Draft Proposal for a PEOPLES PARTNERSHIP to help strengthen Barbados in its IMF negotiations and to pave the way for a New Economy

Submitted by DAVID  COMISSIONG, President, Clement Payne Movement

In the months and years immediately ahead of us, our country — Barbados — will be facing the dual but inter-related tasks of dealing with the IMF and revamping our model of national development.

As is to be expected, our newly elected Government will take the lead on these two crucial national tasks, but it is critical that we — the people of Barbados — do not simply sit back and leave it all up to our Government !

Indeed, we need to mobilize and organize ourselves to develop, advocate for, and commence the implementation of initiatives that demonstrate that a properly mobilized and energized Barbados is capable of solving its economic problems without the imposition on it of negative, anti-people , inhumane austerity measures.

We need to create a national Network whose mission would be to demonstrate that we — the Barbadian people — are capable of undertaking the primary responsibility for developing our own nation, and of creating a new economy that is much more locally owned and people-based and controlled.

Indeed, the mere mobilization of a credible effort to embark upon this type of mission will send a very powerful message to the IMF and will immeasurably strengthen our Government in its negotiations with that international financial institution. And most importantly — it will provide our Government with an objective basis for believing that whether we receive the foreign financial assistance we are requesting or not, that our country and its people possess the fortitude, commitment, and talent to work our way through the crisis that we currently face.

Yes, Barbados already has a “Social Partnership” comprising the top leadership of Government, Private Sector Business, and the Trade Unions, but what we are proposing is a more “grassroots” type Network that is much more people-based, and that is unapologetically based on the notion of a molilized and empowered citizenry rising to the task of sensibly sorting out our national problems and undertaking primary responsibility for taking the country forward.

We are therefore envisaging a “People’s Partnership” comprising trade unions and their members, farmers, fisherfolk, wayside and market vendors, students, youth organizations, cultural workers, artistes, academics, manufacturers, environmentalists, sports clubs and associations, credit unions, cooperatives, churches that practice the Social Gospel and the preferential option for the poor,small businesses, community-based organizations, craft-people, women’s organizations, parent-teacher associations, old scholar associations, relevant professional organizations such as the Association of Social Workers, service clubs, teachers, and medical practitioners.

We further envisage such a “People’s Partnership” developing, advocating, and –where possible — commencing upon the implementation of such initiatives as :-

  • a “Buy and Support Local” campaign;
  • a national energy conservation effort;
  • an organized national effort to transition to solar energy;
  • a national food production and consumption programme;
  • an effort to bring idle lands into agricultural production;
  • a national programme of philanthropic contributing to critical institutions such as the QEH;
  • a national effort to revamp the Public Service and Statutory Corporations;
  • a national campaign to strengthen our trade unions and our people’s support for our trade unions;
  • a national Employee Share Ownership Programme (ESOP);
  • the construction of a Cooperative or People’s sector of the economy;
  • new national commitment to support small and community-based businesses;
  • a national effort to establish a foreign exchange earning Education industry;
  • a collaborative effort to construct our own Cultural or Arts-based industries;
  • a community-based anti-littering and environment protection effort;
  • a national community-based governance programme;
  • a programme to invest representatives of the community-based governance system with the authority to oversee or “police” government agencies that provide critical services to the public;
  • a public education and consciousness-raising effort aimed at eradicating corruption and wastage in the public sphere;
  • new initiatives in Tourism development that are based on the participation, heritage and culture of our people;
  • new initiatives in Sports, Cultural, Health and Heritage Tourism based on popular participation and ownership;
  • new initiatives in developing Manufacturing industry based on a cooperative approach and on elevated standards of education and training of our people;
  • a new and enhanced engagement with our Barbadian / Caribbean diaspora;
  • new initiatives in life-style enhancement and disease prevention;
  • a public educational effort to promote responsible and sustainable individual and organizational practices;
  • development of a comprehensive national consciousness about the need to conserve foreign exchange or reserve it for essential imports;
  • new anti-crime and anti- social deviance efforts;
  • new school support efforts;
  • a comprehensive effort to revamp our national philosophy of education in order to produce an ever-increasing cohort of young intellectually prepared and trained nation builders rooted in a deep understanding of and commitment to their country;
  • new outreach and relationship-building initiatives directed at our CARICOM and wider Caribbean brothers and sisters;

and the list goes on.

It is against this background that we would now like to invite you and other representatives of your organization to a Discussion Meeting on ________ the __ day of June 2018 at the Clement Payne Cultural Centre, Crumpton Street, Bridgetown, commencing at ____ AM / PM.

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss this proposal for a “People’s Partnership” network; to determine to what extent your organization may wish to participate or undertake a leading role in this new initiative; and to generally map out a strategy for taking the initiative forward.

Please respond and give us your feedback to this Proposal at clementpaynechambers@gmail.com.