BPSA head wants urgent action
IT IS TIME to “put the past aside” and engage in meaningful dialogue.
That was the message coming from chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association, Charles Herbert during his opening remarks at today’s hotly anticipated meeting of the Social Partnership.
The BPSA leader noted several issues of concern to the private sector, chiefly the increasing difficulty of doing business in Barbados and a sense among business people that their concerns were not being taken on board by the government.
He noted that Barbados had slipped in the Ease of Doing Business rankings from 88 out 189 countries to 117 while Jamaica had risen from 90 to 64.
He outlined several instances which gave the private sector the impression that there was not sufficient urgency by government. He pointed to the first Social Partnership meeting which he attended as BPSA leader, where it was agreed that the Efficiency Committee would be reinstated.
Herbert noted that after 11 months, that committee has not yet reported on progress and the business community was disappointed at this fact.
In addition, he noted that at the second Social Partnership meeting he attended as BPSA leader, which took place on March 3, all of the partners “were of the same mind” that Barbados’ economic crisis was of “urgent concern”.
Coming out of this, the Prime Minister established the fiscal deficit and foreign reserves working groups. However, Herbert stated that the May 30 Budget “diverged” from the recommendations of the groups. He said this led them to conclude that “dialogue among the social partnerships was not working” and gave them a feeling that their input was “neither important nor urgent”.
Despite this, he issued a call for a reset at today’s meeting, urging all to “use this opportunity to identify and remove obstacles that prevent meaningful dialogue of the social partnership” and to present and develop “the best ideas” and seek “broad population consensus.” (AL-F)