Wednesday, 18 June 2014


CUTBACKS in some social services is a reality facing the entire region given the current economic climate, but a Government minister is urging regional governments to see the likely impact these cuts could have as it relates to social dislocation, rather than just looking at the bottom line.

Word of this from Barbados’ Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, who says failure to acknowledge the likely impact could set back the developmental gains seen in the region by decades.

Barbados’ Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce
and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss (right), who
delivered the featured address on the topic ‘The Relationship
Between Trade Policy and Gender Equality in the Region’ at the
inaugural Gender Mainstreaming in Caribbean Trade Policies
and Programmes workshop being held at the Caribbean Development
Bank, in conversation with Senior Officer Millennium Development
Goals, International Trade Centre, Meg Jones.
Some of those in attendance at the workshop on Monday.
Minister Inniss was the featured speaker at the four-day Gender Mainstreaming in Caribbean Trade Policies and Programmes workshop, which officially began on Monday at the Caribbean Development Bank’s conference centre.

He made the point that women in particular would feel the impact of such cuts. Inniss stated that the simple reality is that women still play the more dominant role in the rearing of children in the society and in terms of what happens in households, and are still making a significant contribution in the workplace and economic space in the region.

“If today we are forced to cut in areas of education and healthcare and all of the other social services, that naturally will lead to a negative impact upon the women in our society in particular.

“Therefore, I can only urge policymakers throughout the region to let us not only look at figures that speak to deficit, balance of payments, external debt, etc., but there is a human side of it which we must frontally address, but first we have to realise it exists.

“As we throughout this region work with international lending agencies to address the challenges in our economies on the fiscal side, that we never forget that our actions can cause a level of social dislocation that can roll back our gains for decades to come.”

He encouraged the delegates in attendance to make the necessary pronouncements on the matter in order to enlighten policymakers on the reality of the issue.

The Minister also made the point that while there are no ongoing robust debates on gender across the region at the parliamentary or national level relating to trade and development, its impact on women must be addressed.

“The truth of the matter is if our women do not have the same level of access to capital, if they do not have the same opportunities available in the business development world, then we do have an issue here to address. And it is not a matter that we can bury our heads in the sand about. So even though it is not a national debate, my concern is it could be very much like a volcano that it is simmering underneath waiting to explode at some point in time. And that is something that we don’t need to have happen in this region.”

The Minister also encouraged delegates not to shelve the work that will come out of the workshop but to put it into action. He exhorted that as they deliberate on the topics, the focus as it relates to gender must not solely be placed on women, but also the challenges facing men. (JH)

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