Barbados Today Read, Watch, Listen & Discuss Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:46:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Be warned! Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:46:48 +0000 A top official in the Bureau of Gender Affairs is warning of the huge costs being incurred by Barbados as a result of domestic violence.

Nalita Gajadhar, acting director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs. 

Nalita Gajadhar, acting director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs.

Acting director Nalita Gajadhar said the issue could no longer be viewed as one that only affects individuals and families, in light of its associated national economic cost.

“Let’s look at what it costs our hospital to house a women who has been beaten by her partner. What does it cost us to maintain an Accident and Emergency Unit? What does it cost us when that person has to go into a ward and stay in a bed and be served by doctors and nurses? What does it cost us when we have a to maintain a police service that must have vans and a number of persons to go to houses around the country where there is domestic violence?” she challenged.

“There is a public health cost, there is an economic cost to domestic violence so don’t think that it is just an individual. It is a public health issue. It is a national issue. It is something that all of us need to be concerned about.”

Gajadhar, along with representatives of the National Organization of Women and SAVE Foundation were among the speakers at yesterday’s anti-violence march organised by the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA).

More than 100 people, including members of the Barbados SDA Pathfinder Band, marched from the Goodland SDA Church to the Deacons Farm Development Complex.

“End it now” was the message from Verna Francis, director of the Women’s Ministry of Barbados and Dominica, in reference to the scourge of domestic violence and the associated silence of most victims.

“As women of God we cannot continue to sit idly on the sidelines and do nothing for the many, many women and children here in Barbados and around the world who are suffering some sort of abuse,” she said.

A survey commissioned by the Bureau of Gender Affairs estimated that one in three women in Barbados would experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.

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Release the names! Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:14:00 +0000 Shadow Minister of Education Edmund Hinkson wants the names of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus students who are awarded Government bursaries to be made public.

Edmund Hinkson

Shadow Minister of Education                        Edmund Hinkson

He said there is need for transparency to ensure only deserving students get assistance paying their tuition fees.

“The same way that they publish the names of the Barbados Scholarship winners and the Exhibition winners who gain monetary awards on the basis of merit, I am calling on the Government of Barbados to publish the names of all of those who will be given bursaries,” the St James North MP said as he addressed a constituency branch meeting at the St Albans Primary School last night.

“I am hearing on the ground about [whose] son and daughter getting bursaries, and who big DLP supporter child getting, and this can’t be fair. I ain’t asking them to publish the names of the people who get loans, because the student loan is a contract between the student Revolving Loan Fund Committee and the Ministry of Education and the individual; you are supposed to repay that. But a bursary now is free money that you don’t have to pay back.

“The people of Barbados are entitled to know that because it is our hard earned money, that is now in short supply, that is going towards that,”
Hinkson added.

While agreeing with Minister of Education Ronald Jones that people should wait until the close of student registration before pronouncing on what effect the Government’s policy on tuition fees had on student numbers, Hinkson was adamant that there was a significant fall off thus far.

He challenged the preliminary figures presented by Jones. The minister told the media last week that the number of students registering as of last Wednesday was only 400 less than for the same period last year.

Hinkson insisted that the number was 10 times that.

“The difference right now between 9,000 people who registered last year and 5,000 that are projected to register this year is 4,000, so he is missing a zero,” he told constituents.

He also reiterated the Barbados Labour Party (BP) position that asking students to pay their tuition fees starting from the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year was the wrong move.

“Everybody except the Democratic Labour Party Cabinet and their strongest supporters believe that this is a terrible mistake that the Government has made,” he said.

“Many students in this constituency and throughout Barbados have indicated that they cannot afford to go back to the university to continue their studies. Those who have planned to commence their studies at UWI have now put that on the backburner.”


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Lashley: A national treasure Tue, 02 Sep 2014 08:37:38 +0000 Even as the pomp and pageantry synonymous with the annual Community Independence Celebrations heralded the start last Saturday evening, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley implored Barbadians not to forget the purpose of the festival.

