More children not the answer, UN official tells Barbados

Amid concerns about Barbados’ declining birth rate, a United Nations official in Barbados has suggested that women having more children may not be the answer to the country’s population problem.

UNICEF Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Khin Sandi-Lwin said Government could instead tackle the issue from a global perspective.

According to data from the United Nations (UN), the birth rate in Barbados has fallen from 4.42 births per woman in the early 1950s to 1.7 births today.

It is against that background that Minister of Education Ronald Jones has led the call for women to have more children.

However, Sandi-Lwin said there is another approach that Government can explore.

“A global perspective is not about the population of one’s own country . . . . You hear politicians saying we need more children of our nation because we have zero population growth. But if you look at the carrying capacity of this planet, we have to look beyond the borders,” she said in an interview with Barbados TODAY, noting that migration within Caribbean countries can also contribute to population growth.

“It’s been happening in the Caribbean for generations now – the migration of people in the Caribbean . . . and assimilating – either retaining the nationality of the other island, or becoming citizens of that island . . . . The emphasis should be on making migration work, rather than let’s have more children of our nationality.”

She was speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of a media briefing at UN House Thursday to mark the July 11 observance of World Population Day.

Addressing the media, the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) medical director Dr Shanae Gill reiterated that organization’s commitment to working with Government to address the declining birth rate.

She said it was willing to initiate a consultation on a national development population strategy.

Dr Gill noted that in 1951, the Barbadian Government had set up a committee to examine the increasing problem of overpopulation and rising population density, which were concerning features of the Barbadian landscape at the time.

“From the findings of that established committee in 1951, it was clear that Barbados was at a critical juncture in its development and the decision was made to establish a family planning programme to address the national issue of rapid population growth, so the BFPA was born with the help from the then International Planned Parenthood of America,” she said.

Dr Gill pointed out that Barbados is once again at a critical juncture where the country is tasked with the vital yet delicate responsibility of continuing efforts to reduce poverty and inequity, and improving the quality of life without compromising the environment and the well-being of future generations or economic growth.

She added that 2.1 births per woman would be a sustainable figure, but there is need for consultation on the issue.

“The BFPA’s ultimate concern is maintaining a high quality of life for present and future Barbadian generations, while also maintaining individuals’ rights to choose when they want to start a family and the size of that family.

“And just as we did 63 years ago, we remain committed to supporting any Government-led population strategy, as long as it is in keeping with the aforementioned parameters,” she stated.

However, the Pan American Health Organization’s representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr Godfrey Xuereb, said while he understood the concerns about the decline in the birth rate, authorities needed to focus on safeguarding the welfare of the current population of children, rather than simply calling for people to have more offspring.

“We are losing the productive age group from non-communicable diseases and we need to be looking at how that productive age group can be better maintained through prevention . . . of [child] obesity. A better quality of life for all our citizens is important.

“So, rather than just saying we need to produce more children, let us look at the children that we have today, and [ensure that] they become healthy adults and they become productive adults,” Dr Xuereb said.

26 Responses to More children not the answer, UN official tells Barbados

  1. Sheila Boyce
    Sheila Boyce July 15, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Finally! Ambituouz Angel now I won’t delete my post.

    Reply
  2. Sheila Boyce
    Sheila Boyce July 15, 2017 at 1:09 am

    If anyone asks me if I want to sustain the future or be able to feed my 2 existing children what will my answer be. I know not what the future holds but I know my children now must survive.

    Reply
  3. Sheila Boyce
    Sheila Boyce July 15, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Don’t get me wrong I know the need for thr population growth but my big question is how does putting more people in this mix benefit the average person. Who will help with thr financial burden. Children are costly. Gone are the days when education and soon health was somewhat free.

    Reply
  4. Sheila Boyce
    Sheila Boyce July 15, 2017 at 1:11 am

    I’m just saying don’t just say get more children tell me how I will sustain these children along with the ones I already have, pay bills, and eat.

    Reply
  5. Sheila Boyce
    Sheila Boyce July 15, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Correct, that’s what I would expect. To hear more information about how I will sustain an expanding family. I have seen many families struggling, people who never struggled before and with no assistance.

    Reply
  6. Sheila Boyce
    Sheila Boyce July 15, 2017 at 1:16 am

    Then another thing to look at too is how will we educate these children past the secondary stages when we now have to pay part of tertiary education. It can be done but under better economic growth not when we under a crisis.

