BRIDGETOWN, Barbados– Barbados has become the ninth Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to commit to a regional initiative to free Latin America and the Caribbean of child labour by the year 2025.

Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo symbolically handed over the signed agreement to the Regional Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, during the Organization of American States (OAS) XX Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour held last week.

This now brings to 28 the total number of participating countries in the initiative that seeks to accelerate the rate of reduction of child labour in the region and by 2025 to eliminate all forms of child labour, the ILO said in a statement released today.

It added that “the adhesion of Barbados reflects the commitment and importance attributed by the Caribbean countries to the tripartite collaboration and partnership among governments, and employers and workers organizations, as the region works towards achieving Target 8.7 of the 2030 Agenda”.

Barbados has so far ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as ILO conventions 138 on the minimum age for admission to employment and 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

However, while 16 is the minimum age established for employment, official estimates done in 2014 suggested that the incidence of child labour, involving minors between five and 14 years of age, was 3.5 per cent.

As part of its efforts to combat the problem, 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. However, among the challenges is the creation of lists of light work and dangerous work for minors.

The other CARICOM countries taking part in the initiative are the Bahamas, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

Also included are Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. (Barbados Today)