Message for the New Year from Bishop Joseph Atherley, Leader of the Opposition
Fellow Barbadians at home and abroad, as Leader of the Opposition and Head of The People’s Party for Democracy and Development (PdP) I wish to offer to you our sincere wishes for an abundance of blessing in 2020. May this year prove to be a very memorable one for the good that it will bring us as a people.
At this the very beginning of the year we wish to remind you of the considerations which are of primary interest to our Nation and for which the Opposition continues to be resolved firmly to give its time, thought and energies.
1. The PdP will continue to work against the shift and slide in Barbados’ moral and social values.
2. We will promote and pursue the restoration of a culture that values Productivity, Discipline, Respect for authority and for each other, Neighborliness and Community.
3. We will formulate policies to address the near thirty percent unemployment level among our young people and the overly high under-employment phenomenon that persists generally.
4. We will continue to advocate for better levels of pay for several categories of workers’ groupings including among others police, security guards, service station attendants.
5. Equally vigorously, we will continue to push for the establishment of that minimum level of income below which no Barbadian household should fall.
6. We will continue to highlight the need for more studied and deliberate policy attempts to democratize ownership in Barbados with respect to both business and property.
7. We will continue to press the government towards the introduction of policies aimed at growth in the economy in both the traditional and new sectors; and of which the benefits are more tangibly shared by all Barbadians.
8. It is our view that we must continue to highlight any corrupt practices associated with the functioning of our public institutions and to support any legislative and regulatory reforms intended to counter any such corruption.
9. It is our intention to persist with our call for Constitutional Reform including Republic Status for Barbados and Electoral Reform including Campaign Financing.
10. Advocacy for the advance in practical ways of the Construct of People’s Governance will also be a major consideration for us.
11. The Opposition PdP commits further to bringing improvements in and greater maturity to the practice of politics in Barbados through the adoption of a more Constructive approach to Opposition politics.
12. Ours will be a leading voice in the demand for far improved social services such as public transport, water and sewerage services, garbage collection and disposal, and health care and elderly services.
13. That voice will also be loud in advocacy for changes in the Education system such that it becomes more relevant, less elitist and more developmentally orientated.
14. We will continue to underscore the need for greater efficiency and improvement in the justice system, including juvenile justice; and sustain our call for a more broad-based and non-partisan approach to the analysis, understanding of, and responses to issues of criminal violence and deviant behavior.
15. Genuine attempts to modernise the Public Service and to advance relevant public sector reforms will be supported.
16. We are committed to the creation and fostering of a climate in which the role of the Media, Organized Labour, and all non-public sector institutions is protected from undemocratic governmental interference.
The year ahead promises to be a very challenging one for our people with the Country continuing this struggle for renewed prosperity. This will take place in the context of an austerity programme in which unemployed and laid off persons, and households are faced with severe stress and in which businesses are already significantly constrained.
In this type of circumstance undesirable behaviors emerge, tensions mount and conflict result. My personal prayer for Country and people is for both peace and prosperity.
I urge both sacrifice and solidarity on the part of all. I encourage a lifting of the national eye towards the heavens whence our help comes.
On behalf of the Opposition I pray for good health, improved fortunes and sustained happiness for all our people in 2020. The PdP pledges to you our commitment to the well-being of Barbadians at home and abroad.