    Reply
  7. Beverley Hunte-Springer
    Beverley Hunte-Springer July 15, 2017 at 1:55 am

    I think we are smart enough people to know what we want for ourselves.

    Reply
  8. Simon Gooding
    Simon Gooding July 15, 2017 at 3:35 am

    ……AGENDA 21……the cull and the count……

    Reply
  9. Dennis Taitt
    Dennis Taitt July 15, 2017 at 4:43 am

    Wonder if she has children or even a child. I have my doubts.

    Reply
    • Jonathan Martindale
      Jonathan Martindale July 15, 2017 at 5:54 am

      What that got to do with price of tea of China?

      Reply
    • Wade Alleyne
      Wade Alleyne July 15, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Stupid comment

      Reply
      • Bajan boy July 16, 2017 at 12:18 am

        Ignorant comment from an idiot..

        Reply
  10. jrsmith July 15, 2017 at 4:55 am

    In good old Christian Barbados , the men who is coming down on the getting more children side , would they be honest and tell the bajan people how many children they themselves have fathered, away from they marriages and do they contribute to the upkeep of the said children………….. just an honest line……………..

    Reply
  11. fedup July 15, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Unna better hope dat dee babies that borning now gine be male udderwise de artificial semination gine up dee ting in de next 20 years!

    Reply
  12. Junior Prescod
    Junior Prescod July 15, 2017 at 6:53 am

    THANK YOU UNICEF REPRESENTATIVE

    Reply
  13. Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
    Cherylann Bourne-Hayes July 15, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Great points made in the article.

    Reply
  14. Sherlene Phillips
    Sherlene Phillips July 15, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Barbados is already overcrowded..over populated…ni need for any extra people..problem is that many people dont even got work and some dont want to work..those are the people that need focusing on..

    Reply
  15. Heather Marshall
    Heather Marshall July 15, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Thank you lady

    Reply
  16. Lisa Moore
    Lisa Moore July 15, 2017 at 7:55 am

    While more kids may not be the answer, If only certain people are having kids, think of the type of society/workforce we’ll have in a few years.

    Reply
  17. Carl Hunte
    Carl Hunte July 15, 2017 at 8:34 am

    The UN is in the business population redistribution so be very careful of any alternative solutions coming from this body.

    Reply
  18. Antheia Springer-Williams
    Antheia Springer-Williams July 15, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Those asking for the good women of this country to have more children they can’t afford feel that we are just to be considered as breeding stock!

    Reply
  19. Tricia Carrington
    Tricia Carrington July 15, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Finally someone who sees it our way

    Reply
  20. hcalndre July 15, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Mr. Jones should be saying I have 6 children and 3 more are on the way. Do Jones want to have women for breeding or he want sow pigs? Is this present administration going to provide nutritious supplements for the mother and infant for the first 6 years after birth? They are mothers in Barbados that don`t know where the next meal going to come from, is that what the minister really want? What ever is his plan he better say, I believe he want to make sure that enough people will be working to protect him and the other politicians` pension. No work. no housing, food prices going through the roof, even bread is being taxed, Mr. Jones how much money do you think it costs to feed a family of 4 for 1 week?

    Reply
    • Bajan boy July 16, 2017 at 12:20 am

      Should check and see if he isn’t over due..

      Reply
  21. David Brathwaite July 15, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    The reality is that Barbados is sitting on a demographic time bomb, similar to many developed countries like Germany and Japan. Unless there is a method of replacing the aging population then social services, like pensions, health care etc. cannot be paid for in the future.

    However, the answer is not simply to get more children. One solution is to allow inward migration. Most migrants are adults that have already been educated and taken care of in their formative years. They can also be restricted from fully benefiting from all social services, but they contribute to the economy by their work, the payment of taxes, their spending, etc. They come to work and seek a better life for themselves, and like we do in other countries, take work that our own people would not do for the most part.

    But, our attitude in Barbados a few years ago was, “Ever so welcome, wait for a call.” But now we beginning to see the consequences of that folly.

    Reply
    • hcalndre July 16, 2017 at 6:13 am

      “Ever so welcome, wait for a call,” I remember those words, and I heard not long ago that many barbadians are squatting there and they are welcome, one said to me that who said those words, “Can`t come back.”

      Reply

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