whereas, here in Barbados, Government prepares the programme and then goes out to the employers and unions for support…we want to move to a more collaborative effort and have the employers and the unions more involved," Dr. Byer Suckoo suggested.

A sub-committee has also been formed to oversee the implementation of the objectives in Protocol Six, over which the committee has some insight.??


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