The Community Independence Celebrations launch audience being treated to the folk music of Sing Out Barbados.

The Community Independence Celebrations launch audience being treated to the folk music of Sing Out Barbados.

Speaking to a large audience in Granny’s car park in Oistins, Lashley called on every Barbadian to be sensitized to the true meaning of Independence.

The 2014 Parish Ambassadors at the launch of this year’s Community Independence Celebrations on Saturday. 

The 2014 Parish Ambassadors at the launch of this year’s Community Independence Celebrations on Saturday.

He said: “Too often, we fail to appreciate the value of things Barbadian. Too often we fall prey to the trend of lacking confidence in our local products and services, and even in our country. Too often we prefer to place our trust in, and place a higher value on, things from other parts of the world. But I should like you to reflect on the fact that in the Community Independence Celebrations programme, we have a veritable national treasure.”

In that same vain, Lashley pledged that his ministry would move to assist the acclaimed folk choir Sing Out Barbados, which is this year celebrating its 44th anniversary, to fully document its music. Further, the minister, who is also responsible for youth, applauded other stakeholders for their unwavering support for the celebrations.

These include Parish Independence Committees, attendants, ambassadors and volunteers.

“They receive no remuneration for their efforts, but every year they make a commitment to the execution of the Community Independence Celebrations programme within their respective communities, and they dedicate their time to conceptualizing and organizing activities aimed at strengthening their communities. They also work tirelessly with the young ambassadors,” Lashley said.

Hinting that some changes were imminent, the minister said that for any such programme to grow, evolve and remain relevant to our communities change was a natural occurrence.

“So changes must come; and with this in mind, it is therefore my intention to have the secretariat arrange a series of meetings within each parish, so that views of Barbadians on how they perceive the profile of the celebrations of the future can be obtained,” Lashley said.

“In light of this, I would like to commend the PICs for their hard work and dedication. You must be heartened by the fact that you do not have to have any doubts about the difference that you are making in your communities. The evidence speaks for itself. And I know that you have feelings of pride and fulfilment when you see projects executed successfully, and when you watch your Parish Ambassadors grow from strength as they go through the programme.

“To all Barbadians, I encourage you to come out and enjoy this year’s various activities,” he added.


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Postponed Tue, 02 Sep 2014 05:11:01 +0000 Classes in the Faculty of Humanities of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies have been put on hold for at least a week, amid reports that the number of students entering the faculty has seen  a sharp decline.

The move comes even as the Minister of Education Ronald Jones dismissed as “foolish noise” comments that Government’s new policy of requiring students to pay tuition fees had led to a major dip in UWI enrollment numbers.

An email has been circulated to students accepted for and continuing in the faculty, informing them that the university needs time this week to carry out some “internal reorganization”.

No details about the nature of that reorganization were forthcoming. However, Barbados TODAY understands that the university is in the process of accepting late registration, with hopes of seeing an increase in numbers for courses offered by the Faculty of Humanities.

However, sources said even with late registration they did not see the numbers increasing by much.

Classes for new students in other faculties started this week but the humanities students are expected to begin next Monday at the earliest, according to the university communication.

Official figures obtained by Barbados TODAY showed that only 90 students were accepted for the faculty this school year, compared to 219 last year and 193 in 2012.

Over the weekend, Minister of Education Ronald Jones was highly critical of people he said seemed bent on creating confusion by speculating about how many students would be continuing or starting their studies at the UWI.

Addressing an awards ceremony for the Young Democrats Educational Grant Programme, he said: “This is the first time I’ve seen so many hungry people beating at the door of the University of the West Indies [asking], ‘wait them got three people in there, or them ain’t got none? Tell me, let me create confusion in the place’. That’s what they do and I ain’t going to apologize for saying that.”

