Dr. Jonathan Lashley.
Results of ‘Barbados at 50’ survey revealed
THERE remains a number of positive attitudes among Barbadians who at the same time said they want to see the neg-ative developments discarded from the country.
Their views are contained in the findings of a survey undertaken by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at the University of the West Indies. The results of the survey were presented yesterday at a function at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business. In attendance were a number of Government officials, including Minister of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Ronald Jones; Labour Minister, Senator Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo; and Senator Harry Husbands, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education.
The survey is titled ‘Barbados at 50 – National Values Assessment: Research Approach and Results’.
It was sponsored by the Government to coincide with the country’s 50th anniversary of Independence last year.
Dr. Jonathan Lashley, Fellow at SALISES, said that the guiding research questions based on suggestions from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart focused on aspects of Barbadian life that have been lost and which the country needs to reclaim; those features of Barbadian life that have not been lost but which needs to be retained; and those not lost but which ought to be discarded as quickly as possible.
In presenting some of the findings, Dr. Karen Lorde, SALISES Research Assistant, said that the single values admired most by 939 respondents were friendliness, resilience, hard work and ambition, patriotism, helpfulness, and positive attitudes.
On the question about what the country has lost and needs to reclaim, some 1 009 responses singled out community and family; respect for elders and authority; religion; national identity; and responsibility.
A further 763 responses indicated that the country needs to retain community, education, religion, law and order, and good governance, although these have not been lost.
However, there was an equally strong appeal for the country to discard as quickly as possible, violence, crime, intolerance, adoption of other cultures, gossiping and substance abuse.
Just under 1 000 called for an end to violence, crime and gangs, drugs/substance abuse, guns, American culture, rejection of hard work and laid-backness, and entitlement.
Dr. Lorde said that from the survey, some takeaways include equal opportunities for men and women, getting an education, respecting the needs of persons with disabilities, disaster preparedness, healthy lifestyles and a clean environment.
The SALISES official also said that one comment encapsulated in a single paragraph the values most respondents wished to see continued in Barbados. These are good infrastructure, care of elders and youths, access to education, opportunities for gainful employment, good health, religion and equality.
In introducing the survey, Dr. Lashley said that they had consulted a number of previous surveys done in the areas looked into.
He said that for many of these items that they have tested, if one asked people to respond themselves, they would all come up with positive answers.
In order to avoid that problem, he said the survey team asked the respondents their perceptions. “So basically, this survey is very much about perceptions,” he added.
Apart from Dr. Lashley and Dr. Lorde, other members of the SALISES Research team were: Dr. Don Marshall, Director; Dr. Corin Bailey, Senior Fellow; and Jamal Smith, Research Assistant.