Notes From a Native Son – Independence Speech: London November 29, 2011

Hal Austin

Mr Deputy High Commissioner, distinguished guests, fellow Barbadians, friends, ladies and gentlemen. Happy Independence to all of you.

Our country is in a dire state, make no bones about it. We are on the precipice of an historic decline the like of which we have never experienced in our history. This warning is not just sabre rattling, or shouting fire in a crowded cinema. This is real. We have failed, since independence, to develop a long-term economic anchor, choosing to depend – in fact over-depending – on the tourism industry, developed by the late Ronald Tree and his friend on the West Coast in the early 1960s. We have also failed to develop a binding collective operational objective, one that crosses generations and social boundaries, a national mission statement, if you like, by which we as Barbadians can define ourselves.I know a number of distinguished Barbadians are already aware of this and many of them are doing some outstanding work.

At the risk of embarrassing people, apart from my colleagues at this table, there are people, many of them bright young lawyers, scientists, economists and social scientists, even world experts in their fields. There are others such as Jeffrey Emtage, the inventor who discovered an internet search engine before Google, and who had no support from a government which talks about enterprise and innovation. Others are working in biomedicine, in Canada and the United States, and I am sure there must be one or two here in London.

My contribution to this discussion is meant to be on the framing of an investment framework for Barbados with which the Diaspora can make a healthy contribution. It is very limited, almost manipulative since it appears to restrict us from discussing the chaos in the management of the Barbados economy overall, but nevertheless there is a very positive contribution that could be made by the Diaspora – I dislike the term since I consider myself to be a Barbadian, born and bred in the Ivy, and whose imagination has been shared by that early experience of playing my cricket on Blenheim and the very positive experience in the classrooms of Belmont, St Giles and Combermere.

For the purposes of this discussion I want to ignore much that is made of the UN Human Index report which claims that Barbadosis now a ‘developed’ nation. Nothing massages a person’s ego like great praise and if, compared with those perceived to be the high ups and better offs and one comes off top, or near the top, then one’s ego grown proportionately. In any case, most of the nonsensical self-praise is buffoonery. Much is made of the claim of Barbados’ development status; but we need to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground if self-satisfaction is not going to keep us bound to the place we are.

It is my view, and I am trying to pull together the evidence, that our entire post-independence economic development has been based on debt – deep government borrowing which has only been made worse over the years. It is also my case that the 14 years of BLP rule have been wasted years. Let me give you some figures, although I do not intend to blind you with statistics:

Until the 2007/8 banking crisis, which led to the global recession, which has led to the sovereign crisis, which has now created a crisis in the Eurozone, pushing it to the precipice of a meltdown  – the world had seen unprecedented economic growth, very little of which impacted on Barbados. Yet, we know, the island was awash with new housing developments, people had big four wheel drives, they were shopping in Miami and New York and Puerto Rico.

But, it is my case, Mr Chairman, they were nearly all doing it on the never, never. They were piling up debt. Let me give you an example of what I mean, bearing in mind the rhetoric of Barbados being a global financial centre.

Mr Chairman, let us go back in time.

Until the banking crisis, it was plain sailing for the global economy. It was only in 2009, following the economic tsunami, that global GDP fell for the first time in generations. Credit stopped, as banks began to distrust each other, and what credit there was had become hugely expensive. Cross border trade, the lifeblood of the global economy, suddenly slowed to a trickle.

All this took place in an environment of historically low interest rates, low tax revenues, and continuing strong consumer demand for goods and services. But the crisis was preceded by enormous global imbalances, especially in theUSwhich was feasting on Chinese and other Asian and Latin American central banks’ hunger for the dollar in the form of US treasuries.

This made borrowing cheap for households, and US consumers went on a spending binge, with household spending outstripping savings and production for years. As household debt rose in the US, and Europe, it was matched by personal savings in Asia, mainly China. To give you an example, in 2002, worldwide debt stood at US$84 trillion; it is now in the region of $195 trillion.

Mr Chairman, more than that, if, for example, we set global GDP growth at 100 per cent in 2000, the turn of the century, in 2010, it would have grown by 112 per cent in the Eurozone, despite its current troubles, by 118 per cent in the US, 143 per cent for Brazil and 271 per cent for China.

In 2006, on the eve of the global economic collapse, global financial assets stood at US$167 trillion, an increase of 17 per cent or  $25 trillion from the previous year and double the eight per cent growth from 1995 to 2005. About $5.6 trillion of that money alone was due to the 20 per cent depreciation of the US dollar.