In an apparent reference to recent media reports, which have quoted campus sources as indicating a drastic decline in student enrolment for the 2014/2015 academic year as a result of the Government’s new policy, the Minister of Education appealed specifically to members of the media to “let the place live and settle down”.

Ronald Jones

Minister of Education Ronald Jones (FP)

“Let the place settle down!” he insisted, complaining that “every day, for the past three or four weeks, they have been calling the University of the West Indies [inquiring about], ‘how much you got in Social Sciences? You got four people in Humanities?’, all kinds of foolishness!”

“Let the university go through its systems, finish the registration process. Let the Student Revolving Loan Fund do what it has to do, let us work it through, work it out. Let the university come up with models and help its students go through the system,” the minister added.

Jones said while the Government would have liked to maintain 100 per cent coverage for students, a new financing strategy had become critical when its tuition payments ballooned to more than $200 million annually.

He said if the Freundel Stuart administration had continued to pay tuition fees for all students, other educational and health institutions would have suffered.

“The hospital would have closed; [the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic] would have been on its last legs; we would have had to cut the [Barbados Community College] by 50 per cent,” he said.

“These are the realities.”,

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AMNESTY? Tue, 02 Sep 2014 04:44:13 +0000 Authorities are giving consideration to introducing a gun amnesty in a bid to get illegal firearms off the streets and reduce gun crimes.

Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite made the disclosure last evening, two days after police reported a 21 per cent increase in homicides.

Adriel Brathwaite

Adriel Brathwaite

He said the issue of a gun amnesty was discussed just last week with acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith and other officials and a decision would be made soon on whether the measure would be introduced.

“There is a school of thought that gun amnesties don’t work. Others say that we should [have it]. I have said that I’ll have someone do the research and make a determination,” the minister said while appearing on CBC TV’s People’s Business.

“We’d have to make a decision based on experience to determine whether or not we should have an amnesty. That having been said, if someone brings in an illegal firearm we would naturally have to test it to see whether or not it has been used in a crime and, in particular, in a murder.”

Last week, acting commissioner Griffith revealed that males in the 15 to 29 age group were responsible for the majority of gun crimes committed this year.

The police chief also reported that so far this year 30 illegal firearms have been seized and 20 people charged in connection with those seizures.

Even though Brathwaite acknowledged that the top cop has requested additional resources to help fight crime, he insisted that lawmen have proven they have a handle on the situation given the number of cases that have been solved so far.

Griffith had reported that 84 per cent of homicides this year have been solved.

“You will see by virtue of the success that we’ve had, not only in the reduction of crime overall but in terms of solving many of the murders we’ve been able to solve, there’s no indication, as far as I’m aware, of the police being outgunned or outmanned,” Brathwaite said.

“I’m advised that if all goes well we should have a class of recruits starting in the middle of September, probably about 50 police officers . . .”

The minister went on to credit the “hard work by the police” for the 16 per cent drop in overall crime, stating: “The police are doing a tremendous job in solving crimes. It’s a testament to their hard work and dedication.”

Meantime, the Attorney General said the authorities were also considering whether there should be a minimum prison sentence specified in law for people found guilty of firearm-related offences.

At the same time, he has taken the position that longer jail terms will not solve the problem.

“I don’t buy into that. There’s much more required than just giving people longer prisons sentence,” he said, arguing that focus should be on restorative justice.

There has been a rash of shootings over the last few months, several of which were drive-bys.

In August alone, there were at least three gun-related killings, and numerous other shooting incidents.

And just last week, a police raid of a fete resulted in the confiscation of five firearms.

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Residents at a loss Tue, 02 Sep 2014 04:38:32 +0000 Some residents in Six Men’s, St Peter are upset about new construction work being undertaken by the developers of multimillion-dollar Port Ferdinand Marina project.

They complain that they have been left in the dark over plans to build a new road leading into the marina and are also worried that other expansion work, which is taking place directly behind their homes, could put their properties in jeopardy.

