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May Day Declaration 2004
Untitled document
  1. We acknowledge that Barbados owes its present stage of development to the work, dedication and commitment of Barbadians from all walks of life;

  2. We accept that some Barbadians have not been afforded their full opportunity to contribute to their personal development and to that of our country;

  3. We realize that this lack of opportunity is one of the major causes of some of those fractures which the country is experiencing in its efforts towards development;


  4. We concede that some considerable effort has gone into seeking to reduce the number and the extent of those fractures; but more is to be done to ensure that those still marginalised and excluded are given that opportunity;

  5. We believe that the deficit in the overall national effort has contributed in part to those areas of community dysfunction which Barbados is experiencing and which are manifested in the marginalisation and exclusion that have to be eradicated;

  6. We recognize that criminal elements both within and outside of the country have, by their selfish greed, further aggravated the aforementioned societal imperfections through drug trafficking, prostitution and other forms of crime and that these malevolent forces have the capacity, if unchecked, to undermine the very foundation of our current stage of development and to destroy our society;

  7. We are aware that despite our best national efforts the prevailing levels of unemployment and underemployment with their attendant social ills have the potential to frustrate many of our goals as a nation and a people;

  8. Taking note of the universal significance of the Workers Day in the struggle for growth and development of individuals, families and institutions, and that the UN has dedicated 2004 as The Year of the Family, we have undertaken publicly, today, 1st May 2004, to reaffirm our loyalty and dedication to Barbados and to Bread, Peace, Freedom and Democracy, for all its citizens.  We are persuaded that our collective embrace of the tenets of Respect, Responsibility and Relationship Building will act as a  beacon, guiding all who live and work here, and all who benefit from that work, in our effort to be joint framers of an enhanced Barbadian community;

  9. We respect the Fundamental Human Rights as enunciated by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to which Barbados is signatory and we further respect and uphold the rights enshrined in the Constitution of Barbados. We pledge that we shall seek to do nothing individually or jointly to frustrate the objectives of those Rights;

  10. We believe that the opportunity to engage in freely chosen rewarding work should be a basic Right of each individual. We agree to contribute wherever and whenever we can to its realization;

  11. We consider that the work of our performers, our artists and our sportspersons should be designated as DECENT WORK, and should be protected from the current levels of disrespect, which it suffers. We appeal for national support for Respect for the Rights of the intellectual property of these workers. Such protection should be extended to business persons, especially small business persons;

  12. We believe that all persons with disabilities should be assisted in their endeavours to work or otherwise fulfill those roles in their communities, which they set for themselves. We commit ourselves to a more vigorous programme to develop work and business opportunities for persons living with disabilities;

  13. We accept that for every Right or Privilege there is a balancing Responsibility. We acknowledge that this responsibility is equally just in the world of work as it is in other areas of our national activity, and we undertake to ensure that the above-mentioned affirmative action in the Labour Market is matched by positive expressions of commitment to the mores and regulations of that market;

  14. We acknowledge the entitlement of business and enterprise to operate freely without let or hindrance, save those imposed by the law and the Protocols of the Social Partnership in protection of the wider population, by the independent association of workers through the vehicle of negotiated collective agreements and by the dictates of corporate social responsibility which should provide for private voluntary initiatives geared towards the development of DECENT WORK programmes. We undertake to support and promote businesses, which embrace these values;

  15. We confirm that Government performs a critical role in the Labour Market as the largest single employer as well as in its capacity as facilitator in labour market transactions. We are conscious of the contradictions imposed by those roles. We however note Governments commitment to its role as model employer and accessible referee, and we pledge our support for our national Labour Market buoyed up by our own commitment to a voluntaristic model of Social Dialogue, undergirded by our national commitment to the objectives of the International Labour Office and to the principles of Tripartism;

  16. We are convinced that the church is ideally placed to exercise a strong and lasting influence on the national quality of living and on the level of relations between and among residents. We urge the entire Church, leaders and followers alike, to pledge this day to work harder in furtherance of the mandate to help the people of Barbados to deal with the issues of life today and to prepare to deal with those of the future;

  17. We are satisfied that Government and the Social Partnership are not capable alone of providing for all the concerns of our nation. There are important roles which members of non-governmental institutions have played in the task of bringing enhancement to the conditions of their constituents and, through them, to the broader public of Barbados. We commit ourselves to ensuring that a more representative body of these NGOs will be included in the national consultative exercises to which the Social Partners are agreed;

  18. We believe that our environment is a special bequest to us for our enjoyment and for our economic development. We realize its special nature and the care needed to pass it on to succeeding generations in a form no less beneficial to them than the one were privileged to receive. Today, we affirm our goal to work for its entire protection and particularly for the rehabilitation of our land and marine environment. We urge that no one is too young or too old to comply with the simple demands of this pledge;

  19. This Declaration addresses the pledge of Barbadians to Barbados. We are however aware that there are several other persons living and working in Barbados beside our nationals. We obligate ourselves to treating those migrants and visitors with the same respect and dignity that we would wish to have accorded to our sons and daughters, especially within the context of the Caricom Single Market and Economy;

  20. We, the supporters of this Declaration, in the spirit of faith, hope and charity, and in the full knowledge that our word must be a bond of honour and respect, call upon Almighty God to help this endeavour to prosper and to be infused with the Fruit of the Spirit, towards the moral, economic and social improvement of our people.

Signed on the 1st day of May, 2004 at Government Headquarters.


The Government of Barbados
Workers Representatives
Employers Representatives
Barbados Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
The Church