Barbados Needs National Energy Policy, NOW!

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The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) pledged to Barbadians that within the first 100 days of assuming the reigns of government, it would roll-out several major initiatives. Our commonsense, which has been honed over the years through observation, tells us that the pledge was part of a gimmick which political parties are expected to engage at election time. It should be obvious that a political party in opposition is not equipped to deliver on promises made, simply because it is not in the obvious position of government to efficiently plan and allocate resources. The BU household continue to be amazed at the frenzy which is demonstrated by our educated public concerning trivial matters, whenever we have elections. Following the script to the letter, the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has reminded the government of its 100 day promise, we listened to Senator Liz Thompson doing so with her usual eloquence in the Senate yesterday. It’s funny that the only time the Senator’s eloquence eluded her was during the no-confidence motion over the Hardwood affair last year.

Often times BU try to examine events occurring on the world stage and using our simple analysis relate it to what is happening in our backyard. One of the promises, or should we say priorities of this government is to reduce the cost of living. It was a recurring theme on the DLP platform leading up to the last general election. Of course many of us questioned what significant influence any government of Barbados can have on the cost of living in Barbados. Our skepticism was induced by the rising cost of living in the global economy which continues unabated as we write. The main cause being suggested by analysts is the runaway price of oil which has skyrocketed to over USD100 a barrel in recent months. Of note should be that the government of Barbados continues to subsidize the cost of petrol at USD65. If this was the only factor influencing rising prices then the current strategy of subsidization could be excused.

We asked in an earlier blog what tangible benefit could have been derived by the three Caribbean Prime Ministers (including David Thompson) who recently met with the lame duck President of the USA, George Bush in Washington. Despite our best effort we have not read any detail report of what was discussed outside of the powdery language used to describe the visit. We wonder if the current US strategy of using corn to fuel its Ethanol Fuel Program as an alternative to gasoline would have been discussed.

How is this relevant you ask?

According to data widely available to quote our source, despite being a well intentioned program i.e. using ethanol as an alternative for gas, the approach will have major negative repercussions to the World Economy.

Corn is the most widely produced feed grain in the United States, accounting for more than 90 percent of total value and production of feed grains. Around 80 million acres of land are planted to corn… Most of the crop is used as the main energy ingredient in livestock feed. Corn is also processed into a multitude of food and industrial products including starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol. The United States is a major player in the world corn trade market, with approximately 20 percent of the corn crop exported to other countries.

Related Links

Prime Minister David Thompson’s Day Of Reckoning On The Horizon

Barbados Cannot Sustain Current Level Of Subsidies

The Cost of Living In Barbados

Price Control By Another Name?

Residential Electricity Costs To Be Subsidised

Cost Of Living in Barbados Out Of Control Like A Runaway Freight Train

Barbados should take careful note that the Americans are pursuing alternative sources of energy which is not limited to its Ethanol Fuel Program. In an earlier blog we touched on their flirtation with wind and solar power as well. Why is it that Barbados continue to pay lip service to pursuing a more aggressive alternative energy program? Our criticism can be easily directed at our Caribbean neighbours. Is it not obvious that a sustainable approach to reducing the cost of living is to reduce the cost of energy by developing alternatives? In the face of all the economic partnership agreements we have already signed, and others to follow, it is impossible to shield our small and vulnerable economies to the external shocks of the global market. The onslaught of WTO rules makes a mockery of the token offerings we have been hearing from our regional leaders, including Prime Minister Thompson. We reiterate that a more tangible pursuit is to engineer an alternative energy program. Fortunately for Barbados we have a budding solar energy program with home grown expertise at the ready. Secondly the bureaucratic hurdle which is currently blocking the development of wind energy should be investigated as a priority. The submission of an environmental impact study to Town Planning department by the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited concerning the Lambert Wind Farm project was highlighted by Chief Marketing Officer of the BL&P in an earlier blog. Each day that passes we continue to loose our fight to maintain the standard of living we have come to enjoy.

We believe that former Deputy Governor Darcy Boyce has been given responsibility for the important energy sector. As a former Central Banker he should be well aware of the current threat to the underpinnings of the Barbados economy. Today we listened with admiration to the no-nonsense and provocative Senator McClean who tabled concerns regarding the compilation of the unemployment statistics in Barbados. It is an issue which has been flogged in the bajan blogosphere, especially as it related to tourism statistics. It is this freshness of thought which Senator McClean seems prepared to introduce that we hope infects Minister Darcy Boyce. We could not let this opportunity go by without recognizing also that Minister McClean seems to working towards using statistics as a tool to inform decisions in another area which we have also flogged, that of monitoring the immigrant population in Barbados.

To those of you who want to remain immerse in the old politics characterized by the counting of 100 days, and the largess which should follow, we urge you to recant for the sake of future generations of Barbadians.

34 comments

  • We in the PDC have long ben telling the people of Barbados that the DLP and the BLP are essentially the same, ideologically, philosophically and politically. Too, we have long been telling the people of Barbados that to do NOT expect any fundamental changes in the country, and for the better, with the DLP taking over the reins of government from the BLP. And, therefore, we have been saying with a very clear and strong “voice”, that for there to be any serious, progressive and systematic changes in the social, political, governmental, commercial, industrial, financial, accounting and comunication structures and processes of the country, that people cum voters in Barbados we must come to the stark realization that they must ONCE AND FOR ALL stop with the election of DLP and BLP Governments in Barbados – given their very checkered and dismal histories in government, recently – and elect a future people-centered, progressive, nationalist PDC Government that will no doubt properly institute and manage the necessary fundamental changes esp. for the better of the country, and for the the masses and middle classes of people of Barbados.

