Barbados~A Falling Star

Politically, socially and economically the decline is evident. For those of us who have experienced living in Barbados and the wider Caribbean in the 70’s and most of the 80’s the comparison to the current state of affairs must be triggering all kinds of fears. What deserves special mention is the inability of present day leaders to develop policies which address the political, social and economic requirements of the region. We don’t have to make this piece “political” although some might say that politics envelops everything. BU remember vividly the Jamaica of the 70’s, Guyana, Grenada and Trinidad before the coup and attempted coup. The point which we wish to make is that many of the Caribbean islands which are unstable today were on a growth path in the 70’s and early 80’s. Today many of these islands are struggling economically and experiencing serious escalation in crime__it could happen to Barbados.

Our people must get and stand up!

In the last decade the specter of globalization has visited us and has caused our small island states to have to restructure their economies to operate competitively in a world economy. We have seen that globalization is unforgiving towards developing states. BU opine that the theory of globalization is built on a way for the developed countries to penetrate the markets of developing countries like Barbados with their superior goods and services. The sluggish response by Barbados and our Caribbean neighbors to repositioned their economies will probably spell the demise of a way of life to which we have become accustomed.The obvious inability of current day leaders to separate themselves from policies which have worked in the past identifies a group of policymakers brainwashed by our educational institutions which lack relevance. Our dear friend Bush Tea, a contributor to BU has written an excellent article which speaks to this shortcoming more eloquently than we can. Historically king sugar and tourism have been the fuel of our economies but in recent times it is tourism which has stood alone. The external shock illustrated by 9/11 has demonstrated to Barbados and our island brethren that our heavy dependence on tourism is a lottery strategy; one which cannot sustain our future development.

Minister Barney Lynch needs be kept on a leash.

Socially we have witnessed the decay of our societies previously built on “Christian values “ and now polluted by value systems posited by a developed world on our small and open economies. The unwillingness of our political directorate to legislate on social issues has seen our populations fully accepting the value systems propagated by the OECD concept called globalization. The consequential absorption of our cultures, blurring of our national boundaries and the erosion of our sovereignties heightened by heavy obligations as a result of the many international treaties signed by our leaders have created mendicant states. Decriminalization of homosexuality, acceptance of gambling initiatives as legitimate ways for governments to raise revenue, unwillingness of our governments to unequivocally commit to fund key sectors of the economy like health, education, transportation and key non-governmental agencies has resulted is unprecedented social fall-out. It has not occurred to the academics, politicians and the few social scientists that although change is a must our uniqueness must be guarded and not surrendered to mirror foreign lands.

Our small societies must protect against greed.

There is the blatant decline in the quality of political representation and the commitment of the current crop of political leaders to the ideals of our democracy. The forgotten idea that politicians are installed to serve the interest of the people must be resurrected. The successive expectations of our politicians in the last two decades that they need to become “fat cats has become a problem of unprecedented proportions. The current policies of our governments which have embarked on capital projects which cost millions of dollars, now afford opportunities for our leaders and associates to misappropriate funds with ease__a euphemistic term for stealing. The glaring examples of public funds being mis-managed was seen on the GEMS Project, there is the obvious conflict of interest with David Shorey, Chairman of HRL Ltd and at the same time a director of CGI. Recently we have seen the latest brainchild of the incumbent government, Sapphire Beach Project which is funded 51% by Growth Fund Development, again those names of David Shorey, Peter Harris (CGI) and others keep recurring. We have all forgotten by now Tradewinds; an insurance firm which is reputed to be majority controlled by Hallam Nichols. All those government vehicles purchased which have to be brokered by third parties; we say no more. BU have not forgotten the insurance deal which was given to CGI (David Shorey and Peter Harris function as directors of the Board) by Rommel Marshall when he was in charge of the Transport Board and despite public criticism of the contract the Barbadian public has been ignored. Again BU recall the reclassification of the water zone lands in St.James under suspicious circumstances which resulted in huge profits on the sale of those lands. Again one David Shorey is said to have been one of the purchasers in the deal. The transaction prompted an outcry on whether legislation is required to prevent such obvious exploitation of land speculators to the exclusion of the former owners of the land. To date we are not aware that legislation to protect ordinary land owners was ever passed.

The list is long!

This piece is not meant to be negative although we have deliberately painted a picture of a future state which will present challenges for Barbados if our current course is left unchecked. The concentration or obsession of our current leaders on economic matters while down playing implementing social and other relevant policies to maintain our uniqueness will continue to dilute our competitiveness in a global economy. Perhaps more of concern is the societal dysfunction which BU expect to escalate in the prevailing political climate which sees Barbados surrendering its independent thinking which has been the hallmark of our early leaders. Barbados although a small nation has stood tall on the world stage and was the envy of the world regarding how the country was managed. It seems to BU that in the last decade our rush to convert Barbados to a modern economy is coming at a great price.

