Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has insisted that another bank holiday will put more strain on an already burdened business sector.
While responding to discussion on the Government’s initial plan to celebrate Barbados’ independence and transition to a republic on November 30, under Barbados National Day, the Prime Minister stated that citizens must consider the national interest of the country; the island has 13 public holidays.
“Let me say this, every time we talk about a bank holiday, there are consequences to it. And the reality is that our businesses in a lot of the areas in this country are already on the margin, some of them, in terms of trying to survive.
“The one day that actually attracts triple pay is Independence Day, so that we need to be able to settle ourselves and reach a point where all of us as Barbadians can reflect on what is in the national interest of all, in a way that does not have the partisan undertones that regrettably, we may otherwise see others wanting to promote,” she remarked during the St Michael Speaks town hall meeting on Wednesday, November 23 at Springer Memorial Secondary School.
She stressed that Independence Day will never change, however, an independent committee will be established to review how the historic transition should be commemorated.
“The issue of whether we are celebrating the republic or independence or whatever the people and Government of Barbados are celebrating everything. As to what we call it, became engulfed in a maelstrom of confusion largely because a strapline of a newspaper said ‘Independence day no more’.
“There can be nothing that is further from the truth because without democracy and universal adult suffrage we would not have had Independence and without Independence we wouldn’t have had a republic so that there is a continuum in the development.”
“The government paused because the only thing that matters to us, is ensuring that we are in a position to take the shackles of colonialism and exploitation and oppression off of us and we are conscious that it is not going to happen simply because we change the law or because we establish a day,” she continued.
The Barbadian Prime Minister urged citizens to focus on the “the substance of the journey and not the titles that others would want us to associate with the journey”.