    The following reproduction of information on charge fees (in Barbados Dollars) as at Wednesday, March 26, 2008, for sending money overseas to anyone through WESTERN UNION, located in the RBTT, Broad Street, Bridgetown, is indeed a critical example of why we the long suffering masses and middle classes MUST do away with feckless and backward BLP and BLP Governments:

    RANGES COST
    $ 1.00 – $ 100.00 $26.00
    $101.00 – $ 200.00 $30.00
    $201.00 – $400.00 $44.00
    $401.00 – $600.00 $58.00
    $601.00 – $800.00 $68.00
    $801.00 – $1000.00 $80.00
    $1001.00 – $1500.00 $90.00
    $1501.00 – $2000.00 $100.00
    $2001.00 – $3000.00 $ 150.00
    $3001.00 – $3500.00 $160.00
    $3501.00 – $4000.00 $180.oo
    $4001.00 – $5000.00 $220.00
    $5001.00 – $6000.00 $240.00
    $6001.00 – $7000.00 $280.00

    Please note that for any transaction to be completed via WESTERN UNION, (2), forms of valid indentification are MANDATORY.

    Passport or Driver’s license – must be included

    National Identification Card

    Proof of Address

    Along with a recent pay slip and/or a job letter

    For self employed persons a (3) month bank statement

    After you have reached your limit of BDS $10 000 per calender year, ALL further transactions require CENTRAL BANK APPROVAL.

    Any funds being sent for reasons such as maintenance, education, imports of goods, require PRIOR APPROVAL.

    What a shame and disgrace that some of the above stated very unnecessary and very intrusive requirements by WESTERN UNION have been happening to many of us in Barbados, with DLP and BLP Governments in place in Barbados over the years!! None of those kinds of requirements would surely exist under A PDC Government!!

    PDC

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  • Our commonsense, which has been honed over the years through observation, tells us that the pledge was part of a gimmick which political parties are expected to engage at election time. It should be obvious that a political party in opposition is not equipped to deliver on promises made, simply because it is not in the obvious position of government to efficiently plan and allocate resources.
    ——————————————————–
    NOW YOU KNOW

    IT IS GOING GET WORSE !
    this is the nature of the beast–

    david thompson
    oh loss !
    how can you trust the man ?

    Like

  • RANGES COST
    $ 1.00 – $ 100.00 $26.00
    $101.00 – $ 200.00 $30.00
    $201.00 – $400.00 $44.00
    $401.00 – $600.00 $58.00
    $601.00 – $800.00 $68.00
    $801.00 – $1000.00 $80.00
    $1001.00 – $1500.00 $90.00
    $1501.00 – $2000.00 $100.00
    $2001.00 – $3000.00 $ 150.00
    $3001.00 – $3500.00 $160.00
    $3501.00 – $4000.00 $180.oo
    $4001.00 – $5000.00 $220.00
    $5001.00 – $6000.00 $240.00
    $6001.00 – $7000.00 $280.00

    Please note that for any transaction to be completed via WESTERN UNION, (2), forms of valid indentification are MANDATORY.

    Passport or Driver’s license – must be included

    National Identification Card

    Proof of Address

    All the above information is relevant in the USA too when sending money to Barbados except the part about a job letter and a bank statement. PDC there is nothing unusual about this. There is even a limit to the amount of funds sent out. This is all done to counter money laundering.

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  • notesfromthemargin

    David,

    In much the same way that the DLP cynically used an election gimmick of 100 days, the BLP will cynically use it to beat them over the head with it.

    Anyone with a shred of common sense would know that the 100 days programme was unrealistic. Thompson included.

    Having derived the benefit of it to capture the government let them take the heat for being responsible for it.

    Marginal

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  • Knowing nothing much about the energy issues of the island or of the world (head too hard) I will still say that I agree with you about Senator McClean’s contribution. The freshness was well, fresh lol.
    I did a comparison between her and Senator Thompson and thought that Ms. Thompson seems to still be in election gear. Hope it does not last for the next 5 years. Was quite boring really.
    What I will dare say is that we need a good dose of reality. I for one do not think anyone believed that the cost of living would come down. The merchants must have their profits (pounds of flesh even?) so mark ups will remain high. Barbados is just an expensive place to live, but it is wonderful in other ways.
    My answer is to buy what is needed, save some money and still have a little fun. Let the gov’t assist those who are in dire straits.
    I did not vote because of the cost of living. I was just sick of the previous administration. I am earnestly trying to live one day at a time these days.

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  • notesinthemargin are you sure that the 100 day gimmick was the hook which won the DLP the government? We don’t think so! We agree with Sam that the electioneering needs to stop and we need to see a solution oriented approach at this challenging time. Another Minister who seems to be trying id Benn, Minister of Agriculture.

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  • David,

    Not only Minister Benn……all the DLP Ministers doing a wonderful job !

    Transparency & Accountabilty….exemplary !

    Like

  • David,

    I am really becoming sick and tired of hearing about this 100 day promise or the ‘immediately upon our election we will…’ talk.

    Are Bajans complete idiots?!?

    What 100 day promise what?!

    This is a classic case of ‘playing the game’. EVERYONE with any inkling of common sense understands the game.

    …”I tell you what you want to hear – you give me what I want – and life goes on.”

    Consider the courting game…. an amorous young male (DLP) smiles up to the object of his desire (Barbados). He promises her the moon and stars and to love and honour her till the end of time…

    …now this is what fair maidens EXPECT… so she smiles sweetly and consents (votes for Dem).

    …so now she awakes next morning complaining that she has not yet received her stars? …”and asking where the ‘so and so’ is my moon?….