We need to get it right!

20 thoughts on “Barbados~A Falling Star

  1. Pingback: Barbados Underground Story Picked-up By The « Barbados Underground

  2. I agree with “The”. This is one of the best-written and most important pieces that I have seen on the Barbados blogs so far. I am amazed that you have yet to receive any comments, even though it was posted yesterday. It seems that, as a nation, we are just drifting, that somehow we have lost our way, and cannot find a way back. The result is that we look for short-term “quick fixes” to get us by until someone has the courage to bite the bullet. I agree with you, BU, that the slavish absorbtion of globalisation will leave Barbados even more marginalised. Our one remaining economic plank, tourism, depends on our ability to be different from other tourism destinations. Our approach to tourism is schizophrenic. Take a look at the excellent BTA promtional video which is used for tourism adverts. It emphasises the uniqueness of Barbados, with it’s lack of globalised brands, both in hotels and fast food. It emphasises this uniqueness as a reason to spend the extra money that it takes to come here compared with mass tourism destinations such as the Bahamas, Hawaii and Cancun. But what is actually happening on the ground? Tower block condominiums on the beach, huge shopping malls, the creeping-in of globalised fast food brands, the removal of the landscape, the placing of a garbage dump in a place of outstanding natural beauty. Above all, nothing being done to move the people, our greatest asset, to a level of social well-being that will compliment the vision of Barbados that we are presenting to the world. We appear to be devoid of policies that lay a vision, a map for the future. The result is chaos – everybody doing what they want when they want, which, if left unchecked, will leave us with a wasteland that no one will want to visit. Is that the time when the architects of this mess, both public and private, will leave for pastures new?

  3. Peltdown Man~we see from the stats that people are reading. We suggest that Barbadians see the rot/decline but they are suffering from a heavy dose of denial. What they forget is that each one of us can start this minute to pull beautiful Barbados from the brink by asking questions of our leaders and performing our civic duties in our communities.

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  6. I think one of the big problems that has seriously impacted Barbados is that no one had the vision or cared that it was a relatively small jurisdiction georaphically speaking. And which distinctly limited how much development and people it could safely accommodate while at the same time protecting the precious few environmental assets we were blessed with.

    The island at one time was rated one of the most densely populated countries per square mile in the world. When you add to this fact, the additional thousands of visitors that come to Barbados annually the problem becomes a major one.

    Barbados has and continues to be sadly lacking in the proper infrastructure to deal with these intense population levels. And it is showing in the horrific destruction of the islands environmental assets.

    Another major factor is, that because of corruption both from inside and outside of Government no proper studies are or were done to determine what types of, and how much Development was suited for specific areas of the island based on drainage, traffic density environmental considerations etc. Building took place willy nilly because all that could be seen in the eyes of the beholders was the almighty dollar bill.

    When sewers were being installed those too were done by mickey mouse outfits and if memory serves me well one was from South America who walked off the job and a new contractor had to finish the job. I am told that much of the raw sewerage still goes into the sea and has killed many of the reefs and reef fish especially on the South Coast. And all of this is due to mainly inefficient, poorly designed and constructed sewers.

    The golf clubs at Sandy Lane are the major cause for continued flooding in the areas of St. James, St. Peter and surrounding areas. Flooding like what is happening in those areas are serious environmental and health concerns.

    Instead of properly and thoughtfully thinking out the best way of disposing of garbage millions have been spent on the Greenland facility which is already a money pit and will do dreadul damage to one of the most beautiful areas of the island.

    Big is not always beautiful and Barbados has destroyed what visitors most liked about it unlike let us say the Cayman Islands and other smarter destinations.

    In todays world North Americans and Europeans in particular and to a lesser extent the peoples of the UK are extremely sensitive when it comes to the environment and its preservation. These issues are becoming of even greater concern with the advent of Global Warming and Climate change! Barbados gets very low marks in this area and even now want to destroy the one remaining Environmental landmark– Graeme Hall swamp. You cannot run a tourist destination like this and expect it to be a success!

    Even when I came to Barbados about 6 years ago it was a bloody disgrace to drive down by Barclays Park, or Farley Hill and many other premier tourist attractions following a bank holiday. The garbage was horrific and scattered all over the place and the stench was awful. Rats and mongoose were everywhere eating their hearts out. Added to this was errant garbage 24/7 scattered all over the island and derelict cars, trucks and buses abandoned in fields.

    What with the present density of traffic, noise, pollution and flyovers planned, increased crime, drugs and the host of other distractions and turn offs now plaguing our once jewel of the Caribbean. Please tell me who in their right minds is going to pay the prices most hotels are asking to spend time in Barbados?

