David Comissiong

Stuart’s Social Partnership Call Is Seven Years Too Late!

Submitted by DAVID A. COMISSIONG, President, Clement Payne Movement
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

So, some seven years after the “Peoples Empowerment Party” (PEP) publicly called for the democratization and broadening of the “Social Partnership”,

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart finally, […]and belatedly,catches up and echoes the PEP’s call ! What a shame that it took you so long, Mr Stuart!

In the PEP’s January 2008 Election Manifesto– at page 3– our Party expressed the following sentiments towards and about the “Social Partnership” :–

No longer will top leaders of the “Social Partnership” be permitted to meet in secret and decide upon policies which they then impose on the people from above! Instead, the “Social Partnership” will be democratized and the proposed policies opened up to discussion with and input from the people

And, having made the case for “democratization” of the Social Partnership, the PEP  followed up with a Call for the broadening and transformation of the “Social Partnership” into what we described as a  national “Comprehensive Incomes and Prices Programme”!

Furthermore, we spelt out in detail our concept of a national “Comprehensive Incomes and Prices Programme” in several Press Releases and articles over the past five years, and explained how it could be used to come to the rescue of the suffering and hard pressed people of Barbados.

One such Release was published in the “Barbados Today” newspaper during the month of December  2012. This is how we explained the concept at that time:–

“The people of Barbados – the ordinary working class and middle class citizens – are being pressed too hard! Human beings – even decent and reasonable human beings – can only take so much, and if the pressures of daily living become unbearable, they will eventually ‘explode’ in one way or another!

Over the past three years or so, working class and middle class Barbadians have been buffeted by a punishing and constantly rising cost of living, increasing unemployment, unconscionably high public utility and land tax rates, unsustainable rent charges for small businesses and households, increasing vulnerability of home-owners to mortgage foreclosures and small business-people to business failures, and excessive bank charges and interest rates.
And at the same time, these hard pressed working-people have been witnessing the spectacle of a class of privileged Barbadians (including many politicians) flaunting opulent life-styles, engaging in parasitic and corrupt practices, and pulling monthly salaries that are dozens of times the size of the salary of the minimum wage earner!

Furthermore, in the midst of this stressful and unjust situation, persistent calls keep going out from members of the social and political elite urging the working-people to further tighten their belts and to hold even more strain, in the interest of seeing Barbados safely through this period of economic recession.

The Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP) would like to warn all and sundry that dumping even more pressure on the backs of already hard pressed working people is a sure recipe for social and economic disaster! No single segment of the population can carry the burden of restraint – it must be fairly distributed among all groups, including those groups that belong to the social elite.

What Barbados desperately needs now in this ‘special period’ of economic recession is a ‘Comprehensive Incomes And Prices Programme’ that is designed to ease some pressure off the working people, ensure that elite groups and institutions assume their fair share of the burden, and engineer a movement to greater fairness in salaries and income distribution.

How, for example, can a company like LIME justify making profits of some $200 Million and paying their top Executives salaries in excess of $25,000.00 per month, when ordinary Barbadians are struggling hard to pay their telephone bills in a time of severe recession?

LIME, and all the other utility companies and other major corporations of Barbados, need to be brought into a formal, institutionalised programme with the Government and the trade union Movement to negotiate a new approach to prices, rates, charges, and salaries during this ‘special period’ of recession.

We are therefore proposing a national programme that goes way beyond the currently existing ‘Social Partnership’! Indeed, we are calling for a programme that not only includes the Government, the trade unions and the traditional Employers associations, but also the banks, the commercial landlords, the public utility companies, the insurance and mortgage companies, and the various professional associations.

Clearly, it is our Government that will have to take the lead in expanding the ‘Social Partnership’ into such a ‘Comprehensive Incomes And Prices Programme’!

Once this is done, Government will then use the new network to work out an agreement with the principal groups in the economy to the effect that they will all temper their demands, and, where possible, institute modifications that will bring some ease to the working-people of Barbados.