    GET REAL PEOPLE….. GET A LIFE!!!

    …it is not even like we were virgins anyhow – BLP did it last time, DLP before that, and even Richie almost had we with his sweet talk.

    ….. and David, you and I well know that this won’t be the last time we get ….. done.

    What promises what?!?
    Like newlyweds, we should just sit down together and make plans for our new life together – for better or for worse, in sickness or in health til a future silly season do us part….

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  • Bush we are flabbergasted that we have to agree with you agreeing with our position. We are suckers and will fall for it every time.We love to be chafted by the politicians.

    The difference for Thompson is the need to perform in a global economy which has become very complex. Lets hope we find the oil which the BLP believes is sitting with rich deposits outside our coastline.

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  • Gettting back to the point of the article. Politicians need to find a solution to our energy problem. Until we do its just business as usual I think.

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  • “Is it not obvious that a sustainable approach to reducing the cost of living is to reduce the cost of energy by developing alternatives? ”
    _________________________________
    BU, I think that we must accept that the cost of energy is never likely to fall very much from its current level, because the burgeoning demand from emerging economies like China and India is going to suck it all up. When we look across the current landscape of Barbados, we see thousand of acres of abandoned agricultural land. This is a criminal waste, and the result of a bankrupt policy of maintaining foreign exchange inflows through sale of real estate to foreigners. Sugar is a far more efficient producer of ethanol than corn, and although production of ethanol in Barbados may not be a profitable enterprise, it will save valuable foreign exchange, and put the land back into productive use. For too long, successive governments in Barbados have backed away from enforcing laws and policies that will benefit the general population, in favour of kow towing to the vociferous minorities and the real estate moguls. It’s time to take a different track.

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  • Dr. Justin Robinson

    Any discussion of the new government’s policy timetable must be conditioned by the fact that the election date was such that a new administration was forced to go straight into the estimates exercise. This must have affected any policy timetable they may have had in mind.

    According to my count we are only about halfway through the first 100 days. Surely this discussion is a bit premature.

    Let us keep up the heat on the administration, but we must be reasonable as well.

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  • Note for BU mods: I tried to submit the following comment a few minutes ago, but the connection seemed to time out on me before I got an acknowledgment, so I am resubmitting again. If it is a duplicate please delete..

    Concerned Bajan said:

    Politicians need to find a solution to our energy problem. Until we do its just business as usual I think.

    I think that is the attitude of many of us to the problem of rising oil prices caused by increased world demand and flat lining or declining oil production. Expectations are, if only the politicians would get their act together, they would provide us with the fix and we could all put the matter behind us to carry on with our customary, carefree, highly energy intensive lifestyles in perpetuity.

    However, heaven help the politician who announced that the fix to the energy crises might involve legislating fuel guzzling private SUVs off the roads, imposing fuel rationing, or imposing road tolls on private vehicles to discourage their use and in order to use the funds raised to fund public transit infrastructure.

    Typical Bajan on hearing the above suggestions from a politician: “Wait bo, who you tink you is? You is a dictator or wuh? Wunnuh tellin de small man dat he got to tek Transport Board bus and he can’ drive he car to town every day to go to work? Wunnuh mekkin bare sport. ”

    The hope (or rather the expectation) is that an alternative source or sources of energy will be found or developed that can fully substitute for the role of oil in our economies allowing us to continue living the energy intensive lifestyles to which we have now grown accustomed and see as being normal. However that is a tall order as explained in the article below.

    The Paradox of Production
    By blogger John Michael Greer

    One of the things that makes the challenge of peak oil so insidious, and so resistant to quick fixes, is the way in which many things that seem like ingredients of a solution are actually part of the problem. Petroleum provides so much of the energy and so many of the raw materials we take for granted today that the impacts of declining oil production extend much further than a first glance would suggest.

    Read through discussions of the energy future of industrial society from a few years back, for example, and you’ll find that many of them treat the price of coal and the price of oil as independent variables, linked only by the market forces that turn price increases in one into an excuse for bidding up the price of the other. What these analyses missed, of course, is that the machinery used to mine coal and the trains used to transport it are powered by diesel oil. When the price of diesel goes up, the cost of coal mining goes up; when supplies of diesel run short in coal-producing countries – as they have in China in recent months – the supply of coal runs into unexpected hiccups as well.

    I’ve pointed out in previous posts here that every other energy source currently used in modern societies gets a substantial “energy subsidy” from oil. Thus, to continue the example, oil contains about three times as much useful energy per unit weight as coal does, and oil also takes a lot less energy to extract from the ground, process, and transport to the end user than coal does. Modern coal production benefits from these efficiencies. If coal had to be mined, processed, and shipped using coal-burning equipment, those efficiencies would be lost, and a sizeable fraction of total coal production would have to go to meet the energy costs of the coal industry.

    The same thing, of course, is true of every other alternative energy source to a greater or lesser degree: the energy used in uranium mining and reactor construction, for example, comes from diesel rather than nuclear power, just as sunlight doesn’t make solar panels. What rarely seems to have been noticed, however, is the way these “energy subsidies” intersect with the challenges of declining petroleum production to boobytrap the future of energy production in industrial societies. The boobytrap in question is an effect I’ve named the paradox of production.

    Continued at:
    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2008/03/paradox-of-production.html

    To help get a more complete picture of the challenge that is before us, I also wish everyone would watch the presentation by retired physics professor Albert Bartlett in which he shows how even quite small rates of continuous growth in consumption of any resource will lead to very large increases in consumption of that resource and in much shorter time frames than most of us would think possible. The mathematics behind it is actually very simple, but most people, including politicians, just don’t get it.