    How many Bajans can tell me that remember them, if you can still dig a pretty aurora shell out of the sand inside the reef at Sandy beach?Tourists would marvel at these shells if only they were still there! where have all the sea eggs gone? The destruction of our island is well underway and reversing the trend is not in the plans of the BLP Government or the greedy and wealthy Barbadian or Foreigner. What p——ses me off no end is that Foreigners go to Barbados and rape the environment without a concience and knowing they would be locked up for doing the same in the country they are from. What a sad commentary this is!

    You cannot rape and overcrowd an island that is only 21×14 without paying a deadly price and Bajans are now starting to pay that price. But here is what never ceases to amaze me.

    Am I wrong or were Barbadians not told that all of this destruction of their homeland would bring prosperity to ALL in the island. Has it? Not in a long shot! And where has all the money gone from the mighty RICH visitor/resident that Bajans were told this Development would bring to the island?

    Take it from old Uncle Tom all Bajans have been sold a crock of BS!

  7. Hi David, from Canada I have no hard evidence obviously to support my position no more than you do in supporting some of your positions.

    However I am sure you like me make comments based on what knowledgeable Barbadians and others say.

    I have read on several occasions from commentators in the press of Barbados and I am sure you have too that the golf courses at Sandy lane has impaired or reduced the effectiveness of the gullys in that area of taking rainfall away like they did in the era of yesteryear. I have never and many my vintage agree seen the consistent flooding that has been occurring specifically in the St.James and St. Peter areas as we are now seeing.

    I guess the argument could be made that Barbados is having more major rainfalls that 70 years ago but I am not convinced that is true.

    I recall serious flooding back about 59 or 60 years ago when the Constitution River flooded abd I think some lost their lives. But until I left Barbados in 1956 I know of know such flooding as we are seeing now.

    A year or so ago in the same St.James, St. Peter, Speightstown area Almond Beach also got flooded out. This area is more prone to flooding than most others in Barbados and as I said people more informed than me blame it on the Sandy Lane golf courses. I tend to agree! Because that is the one single and most major development that seriously impacts proper drainage.

  8. David,

    I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable about facts relating to flooding in the St. James area. I can only rely on childhood memories, when we had NO flooding in the Paynes Bay/Holetown area. But then, of course, we had the Holetown river – as opposed to the tiny culvert that some clever idiots built there. They blocked up the Holetown river (to build Discovery Bay?) and that caused major problems with flooding. Then, there was a stream that ran in between the house where I lived and what is now the Coach House Inn (sadly not to be that much longer) and it became quite swollen when we had rain, but it took a lot of the water from up in the hills out to sea. All along the St. James coast there were various little inlets and streams which all became covered over with the building of the foreigners’ mansions (don’t get me started on them!). In fact, there was one leading from Sandy Lane factory, through Sandy Lane woods and down into the sea. It also took some of the waste from the factory out to sea, and sometimes smelt terrible! Water always seemed to find its way from the hills of St. James/St. Thomas down through gullies and inlets and out to sea, so we had no flooding. Sorry this is so long, but hope it helps.

  9. Let me say this to you David with the greatest of respect and no doubt you and others will jump on me for it and I couldn’t care less.

    I have tried as an outsider but LOYAL Barbadian to do my part in supporting what I think concerns most Barbadians and I do it simply because I love Barbados and would like to see the BLP defeated.

    However I have noticed at BFP and now here on BU that I am being singled out to prove what I am saying is the gospel truth. This tactic was also employed by some at BFP.

    I draw from what I read in the Barbados press and from what others tell me who live in Barbados. I guess most commenters do! In my case I guess because I am coming in for closer scrutiny when I use statements that are coming out of Barbados I should say “alleged” or that it is suggested by some Barbadians this is the cause of the situation. I do not see this rule being applied to the other commenters and I cannot operate under such stringent and discriminatory rules.

    I am going to take my leave of participating in these blogs because you are correct I am no longer a Bajan and should keep my mouth shut!

  10. Margaret knight~thanks for your feedback. We have heard all kinds of stories about what is the cause of the flooding in Holetown your explanation seems very plausible. We know of the natural water course which comes from St. Thomas so it seems logical that if the torrent gushing from St. Thomas is blocked the inevitable flooding will occur. Why the hell is there no planning especially when we consider that the area is located in the ritzy tourist belt.

  11. Thank you Margaret and I am by no means saying what my explanation for the problem is, is correct. All I am saying is that the flooding in this specific area TO MY KNOWLEDGE never happened back when i was a boy and needs to be explained. And you are correct why is studies by credible experts not taking place to find out the cause and what can be done to correct it. Is this not what a responsible Government would do?

    I really do not care about the “ritzy” part of the equation but do the ordinary Barbadian already carrying an unfair load need this further aggravation in their lives? I recall many years ago where the flooding in that area took a guy out to sea. I do not remember if he drownrd or not but here he was floating on a house top I believe way out in the sea!

