Less than a week after the contentious meeting of the Social Partnership depending on which side of the issue you are located three positions to be drawn:-
Prime Minster Freundel Stuart neutered the two other members of the social partnership,i.e. the four largest trade unions (BWU,BUT,NUPW and BSTU) and the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) by not yielding from government’s stated position to implement a 10% National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL). He also demonstrated CONTROL of the partnership as Chairman of the Social Partnership by issuing a directive to televise the meeting.
The four unions won the day because they forced the prime minster to move from a hard position when he agreed to reschedule the meeting by one week. At the meeting the Unions were able to restate outstanding positions making the NSRL a priority issue. The BPSA shared the Union’s position on NSRL wit the added grievance that more dialogue between members of the partnership.
Independent members of the public remain disappointed the touted Social Partnership could have allowed the relationship to breakdown to the point where the country- gripped in a protracted state of economic fatigue- had to suffer a loss of productivity hours as a result of the elevated state of the industrial climate.
BU’s position can be found in the number 3 position. Without directly casting blame on any stakeholder the Social Partnership failed to deliver on one of its mandates to create a forum for its three stakeholders of labour, private sector and government to dialogue and reconcile issues in the national interest. The Social Partnership failed to prevent the spectacle the world had to witness last week at the Hilton hotel. It is clear the Social Partnership will NOT be effective in carrying out its mandate while Prime Minister Stuart and the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is in office. This was confirmed by the post meeting statements by Herbert, Moore and McDowall.
It is depressing to the BU household and a cadre of Barbadians who have to suffer through a period in our history that is characterized by transactional leadership from all spheres of our society. Instead of witnessing leaders in our midst who are working to inspire Barbadians to be the best we can be by transforming the economy to one that is globally competitive, reviewing and modifying our governance framework to promote the best ethical behaviour, instead we remain locked on a path that will lead to our inevitable destruction. And it did not begin under this DLP government which makes the political rhetoric we have to endure daily in traditional and social media fora moot. Why are we still dumping garbage at Mangrove and covering with a caterpillar? Why have we not been able to implement a waste to energy system that is relevant to a SIDs? Why have we not established sports and cultural programs to nurture and explode the talent and aspirations of our people -especially the youth? Why the hell have we not been able to leverage the billions invested in education to create new opportunities to create employment for our people and in the process add more interesting elements to the Bajan brand? A rebrand that will encourage breast swelling pride by young and old to be a Bajan? Instead we have surrendered what is possible for our nation to a narrow and limited number of people –the political class.
Prime Minister Stuart you were successful in neutering the Social Partnership. Are you able though to infuse ALL Barbadians- especially Blacks- with the confidence necessary to become owners of capital? We say Blacks unapologetically because for the most part Blacks in our country depend on minority and foreign owned businesses to put food on the table and pay the mortgage. Your party the DLP like the BLP depend on financing from minority businesses to win political office. Until the day comes when Blacks in Barbados are able to influence major decisions because they control capital we are no better off than how the ‘free slaves’ had to exist during the Apprenticeship Period of 1834.