    The presentation by Bartlett is geared to a lay audience, not an audience of physicist and scientist. You can view Bartlett’s presentation in Real Player format here (also has audio only MP3 download):
    http://globalpublicmedia.com/dr_albert_bartlett_arithmetic_population_and_energy

    Here is a link to a paper by Bartlett “Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis” first published in 1978 in the American Journal of Phyics and which covers some of the same ground as the video presentation linked above:

    http://www.npg.org/specialreports/bartlett_index.htm

    Our economies have evolved into a system that relies on perpetual economic growth and over the last 150 years of cheap energy (thanks to oil) that growth has been easy to maintain. As economic activity increased and more energy was required to run the world economies, we just pumped energy (in the form of oil) out of the ground in increasing quantities and as needed to meet the demand. However the days of just sticking a pipe into the ground and sucking up however much energy we want and feel we need to have are rapidly drawing to a close.

    Just be aware there is no natural law that dictates civilization must progress ever onwards in a straight line from caveman to Star Trek voyager. In fact, history shows that the more normal pattern is for civilizations to increase in knowledge and complexity and reach a peak before going into a usually unrecoverable decline, often coincident with depletion of a major resource base.

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  • I have always felt an Administration should be judged over its whole term in office, rather than in knee jerk reactions to a given moment in time. The point can be made that experience teaches people to be cautious and not fall into the trap of complacency, hence a watching brief should be kept, however that does not mean we must be constantly on the look out for minor infregements.

    In opposition lots are promised, not to be dishonest, the intention is there. In government many factors that were not evident come to light, and a short term pragmatic approach is required. That does not mean you have forgotten and do not intend to implement your stated pre-election objective, it just means a circuitous route must be taken to reach that objective.

    I have not engaged in this “Government by the second” appraisal as I think it serves no useful purpose, of course others are free to do so. Neither does it mean I am right and they are wrong. We just have a different approach to practical politics.

    I have repeatedly said before the election and it is a matter of record. Integrity Legislation of its own will not solve Barbados’ problems, but men and women of “character” will. I know the argument can be made that Laws are required to ensure that our representatives should be held accountable.

    I have no argument in principle with that view, that but I fear it might give us a false sense of security, if we are dependent on that alone.

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  • While a stitch in time time may save nine, haste makes waste. Forget the 100 days, a bunch of political folly easily recognized as such by anybody with a brain that is at least partially functioning. Some concerns require a reasonable and rational amount of time to consider before leaping into action. When action happens it needs to be the right action, and not a rapid-deployment response to the blathering of the bloggers.

    The simplest way to reduce the cost of living in Bim is to remove (or at least seriously lower) all the government-imposed tariffs, taxes, and imposts on imported goods and services. Barbados ranks as the number two (just behind Sweden) highest taxed country on the planet. 1. All that tax money goes to government, notoriously the poorest manager of money in the world. 2. For every dollar of tax there is a trickle-down effect. Because cars and parts thereto are highly taxed, repairs to same are equally high in cost, and automobile insurance must be just as high in order to cover the costs of repairs, accidents, etc. So, an import duty on cars leads to high insurance costs. Because retailers mark-up merchandise as a percentage of cost, when a goodly part of that cost is tax, they mark up the tax cost as well (a user-unfriendly action if there ever was one…but they do it) artificially inflating the cost. At the same time the merchant has to meet the inflated costs of insurance as noted above, as well as all other overheads, and turn a needed profit at the end, so an impost at the border affects not only the price of the particular item, but all other items as well. Because imposts are always defined as a percentage of cost, as world costs rise, the amount that goes into the tax coffers rises equally, offering no incentive for government to hold strain. Government here, now, may claim to be “subsidizing” energy costs, but all it is really doing is politely foregoing tax revenue. Let us say that in the U.S. gasoline is $US3.50 per gallon (which it currently really is), or $7.00 BDS. Divide by 4 to get a cost per litre of $1.75 BDS. That cost reflects both U.S. Federal tax and local state taxes. Any amount over $1.75 BDS per litre for gasoline here is an expression of how much the Barbados government collects in excess of the tax load in the U.S. Check out the price at the pump here and let me know if the Barbados government is really subsidizing the cost of gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.

    If we want to lower the cost of living it will be necessary to vote out the tax-and-spend Labor governments, and vote in (at least for a while) a really right-wing bunch that understands that the only source of $$$$ for government is out of your pocket (and mine), and that fiscal restraint will yield tremendous benefits for everybody in the island. Too bad fiscal conservatism is so closely associated with a particular class of folks from the bad olde days! In today’s world high taxes simply produce a huge supply of cash available for tiefing by various “servants” of the people.

    In the long run energy indepence can be had in the Caribbean by tapping into electrical power generated from the hot rocks of our nearby neighbors, a la Nevis. Not only can the energy be really low cost, the low cost energy can be translated into income from the production and sale of value-added commodities that require high amounts of energy in the manufacture. Forget wind power. When you factor in the cost of the wind generator itself PLUS the required conventional back-up for calm days, wind power is known to be the most expensive power on the planet. Ditto solar-voltaic power which must have either very expensive batteries to store it for night-time, or again very expensive conventional back-up for when the sun gets low in the sky.

    Let us not fall prey to feel-good political solutions, but let us apply our brains to come up with rational solutions to what are very real problems.

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  • YB I am with you.

    One can only try TWR. Don’t be so dismissive of the ideas. One must start somewhere and then see where it goes from there. But then again I am the first to admit I am clueless about these energy issues.

