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Barbados Can Do It Again, Says BWU President General
Tuesday, 28 August 2018 08:51

The President General of the Barbados Workers’ Union (B.W.U.), Comrade Linda Brooks, O.B.E., is convinced that, in spite of the of the gloomy economic outlook and the looming presence of the International Monetary Fund(IMF), Barbados can regain its economic fortunes if the Barbados Social Partners work in unison and call on God for divine guidance.

Delivering her welcome address at the opening ceremony of the B.W.U.’s 77th Annual Delegates’ Conference, under the theme, “Delivering For All”, which was opened at “Solidarity House” on Saturday, August 25, Comrade Brooks said the conference had come at a very troubling period.

Speaking before an audience which included Prime Minister, Mia Amor Mottley, the Leader of the Opposition, Bishop Joseph Atherley, Members of the Cabinet, Diplomats and representatives of the business community, the President General said:

“This conference is being held at a time when we must strive to adopt a bold, determined and all-of-Barbados approach to wrest our country from the economic state in which we have found ourselves. And our theme, “Delivering for All” is a clear expression that the B.W.U., in spite of the gloomy outlook and the looming presence of the IMF, is convinced that if we, as a people, earnestly seek Divine guidance and work in unity, like the Prophet Nehemiah, we can rebuild the proverbial economic walls of Barbados and place ourselves in a position where we can deliver for all”.

The President General recalled that, during the early part of the 1990s, Barbados faced a similar challenge, but that the then Government, the Employers and the Trade Unions, in their quest to rebuild Barbados, put aside their individual and organisational differences, formed the Barbados Social Partnership, worked collectively and pulled our country from the pits of despair”. She stressed that “our unified efforts placed our country on a sound social and economic footing, and that with God’s help, we can - and must - do it again. She added: “We need to rebuild, but we can only rebuild if we sincerely call on The Almighty God for deliverance, and put aside our personal and organisational differences for the sake of our country’s assured future”.

Comrade Brooks regretted that most of the discussion on the economy that we have been hearing around Barbados seemed focussed on what the politicians, the economists and the workers’ and employers’ representatives can, or cannot do, to revive our economy. But, according to the President General: “We, the creation, seemingly have put The Creator on the back-burner, even though The Creator has made the solemn promise that, if His people who are called by His name would HUMBLE themselves, and PRAY and SEEK His face and TURN from their wicked ways, He would HEAR from heaven, FORGIVE their sin and HEAL their land. If you wish us to make our point much clearer, we are simply suggesting that we need, first, to humble ourselves and then pray for our country as we have been commanded by the Master.

“Remember! Unless the Lord builds the House they labour in vain who build it”, she said.

Speaking directly to the delegates, the President General informed them that the B.W.U.’s annual conferences are occasions for our union family to do serious soul-searching and that, over the two days on which the conference will be held, the delegates must ponder on how we, as a union, could have done better so that we may productively plan for the future for the good of our membership and country as a whole.

She emphasised that the history of the Union has shown that “unity” has been the backbone of its strength. She stressed that the B.W.U.’s founding fathers built the union upon the doctrine of the Biblical proverb, “Unity Is Strength, Where There is no Vision the People Perish”. That principle, she added, has anchored the way of life of the Union over the past seven decades. She stated that, during that period, our forerunners in each generation, from 1941 when the Union was registered until the present, have struggled courageously against many odds to improve the lives of all Barbadians. She appealed to the delegates, young and old, to use this conference as an altar call to renew their vows of fellowship and unity.

The President General pledged that the Union will do its utmost to train and retrain its leaders at the shop floor level, but she implored them to listen, to study and to meditate upon the foundation principles upon which the B.W.U. was founded.

She stressed: “The B.W.U. has never been about “I” or “Me”; it’s about “We” and “Us.” Hence, the conference theme, “Delivering For All”. She therefore made a special appeal to the members of the Union to live out the ideals of unity – the principles on which the B.W.U. has been built.
Comrade Brooks reflected on what she described as a thought-provoking statement made by Bishop William J. Hughes, which was published in the Fifth Anniversary publication of the B.W.U., in 1946. He stated:

“Pre-war methods are no longer tenable: we have passed into a new age. This fact imposes a heavy responsibility on all men. Thought must precede action, not only for the solution of immediate and local problems, but for the well-being of mankind as a whole. Your Union is young. If the members give it their fullest support, if they bring into their planning wise thought and clear vision, it will not only win the full confidence of the community as a whole, but it will become a valuable instrument in the re-shaping of the conditions of the colony which a world situation demands, and will be a means of producing reasonable leaders, which is one of the greatest needs of our age”.

Comrade Brooks stated that that sage advice, which came five years after the formation of the Union and a year after the end of World War 11, was as important in 1946, as it is in 2018, a time when we are facing the challenges brought about by the poor state of our economy, crime and the emergence of radical social thought.

Comrade Brooks then called on the delegates to salute the ground-breaking efforts of the Union’s Founding Fathers: President General Sir Grantley Adams, General Secretary Sir Hugh Springer, and Treasurer Hilton Coulston in forming this great organisation; as well as those who built upon the foundations laid by them; we speak of Sir Frank Walcott, Sir Macdonald Blunt, and Sir Roy Trotman, and the countless others.

She concluded: “We are proud of the fact that the B.W.U. has been at the centre of this country’s transformation, and we, who now lead, must continue to work for the furtherance of that transformation which has given a voice to the once voiceless”.

Comrade Brooks also took time out congratulate her Comrades in the B.W.U. Division at the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited who are marking their 75th anniversary in the B.W.U. and also publicly to express our sincere appreciation to the outgoing Executive Council and the Staff, as well as the various Government departments and Private Sector groups, for their able support over the past year”.

 

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