When the Social Partnership meets on Tuesday, the topics of COVID-19 vaccination and consumer prices will take centre stage.
That is according to Prime Minister Mia Mottley who has maintained that difficult discussions will need to take place as Barbados navigates through unchartered territory.
Last Friday, Mottley said conversations to determine how a safe work environment can be provided for both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers were necessary.
The Prime Minister briefly spoke on the issue during celebrations to mark the Day of National Significance.
“We also have to have some serious discussions with ourselves because the talk about vaccinations is not about mandatory or otherwise. We have already said that there will be vaccinations or testing, and we go tomorrow to the Social Partnership to start that discussion.
“But we also have to recognize that, regrettably, people are also exposed if they know better and fail to do better and that is what makes the conversation complex, if not it would be a straightforward conversation because do you have the right to work in close proximity to someone who you know is acutely vulnerable and pass on to them recklessly a virus that is responsible for taking their life?” Mottley said.
“These are complex issues, and more and more if this Government does nothing else I hope that it creates the spirit of tolerance, the spirit of discussion and the spirit of wanting to find consensus where possible, but being prepared to lead where not possible,” she added.
The Prime Minister noted that the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ashfall from the La Soufriere volcano and the passing of Hurricane Elsa had a devastating impact on Barbados.
She said even though the issue of pricing would be discussed, Barbadians still had to hold strain for the time being.
“The discussion at the Social Partnership tomorrow also starts on the issue of prices, recognizing that we asked for a prices and income protocol and recognizing that a little with content is great gain….We all know that when rough seas come you can’t move the same way, use the same movements as when the sea is calm, and if the worst pandemic in 102 years and the worst volcanic ashfall in 119 years and the first hurricane in 66 years does not constitute rough seas, well, I don’t know what does.
“But, in spite of those rough seas, we have to learn to save and to secure what we most value and that is what we are trying to do now, recognizing that, ultimately, our salvation not only lies on what we do on 166 square miles but how we can be global citizens with Bajan roots because we simply do not produce enough on our own to survive and to maintain the quality of life that we would like on our own,” Mottley added.