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Review of Child Labour Laws of Barbados

4. A Review of the Policy, Legal and Institutional Framework on Child Labour

Barbados was not a founding member State of either ILO Convention No. 138 or No. 182. While it ratified ILO Convention No. 182 within one year of its adoption, it took a period of twenty-six years before it ratified ILO Convention No. 138 in 1999. In accordance with the ILO Constitution, the Government of Barbados is obliged to take measures to ensure that its laws comply with the requirements of these Conventions.

4.1 Policy

As indicated in the previous Chapter, ILO Convention No. 136 attaches fundamental importance to the need for a national policy on child labour. The first Article of the Convention imposes an obligation upon member States to pursue a national policy designed to ensure the effective abolition of child labour.

While ILO Recommendation No. 146 specifies the scope of such policy, it is submitted that the subsequent adoption of ILO Convention No. 182 requires further policy elaboration to incorporate that Convention’s specific concerns. It is also important that while the policy must reflect the requirements of the Conventions on child labour, it must also be country specific and take into consideration the socio-economic situation of Barbados. Moreover, it must be conceptualized as a part of a broader policy framework for the protection and development of the rights of children, regardless of whether they are labour connected.

From a legal perspective, a policy should determine the scope and administration of the law on child labour. Law should be consistent with policy but the ambit of policy is wider than laws. Laws may indicate what conduct should be proscribed, the penalties for violations, the competence and powers of institutions and prescribed persons, and the procedures for enforcement. Policy addresses legal as well as broader issues of strategies, action plans, institutions and resources. Ideally, policy should precede legislation.

Unfortunately, Barbados has not yet developed a comprehensive policy framework to

address national that it

the elimination of child labour. When policy on child labour, informants readily was in the process of development.

questioned about admitted that such One reason for

the existence

of a

policy did not


the absence

of a

comprehensive policy perception on the part


child labour


officials and

in Barbados may be attributed social partners that child labour

to the historical did not exist in

Barbados. Indeed, in its report to the ILO on ILO ending 2002, the Government of Barbados indicated child labour.”

Convention No. that, “ there are

138 for the period no known forms of


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