Outspoken resident Omstead Hinds believes the situation is unfair, but he said they were currently at a loss, with no one to represent them.

“This is so much foolishness. I don’t even know what to say. Half of the residents don’t know what is going on, and it’s just wickedness man!

“The people don’t have anyone to represent them so there is nothing we can do,” said Hinds, while disclosing that parliamentary representative Owen Arthur had visited the area some weeks ago and had met with the developers and a small group of six residents.

Arthur could not be reached for comment this evening.

However, Harry Goodridge, whose house is located right next to ongoing expansion, was of the view that nothing could be done at this stage.

“We have no one to represent us, so there is nothing we can do  .  .  .  I believe the Government authorized them [developers] to take the land so what can I do?” he asked.

“I prefer to stay out the limelight because two wrongs don’t make a right .  .  . and you can’t fight the people with the money,” he added.

However, his brother Lauren Goodridge, who now resides in New Jersey, but has plans to return to Barbados eventually, was more outspoken on the matter and expressed strong frustration.

He was also adamant that had he been resident on the island, he would not have allowed the expansion to go on.

“They had no right building another marina down here. One was enough. They are soon going to force us to go live with the monkeys  .  .  .  . All they are doing is selling out Barbados for a few pennies,” he said, while calling on the residents to stand up for themselves.

He also pointed out that the development should not occur within six feet of the homes.

“Does that look like six feet to you? They think we are foolish, but I know right from wrong . . . . We need a community impact, but the residents don’t know what is going on and are scared,” he said, adding that it was very sad to see Barbados turning into a concrete jungle.

He also pointed to cracks in the walls of his brother’s home, which he said had emerged since the drilling work started, cautioning that residents could eventually lose their homes.

When contacted by Barbados TODAY, chairman of the Port Ferdinand development Bjorn Bjerkhamn said he was out of the island and could not comment at this time.

However, CEO Philip Tempro said the developers had met with both the area representative and the residents about the work, which he said was taking place on lands owned by them, and with the full blessing of the Ministry of Housing and the Town and Country Planning Department.


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Bank’s customers affected by system upgrade Tue, 02 Sep 2014 04:19:55 +0000 Scores of confused and angry CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank customers turned up at several branches across the island, demanding answers after finding that hundreds and even thousands of dollars were missing from their accounts.

Over the weekend, some of them were unable to withdraw money from ATMs while others complained of not being able to access their accounts at all, as a temporary hold was placed on funds following a system upgrade.

One woman told Barbados TODAY in the afternoon when she turned up at the Warrens branch she was told she might have to wait 30 to 90 days to get back more than $900, since the bank would have to carry out investigations.

However, she later reported that her money was “back on” her account.

In an emailed statement to Barbados TODAY, director of corporate communications at the bank Debra King explained that a system upgrade carried out last weekend had “resulted in some intermittent issues on our network”.

She said while the majority of payment transactions during the period were successful, “due to network timeouts in very specific circumstances, customers may have been debited for an incomplete transaction. We have put procedures in place to resolve these issues. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and thank our customers for their patience and understanding.”

Some customers also received a text message this afternoon which stated that “CIBC FirstCaribbean had issues with some of our systems over the weekend. However, operations are now back to normal; we apologize for any inconvenience caused.”

In the first quarter of this year some customers experienced a similar problem with the bank.


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Young pugilists impress Tue, 02 Sep 2014 03:53:47 +0000 Boxing enthusiasts in Barbados were treated to excellent displays of ring craft on Saturday night when the Barbados Boxing Association staged the Carlton Hope/Lionel Hall Memorial Boxing Tournament at the Springer Memorial School on Government Hill, St Michael.

The seven boxers who participated in the night’s card all gave a good account of themselves, but perhaps the bout which brought the small crowd to their feet was the heavyweight contest between Sherwin Estwick of the Thunderbird Gym and Cabral Barriteau-Foster.

