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JEFF BROOMES: Disappointed by union’s garbage pickup stand


JEFF BROOMES: Disappointed by union’s garbage pickup stand

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I DO NOT know Toni Moore. 

I have never met Toni Moore. On many occasions, I have had reason to admire Moore. Such admiration was absent when I sat and listened to her comments relative to the government and private sector collaboration on garbage collection.

I respect the unions’ rights to represent their members and to do all necessary to protect their jobs. Unfortunately, the only words about privatisation have been coming from the union leaders themselves. Call me naive, but no such indication has come from government. 

I also respect the unions’ rights to insist on being treated with decency and respect. As such, I agree that out of courtesy they should have been given prior notification about the pending plans. Outsourcing work to private entities is as old as Barbados is independent!

I was shocked when such a significant leader decried the idea of the government seeking the support of qualified professionals to assist in helping to keep our country clean. This short-term arrangement gives breathing space for government to enhance capacity.

It got even worse when the notion of “Greeks bearing gifts” was introduced. This projection into transportation, health care and education was, to my mind, nothing more than an exercise in cynicism and fear-mongering. Moore, you are better than this.

There is absolutely nothing new about public and private sector partnerships. As a St Peter person, I have seen how the former Prime Minister Owen Arthur utilised that strategy to bring great improvements to that parish and to the nation as a whole. 

I strongly believe that our nation is, and has always been led by people of decency and integrity. These leaders are not focused on hurting but on helping our citizens. We may disagree on specific strategy and tactics but the idea of them out to disadvantage workers is anathema!

I am forced to question whether Moore and I live in the same country. Daily, there is a need to move large members of the population from one part of the island to another. The Transport Board does not have the capacity to fully satisfy this need. So what happens?

The partnership between the public sector and the private sector in transporting our people is very well known. We may decry some of the behaviours and standards of the ZR and B operators, but they are a necessary part of our transportation pool. Public and private partnership at work.

There is no area in which collaboration between the two sectors is more aligned than in health care. Indeed, our public health care facilities are so overwhelmed on a daily basis that without the private facilities it would be in shambles with many of the less able at great risk. Partners!

Education, oh, the whipping boy is always dragged into everything. I often have cause to drive through Collymore Rock and Pine Gardens. Many private schools are to be found there giving great educational service. The country owes a great debt for the contribution of many private schools such as Federal, Modern, Community, Industry, Metropolitan, and the list can go one.

We have nothing to fear by bringing the private sector into the circle of service to help take our country forward. I am disappointed that modern day union leaders believe that they should shout from the mountain top. 

Our country is better when we rely less on government but allow the skills, abilities and opportunities provided through public investment in human capital to work in support of our national needs and goals. No, no, Moore! I totally disagree with you here!

Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as vice-president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: [email protected]