Government is committed to the development of civil society and to facilitating their involvement in building and transforming our nation.

This was affirmed by Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan as he addressed this week’s IX IDB Group Caribbean Civil Society Meeting at Hilton Barbados, Needham’s Point, St. Michael.

Sharing some of what Government had done thus far to develop civil society organizations (CSOs), he said it had engaged the Caribbean Policy Development Centre to develop a White Paper on Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) legislation in Barbados and the Paper, now awaiting the inclusion of fiscal policy measures, would be one of the drivers in the NGO development process.

Addressing the meeting’s theme: Citizen Engagement for Transparency, he noted this engagement should see as its outcome, the development of a society that allows people to participate as individuals, to be fulfilled, to reach their full potential and engage meaningfully and fully in the development of their countries, themselves and immediate communities.

Minister Jordan stressed: “Government recognizes that civil society is absolutely essential to constructing a vibrant, inclusive, equitable and sustainable society.”

While adding that citizen engagement also spoke to the concept of social dialogue, he stated that Government by establishing the Social Justice Committee had given life to this concept.

The Minister, who is Chair of this committee, further noted that the Social Justice Committee was fully representative of the umbrella bodies of trade unions, the private sector, women’s, men’s and youth organizations, organizations representing people living with disabilities, faith-based organizations, the LGBT community, the Family Planning Association, among others.

This committee, which meets monthly, is charged with considering matters that relate to social justice in the areas of poverty alleviation, the role of the family, discrimination, access to education, the integration of people living with disabilities, access to employment, safety and security and the environment.

“It is an attempt by Government to address issues of social justice by fully engaging civil society,” said the Labour Minister, adding it was all part of Government’s transformation agenda.

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