Former principal of the Barbados Workers’ Union Labour College, Ulric Sealy.
‘b’dos not a failed state’
Barbados is not failing, neither is it a failed state.
That is according to former principal of the Barbados Workers’ Union Labour College, Ulric Sealy, who said despite the challenges the country has been experiencing, there are no signs to suggest it is a failed state. He made the comments as he delivered the weekly Astor B. Watts Lunchtime Lecture at the Democratic Labour Party’s headquarters on the topic, ‘Developing a Post Colonial State: The Case of Barbados and the Sterling Work of the Democratic Labour Party’.
“Important concepts associated with statehood are ideology, philosophy, sovereignty, authority, freedom and liberty, these are the characteristics of a state as we understand it. Where a state fails considerably in meeting the foregoing criteria, it is said to be a failed state. A failed state is a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly,” he said.
Sealy added that, “Common characteristics of a failing state include loss and control of its territory, I don’t know if that is evident in Barbados. Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions, I haven’t seen the evidence yet. Inability to provide public services, again haven’t seen it. Widespread corruption and criminality, I don’t see these things as hinted here; sharp economic decline and the inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community.”
The retired trade unionist, referring to the Fund for Peace’s Fragile States Index based in the United States, indicated that the index which looks at the fragility of 178 countries, ranks Barbados at 139 – among the 25 per cent considered least fragile. Other countries within the Caribbean region, including Haiti, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, Jamaica, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia are considered more fragile than Barbados which attained a score of 49.6 in the index.
“Yet, many of the so-called right-thinking social, economic and political commentators in our midst would want us to believe otherwise. The tone of their speeches and the style of their writings are all geared towards the fermenting of doubt and disenchantment in the minds of others,” he stated.
Deal’s comments came as he told those gathered that much of what has gotten Barbados to that state of stability was done by the DLP during its various periods in office. He contended that the political party was at the forefront of human capital development with the introduction of free secondary education for all and free school meals; the development of the local manufacturing and tourism sectors and putting groundbreaking legislation in place. In respect of the latter, the trade unionist spoke of such things as the 1966 National Insurance and Social Security Act, the Severance Payment Act of 1971, the Employment of Women Maternity Act of 1976, as well as the new Employment Rights Act of 2012 and the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Act which was passed last year. (JRT)