Mr Chairman, let me put it another way. Growth in value of $5.6 trillion in 2006  – get your head round those numbers – was due in part to the depreciation of the Barbados dollar. You may ask why? I will tell you: because the economically reckless continuation of pegging the Barbados dollar to the Greenback, that is why.

By global financial assets I mean the value of bank deposits, government and corporate debt securities and equity securities. This was the natural outcome of the previous 25 years when global wealth had grown spectacularly, almost in a fairy tale way.

Mr Chairman, this is important, if the Barbados economy had grown by four per cent over that period, compounded, to my mind we would be enjoying the lifestyle of the Nordic countries.

Studies have shown that financial markets have grown faster than global GDP – the measure of a nation’s wealth. In 1990, only 33 nations out of nearly 200 had financial assets whose value was far in excess of GDP. By 2006, the year before the global banking meltdown, that had doubled to 72.

In 1990, only two nations had a financial depth equal to 300 per cent of GDP – the US and Japan. In 2006 26 did. That year global financial assets were valued at 3.5 times global GDP – and by the end of that year, the year that the world was gearing up for the greatest meltdown since the rise of capitalism, cross border investments had reached $74.5 trillion – developments never before seen in history.

I am going through these figures to give a broad picture of the spectacular growth in the global economy since the beginning of the 1980s. The value of privately traded derivatives globally rose by 18 per cent in the first half of this year, 2011, to US$700 trillion. Those are mind-boggling figures. And, Mr Chairman, apart from the self-praising rhetoric I cannot see any evidence of this prosperity trickling down in to Barbados.

Yet, only this year, we had our prime minister and a party of senior politicians and civil servants trooping off to Beijing begging the Chinese for Bds$6m to build a cultural centre. How embarrassing. How developed are we?

As Michael Lewis points out in his book, Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour: “Leverage buys you a glimpse of a prosperity you haven’t really earned.” This sums up the so-called post-independence prosperity which Barbados now celebrates as part of its “development”.

Mr Chairman, Barbadian politicians and policymakers talk about economic growth and attribute this to two drivers – tourism and construction.

Let me deal with tourism first. At the height of our tourist season, during the good years, when European and North Americans were maxing out on their credit cards, Barbados got about half million long-stay tourists over the year – that is averaging over 52 weeks – or just under 10000 a week. Divide that by about 100 hotels, that works out at about one hundred each.

Let us assume that over that week the average tourist spent £2000, or $6000 Barbadian dollars. Over the year that would work out at about $3billion. I am being generous.

How about construction? The bulk of construction in Barbados is divided in to the top end constructions on the West Coast, in which some apartments go for US$15m and above, well out of the reach of even the wealthiest local people; and the middle market, professional Barbadian, but mainly returnee market, which is funded not by local banks and non-bank institutions, but by the sale of family homes in Britain, savings over a lifetime of working for London Transport and the national health, and the 25 per cent cash free payout from occupational pensions.

Social Networks:

Mr Chairman, now let’s look at the present economic performance of the Barbados economy, to get a proper measure of how developed we are, as I want to end on a positive note.

If our economists – and this is a bit of homework for central bank economists or the boys and girls at Cave Hill – were to calculate our public sector borrowing debt, the interest rates as a measure of the cost of that debt, the guarantees given and the implicit guarantees, the debt to GDP ratio of the Barbados economy would be one of the highest in the Western hemisphere.

Yet, in the face of this mountainous debt, we have failed to develop a social enterprise or social philanthropic network. I know one very bright Barbadian woman who is working in this field. She has a lot to contribute.

But nothing I am saying is new. Professor Ron Burt, a sociologist in the University of Chicago Business School, in his excellent book, Neighbour Networks, reminds us that social networks create competitive advantage.

Social networks are exactly what we are doing now, meeting in a friendly spirit of cooperation and respect. It is out of such networks, an environment that engenders trust and cooperation, from which competitive advantage grows. In popular language, it is described positively as who you know, not what you know, not negatively as a way of avoiding waiting your turn ore undermining a meritocracy. As a community we suffer from that enormously.

When we first arrived in this country we had social support networks such as meetings, partners, sou sous, called them what you may. Although it might not have seemed to be based on sophisticated financial theory, in fact it was.

