by Dennis De Peiza
General Secretary, Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados
The celebration of the nation’s 46th anniversary of Independence, presents another opportunity for reflection on the struggles that have been championed, as it emerged from the dark ages of a slave society, and transitioned from a colony under British rule to an independent state.
In looking beyond the past and into the future, Barbadians should use this occasion to also reflect on what the nation expects of each of its citizens. It is important that each citizen seizes the moment to carefully consider their individual contribution to the building of a better Barbados.
As the nation celebrates, it is important not to forget the struggles of those pioneers who played such a significant role in shaping the destiny of the nation. Their efforts have lead to institutionalisation of the democratic system of governance.
The peace, stability and civility which characterise the society in which we live, have grown out of an acceptance and practice of the democratic principles, and the fundamental rights given to the people under the constitution; which include freedom of speech, freedom of choice, the right to vote, and the right to be heard.
As a people we should be appreciative of the many achievements this small island state has accomplished over the past 46 years.
Today the labour movement is justly proud of the role it has and continues to play in the development of this island state. Reflecting on the 1991 economic crisis in Barbados, and zeroing on the current global economic crisis, the labour movement is proud to have championed the birth of the Social Partnership in Barbados. This tripartite social dialogue has helped the country to properly confront issues of good governance, democracy, discrimination, poverty eradication, equitable distribution and equal opportunity.
As a young independent nation, Barbados is to be lauded on the fact that it is in a position to demonstrate to the world, that Government, employers and trade unions can share the responsibility for national governance.
As the island continues to build on the platform mounted by those who championed the cause of working class people in the social unrest of the 1930s, the labour movement remains relentless in its contribution towards furthering the development of the society and economy, and in making Barbados the ideal place to live, work and play. It is expected that the people of Barbados will endeavour to play their part, in helping the nation to achieve these goals.