The Third Sector/Civil Society organisations have been assured that they will be consulted and allowed to dialogue on an updated legislative framework, developed over a year ago.
Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, gave this assurance today as he addressed the opening of the two-day initiative on Proposal Writing, being undertaken in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
Reminding members that some months ago he was made aware of their concerns related to the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Recommendation 8, Minister Jordan said this led to some legislative changes that impacted charitable organisations and his Ministry would work with the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) and the United Nations Development Programme to host a Government/Civil Society dialogue on the matter.
The FATF Recommendation 8 seeks to protect the integrity of non-profit organisations by reducing their vulnerability to terrorist financing, among other threats.
“It impacts you negatively; therefore, it becomes a matter that we have to pay some attention to. Some of you would be aware that [with] the CPDC, we have been involved in the development of a White Paper that calls for NGO legislation in Barbados.
“That very comprehensive paper, which was submitted to my office in April 2019, also highlighted a number of issues impacting the NGO community, including the lack of a formal structure to regulate the operations of those organisations,” he acknowledged.
The Labour Minister also provided an update on the efforts of his Ministry to put necessary measures in place to create the enabling environment for these organisations.
He stated that an examination was made of legislation from across the Caribbean and beyond to determine “a best fit for Barbados” and noted that a draft Cabinet Paper had been prepared to be submitted to Cabinet for approval once comments were received from relevant ministries.
He stressed: “That draft Cabinet Paper details a regulatory framework that will result in the enactment of legislation, including the establishment of an NGO Commission. All of this is aimed at enhancing and facilitating the work of the Third Sector.
“Let me assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that as progress is made with respect to the creation of draft legislation, you will be consulted and invited to provide feedback on its content. In other words, legislation will not be finalised for debate in parliament without your involvement.”
Speaking about the capacity building workshop, expected to be the first in a series, Mr. Jordan said the intention was to equip them with the requisite skills and knowledge to foster economic and social sustainability for their individual organisations and the Third Sector, more generally.
“You are required to engage, not only with local stakeholders, but with regional and international agencies as you seek to mobilise support, funding and other resources. The information you are going to receive today about proposal writing and later on about governance will redound to your benefit in this regard.
“The ability to positively impact and change the lives of women, men, the homeless, people living with disabilities, the young – whatever the area in which you are engaged, your efforts are commended,” he pointed out.
Further assuring the Third Sector that his Ministry would continue to partner with supporting partners to strengthen their capacity to pursue their vision, build resilience, and ensure their relevance, the Minister commended the United Nations Office for Barbados and the OECS, the Small Grants Facility and the International Labour Organisation, Caribbean Office for “their invaluable commitment to executing the workshop”.