During the keenly contested three-round bout Foster’s mother, Professor Eudene Barriteau of the Cave Hill Campus could be seen anxiously pacing the floor, clasping her hands over her face or cheering wildly as her son ultimately defeated his shorter and more aggressive opponent by points.

On the other hand, Cabral’s father, tourism consultant Hugh Foster, was seen sitting quietly in his ringside seat enjoying the keenly contested bout. However, in a display of fatherly love at the conclusion of the bout he approached the ring and shook his son’s hand in acknowledgement of an excellent display of ring craft.

Before the start of the night’s card Foster told a team from Barbados TODAY: “I encourage Cabral to participate in the sport because it is an excellent form of exercise and it keeps him fit. He likes the sport and I give him my support. On the other hand his mother tends to be anxious before he steps into the ring, but you can understand a mother’s love for her son. She does not want her son injured.”

Saturday night’s action began with Stephan Harding of the Belfield Gym coming up against Joshua Field of the Four Hill Gym.

This bout was evenly contested with both boxers landing solid punches on each other. However the referee stopped the fight before the end of the third round and young Harding was declared the winner.


Stephan Harding (right) receives his medal from Hugh Foster for his victory over Joshua Field.

Stephan Harding (right) receives his medal from Hugh Foster for his victory over Joshua Field.

The next bout was between Jabali Breedy of Barbados who was later adjudged the fighter of the night, and Travis Hubbard of Guyana.

Both boxers displayed excellent boxing skills, but the more aggressive Breedy hardly gave Hubbard any breathing space and was declared the winner. Both boxers showed good movement in evading short jabs and upper cuts at close range.

The contest between Akeem Farley of Four Hill Gym and Ision Fraser of the National Gym provided some fireworks but Fraser finally prevailed over Farley.

In the lone female contest of the night, the diminutive but fast-moving Mary Fraser of the national Gym easily defeated the slower Faith Field of the Four Hill Gym.

Unfortunately, the other female bout between Kimberly Jackson of Trinidad and Tobago and Kimberley Gittens of Barbados was cancelled after the medical doctor present concluded that the Barbadian fighter was unfit to take the ring. The Trinidadian boxer later took on a male fighter in an exhibition match.

The contest between Derek Hyman of Belfield Gym and Reco Jones of the Carrington Gym was a “rough and tumble affair” which ended in the second round when the referee stopped the fight and Hyman was declared the winner by a technical knock out (TKO).

Reco Jones (left) kept losing his head gear and eventually he also lost his fight against Derek Hyman.

Reco Jones (left) kept losing his head gear and eventually he also lost his fight against Derek Hyman.

Then it was time for the Estwick and Barriteau-Foster showdown. In the first two rounds of the fight Estwick in true Joe Frazier style kept coming after the taller Foster who failed to use his longer reach to his advantage.

However in the third round Foster adjusted his approach much to the delight of his handlers and supporters and was later declared the winner after landing some powerful punches to his opponent’s body.

The final bout between light-heavyweight Arkeem Isadore of Barbados and Markember Pierre of Guyana was a one-sided affair from start to finish with the referee ending the fight in round two and Pierre being declared the winner.


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Together towards tomorrow I Tue, 02 Sep 2014 03:32:29 +0000 The following is the first part of the feature address, themed Together Towards Tomorrow, given by outgoing general secretary Sir Roy Trotman at the 73rd annual delegates’ conference of the Barbados Workers’ Union at Solidarity House last Saturday, August 30.


Outgoing BWU general secretary Sir Roy Trotman giving the feature address at Saturday’s annual delegates’ conference at Solidarity House.

Outgoing BWU general secretary Sir Roy Trotman

The occasion cannot present itself better than it does now for me standing publicly before you to praise and to thank God for choosing me as a vehicle and using me as a means of assisting in his instruction to Peter to “feed His sheep”. We are all his sheep.