    Let me say this I am a Canadian but I will never forget my roots and the lovely life I lived in Barbados and I really do not care about the black and white issues that consume Barbadians but rather I care about what is best for Barbados and the BLACK AND WHITE people of Barbados. After all it was our parents BLACK AND WHITE who paid the ultimate price who built this wonderful country for us ALL to enjoy so why should “foreigners” ruin it for us by enjoying it while the ordinary Barbadian must continue to live no better than they did when I was but a boy? It isn’t right!

    I remember as a boy when I was down by the Bell Boy in a one sail moses using a hand line and the fishing boats were returning in those days sail fishing boats and here is where color didn’t enter into it only the decency of a heart. This fisherman said “yu mudda know you all down here by ya self?
    You think the sea pretty it will drown ya. Turn that boat aroun and follow me back and that is what I did. He knew more than me and i didn’t care if he was black! That act of kindness and decency stays with me until this day and I am 73.

  12. T.D. Allamby,

    You make some good points – as usual – and are long-winded and rambling – as usual. However, you completely floored me with this remark: “He knew more than me and I didn’t care if he was black!” Come again? My antennae are out and picking up some peculiar vibes. Not sure that I am happy with that statement, because I’m wondering if the last part of it was necessary.

  13. Margaret I think you are looking for trivia to pounce on me too.

    I said what I did because back in those days and as you would know if you were my age all “black” people were evil or inferior as far as white people were concerned.

    My reason for saying what I did was that here was this black man who my mind was being poisioned as being bad concerning himself with my safety. That Margeret is what I meant but I am going to stop my ramblings, long windedness and raciaL SLURS because there is no place in a forum like this for people like me because I am too honest and people are looking to crucify me and read into things what I am not saying!

    Cheeeers to ya all

  14. Here is my final response Margaret to you the BFP and others who do not get it. And I have no persecution complex but the facts to support I am not a racist or a person anymore vulgar than most using these blogs.

    I was asked by the Hon. Lincoln Aleexander QC PC to be his executive assistant when he was appointed Chairman of the then Workers Comnpensation Board, Ontario. Now know as the Work Place Safety and Insurance Board.

    Linc as he was fondly known, was a BLACK man born of a Jamaican dad and a Vincentian mum. He grew up in Harlem and like most blacks had a tough time in the racist world we still live in but which was even worse when Linc was growing up.

    Linc was the first BLACK Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament, the first black MP in the Federal Parliament and the first Minister of Laboor in the Federal Conservative Government of Prime Minister Joe Clarke. He went on to become the first BLACK Lieutenat Governor of Ontario among many other firsts for a BLACK MAN. Why would he want a little WHITE BAJAN RACIST as his Executive Assistant? Open your damn minds and not shoot the goose that lays the golden egg!

    I worked and supported Linc as I would my father and loved him as much. Many nights when we came back from working he would stop at my home where my wife would have fish cakes and other West Indian delicacies he liked. Color never entered it.

    Linc is now in the twilight of his years and last year released a book of his memoirs titled “Go to school you are a little black boy”. MY daughter went all the way down to Toronto and got me a copy personally endorsed by LInc saying “An old friend at the WCB (Workers Compensation Board) I also have numerous other mementos from this Great BLACK Canadian commending me for my service to him and I say to you Margaret he never saw me as a racist! And Linc throughout his life and to this day now that his health is failing is a staunch advocate of minority rights, equality etc. I doubt a man like that would want me a racist as suggested/implied by you as his executive assistant.

  15. Margaret Knight is right. There were a lot of waterways leading down to the coast from the hills of St. Thomas and St. James before the building boom (and rape) along the west coast in the 1960’s and 70’s. And as you asked, David, why the hell wasn’t there some sort of planning when they started building hotels and the Sunset Crest complex, to take into consideration the possibility of flooding. They must have been a bunch of numbskulls, just out to make money with their cement jungle. And now we hear the Coach House Inn is to be demolished in order to erect a ghastly condo.
    I had asked before if T.D. Allamby was the same one who was blogging on BFP and DLP and ran into trouble on both those sites, and now I know the answer. If you think he has gone, you’d better think again. He’ll be back, with different names, you watch and see.

  16. The lack of planning in our country whether it is the disappearance of windows to the sea which according to everyone is the source of much flooding. Now we have the concrete jungle which is subsuming our beautiful island. Our cultural identity was never as strong as the other islands and with the open door policy of the present government, Chinese, Guyanese and the lot what little identity we have will fade soon. We could go on but too depress we have become.

  17. The Barbados government is selling out Barbados from the little local guys, they are not thinking long term just short term, filling their pockets with no concern for the future of their grandchildrens or no one elses, it so so sad. The Bible says a wiseman leave an inheritance for his grand children. I hope the Bajans wake up and vote out who ever is in now.

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