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  • YB, BT, Rabbit et al I am enjoying your level headed and reasoned approach to this issue. It’s posts like these that keep my hope for this country alive
    Keep the discussion flowing!!!

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  • There is nothing wrong with the public, including the blogs continuing a process which offers the new government critique. We believe that this is the ideal time to do as it is currently at its best time to absorb feedback and operationalize as required at this early stage. To wait for sometime to elapse before injecting robust feedback/criticism is to ignore that even though the government is new the world is marching on at a fast pace and is very dynamic.

    There is a reason why an opposition is regarded as a government in waiting and would have been shadowing government ministries. We believe a big benefit to doing so is the requirement of a new government to hit the ground running.

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  • Thewhiterabbit,

    I put it to you that there is NO WAY to reduce the high cost of living in Barbados. I assume that you are suggesting by this; a way to maintain the present standard of living(SOL), while reducing the cost of maintaining that SOL.

    …forget it Mr wabbit.

    Our best options now involve finding ways of reducing our SOL in a hopefully controlled manner, to match our (in)ability to pay.

    Your focus on reduction of taxes is unrealistic.

    Barbados is the best small developing country BECAUSE of the high level of taxes levied on us and because of the relative efficiency with which those taxes have generally been used. (the last administration was pathetic, but not yet as bad as many other such countries).

    I disagree that private sector businesses spend their money ‘more efficiently’. – From their own selfish perspective – yes. But in the overall national interest?!? don’t make me laugh….

    We have entered a whole new era in our world. It is going to be chaotic and traumatic. The smart thing to do is to FORGET the days of plenty that are behind us and to PREPARE to survive serious times ahead.
    Even without any major global shocks, numerous challenges will face our world….
    Oil, Global warming, Drugs, Aids, pollution, over-population, war, terrorism, food shortages, deviant children, etc etc.

    …can you imagine what another 911 type situation would cause? or another ‘Katrina’ in 2008? or another Iraq?

    What cost of living what?!?

    …the question is one of survivability…..

    THEREFORE I suggest to you that…

    1- Wind and solar energy will be TOP CLASS investments -high cost or not.
    2 – Large, expensive, complex plant and equipment will become stranded assets (like the one BL&P is building at Trents and COW’s at Apes Hill)
    3 – The ability to meet basic needs (food, water, sanitation, medical etc) will be THE critical factors of ‘success’ in coming years…

    … hopefully, Bush tea is wrong on this position… after all -there must come a time eventually when the ‘Bush’ is wrong (LOL)

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  • On the News and Sports on TV8 Thursday night, it was stated that the 2007 Sports Personality, Shane Brathwaithe must return the car that was presented by the Minister of Sports. In her reason Thursday night, she said that it will affect him getting a scholarship.

    David can you enlightened the BU family about this mix-up.

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  • Pingback: David, We will have to disagree on the 100 days point! « Notes From The Margin

  • I see that Notes From The Margin is posting comments to “back door” ride off BU’s popularity. NFTM still has Cat Piss & Pepper and the other blogs that were established by BFPE listed on its blogroll.

    David, are you going to let NFTM back in to ride off the popularity of Barbados Underground? My opinion is that he should stay banned until he disowns all the blogs established by those who made the death threats against Adrian Loveridge.

    In my opinion, you should trash any comments by Notes From The Margin.

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  • Pingback: » Yes, there is a link between the BLP and Threats of Violence Keltruth Corp.: News Blog of Keltruth Corp. - Miami, Florida, USA.

  • Food for thought: How many things can go wrong all at once, and still be managed?

    By Stephen Pizzo

    SNIP

    I forget the fella’s name, but I recall something a veteran Washington DC reporter told his colleagues the day he retired back in the late 60’s at the ripe old age of 90. He had seen a lot; a couple of world wars, a depression and more. At the time he retired the world was hostage to the Cold War which threatened to end mankind.

    Someone asked the retiring journalist, “Do you think we’ll make it? Do you think mankind will survive?”

    He thought for second and replied. “Yes…but just barely. The history of mankind is that we walk right up to the edge before we react. Then we do what needs getting done and survive, just barely.”

    On one hand I found that kind of reassuring. On the other hand he said that half a century ago. Is it still true? Can we still dally right up to the last minute, and get away with it? In his day there were just over a couple of billion humans on earth. Only a fraction of those people were what we’d consider today to be “consumers.” Most of them were more like survivors, just scraping out an existence.

    Now there’s something just over 6 billion of us on Earth, and something more like 4 billion of them are either already consumers or heading fast in that direction. The growing populations in what we used to call “the Third World,” are suddenly demanding their share of the earth’s resources — especially — the fuels needed for heating, cooling, production and transportation.

    This sudden surge in demand has begun to crimp the First World’s lifestyle. So how do we respond? Do we change our wasteful ways? No. We decide that the best response is to maintain our lifestyle by turning food into fuel. Because it’s better for the environment? No. It isn’t.

    SNIP

    A couple of years ago population scientists tried to figure out just how many humans the earth could sustain at an acceptable standard of living. The answer they came up with was somewhere between 1 and 1.5 billion.

    Another group of scientists were asked to calculate how many resources would be needed if everyone currently on earth were able to attain the current American standard of living.

    Their answer was that six billion people living like Americans and Europeans would require the food and raw materials of roughly six (6) entire planet earths.

    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/13755

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  • Peak Oil and Economic Growth: Where Do We Go From Here?

    By Nate Hagens

    When pundits, talking heads, and government officials debate policies related to oil consumption (e.g., gasoline taxes), they invariably ask, “Will it hurt economic growth?” This statement could be broadened to a whole range of policy debates on the environment, from climate change to endangered species. But since this is the Oil Drum, let’s stick with the topic of oil and economic growth.

