Barbados has become the ninth CARICOM country to join the Regional Initiative, Latin and America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour.
Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development symbolically handed over the signed agreement to José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ILO Regional Director of the Americas and Caribbean in the margins of the Organization of American States (OAS) XX Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour held in Bridgetown, Barbados from December 7-8.
On December 2, Yolande J. Howard, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development formalized the addition of Barbados to the Regional Initiative. This now brings the total number of participating countries in the region to 28, all aligned in pursuit of a common objective: to accelerate the rate of reduction of child labour in the region and by 2025, to eliminate all forms of child labour.
The addition of Barbados reflects the commitment and importance attributed by the Caribbean countries to the tripartite collaboration and partnership among governments, and employers and workers organisations, as the region works towards achieving Target 8.7 of the 2030 Agenda.
For its part, the Ministry of Labour of Barbados has designated Tricia Browne to serve as its representative to the Regional Initiative, and she now joins colleagues from 27 other countries, four representatives of workers’ organisations and four representatives of employers’ organisations in the region-wide Focal Points Network, which is ably supported and coordinated by the Technical Secretariat of the Regional Initiative within the ILO
Child Labour in Barbados
Barbados has ratified the commitments set forth in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Moreover, it has ratified ILO Conventions 138 on the minimum age for admission to employment and 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
In Barbados, the minimum age established for employment is 16 years, however, according to estimates done in 2014, the incidence of child labour in the country was 3.5 per cent between 5-14 years of age.
As part of the country’s efforts to combat the issue, Barbados has established the National Committee for Monitoring the Rights of the Child, which seeks to generate recommendations on policies that favour the rights of children and sensitizes communities on the matter. Among the challenges faced by Barbados is the creation of lists of light work and dangerous work for minors.