I wish next to thank the institution of employers for recognizing that a successful Barbados lay then, and still lies today in the respect for, and adherence to, our neighbour’s rights which employers and workers alike have first to exercise as persons. My respectful thanks are extended to our Heads of State for favouring the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) with the gracious acknowledgement of Their Excellencies that the task of nurturing did not, as the fickle think, rest only in the periodic adjustment of wages or salaries.

Their Excellencies’ elevation of the main spokesman for labour to the Senate was highly appreciated. Governments over the years, including Parliaments and Opposition parties and Public Service bureaucracies all contributed to our effort to be faithful to our instruction. Of course, there had to be differences and though, perhaps once or twice, I may have called it wrong, it is accepted that public servants, generally have assisted the masses and our BWU as leader in that group.
Thanks to them.

Our BWU constitution is not one for which the public is under compulsion to join and under punishment for renouncing. Those thousands who have joined did so willingly and have our thanks for their support; those who left us have our appreciation for whatever contribution they made to the cause of labour.

Whether it was to remove discrimination or to involve those  who are excluded; whether it was our effort to promote the cause  of the disabled or to develop affirmative action for women and for the youth; whatever the challenge, we have been relentless in our efforts and fortunate in the degree of support we got from the Barbados masses. We have spearheaded the fight to have our Barbadians who left our shores treated with dignity and in accordance with universal human rights; we have and we continue to champion the cause of those migrant workers who seek to find decent work within our shores.

We did not have to fight alone. My thanks to all who assisted.

In much of this we were confronted by fear, by selfishness, greed and arrogance. Nonetheless we are grateful that those lambs were fed as part of the wealth we were directed to protect. In our organization these are but some of our thousand responsibilities. They will not be abandoned, we promise you.

This is not the moment for an historical account of the birth and development of a trade union umbrella body. It is one however for me to reflect on the fact that some of us captured and held the vision that underscores the mantra that Unity Is Strength and that Where There Is No Vision The People Perish. 

I will be eternally grateful for those who saw the expanded role of the organization, rather than the personal advantage, and who faced the cynicism and, regrettably, the hostility of loved ones as they pursued that vision –– in my case, part of my sacrifice a political constituency which was considered reasonably represented and which I might comfortably have retained. For those other visionaries who also made sacrifices I solemnly thank you all, including those who have preceded us on life’s ultimate journey.

Mr Tweedledum and those others who helped us toil to create a national organisation to unite labour should be praised. To mention names here would be ungracious and unkind. Limited by human frailty I am bound to omit some officer or, better, some deserving foot soldier whose name should go the top of the list. Instead just let me thank all who helped.

We grouped; we did a good thing for Barbados; our nation benefited and was listed as an example to follow.

Thanks to all of you in the trade unions who helped. I have especially to thank my own Barbados Workers’ Union. The executive council noted my work organizing, negotiating and, also noted Sir Frank’s open pronouncement that I should succeed him. This was a humbling experience. The unanimous vote that was cast to effect my elevation has for me been equalled only by my daily effort, under God, to be always worthy of your trust.

Yes, there were days when the rudder either grew heavy in my hands or was tugged ungenerously to the side, and the even course of my steerage suffered. I am happy to report that, although we do not have a perfect record, we by and large managed to weather the storms. With the help of membership, shop stewards, executive council and good maps, we have berthed the ship which will now continue its journey under new captaincy. The maps were diligently prepared by those pioneers who sailed before. We should never abandon them.

The final word in this section must go to Margaret Lady Trotman and to Paula and Lesley our two gifts from God. The children no doubt would tell you of late pickups from school, or of cold shoulders or unkind words from fellow pupils and often from teachers. On the other hand, they attended organizing meetings in prams and soon learnt to outmanoeuvre their father as negotiators.

