Sir Roy not joining political row
UNION?BOSS?Sir Roy Trotman says he is not prepared to side with either the Opposition or Government on the issue of the economy, but believes the present performance is quite clear.
In response to last Thursday’s statement by Opposition Leader Owen Arthur that the economy had not shown any growth last year, Sir Roy told the SUNDAY SUN: “I am not going to get involved in what is a purely political bit of fighting about who is telling the truth and who is not telling the truth.
“[But] the evidence is there for anybody to see,” he said.
“I think we only have to remind that we also can see, we also can read for ourselves and we have the benefit of all kinds of television news and radio news from across the world.”
Arthur said the Statistical Department now had information which would show that rather than there having been growth in Barbados in 2010, the economy in fact declined.
Government officials are yet to formally respond to his statements, even though there are off-the-record suggestions they are sticking to their guns that the economy registered growth last year, but are unwilling to get into a technical and possibly lengthy debate with Arthur right now.
Sir Roy also sought to steer clear of the debate but in light of the recent global recession he said: “We have to keep the effort going to work together. We have overcome the worse part of it, I think.”In this regard, he also welcomed the signing of a new Social Partnership agreement tomorrow.
Sir Roy told the SUNDAY?SUN that while there would be no extraordinary changes to Protocol VI between Government, trade unions and the private sector, he was pleased about the reinforcement of values.“We have committed to an appreciation of and respect for the Decent Work Agenda. We have reinforced the commitment to health and safety standards, according to the International Labour Office, and we will be looking at the question of social protection,” he explained.
Sir Roy, who handed over the leadership of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados to veteran trade unionist Cedric Murrell last year, noted it would be the first protocol to be signed by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart since he assumed office.
He explained that Stuart had signed an extension of Protocol V last year while he was Acting Prime Minister. Murrell will also be signing for the first time, while Ben Arindell is expected to sign on behalf of the Barbados Private Sector Agency.
Sir Roy pointed out that while over the years there had been breaches of the protocols on all sides, the Social Partnership had done “extremely well in Barbados”.
He said: “I am sufficiently open-minded to say that I would not excuse the worker in that area and suggest that we are always, at every stage, honouring it, but I would say that we are not the major offender, not by any stretch of the imagination.”
He stressed: “The drive for riches, for profit, must be tempered with social responsibility and a commitment to social responsibility, and to building a society rather than only to building a profit.
“Whenever we reach that stage,” Sir Roy added, “I think the number of breaches will be reduced considerably.”