Owen’s warning

Former PM says region can’t afford regular strikes

Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean cannot afford the “luxury” of frequent government shutdowns “for the pleasure of it”, and all parties must forge consensus in order to avoid “making gridlock the normal and familiar feature” of governance, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has warned.

In delivering the keynote address at the Second Annual Retreat of the National Partnership Council of Jamaica, Arthur presented a strong argument for the introduction of Social Partnerships in small, developing countries. He stressed that they add value to the work of the partners and to the overall national developmental endeavour, by making consensus building, rather than divisiveness, a major force in national life.

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur

“There are some nations that are rich enough to waste their democracy by shutting down their government from time to time, for the pleasure of it, by making gridlock the normal and familiar feature of the functioning of their system of governance, and by making opposition to everything proposed by their leader the main political strategy of key political institutions.

“In the Caribbean, we cannot afford such a luxury, especially since the countries have to grapple with a range of threats that go beyond the ordinary and which threaten to overwhelm them. For us, there can be no sensible option than to embed harmony and co-operation at the centre of our governance, and to do everything necessary to ensure that the partnership works,” the former Prime Minister told the audience.

Arthur insisted that the Social Partnership has contributed massively to Barbados’ progress over the past two decades, becoming the chief agency by which the economy was stabilized and its decline reversed.

Speaking on the topic, “The Social Partnership: Making the Decisive Difference”, Arthur contended that the tripartite grouping placed great emphasis on problem solving as part of their co-operation, noting that while Barbados had been cited as one of the success stories regarding the functioning of Social Partnerships, the country was now in dire straits.

“This is due not so much to any failings of the concept of a Social Partnership per se, but in large measure to the significant departure from its proper use. Barbados is now mired in a most debilitating economic crisis which is imposing incredible strains on the social fabric of the country, and engendering new forms of social disharmony,” the St Peter MP contended.

Arthur suggested that the crisis has persisted because there has been no substantial or successful effort to build a national consensus as to how to resolve the crisis, while communication between the partners has broken down.

6 Responses to Owen’s warning

  1. Alex Alleyne July 21, 2015 at 7:57 am

    These strikes are planned by the UNIONS and the oppositions in order to cripple the countries . I am looking forward to when they get in the driver’s seat and find out that the shoe is now on the other foot and still cant walk.

    • Olutoye Walrond July 21, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Now you know full well you don’t have a shred of evidence to say that.

  2. Philip Matthews
    Philip Matthews July 21, 2015 at 8:15 am

    If Owen Arthur’s advice was listened to 6 years ago no one would be striking now , the MOF has dragged this country down and is in the process of selling our birth right

    • bajanguyster July 21, 2015 at 10:03 am

      well said and so true

  3. Donna July 21, 2015 at 10:45 am

    We all know that this is true but we the people need to get the message across to the powers that be that we believe that the path they are taking is an even faster route to destruction. Sometimes you have to bear some short term pain to effect long term gain. But you have to have faith that the treatment will be effective. We do not have any faith in the government’s treatment. What we need is a rational restructuring of all state agencies and ministries. We do not need the haphazard reduction of staff without regard for the efficiency of the agencies and ministries. Handle the thing rationally and most Barbadians will grin and bear it.

  4. jrsmith July 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Bajans fault, they left everything to the politicians, who work for the interest of some people and not in the interest of the people.
    now we are stuck in the them and us and divide and rule situation. so easy to fool bajans ,Barbados is so middle class.
    now the so and so has hits the fan.

    What has been our peoples problem, they cast a vote in most cases because they could do so, in the interest of the party , didn’t really matter what the outcome, because lots of people /bajans got jobs and title, because the party they support was in power, it didn’t matter to the politicians, government after government whether the person were qualified or experience for the post.

    This is where our government management fail so miserably , pause for thought , how many of our politicians, would last in private industry, so what we bajans are supporting and paying for politicians who are all failures.

    Our ex Priminister was correct, when he remind us ,that we survived, with some history, because of the social partnership, but this has been eroded, because our present politicians, has become premadonas, rude, disrespectful, arrogant and is always ready for war feeling they are always right and ready to throw they toys out of they prams. our politicians have failed us.

    We the bajans need our island back, we need to gather ourselves together, also, remembering we have a young generation to leave some thing for.


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