Independence message delivered by General Secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations Dennis de Peiza
The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) salutes the nation as it celebrates its 51st anniversary as an independent island state.
The celebration of fifty-one years of nationhood is an achievement to be proudly acknowledged by the people of Barbados. This accomplishment has been earned through the struggles and sacrifices of working class people and the visions of our political, civil society, trade union leaders and members of the clergy.
In this year our 51st birthday, the country faces the pressures of the current economic and fiscal challenges. The labour movement is heartened at the resolve of the country to survive the challenges of the time. In the face of glaring economic adversities and uncertainties, Barbadians have continued to demonstrate a love for country, resilience, respect for law and order, and for maintaining the political stability of the country.
Over the past fifty-one years, the island would have experienced the gravity of both economic and/or social crises. To its credit, it has been able to overcome the many obstacles and hurdles which have confronted the nation. In meeting the many hurdles that are besetting the country on its 51st birthday, it is imperative that Barbadians should continue to hold fast to our traditional value system, undertake to find solutions to address the social ills plaguing the society, demand that our politicians, trade unionists, business and community leaders, at all times, put the national interest first, and to urge the citizens of the country to be more responsible and productive.
At a time when the island is forced to respond to the demands of the global environment which is characterized by both competitiveness and new technologies, it is imperative that the focus of the social partners is one of ensuring that the country maintains its viability, visibility, stability, and commits to working assiduously towards identifying strategies to ensure sustainable social, economic development and progress.
In building the pathways of the island’s future, it is a must that emphasis is placed on growth and development, the diversification of the economy so as to lead to improvements in our economic prosperity, investment in human resources, the establishment of well-functioning social infrastructure and the maintenance of the political stability.
In looking at the decade ahead, it is important that the country places the issue of its food security as a national priority. Traditionally, Barbados’ economic development was built on it being an agriculture community, and so at this critical juncture in its economic history, there is a pressing need for a renewed focus to be placed on the redevelopment of the agriculture and the agro industries sectors. This apart, there is also the need for attention to be channelled towards exploring new economic activities, so as to lend to the creation of new and sustainable employment opportunities.
As Barbados matures and progresses as a nation, it is critical that emphasis is centred on developing an innovative society, an educated, skilled, competent and efficient work force, and maintaining industrial peace and harmony. In addition, there must be a commitment to paying greater attention to our youth, the disabled, the elderly, entrepreneurship, and to promoting things Barbadian; inclusive of cultural industries, and most importantly, the delivery of excellent service.
As the nation celebrates another year of independence, the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, considers it timely to remind all citizens and residents, that integral to nation building is the process of unification. It urges the country to remain united on all fronts, as to do otherwise, can potentially hinder the pace of its progress and development.