Don’t count us for support!Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry executive director Lisa Gale. (FP)
By Geralyn Edward | Mon, September 24, 2012 - 10:37 AM
The island’s political parties have been put on notice by two of Barbados’ biggest private sector organizations.
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI), the country’s largest and most influential private sector organization, and Barbados Small Business Association (SBA) have made it clear that they would not endorse or publicly support either of the two major political parties seeking office in the upcoming general election.
BCCI executive director Lisa Gale stressed that the business group founded in 1825 was an “apolitical organization” and planned to remain that way.
The chamber executive told the DAILY NATION in an interview over the weekend that the BCCI’s major concern was its members’ best interests and it wanted to remain in a position where it could be critical or supportive of an administration when the occasion warranted.
And as the political environment on the island heats up in anticipation of an election constitutionally due by May next year, Gale said the BCCI did not have a history of throwing its weight behind any political party and it was not about to do so now.
“As long as I am a part of the organization, I would like that we continue to be apolitical
. . . . We don’t want to be aligned [with] any party but to remain the voice of the business community. That has always been our position,” she added.
And while individual businesses had traditionally given financial support to the two major political parties, Gale insisted she was unaware of any BCCI financial contribution to a political party or candidate.
In this connection the chamber official said she was not convinced that the Barbadian community was ready for a politically active chamber of commerce.
According to her, the organization and its leadership’s judgement would be viewed through its political alliance if it started siding with a party.
“The chamber needs to stay away from politics. We are for policy, not party,” Gale contended.
Meanwhile, SBA executive director Lynette Holder told the DAILY NATION that the SBA’s policy had always been to stay out of partisan politics.
“I would say, however, that the SBA is looking forward to the kind of governance and visionary leadership needed to steer the country back to economic growth from the worst economic downturn, economists say, . . . since the 1930s,” she pointed out.
The BCCI said it would continue inviting political party officials to speak to members about their policy positions and plans for the country.
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