Submitted by People’s Democratic Congress (PDC)
The Social Partnership in Barbados has served its time and the country has to move on to the creation of other greater nation building initiatives.
It is high time that those who presently occupy the Social Partnership be told this in no uncertain terms. Otherwise, the broad masses and middle classes of Barbados must at this stage get up and make sure that this piece of social decay is removed from the political landscape of the country!
What the country needs right now, instead of this very ideologically barren and discredited Social Partnership – is serious and visionary intellectual political leadership for further national growth development coming from outside this DLP/BLP/Social Partnership foolishness! While it is true that the Partnership would have been a stabilizing factor and influence throughout the 90s and into the mid 2000s, it has, throughout its existence, remained true to form – it has been one hell of a methodology in political corporatist engineering that was designed only for a particular time, and to suit a particular purpose. Hence, many people will remember that it emerged out of the very tumultuous 1991 structural adjustment and stabilization period in Barbados. And, too, will remember that both its historical emergence and its social function denoted a desire by a few people within the major political government business and labor components of the country, to devise a common and stabilizing approach to some aspects of national problem solving, at what was then a very critical juncture in the country’s history.
Moreover, it was founded on a political compact to advance and protect – in a backhanded manner – the fundamental, and sometimes interlocking, personal political professional financial interests of the MAJOR actors involved in each of these social segments that happen to be so fundamentally and diametrically opposite to each other within the Barbadian society.
So, the truth is that the Social Partnership was never designed to protect the fundamental political class interests of the broad masses and middle classes of Barbados, but was designed to ensure that the majority of the latter classes continue to be severely politically exploited and socially marginalized by those private sector, governmental and trade union oligarchs that have used the bailiwick of the Social Partnership as another process through which they would advance or protect their fundamental interests, whatever their color or religious or gender backgrounds.
Furthermore, a serious analysis of the Social Partnership would show that it has not really been a partnership either, in that, it has never fused any of the operations of the three segments at any levels into a whole; it has never had established a secretariat; it has never been legally incorporated in Barbados or anywhere else; it is not even an association; and it has never even set in train a process to carry out a review and evaluation of its performance over the years and to look at its future.
By its adhering to the ritualism of signing off on those meaningless Prices and Income Protocols every now and then, is what this gathering of social conservatives of the least progressive kind has become famous for, while still being the creators of nothing worthwhile, or the problem-solvers of nothing significant, in Barbados.
Moreover, by being so certain in their own minds that when they had brought about the Social Partnership in 1991, that they had brought it about on the basis of the assumption that the main “top down” hierarchical authority management structures in the Government, Business and Labor segments will have remained – in the distant future – essentially the way they (the structures of the major components) have been for years, would have meant that the founding oligarchs would have been paying very little attention to what this arrangement itself was capable of doing – that is, proving that the era of “top down” hierarchically structured trade union and shareholder-owning companies can be brought to an end in Barbados – which – whenever it happens, and on the basis of the correct quantity and quality of political educative stimuli being injected in the corporate social structures of Barbados – will surely bring about a great phase in the historical development of Barbados. This Social Partnership shows that the social political basis can be easily laid for workers becoming exposed to the power of ownership, to the nuances of business development and therefore becoming democratic partners in the enterprises in which they themselves operate.
But still the PDC has to ask: where was the Social Partnership when the rates of electricity, water, and telephony companies in Barbados would have recently been and continue to be skyrocketing, and are especially devastating on the poor and the middle classes?
Where was it when this DLP Government imposed significant taxation on the backs of the broad masses and middle classes in the 2008 and 2010?
So, the news that the Social Partnership in Barbados is in the process of setting up an action team to look into many problems facing the economy, business and society in Barbados (Saturday Sun, March 24, 2012), would obviously have had the PDC very aghast.
Also, the idea that the setting up of this so-called action team would have come about through “certain concerns that were raised by private sector business and labor” during a meeting of some of the people within the Social Partnership some weeks ago could not be anymore farcical than it was, too. Imagine that there has been no existing culture of the Partnership having regular productive meetings and having any effective goal-oriented, capacity building and implementation processes within the Partnership itself, but the Prime Minister of Barbados can so loosely talk about an action team with committees?? Another set of useless undesirable talk shops!
If it was the case that the Social Partnership was fully functioning, it surely would have meant the pre-empting of such a so-called action team. Indeed, it smacks of smug, self-serving posturing that Mr. Stuart, Mr. Trotman, and Mr. Cave would want to make the public of Barbados believe that such a so-called action team could be quickly or slowly, and still be enough to re-energize and re-focus an already moribund Social Partnership.
However, it is obvious the Social Partnership has itself reached the inevitable point of no return. For, no amount of nostalgia, and sentimentally clinging to long past events and associations will cut it where it is clear that the Social Partnership must be brought to an end, and that very great and revolutionary initiatives, such as the ushering in of Executive Coalitional Government for Barbados, Constituents initiating, debating, and passing the laws of the country, Making workers become Partners in the enterprises in which they operate, the Abolition of Taxation, etc. must be brought into existence.
Finally, what is clear though is that given what Mr. Cave is reported to have been saying about the Almond Beach Resorts Affair, that he had warned Almond Beach Resorts, after it had bought Casuarina and Morgan Bay in St. Lucia, that its high debt could lead the company into serious trouble, and that if Almond had to go under, it would cause tremendous pain for the Barbados economy, since the resort’s main property, Almond Beach Village in St. Peter employed some 500 people and the Hotel chain brings in over 50 000 visitors a year (Mid-Week Nation, Wednesday, March 21, 2012), it is clear that his concerns – which have also been the basis of a Saturday Sun, March 24, 2012 editorial – are but reflective of so many things that the Social Partnership is not equipped to handle but that because of whose fundamental interests that are at stake, they are asked to be considered by the Social Partnership, without it being seemingly realized that there are some very fundamental problems associated with these things.