The discussion will move, therefore, from a singular fixation on a wage freeze or wage restraint for ordinary workers, to discussion and agreement on abating telephone, water and electricity rates; instituting restraint on commercial and household rent; reducing land taxes and eliminating unnecessary and unduly burdensome government charges ; eliminating some bank charges and reducing interest rates on credit cards, loans and mortgages; moderating or reducing the charges of professionals such as doctors and lawyers; and implementing an effective price restraint policy for the large companies, including the large supermarkets.

The national ‘Comprehensive Incomes And Prices Programme’ will also provide the ideal structure for addressing such issues as a national minimum wage, and a general grading up of the lower and middle incomes or salaries in relation to the higher ones.

Barbados is compact and sophisticated enough as a society for something like this to be manageable and to work. All it calls for is a little vision and will on the part of the Government.

The PEP hereby calls upon the Freundel Stuart- led, Democratic Labour Party administration, to move with haste to implement a ‘Comprehensive Incomes And Prices Programme’ (CIPP), and to use the CIPP to deliver immediate and significant financial ease to the working people of Barbados.”

And so, Prime Minister Stuart — the PEP was calling upon you to broaden and democratize the Social Partnership for several years now! You now say that you recognize the need for such broadening and democratization. Are you going to actually use your power as Prime Minister, and the power of your Government, to bring about such broadening and democratization? Or are you going merely talk about it and call for it?

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6 Comments on “Stuart’s Social Partnership Call Is Seven Years Too Late!”

  1. Violet C Beckles August 9, 2015 at 9:32 PM #

    Mr Come-with-the-song , what about the Massive Land Fraud?, Let’s see you plug that in to your words and Math , that you and your family Mia help Barbados in to this mess.

    For the title deeds are not Clear Titles Deeds many people are left out of a good home and then to pay Taxes if needed for what they are to own,

    Many in UDC , NHC and others can not make the tax level for they can never own their homes for you all De-Fraud the Estate of Violet Beckles and Beatrice Henry of Barbados ,

    So the few people with clear title and fraud title must now pay 30% more in land tax to cover all other people on the island,
    Did the land tax not move up about 2 more times in the last 4 years? so we may be up to 50% up in land taxes?

    So all you fake ass lawyers and PEP and other legal bird brains , stop looking to fool the people with fancy talk and not truth,

    More Pain to Come Barbados ,,, Remove them Next election or sooner , 2018 is a long time to deal with the B/S

    new elections NOW and see Truth,

    Like

  2. Konkieman August 9, 2015 at 9:57 PM #

    Let’s create another Venezuela? I like Commie’s dedication to helping the disadvantaged but his grasp of economics is very simplistic. If you want a long term plan, educate the people ( like we do now at good schools) and then give them the means to build their own businesses and employ people (that we don’t do now). Taxing the masses like they do on de rock is counter productive.

    Like

  3. Hamilton Hill August 10, 2015 at 6:41 AM #

    Does anybody really believe that the one percent to whom the political class reports will go for any of these proposals? Even if this Prime Minister were to mention such, you could bet your last dollar that it would be just another election gimmick. Change comes to Barbados when Barbadians recognize the idiocy of waiting on others to do their heavy lifting. How long now has it been since the ones with the least resources were asked to lead the battle of wrestling this beast of a recession to the ground? Every time this Prime Minister opens his mouth he speaks of the worst recession the world has ever seen. In the face of it all he holds onto the largest cabinet we have ever had.

    Like

  4. Hamilton Hill August 10, 2015 at 6:46 AM #

    Today’s brand of vindictiveness mek Owen Arthur and Noel Lynch look like school boys.

    Like

  5. David August 10, 2015 at 6:53 AM #

    Interesting to note Jamaica appears to be about to adopt the social partnership approach and will take the opportunity to expand the partnership i.e. media and others.

    Like

  6. johnjickum August 12, 2015 at 9:48 PM #

    It is interesting to note that we boast of “punching above our weight ” in the international arena. We believe we will be better off as a “republic” and as “maîtres chez nous”.Yet, we go hat in hand, begging for “reparations” and “debt relief”. Truth be told,while we are still controlled by remnants of our colonial past ,the problem has been exacerbated by the emergence of “negrocrats” who exploit the masses even more! Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose !

    Like

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