It was in 2003 that the European Union held a civil society hearing in Barbados at the Hilton Hotel when the Secretary General of BANGO asked a question of the European Economic and Social Commission (EESC), "How do we get more civil society participation in Cotonou Partnership Agreement?" From the questions asked of the Secretary General, it was obvious that the EESC took the suggestion seriously.
In 2004 a team of two consultants visited BANGO's offices on the mission to find out how civil society coulld better participate in development cooperation between Barbados and EU. BANGO worked with the consultants over the next two years before the idea of the NSA Panel was born. Unknown to the Secretary General, the team also visited the OECS countries to speak to organisations there and duplicate the Barbados initiative. Early in 2006, the EU announced that it will establish Panels in Barbados and the OECS.
By December 2006, the National Authorising Officer and the EU met with NSAs on two occasions. The first was to brief the sector on the Panel and confirm the members of the first Panel, while the second was to sign the MoU to establish the Panel in Barbados. The first Panel met in early 2007 and has been in existence from then.
The Non State Actors Advisory Panel or NSA Panel was established in 2006 by way of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Barbados and the European Commission for Barbados and the OECS.
The objective of the Panel is to promote participation of the non state actors in national development through the instruments of Development Cooperation established under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.
Who or what are Non State Actors?
The MoU describes Non State Actors as follows:
“Organisations that bring together the principal existing or emerging structures of the society outside the government and public administration. They are created voluntarily by citizens, their aim being to promote any issue of interest, either general or specific. They are independent of the State and can be profit or non-profit making organisations”
Duration of the Panel
The life of the Panel is two years after which a new Panel is appointed. Member organizations of the Panel hold office for a maximum of two years and can be reappointed for a maximum of two additional consecutive years. At the end of every term of two years, the Panel provides written advice to the Government and the Delegation on a proposed Panel composition for the following term. The Panel cannot be dissolved at changes of Government or without the written consent of the Government and the Delegation.
Support to the Panel
The Government and the Delegation agree to provide logistical support to the Panel. They also agree to attend the meetings of the Panel at least every six months and agree to annually discuss with the Panel how its advice has been considered in formulating policies, strategies, and other decision making.
Scope of the Panel
The scope of the Panel is to facilitate deeper involvement of civil society in the Barbados/European Union partnership. It is expected that the Panel will participate in political dialogue, policy dialogue, and programming/review of European Union development aid and provide advice on other matters related to Barbados/ European Union partnership as jointly requested by the Government and the Delegation or determined by the Panel.
The Panel shall provide advice to the Government and the Delegation on matters described above through joint discussions with the Government and the Delegation or by other means, e.g. written reports as may be decided by the Panel.
The Panel is required to meet at least once every quarter however it has been meeting once every month from inception. The Panel is supported by a Secretariat which performs an administrative role.
Members of the Panel (2013 - 2015)
BANGO - Rodney Grant, Marcia Brandon
BARNUFO - Alvin Cummins, Vernel Nicholls
Barbados Employers Confederation - Tony Walcott, Brittany Brathwaite
Barbados Council for the Disabled - Joseph Tudor
Bajan Culture Village - Roy Byer, Peter Brito
Barbados National Trust - Tony Thomas
Small Business Association - Andrea Taylor, Lynette Holder
Barbados Youth Business Trust - Samuel Lev. Gittens Jr
Barbados Youth Development Council - Melissa Goring
Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations - Dwane Goddard
Caribbean Youth Environment Nework - Reggie Burke
Ichigournaim Council for the Advancement of Rastafari - Carl Talma, Ronald Alleyne
Men's Education Support Association - Ralph Boyce, Stanley Medford
Marcus Garvey Resource & Development Centre - Sophia Broome
National Union of Farmers - Keeley Holder, Julian Dottin
PAREDOS - Marcia Graham, Althea Louis
NSA Panels in the Region
In 2006 Non State Actors Advisory Panels were established simultaneously in the following territories of the Eastern Caribbean:
- St. Kitts
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent
Contact can be made with the Panels through the National Authorising Officers in the respective countries, usually located in Ministries of Finance and/or Economic Affairs/Planning, etc.