    Oil and the economy are clearly and inextricably linked. Many analysts call oil the engine of economic growth. Certainly U.S. oil consumption patterns and economic output have experienced similar upward trends over the decades (see graph). It is difficult to find anything produced or consumed in the U.S. economy that doesn’t require oil as an input to its life cycle. It logically follows that changing oil prices or altering oil consumption patterns will affect economic growth. That’s why people (although probably not enough) worry about peak oil. They fear that the age of economic growth will come to an end.

    The real issue, though, is whether economic growth is a desirable goal to begin with! Economic growth is simply an increase in the production and consumption of goods and services. It is driven by increasing population and increasing per capita consumption, and is typically indicated by increasing gross domestic product (GDP). Theory and evidence suggest that continued growth is actually “uneconomic” or costly to society . Ecological footprint analysis shows that the global economy is consuming 30 percent more resources than the Earth can regenerate each year , a deficit that cannot be maintained for long.

    If the growth paradigm is unsustainable and harmful to the environment and future generations, why is society still pursuing it? First, growth was a blessing for much of history, and it is difficult to change from something that worked in the past. Second, powerful interests from corporations to government agencies to universities have a stake in the growth economy and promote it doggedly, sometimes resorting to fallacious concepts and propaganda that confuse and mislead the public. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, society lacks knowledge of the sustainable alternative to economic growth.

    Continued here:
    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3759

    See also http://www.steadystate.org for the website of the CENTER for the ADVANCEMENT of the
    STEADY STATE ECONOMY

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  • “Barbados is the best small developing country BECAUSE of the high level of taxes levied on us and the relative efficiency with which those taxes have generally been used”. A comment attributed to a blogger going by the pseudonym of Bush Tea.

    That above statement is a total and unmitigated fallacy that continues to be perpetuated by some persons, businesses and other entities in Barbados. Thank goodness that with the continued efforts of the People Democratic Congress (PDC) in educating so many persons, businesses and entities in Barbados about this evil system called TAXATION and its very harmful effects, that so many more of us are coming to the stark realization that they need to support a future PDC Government that will definitely Abolish TAXATION and replace it with fairer and greater means of the state arriving at its own revenues and paying its own bills.

    The above quoted blogger needs to be told in no uncertain terms that the amount of money/value that is STOLEN by the state from the relevant persons, businesses and entities in Barbados – state behaviour which is totally repugnant and criminal – is nearing 45% of GDP in recent years – up from from 40% of GDP in the late 90s, and up from 30% of GDP in the 80s. At the same time this has been happening, the size of the very inefficient, unproductive and unrational state – financially and materially speaking – has been growing like a dreaded behemoth over us the vast majority of denizens, businesses and other entities of this country, and as the far more efficient, the far more productive, and the far more rational private sector has been made systematically UNABLE/INCAPABLE OF operating at and achieving its fullest potential in this peripheral capitalist society of Barbados, primarily because of the fact of this increasingly monolithic state and its (tremendous) thefts and robberies (TAXATION), and the ensuing very adverse consequences and correlatives including the incurring of a gargantuan government debt.

    It is PRIMARILY because of this private sector and some of its highly effecient, productive and rational material and financial relationships with particular indogenous and exogenous variables – although it and they have their own share of imperfections – that this country has been made fundamentally ABLE/CAPABLE OF reaching and achieving such a higher developing staus and NEVER NEVER BECAUSE of any HIGH TAXATION. As a matter of fact, with a future PDC Government, et al, Abolishing TAXATION and drastically reducing the size of the state and drastically eliminating many of the adversities that come directly and indirectly through the present size of the state and TAXATION, there shall become unprecedented great levels of real income, real investment, consumption, real savings, imports, exports, foreign reserves, material growth and development and owner-led business activity for Barbados.

    Finally, it is primarily BECAUSE of the state’s and the people of Barbados’ unswerving commitment to the state’s own provision of social/welfare, security, regulatory, infrastructural and international means, facilities and services for the country’s benefit – and such aspects a future PDC Government will NEVER NEVER repudiate – and primarily BECAUSE of the need to finance such with money ( NOT TAXATION ) and implement them through the use of human beings and material resources, assets and equipment within the context of the state, and within the wider context of this global capitalist system of which Barbados is a part of – that many DLP and BLP state leaders and principlals, past and present, have TERRIBLY and DASTARDLY MISCONSTRUED these ESSENTIAL philosophies and activities of the state to mean that one central evil thing must fugure among such philosophies and activities – TAXATION, and that this must continue to figure in the forseable future, but they are so very WRONG like the above blogger.

    PDC

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  • PDC,

    ..much as I love a good argument or debate or even a good cuss-out, there are some things that I do not argue about, and some persons I do not argue with…. however;

    Your preoccupation with taxation is interesting but to me completely devoid of any logic.
    Barbados educates its people (and lord knows how many others), provides basic services; has infrastructure that actually works, and has systems that actually gets things done – not nearly as efficiently as in desirable or possible, but CERTAINLY better than many similar countries.

    Obviously so-called developed countries like those in the EU and others which either raped the wealth of Africa and other continents for centuries, or which are blessed with huge natural resources, can afford better services at lower rates of taxes.

    BUT BARBADOS HAS DONE WELL by any standard.
    This place is CLEARLY BLESSED BY GOD for a special reason.

    I have NO problems with paying taxes in Barbados because I can see what I am paying for, and, having received my education at the expense of the taxes of others when my parents could barely afford rice, I am HAPPY to help to educate today’s youth with my taxes.

