‘Time for Social Partnership upgrade’
It’s time for an upgrade of the Social Partnership, immediate past chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Alex McDonald has suggested.
Delivering his final speech as chairman before handing the baton to Charles Herbert, the outgoing McDonald, who still believes the Social Partnership has not been meeting often enough, said while the tripartite arrangement had been serving its purpose, it was time for it to be improved.
“The Social Partnership such as we have, of course it can be more effective. Every institution created by man can be more effective and more oriented toward results, but what we do have is an opportunity at the level of the sub-committee for all elements of our great society to meet and discuss issues that are affecting us,” McDonald said.
“We need to take the Social Partnership to the next level that it should be . . . We need to refresh it and we need to discover what effect the Social Partnership can have,” he added.
McDonald challenged his successor to be consistent in views, advocacy and message on behalf of private sector operators, pointing out that it was about being “fair and accurate”, while asking for improvements for all sectors.
He said the economic and social challenges facing the country were not insurmountable, adding that the private sector had always been willing to engage in the necessary consultation and dialogue to come up with solutions.
“We have some of the finest brains . . . I think the call has been made. We are willing, ready and able to meet and I think that the time for that is long overdue,” pleaded McDonald, adding that between the private sector, Government and the labour movement, they could come up with solutions that would have both short and long-term effects.
Minister of Labour Dr Esther
Byer-Suckoo agreed that the Social Partnership was “a great avenue” for officials to come up with solutions to economic and social challenges facing the island.
However, Dr Byer-Suckoo, who is the chairperson of the sub-committee of the Social Partnership, said she was pleased that the tripartite arrangement had been successful so far.
She attributed its successes to its structure and the understanding of stakeholders.
“That is so important that we continue to do that – to put Barbados first. Yes, everybody has their own interest but we understand that in this environment we are interconnected,” the minister said.
Lauding McDonald for his unyielding advocacy on behalf of private sector operators during his tenure, Dr Byer-Suckoo challenged Herbert to set his agenda to address issues affecting the private sector grouping.
Adding that she wanted closer collaboration between the private sector organization and Government, she said low productivity remained a bugbear, which she was keen on seeing addressed both within and outside the Social Partnership through clear guidelines and improved communication.