Time for robust dialogue on national shutdown

Executive Director of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC) Tony Walcott is calling for “open and robust dialogue” to get to the bottom of why some employers defied Wednesday’s order to close their businesses.

“While there has been some suggestion that consideration may have to be given to enacting some legislative instrument to compel businesses to comply with such orders, the opportunity should be created to engage in open and robust dialogue to understand why the few businesses which breached the order took the actions they did,” Walcott told Barbados TODAY.

“The framework already exists, but dialogue is critical to ensure compliance and where exemption is sought, the grounds for such exemption are understood and properly declined or approved.”

Walcott said the BEC did not condone the actions of employers who breached national shutdown orders, noting that “these are issued in the best interests of the nation, its citizens and residents” and are aimed at ensuring safety in circumstances of impending danger.

The head of the private sector trade union also responded to suggestions by prominent businessman Ralph Bizzy Williams that what transpired on Wednesday was linked the recently passed Shops Act.

Walcott said employers who faced challenges with the implementation of the provisions of the Shops Act or similar labour or social legislations should formally raise the specific concerns with the BEC, which would be in a better position to advocate on their behalf.

“There are several other pieces of legislation which are currently in various phases of development and I specifically refer to the impending Holidays With Pay Bill and the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Bill, which members of the business community may wish to familiarize themselves with, so that they have a better understanding of the changing legislative landscape in which businesses will be expected to operate in,” Walcott said. 

4 Responses to Time for robust dialogue on national shutdown

  1. Edward Millington
    Edward Millington October 1, 2016 at 4:51 am

    Does the government have the authority to order an island-wide shut down in cases of emergency? If the answer is yes then the solution should be easy to find.

    • Olutoye Walrond October 1, 2016 at 11:00 am

      The government has the authority to impose a “state of emergency” which gives it extraordinary powers. In such a situation it can impose a curfew on citizens.
      This is quite distinct from a storm emergency.

  2. Dan Vaughn
    Dan Vaughn October 1, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Bim is a place of too much debates and forums in other words all talk and no action until some foolish or shameful thing happens

    • Donild Trimp October 1, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      Dan Vaughn, I could not have said it any better.

      Totally agree. I would go a little further and say that sometimes Barbados operates like a banana republic.


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