General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Toni Moore is contending that the country has lost its way, suggesting that today’s leaders made decisions without meaningful dialogue with those affected.
The trade union leader today called on leaders in every sector to do a self-analysis, adding that they had a collective responsible to direct their resources “to take advantage of the biggest opportunities and to tackle the biggest threats to a sustainable future”.
“The BWU is concerned that we are definitely losing our way,” said Moore in an address at the opening of today’s session of the Week of Excellence at the Grande Salle of the Central Bank of Barbados.
The theme this year is Continuing the Transition: Growing and Sustaining Tomorrow’s Leaders.
Moore said despite a lot of talk about putting the country first and securing a sustainable future “we continue to deny tomorrow’s leaders the opportunity to learn from the strongest and most independent leaders in each field”.
And she insisted that unless people were engaged their needs and desires would not be understood.
“We deny them the opportunity to participate in debates that shape policy meaningfully. We have been failing in our responsibility to demonstrate that there is a consensus guiding Barbados and binding us together. All this, while we say we want to raise productivity and competitiveness,” the BWU leader stated.
She urged participants to carry out an assessment, “beginning with ourselves”, to determine what was needed to help guide future leaders, insisting every leader had a responsibility to bridge the gaps between today and the future.
“We must therefore create our best future selves by investing in creating the kind of environment that allows people to reach their full potential. For instance through education, by building communities, listening and responding to people, observing the world through the eyes of others and not simply through our own eyes and the way we see it, by encouraging trust and governance. If we don’t live it now, how can we expect tomorrow’s leaders to deliver on it?” questioned Moore.
She said there was need for “shared communication and shared vision, values and purpose”, and appealed to leaders to be open to approaches which channel people’s talents, ideas and contributions.
“Let us focus on breaking free [from] the ever lingering spirit of colonialism and concentrate rather on delivering to future leaders and followers, a nation, a nation Barbados that we can be proud of,” she said.
She warned that while bridging the gap was urgent it would not be instant, and called for investment to improve the lives of present and future generations.
Moore also stressed the importance of appreciating the values and contributions of past leaders.
“We shouldn’t be comfortable in the notion that we can grow or sustain a solid future that doesn’t build on the contributions of those who toiled the fields and hills, which are now our very own,” she added.
The union leader said although social dialogue and participative democracy had been “hallmarks of our post independence, past and inheritance”, the message from today’s leaders appeared to be that it was fine to talk about partnership but not build relationships with ordinary people.
“They would believe that leaders have a national entitlement to do at all times what they deem or see as fitting without reference to the people they serve even if it is the people that put them there,” she contended.