The latest unemployment figures are correct and are not corrupted, says Minister of Labour, Ester Byer-Suckoo.
Speaking at a sensitisation event in Bridgetown today ahead of next month’s proclamation of the Safety and Health at Work Act, she defended the recent report done by the Barbados Statistical Service which revealed the unemployment rate was 10.8 per cent.
She said she really wanted to have an opportunity to speak on the matter because since announcing the last figures they had “triggered some comments, some of which I thought were unnecessary” and “quite unfortunate”.
“Having announced that the last [unemployment] figures were 10.8,†I have heard all kinds of comments and there was a suggestion … made that perhaps the data was corrupted, perhaps the staff at the Barbados Statistical Services would have been told to do something by the political directorate, so as to fudge the figures,” the minister added.
“I really want to speak to that matter because we cannot impugn the integrity of workers in Barbados — Government workers — and in this case particularly the Statical Services. Whether one is in Parliament or not I don’t think it is satisfactory to be impugning the integrity of the Barbados Statistical Service,” she said. “When that office puts out statistics those are figures that are looked at by persons across the world who want to find out about Barbados, persons who may want to do business with Barbados and if there is some suggestion that those figures are in some way damaged for political reasons because of a political agenda, then they loose credence and none of us can benefit from it.
“I have confidence in the data … in the same way we accept the figures when they are going up, I don’t think we need to start pointing fingers, calling names and impugning the integrity of people when we see the figures coming down.”
Byer-Suckoo further said that although the unemployment figure was down, her ministry and every arm of Government was committed to efforts to bring investment to the island, starting projects, or any other stimulus plans to address the fiscal situation and provide jobs for Barbadians. (KC)††