    I don’t know exactly what your problem is -apart from faulty logic, but we would all like to hear your alternative approach to taxation.

    If however you will be suggesting a greater role for private industry (like BS&T and 3S etc) please do not bother to respond.

    Obviously we must always apply pressure on Governments to be more efficient, honest and productive, but which area in life is perfect?

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  • The above blogger, whomsoever he or she is – Bush Tea – fails miserably to understand the fundamental ideological, philosophical, linguistic and political underpinnings and bases supporting, maintaining and reinforcing this evil called TAXATION. As well, Bush Tea, if you were a serious student of political obligation and political socialization and statecraft you would have long properly understood that, realistically speaking, you DO NOT pay TAXES – you are COMPELLED to give up your income to the Government – Pseudo-Robin Hood style, the government steals/robs you of your income. It is CERTAINLY NOT the point that you DO NOT have a problem with paying TAXES!! WHAT IT IS THE POINT, NOW, IS THAT YOU DONT HAVE MUCH OF A CHOICE. DOES ONE HAVE MUCH OF A CHOICE WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING THIS RIGHT NOW – STEALING FROM YOU/ROBBING YOU? NO. What alternatives do those particular so-called land property owners – these ones that were pointed out in one of the Nation Newspapers last week – have now that their so-called lands are about to come under the gavel of the Land Tax Commissioner of the Government of Barbados, other than fighting politically and constitutionally against this wicked system of TAXATION? NONE!!

    Therefore, the thing is for the vast majority of persons, businesses and other entities in Barbados to come together and resolve to removing this evil scourge totally, and replace it with fairer, more effecient and modern means of the state arriving at its own revenues and paying its own bills. Rather than doing like what Lionel C.Hill Co Ltd and so many others have been doing over the years when faced with specified onerous TAXES – personally or individually, battling against particular TAX injustices, but still within a viscious TAX system that has been terribly superimposed on us. You need, Sir/Madam, to visit our pre-election Manifesto@www.somassfreedem.org, for some understanding of the alternatives we have to TAXATION!!

    Lastly, Sir/Madam, what we in PDC are really evaluating and diagnosing for, and therefore seeking to ABOLISH, whenever we become the government of Barbados, is the entire TAXATION system and its very harmful effects and correlatives on the future growth and development of Barbados. Of course, and methodologically speaking, any individualistic approach – esp. based on sentiment, preference, etc. – to evaluating and diagnosing for those things CAN NEVER EVER properly explain this disgraceful systemic thing called TAXATION and its hazards.

    PDC

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  • …so PDC, when you become the government (gasp), how do you propose to pay for the things that the poor folks who would have voted for you need, but cannot afford?

    you know…
    …things like public transport, Health services, education, roads (tenantry roads, I know all the ones in the heights will be perfect) etc?

    You plan to close down Sir Hilary’s one graduate in each home program? Education cost us OVER 400 million PER year….
    If you folks have the funds yourselves then let us know up front and we will see if we can hold a new election post haste.

    …you probably read too many idealistic books. Barbados has been successfully socialized by taxation and fundamental changes to that approach are way off base at this stage of our existence.

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  • Bush Tea,

    Sir/Madam,

    There are at least 9 workable and effective strategies that A PDC Government will implement as a means of helping to make sure that the state and its different divisions, subsidiaries and other relevant component entities will come by some money, earn their own revenues, pay their own bills, and provide their own necessary social/welfare, security, infrastructural and international representational means, facilities and services to help further the growth and development of the country, WITHOUT VIOLATING THE INCOME AND PROERTY RIGHT OF PERSONS, BUSINESSES AND OTHER ENTITIES IN BARBADOS.

    And, briefly there are:

    1) The drastic reduction in the size of the state – the elimination of so many of those – NOT ALL – unnnecesary, unproductive and very ineffecient present day ministries, departments and other agencies. The remaining ones which are to be kept because of their strategic social, financial and other national importances will however be reformed consistent with their respective mandates to be more effecient and prudent in their operations;

    2) An increasing entrepreneurial and commercial role and function for certain divisions, departments and certain agencies of the state to perform, and any country-wide or sectoral relationships that for will connect therewith and that will be defined as entrepreneurial and commercial;

    3) Many more state divisions, subsidiaries and other agencies shall be given greater political and legal autonomy to establish their own “price”, cost, revenue, purchasing, selling, promotional and market-oriented relations, structures and cultures, locally and internationally;

    4) The greater financing of more commercially viable state projects by the public vis-a-vis the public investing in the shares of these projects for profits/dividends;

    5) The provision of a state regime whereby there shall be greater and more accurate reports and information to the public, and in as timely and certain a manner as possible, on the daily operations and future financial, commercial and other outlooks of the state and its different divisions, subsidiaries and other entities, particularly with regard to those operations of the state and its entities that will be invested in by the public;

    6) The increasing use of valid and truthful accounting terms and values as a means of symbolizing the actual capital, assets, and liabilities of the state and it different divisions, subsidiaries and other agencies, at any given times, against or in relationship to those of other entities across the country that it will actually be doing business with, and in ways that GREATLY DO NOT SEE THE ACTUAL USE OF MONEY. ACTUAL MONEY IN WHATEVER FORMS SHALL STILL BE THE BACKER OF SUCH KINDS OF ACTIVITIES ;

    7) The state shall have the right – just like other persons and entities in Barbados would have – to borrow MONEY for productive purposes from the core financial system ( banks, credit unions, insurance partnerships etc.), and will NEVER have to repay this money. There shall be a maximum limit on the amount of money that the state shall be able to borrow from the core financial system in any one year, and which shall be generally set at the maximum of 40 % of GDP, at today’s prices in the future;

    8) The relevant state management entity and its different entities shall ONLY be allowed to engage in social, welfare, security, infrastructural commercial, foreign affairs (outputs) activity to the extent that the totality of their inputs into the wider political, social, material and financial system of Barbados, as done through their human members, as done through the resources that that they have at their disposal, and as made through the value of capital, assest and liabilities positions, shall allow for; and,

    9) The state shall be greatly repositioned to itself benefit from the phenomenal increases in national material, production, distribution, investment and financial activity that will be helped brought about by many of these measures herein outlined, and helped brought about other PDC Governmental national commercial and industrial reform initiatives like the Abolition of Interest Rates and the making of Imports of Goods and Services into Barbados zero-“priced” at all points of entry.

