Strengthening the Labour Movement in Barbados

There is concern that the future of the local trade union movement is in jeopardy.

The issue has been raised by the General Secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration (CMPI), David Denny. He made the comments while addressing those attending the inaugural Marcus Garvey Celebration and Award Ceremony held recently at the Israel Lovell Foundation.

Referring to the teaching of Garvey, Denny indicated that he advocated for building out trade union organisations and working class organisations, focused on respecting the rights of the working class. But, Denny argued that at the present, we are going through a period where the labour movement is “being attacked and becoming weaker”.

“All of the social movements that we have been able to build in Barbados over the years are being attacked in some way and becoming weaker. So my statement tonight is about unity, we have to build that level of consciousness among our people in Barbados, so that we can build back those organisations… [and] we can build a strong level of consciousness within the trade union movement,” he contended.

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The CMPI General Secretary’s comments came as he maintained that every effort must be made to ensure the local labour movement does not die.

He made the point while suggesting that should the movement die, it would “create the conditions for more exploitation”.

He charged too that it could also allow the private sector to take advantage of working class men and women in this country.

“We cannot sit idly by and allow the trade union movement to become weaker. We may have differences with some of the leaders, but I think we have to do whatever is necessary to strengthen the consciousness within the labour movement, so that you can develop unity like what our brothers and sisters developed in the past,” he stated.

Meanwhile, turning his attention to the Lord Nelson statue, he said the protests mounted asking for the removal of the statue were successful, as the Government has agreed to move it.

“…It led to the position where we were successful in creating some level of consciousness in Barbados and awakening the Barbadian community about Lord Nelson. Comrades the Government of Barbados has agreed to remove Lord Nelson and that is a battle that we the working class people in Barbados would have fought for many years and now we have achieved that objective,” he stated.

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[Photo – Barbados Advocate – General Secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, David Denny, speaking during the inaugural Marcus Garvey Celebration and Award Ceremony held recently at the Israel Lovell Foundation]

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