That is what in insurance finance is called smoothing, when actuaries do their complex and highly sophisticated mathematics to work out the underlying risk in with profit policies.

What we did, simply, was to contribute a weekly sum, let us call it our policy contribution, to a key person, let us call that person the insurance company. Every week the contributions would go to a particular individual, let us call that person the matured policyholder or beneficiary.

But, in some cases, an emergency crops up and the insurer pleads with the person whose turn it was to give Mrs Smith the money that week as her husband had just died. That is the smoothing mechanism in operation, at its very best.

We have lost that social togetherness. That element of social trust has gone. Just look at other ethnic and religious groups to see this element of social trust being played out: banks, corner shops, mosques, temples, churches, tradesmen and women, schools – most minority groups have learned to depend on themselves. We, as Barbadians, as Caribbean people, have not.

We still over indulge in consumerism. In simple terms, if a man earns £10 a week and spends £11, he is in financial trouble; if he spends £10, he is balancing his budget; but if he spends £9, he is building up savings for a rainy day. That is the place we want to be as a community.

Mr Chairman, I am a rainy day person – at least in theory. We must postpone instant gratification in order to cope with the unexpected. That is what as a nation we have failed to do.

Just as ordinary people on modest wages want to go shopping in New York and Miami and Puerto Rico, or in Milan or Paris, on their credit unions loans and credit cards the temptation of over-spending is very appealing.

Programme for Change:

Mr Chairman it does not always have to be that way, nor is it too late to change. The late Errol Barrow, when prime minister, once visited Singapore, and returned to Barbados singing the praises of that Asian bulldog nation with a promise to introduce its basic principles to Barbados. He did not. But there is nothing special about Singapore that could not be replicated in Barbados.

There were a number of key drivers of Singaporean development: the compulsory central provident fund; the willingness of ordinary Singaporean to work hard and invest in their own medium and long-term futures; and the dynamism, if tinged with authoritarianism, of Lee Kuan Yew, the Cambridge-educated lawyer and founder of the People’s Action Party.

I suggest it is not too late for Barbados, and I suggest four economic drivers:

a) a national wealth fund;

b) a compulsory long-term savings plan;

c) a national higher education funding plan;

d) A Heritage Fund..

Let me explain the role of each these proposed institutions.

A national wealth fund, or sovereign wealth fund, can be made up by rolling nearly all the existing statutory financial bodies, most government assets, including the massive land bank, debt, government equities in commercial corporations, such as LIAT and the Barbados National Bank, the Transport Board, under an independent board, reporting annually to parliament.

It would exclude any ministerial interference in its day-to-day management and investment policies and members could be appointed or removed only by a vote in both chambers of parliament.

It would have an investment committee, reporting to the board, and its policies and decision would be made fully public. Its asset allocation would be determined by parliament, but its stock picking would be done by professional stock pickers. It would be a passive fund.

A Compulsory Long-term Saving Plan:

A long-term saving plan would impose a ten per cent payroll saving on every working man, woman and child. This should raise an approximate £800m a year at present salaries. It should have a traditional investment framework – equities, gilts, property and cash – invested nationally, regionally and internationally.

The broad investment strategy should be along the lines of: 50 per cent international, 25 per cent local (Barbados) and 25 per cent regional (Caricom).

This should then be broken down in to broad assets classes, for example, 60 per cent equities, 25 per cent bonds, 10 per cent property and five per cent cash – with the international stock picking outsourced to a passive manager based in a major financial centre and the local and regional stock picking left to local fund managers.

A National Educational Funding Plan:

This would set a target of investing 12 per cent of GDP over a five year horizon, increasing incrementally from the present seven percent or so. It would focus on nursery and the statutory school age – five to sixteen. The aim would be to raised the standard of basic education to an internationally acceptable level over a ten-year period, judged by an approved index.

This can be done by making teaching a post-graduate profession, raising its status; giving heads full responsibility for their institutions, answerable to a board made up of teachers, non-teaching staff, parents, children above the age of 15 and local communities. Teaching would become the new sought after profession.

With further and higher education different funding criteria would apply with different achievement benchmarks.

The Heritage Development Fund:

Mr Chairman, this is the fund that we as Barbadians based outside our beloved country, could consider our gift to our native land. This would be a Bds$500m development fund geared to fund SMEs and small manufacturing.

It would be funded by a closed-ended fund, made up of  50000 Barbadians (or friends of Barbados) investing $10000 each (about £3000), locked in for five years.