    PDC

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  • Thanks for the feedback PDC.
    At least you could teach the other parties a bit about communicating….

    Actually I disagree with everything that you seem to stand for,… but that may be a good sign.
    Good luck, but don’t depend on Bush tea’s X.

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  • Shockingly unprepared for the coming end of oil

    Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun
    Published: Friday, April 04, 2008

    VANCOUVER — Minivans, global air travel and the transport of goods by diesel truck soon will become the stuff of yesterday as the world adapts to depleting oil reserves.

    The planet, posits a new book by two Canadian academics, is on the cusp of a revolution in transportation that will steer people away from petroleum-fuelled vehicles and into ones that are either battery-powered or connected to electrical grids.

    Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight without Oil, by Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl, is one of the most thought-provoking books to cross my desk in a long while. Gilbert is an urban issues consultant and former York University professor and municipal politician in Toronto. Perl is director of SFU’s urban studies program.

    Their book is an eyebrow-raiser, portraying a future that’s around the corner as oil production is projected to hit a peak and start declining around 2012. In adapting to peak oil, the way we move ourselves and domestic and international freight will change as dramatically as when the horse and buggy gave way to the car.

    Vehicles gradually will be replaced by Personal Rapid Transports — one- to six-person cars, linked to overhead power grids, that move along streets in designated guideways. More LRTs and subway systems will be needed. Air travel will again become a preserve of the rich. (emphasis added by me /GM) Railways will be reconfigured to run on electricity.

    “Electricity is the ideal transport fuel for an uncertain future.” Meanwhile, the internal combustion engine, powered by gasoline that will be unaffordable even if it’s available, will go the way of the dodo.

    None of this is wild speculation or the stuff of 2050. The authors say we’ve got to act now to the avoid the conflict and chaos that will ensue if oil demand doesn’t drop in tandem with its declining availability and affordability.

    So urgent is the situation, the book calls for the signing of an international treaty — the Oil Depletion Protocol — similar to the Kyoto accord addressing climate change

    Vested interests will have to be dragged kicking and screaming as highway and airport construction is curtailed.

    The Pacific Gateway Strategy, Heathrow’s fancy new Terminal 5 and other “boondoggles” demonstrate society’s reluctance to smell the coffee, Perl observed in an interview this week.

    “There’s going to be some steep learning curve for political leaders who are largely unprepared to deal with the impending transport revolutions. Techno-fantasies and wishful thinking will have to give way to reality-based planning.”

    http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/viewpoints/story.html?id=ac6550b0-7d96-40cc-aacb-43d581fd0a3b

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  • Globe and Mail Report on Business

    SHAWN MCCARTHY

    April 8, 2008

    WASHINGTON — Matt Simmons sounds the alarm like the Cassandra of the oil industry, warning that crude production has peaked and that looming energy shortages could derail global growth and even spark armed conflict.

    As a prominent “peak oil” theorist, the veteran oil industry financier paints a grim picture of a world facing resource scarcity. Still, it doesn’t take a “peak-ist” to conclude that the global oil producers will find it increasingly difficult to keep up with growing demand.

    He squared off yesterday against other experts who argue that the world has yet to reach the physical limits of oil production. But while they disagreed on the extent of the problem, the panelists at a U.S. Department of Energy conference in Washington concurred that future crude production will be constrained by physical, economic and political factors that add up to tight markets and higher oil prices.

    Despite oil prices that have topped $100 (U.S.) a barrel, there was little sense at yesterday’s conference, put on by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, that high prices would spark either a boost in oil output or a sharp fall in global demand.
    Print Edition – Section Front

    Record pump prices – and a sharply slowing economy – have cut into U.S. demand, which represents 25 per cent of the world’s total. But analysts who follow the emerging economies said there is no sign yet that triple-digit crude prices have seriously dented demand in China or India.

    Global demand for oil will continue to grow, analysts forecast, even as the developed world reduces consumption in the face of high prices and environmental concerns. Economic growth and rising living standards in developing countries like China, India and the Middle East will more than offset reduced energy consumption in the mature economies of North America and Europe.

    SNIP

    Peter Jackson, a director at the Cambridge Energy Research Assoc., said Mr. Simmons was overstating decline rates of existing fields, was not taking into account the prospect for new discoveries, and played down the importance of unconventional resources such as Canada’s oil sands.

    Still, he said the industry faced “above ground” problems that would make it difficult to keep production growing fast enough to meet rising demand. About 90 per cent of existing conventional reserves are controlled by state-owned oil companies, many of which are not investing enough in capacity expansion, he said.

    At the same time, the industry worldwide has seen construction costs explode, even as oil companies are forced to exploit smaller, more remote and more geologically complex reserves. The average cost of producing a barrel of oil has more than doubled in the past eight years, with most of that increase occurring in the past four, he said.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080408.RPEAKOIL08/TPStory/Business

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  • Whats up this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use
    WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with
    HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

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