Give fair chance
Mottley, who is also a senior attorney-at-law, made her feelings known while delivering the keynote address this morning at the First Caribbean and Latin American Conference on Talent Management at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings.
Speaking on the topic The Linkage Between Meritocracy and Socio-Economic Development in Caribbean and Latin American Societies, she called for the opening up of the “windows of opportunity” for all.
“There are times in the life of an organism or a country, where you need to open up your system. We have had the benefit of almost 50 years of independence, yet we find ourselves hearing this refrain more and more and more, largely in the context of difficult economic times, that people feel that they cannot get a fair chance, a break, that they can’t get through without somebody calling a shot, without somebody doing something to ease the way,” Mottley declared.
She said it was of concern, because the natural consequences of that, “if not stemmed, would be an exodus of persons, either physically, which is not to our credit, because we already start with a limited resource base of a quarter million, even though we believe we can box higher than our weight, or a mental exodus where mental apathy sets in, and there is no greater emotion to fight than apathy.”
The attorney acknowledged that she was particularly concerned, because the mission of those who came in the years after independence, was essentially one of not just building a nation, but raising a people.”
“And what is raising a people. Raising a people, essentially, is making sure that we are capable of giving people everything that they need, irrespective of the circumstances of their birth, irrespective of their family support, irrespective even of their educational opportunities in their early years; because the one thing we have learnt, is that people mature at different levels,” asserted Mottley.
She suggested that it was this recognition of that universal principle, that led the country in 1995 to bring the white paper on education with the theme Each One Matters, but conceding that learning and development are essentially a life long process.
The former Attorney-General also suggested that one needed to go beyond recognition and practice and implement the Each One Matters mantra for every single citizen.
Mottley noted that while it was politically expedient to shout about what was being done for the poor, “we don’t seem to get it for the people in between the extremes who have been trying to pull up their boot straps, but who do not have the environment that allows them the best that they can be and get the access to opportunities that are further needed to improve themselves.”
She suggested that Barbados may have to bring in people from other Caribbean countries to raise the current population to what she believed would be its optimum number of about 400,000. Her reason for this position, was that Barbados could not continue to support a country with a quarter million people. (EJ)