Margaret’s position was no easier at work, after work waiting for my late pickup or, scandalously, on those family group occasions when her husband would leave, sometimes in the middle of a meal, to keep some hotel open at Christmas, or to ensure that a ship exploiting Third World sailors could proceed out of the Harbour with the sailors’ cause adequately resolved.

To the three of them I offer my own Gold Crown Of Merit. This occasion should be one when the listener would allow me some latitude. I feel however that there is much that I wish to ask you to reflect on and that I cannot yield to the temptation to dream. I wish to speak particularly to the Barbados Social Partnership in the expectation that some parties may find occasion for reflection, and some will be able to clarify and correct some aspects of their labour management approach to the world of work.

Just on the fringe of the decade of the 1990s, three of us got together at what was then Sandy Beach Hotel, Worthing, Christ Church. John Stanley Goddard, later knighted, Darcy Boyce, then a director of Peat Marwick & Company, and yours truly. You may easily understand Sir John and me; so I have to state briefly that Honourable Darcy Boyce and his Senior Partner Mr Ken Hewitt were age-old advisors of the BWU, as they were of several other businesses on the island.

We all felt the fierce grip of the changing economic and financial times. I was not yet elected as general secretary; I was merely designated. But we felt that the issues before us could not wait. We started a relationship which took root and grew daily until John Stanley was taken away. Both Sir John and I came to rely quite heavily on Darcy up until the present day.

A few weeks ago when the BWU was faced with the question from Prime Minister Stuart regarding where the union stands in the Social Partnership, Darcy was there as Minister Boyce. He reminded us that there is and ought to be more that would bring us together as a Barbadian nation than what seeks to separate us. Oh, that we would all make that our declaration of faith.

I do not propose to dwell on our early meetings. I wish merely to say that we had no IMF crisis that was declared; but we had our fears and the overarching sense of destiny. Something was going to overtake us, and capital and labour had to position ourselves to weather whatever storm would come. You may want to cast your minds back:

1. At the beginning of the 1990s the Uraguay round of trade facilitation was essentially winding down and the business leaders of large economies were looking forward to Marrakesh (1994) and thereafter to the Singapore Summit which brought the World Trade Organization into being in 1996

 2. At this time too, without necessarily intending to produce the results that they did, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank created and implemented a set of one-size-fits-all-measures which were intended to put all developing and underdeveloped countries in their places.Naturally this was not the stated objective. History will tell us that the developing world was struck by a debt crisis; it will advise that the crisis led to the application of structural adjustment programmes.

History will go on to proclaim that these programmes failed, sometimes suggesting that the fault lay with the country rather than with the policy. Everyone was supposed to lower barriers to imports, remove restrictions on foreign investment, reduce the role of the state in the economy, reduce spending on social welfare and emphasize production for export. These challenges were as fierce then as they are now.

They were new then. As happens whenever a major change is contemplated, we all have to concern ourselves with what the implications will be for us. Would world trade be really free trade? And would that free trade be fair trade, seen through the eyes of a Caribbean person?

The World Economic Forum was simultaneously bringing together the financial and commercial giants of the world, and we were being made to sing a new song: this time it was that the size of the fish in the pond was not going to be the determinant factor; the fast fish would eat up the slower fish.

And then too there was the recognition that a new wave of technology was upon us; those countries, those companies which could more speedily adapt to technological changes would propel themselves into riches, presenting decided comparative advantages. The new revolution was bound to lead to differences in speed, in relationships, in power and economic success.

We did not know; no one could tell! We recognized however change was about to take place. This was going to result in something of relevance and importance to Barbados, even if we were left to speculate on the character and structure. None of us three sought to discuss our individual gains or losses; we were concerned with how we could best pool our thinking and our connections into a framework that would position us to assist business and labour to treat with the changes in the optimal manner possible.

When in July 1991, Prime Minister Sandiford made his plan for a national response therefore ,there was already some level of appreciation for action which would lead the nation, above and beyond the self, in any response to levels which transcended personal or sectoral interests.

