Barbados Prime Minister urge citizens to Let their Voices Be Heard

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Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has told the Civil Society Forum of UNCTAD 15 that Barbados owes much of its political and social stability to the mechanism of the Social Partnership.

Ms. Mottley expressed these views on Wednesday as she delivered remarks at the opening ceremony for the Forum.

She said the tripartite arrangement – Government, private sector and unions – consults together to tackle major issues of the day, and agrees on strategies and actions that are in the national interest.

“Less than a year after my Government came into office, the Social Partnership was expanded through the formation of a Social Justice Committee, whose membership includes a range of NGOs and community-based organisations.

“Civil society organisations in Barbados are therefore very much at the table, and through the process, their recommendations and concerns are transmitted to the Social Partnership, or indeed, when the circumstances require, directly to Cabinet,” she stated.

Ms. Mottley urged those participating in the three-day meeting to use this opportunity to advance their ideas and create those things that were needed to move the global population and not just governments in the world.  

This is the second time Barbados is hosting a major United Nations Conference, the first was the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which took place in 1994.

The Prime Minister said she hopes UNCTAD 15 would be “as catalytic and transformative” for the international community as SIDS 94 was for small islands.  

She pointed out that the growth in organisation and activism of Caribbean NGOs, especially on environmental and sustainable development issues, derived much of its impetus from that UN process in 1994.

“We look forward once again to the active contribution of civil society organisations to the outcomes of UNCTAD 15.  Frankly, there has perhaps never been a more critical time for your voices to be heard,” she suggested.

Barbados, Ms. Mottley told her audience, recognised that good ideas did not reside exclusively in the minds of elected representatives, and all decision-making should not be the purview of the few.

“At the local level, good governance requires the involvement of all citizens in the process of nation-building. We cannot educate our citizens and then treat them as though their opinions do not count. For it is people who must be at the centre of truly participatory democracy.

“And when people act, confident in the knowledge that they are both seen and heard, their ability to network, exchange ideas and share best practices at the national, regional and international levels is greatly amplified. That is why we take the inclusion of Civil Society very seriously and why we welcome your involvement in UNCTAD 15,” Ms. Mottley stated.

The Civil Society Forum is being held from September 22 to 24, with a continuation from October 3 to 7, 2021, as part of the official programme of UNCTAD 15.

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