2014 CTUSAB New Year’s Message from President Cedric H. Murrell
At the start of the year 2014, the island of Barbados faces one of the biggest challenges in its short history as an independent nation, as it attempts to stave off the fallout from the global economic recession, which threatens to undermine and retard its growth and development.
As the people of Barbados continue to brace themselves to cope with the increasing economic and social pressures that are likely, the citizens at large are not oblivious to the tragic events occasioned by the forces of nature in the neighbouring Caribbean islands of St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Dominica, which resulted in the loss of life and human suffering.
Our prayers go out to our Caribbean brothers and sisters of these islands, whose pain and suffering is compounded by the stress and strain which their economies also face in this time of economic recession.
Today the labour movement is faced with the arduous task of working with the other social partners to find workable, meaningful and sustainable solutions in an effort to address the economic and fiscal problems facing the nation. The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), recognizes that the current crisis is beyond that which the country faced in 1991, and does not believe that any set of adhoc measures will serve to address the $501 mil. deficit facing the country.
Even as we grapple with the nettlesome short term problem of Government’s current account deficit, we must bring ourselves to focus laser-like on those policies, strategies and concrete steps that are necessary to remove the impediments to returning our economy to a path of real growth.
Beyond that, CTUSAB stressed that in order to ensure further national development at this time, it was critical for a focus to be maintained on the promotion of employment creation, enterprise development, entrepreneurship and innovation which are the key pillars that are identified under the national strategic plan. Today the Congress maintains that there is yet light at the end of the tunnel, but to reach this end, it requires the immediate implementation of strategies that have already been identified within the walls of the social partnership.
CTUSAB therefore reiterates the recent call made by President Cedric Murrell for a national dialogue among the Social Partners for the purpose of developing a protocol on Recovery and Growth, similar to the Prices and Incomes Protocol coming out of the 1991 economic crisis.
CTUSAB underscores the point that a national effort is required if in the short to medium term, a turnaround in the country’s economic and fiscal fortunes is to come about.
It is important that Barbadians become aware of the severity of the challenges facing the country. Whereas the finding of solutions to the crisis may rest with the island’s policy makers, it is for every Barbadian to be aware that they have a contribution to make to the recovery and growth effort. As a matter of fact the populace must be educated to the fact that they can help to lead the recovery and growth effort.
The public at large is therefore encouraged to review its consumption patterns. We must understand that to buy local goods and services could significantly reduce the island’s $900 mil. food import bill, as well as to ensure that Barbadians are kept in employment.
Today we in the labour movement urge all Barbadians not to submerge themselves in a world of gloom and doom. Our New Year’s Message for 2014 remains much the same as that of 2013; which is, ‘it ought to be clear that as a people; we have to embrace the concept of transformation in our nation‘.
At the start of this New Year, we strongly urge all Barbadians to approach the year with a positive outlook, and commit to being party to the solutions to be implemented towards aiding the recovery and growth of our nation.
Let us also exude the confidence required for the attainment of success in the initiatives being pursued to overcome the economic and fiscal challenges, demonstrate a willingness to exercise the desired discipline in an effort to curb the excessive demand for foreign goods, and to commit to a higher level of productivity that will drive the Gross Domestic Product; so as to impact positively on the nation’s foreign reserves position.
CTUSAB gives the nation the assurance that it will work to save and protect the jobs of Barbadian workers but will not support the introduction of any draconian measures, without being totally satisfied that all other possible alternatives have been exhausted.
Let us as a people bind together and be prepared to ride out any tough and painful measures which may become necessary to stabilize and restore confidence in our ailing economy.
CTUSAB wish all Barbadians a Healthy and Productive New Year.