As Barbados considers entering an arrangement with International Monetary Fund (IMF), one social activist is suggesting that the Mia Mottley-led Barbados Labour Party Government sets up a people’s partnership to shepherd the country through the negotiation process.
Attorney-at-law David Comissiong argued that such a move was necessary to strengthen Barbados’ bargaining position with the IMF, which has been known in the past to demand huge cuts in social services of vulnerable countries in exchange for financial injection.
While this image has softened in recent years, Comissiong said it was critical that the people of Barbados did not simply sit back and leave it all up to the administration.
He said a united front would demonstrate to the lending institution that “Barbados is capable of solving its economic problems without the imposition on it of negative, anti-people, inhumane austerity measures”.
“Indeed, the mere mobilization of a credible effort to embark upon this type of mission will send a very powerful message to the IMF and will immeasurably strengthen our Government in its negotiations with that international financial institution,” Comissiong stated in a release to the media today.
“Most importantly it will provide our Government with an objective basis for believing that whether we receive the foreign financial assistance we are requesting or not, that our country and its people possess the fortitude, commitment, and talent to work our way through the crisis that we currently face,” he added.
Even though Barbados has a Social Partnership comprising Government, labour and the private sector and led by the Prime Minister, Comissiong contended that a more “grassroots” network was still needed.
“Yes, Barbados already has a Social Partnership but what we are proposing is a more grassroots type network that is much more people-based. This must also be unapologetically based on the notion of a mobilized and empowered citizenry rising to the task of sensibly sorting out our national problems and undertaking primary responsibility for taking the country forward,” he said, while offering to spearhead this initiative.
“We need to create a national network whose mission would be to demonstrate that we the Barbadian people are capable of undertaking the primary responsibility for developing our own nation, and of creating a new economy that is much more locally owned and people-based and controlled,” he stressed.