Many leaders in business, many political leaders, I do not say all, and labour responded not merely to the July call but to the wider recognition of the need for change. We were able to experience a new dynamic: Government leaders business leaders and labour leaders in serious, major consultations devising strategies that previously may have been the special preserves of individual interest groups.

I think of this and I am humbled by the feeling that what was done was good. No one up the hill or down the hill will convince me that the action was anything other than the seizure of a moment in time to rise to the call to help. You will hardly ever hear representatives of the employers or of trade unions seeking to make believe that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is the only United Nations agency which holds interest. You will note however that it is respected as the only agency where the views of persons other than spokespersons for Government are given weight. 

Over the past 95 years, this weightiness of the ILO has made itself felt; since at every critical stage of the development of the world of work, representatives of ministries of labour have been able to recognize the value of meaningful examination of the conditions under which each phase of development could or should take place. Different persons may have said it differently over the 95 years: but it is as true today as when the world leaders sought to find a way to express their will not to fan the fires of World War I.

Those leaders declared that “lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice”. This has to do with creating jobs and it has to do with increasing income. But it has to do with much more. Social justice relates to rights, to dignity and to respect and a voice for the working person. Of course, social justice must also treat the social economic and political empowerment of the many rather than the privileged few.

When Sir Lloyd Erskine started his series of tripartite social exchanges, I think it would be fair to say that the will to work together was good. The initial social dialogue mind set was in place and we had already managed to have some preliminary work done with the Barbados Employers’ Confederation and the Barbados Workers’ Union for the parties in the hotel industry.


To be continued.

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Shooting victim in recovery Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:37:01 +0000 A bodybuilder who was hit by a stray bullet while on Browne’s Beach, a day after competing in his first Barbados National Body Building And Fitness Competition, says he is hoping the injury does not put a stumbling block in his plans.

Jamar Tiger Alleyne, 21, is recovering at home but said he is experiencing intense pain.

Jamar Alleyne is hoping for a speedy recovery.

Jamar Alleyne is hoping for a speedy recovery.

He was exercising on the beach around 5 p.m. yesterday when there was an altercation between some men nearby and shots were fired. Alleyne was hit in the left ankle.

As police investigate the matter, a visibly shaken and distraught Jamar told Barbados TODAY at his Farnum’s Land, Chapman Lane, St Michael home this afternoon that he was shocked about the “mind-blowing” ordeal.

“I feel unlucky but still lucky. The bullet could have hit me any other way or any other place in my head, chest or any place that is why I give thanks,” he said, noting that the bullet was still lodged in his body.

And while wondering whether he would ever be able to start the new job he was scheduled to begin today, Alleyne is praying that his ankle heals so that his daily training routine would not be interrupted.

“All I do is workout everyday. I am just hoping for the best because there is nothing that I can do at this point in time. I am hoping for the best that it ain’t nothing serious that could stop me from training or anything like that,” he said.

He recalled that it took a little while after he was shot to realize what had happened.

“I didn’t even know I was shot. I was walking and . . . I looked down at my foot and I see it bleeding, but I didn’t feel it at all,” he said.

After the shooting, Alleyne got a ride home and his cousin then took him to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was treated and discharged.

His sister, Malika Alleyne said she was dissatisfied with the treatment her brother received at the hospital.

She said she believed he should have been admitted to hospital until the bullet was removed.

“He is an innocent bystander who get a shot in his foot. We went to the hospital and them deal with it and send we home with the shot in he foot still and tell we that he supposed to go to the clinic on Tuesday to get it cleaned up and everything, and we supposed to make an appointment today for Wednesday to go to a doctor for him to . . . see where it will go from there,” she said.

“He ain’t feeling good so I don’t know what happening. He saying that he feel lucky but at the end of the day he is not lucky because the hospital send he home with the bullet in he foot.”

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