Equal rights for all

Equal rights for all

Not everyone can express their views say $14,500 per annum, could be had in the CETA

on same sex couples, preach that it is a sin, quote the Bible and act as though same sex couples should be the scourge of the earth.

Whatever factually is the representation of the percentage of gay people in our society is what Barbados and Barbadians have to deal with — that is, accept them as a part of our society.

Whether gay for economic or financial gain, gay by practice, by birth, whatever, it’s a segment of our existing population that demands the same privacy, respect, work and right to exist as anyone else.

If only we can wrap our heads around the sense of peaceful co-existence, we can all forge ahead with finding solutions to more pressing issues, noting that gay people need to work, eat, spend money and support the economy wherever they are — it’s only business folk.

However, having said this, I’m sure I’ll get my verbal/ spiritual blessing from an upset few or many.

Working in the US with various programmes in the ’70s and ’80s to create jobs and to put people to work and keep them employed, I’ve been involved with the implementation of various job programmes. I wonder if anyone is looking at some of the models, wherever there were implemented in the US or other countries to see if they can be refined to

fit/be used in a Barbados’ employment situation. Of course, labour, government and private sector must

be at the table and be involved in a review of some of the models. Thinking outside the box, one may be able to adapt and adopt a workable model for Barbados. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, but every need to tweak it to fit what’s needed for the economy to grow and for businesses to be sustained and grow as well.

The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act programme employed many people throughout the US. The gist of the programme is that it provided for employees entry and pay scale to be compatible and comparable with existing job specifications, with less pay while in the programme, using alternative job titles.

Hence an accountant in the public sector, making, let’s

programme with the same qualification requirements for $12,850 with the job title of Fiscal Records Analyst.

As time went on, when positions outside of the CETA programme but within the public sector entity needed refilling, one of the CETA employees would be selected competitively to backfill that position, given their work ethic and fit. All CETA employees were evaluated using the existing (same) standards in the work place.

Savings were had by employing them in a parallel situation, with the unions on board, and hence,

employers had an already trained employee to backfill positions. Of course, consideration of annual retirement in a workforce, in what areas and at what age can be a guide to the selection of job titles for which such a programme can be developed and fitted.

The above is something that the government/public/ private sector employers along with labour unions in Barbados may look at. The model certainly can be tweaked to fit our current situation in Barbados, with the understanding that there is no barrier to keeping a person, now trained, from moving into a new or different job when available.

And yes, one can yell that I’m bringing some outdated idea to the table, etc., but if it works and saves money, why not? It beats no employment, provides training and pay, brings spending money back into the economy, and keeps some persons from emigrating simply to find employment.

Yes, CETA employees were permitted to join unions and pay dues like any other employee if they were in a job titles that were unionised. The caveat for the programme also remained that entry level jobs that were considered management jobs by title, were not a part of any union but served at the pleasure of the employers; public sector or participating private sector. Hence, an Assistant Management Engineering Analyst being paid $11,500 would fit the performance standards of a management job serving at the pleasure of the employing entity. The salaries reflected here are circa 1975/77 salaries.

Barbados’ economic development agencies, providing assistance to start-up businesses can also play a great role in insuring that business associations are formed in specific business grids to focus on whatever the businesses needs are for their commercial areas; having the members of the business associations address the issues, with the body having the economic development agency’s assistance to bring pressing problems to the fore for early intervention and/or solution.

Merging private sector businesses within their commercial area to some government grants/private sector loans and/or other than financial support to keep their businesses alive allows businesses to get an early seat at the table for early intervention when things are going not so well and may avoid business closings and layoffs.

Buy-local programmes needing the support and incentive of government can be enhanced. The dance with government is to ensure and keep businesses open and viable through their business associations and public/private sector-sponsored programmes for start-up businesses, incubation of same and easy access to capital or available grants to support the businesses. Again, if it works, why

not? Let me say here that these thoughts aren’t

original thinking and I don’t and won’t pretend to know what may have been tried or not tried in Barbados to date. What I know is that we have an intelligent, educated workforce that’s capable of working, being selected for jobs in several other countries because of our history, our education allow for the following of instructions, working honestly and in earnest, our stability, thoughtful and adaptive attitude to universal work and life situations.

It’s a fact folk, our Barbadian work reputation worldwide is yet intact — even if it’s scoffed at, at home. Of course, we need to run the numbers to see where the best fit can be made to stimulate the Barbados economy with these old tried and true ideas/thoughts/practices. Ask the finance minister where he’ll find the money for any programmes because I won’t know.

Since most Bajans do not go begging hat in hand, so to speak, I know no one will respond to tell me that I want Bajans to work for nothing. Maybe the suggestions, if worthwhile, will beat sitting at home, no money to spend and a few hungry eyes coming home to a limited or no meal.

— Stephen Small-Warner

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