This again would be totally independent of government and would be based on conventional market principles.


Government should set a two-year time horizon to close all public sector final salary schemes and launch a compulsory hybrid national defined contribution scheme with a 20 per cent withdrawal facility for home purchase and family emergencies.

The Rihanna Dividend:

A national cultural development fund to fund a series of state of the art recording, film and video recording and editing studios, cashing in on the local talent pool for music, singing and acting, but also making Barbados a creative destination for those looking to finish films, videos or record.


Mr Chairman, let me end by reminding those who bask in the glory that Barbados is now a so-called developed nation that a cockroach shares 83 per cent of a human’s DNA.

In short, the difference between us and a cockroach is 17 per cent that does not mean a cockroach is a human, although some humans do behave like cockroaches.

So, there is development and there is development.

Fundamentally, the success of Barbados as a nation, and the contribution that those Barbadians who live outside that tiny island – the so-called Diaspora – will be determined by the talent pool; by the level of education we provide for our young people, and by this I do not just mean formal academic education, but an awareness, a sensitivity, a cultural and emotional literacy, which reminds us of our obligations to each other and to the country of our birth.

But first we must agree to a roadmap to the future, we must be on the same course if not we will all be front seat drivers.

In Barbados we have a sorry situation in which top public sector departments cannot even agree on the rate of unemployment.

We have lots of lessons to learn, such as the difference between a service industry and a product-producing industry.

Tourism is a service and we have to get that right, from the moment the tourist arrives at the immigration desk, to the moment he or she arrives at the reception desk at the hotel and everything in between.

But tourism should be the economic gravy, the icing on the cake, call it what you like, but it should not be the main meal.

We should not, and cannot, depend on tourism as the main source of our income in the short and medium term. We must diversify.

In any case, it is easy to launch a new product, to open an expensive hotel, but it is more difficult to offer a top-quality service – a tourism experience.

I think that any Diaspora development fund, the proposed Heritage Fund, must be clear of the government and the clawing hands of power-crazed ministers.

It should be framed under Trust Law, with a board of trustees comprising people chosen by the three dominant Diaspora communities –Britain, the US and Canada– and with representatives from the business and trade unions sectors.

Let me end by drawing to your attention the fact that Barbados already has a global manufacturing competitor which neither the government nor the industry has shown any ability to manage – and that product is rum. We are letting it slip out of our hands.

Mr Chairman, We can either continue to live in a world of make-believe, or admit that Barbados, as a manufacturing and service hub, is uncompetitive and inefficient. We survive because governments of all colours are prepared to flatter us by telling us how good we are and how much we punch above our weight, while every month they continue to borrow money to pay the bloated public sector.

This also works well for the private sector who sit back while these ‘workers’ spend their money buying over-priced second hand cars and other consumer durables and run up further dept.

But, at some point, the bottom is going to drop out of their tiny world and their will realise they are living in a pretend world and when the debt collector calls they just cannot hide. There is a huge price to pay for our collective fecklessness.

Thank you for being so attentive.


  • wow, run for prime minister


  • If I were an expat I would not find a red cent to put in a fund … fah wah, to create just another excuse to pay the salaries of academics to manage these funds and be stingy with disbursements?


  • Quoting Hal Austin “A long-term saving plan would impose a ten per cent payroll saving on every working man, woman and child. ”

    But Hal what about those of us who need that 10% to buy food for our children, or diapers for our parents, and sometimeS diapers for our parents AND our children at the same time because our sibings who live in the Great White North, that is the U.S., the U.K. and Canada and whose children these same parents helped to raise would not put a cent to provide nursing/houskeeping and personal care for their elderly parents) . And what if thos of us a home in Barbados paid for these things by credit card which carry an interest rate of 22%, because after all what do we say to the houskeeper n a Friday after she has put in a weeks work cooking, cleaning and changing diapers “sorry, you can only have half pay today because the “foreigner” children ain’t send the rest of money for your wages?” Or do you stick your credit card in the ATM and pay the woman her money, because if you don’t pay, she own’t come in on Mnday, and if she doesn’t come in on Monday, you can’t go to work, and if you miss too many days of work your employer will fire you and the whole house of cards will collapse much, much sooner rather than later.

    Do we still put the 10% in a compulsory savings fund and renege on our credit cards debts, in other words do we tell the U.S, U.K. and Canadian banksters to go to hell.

    And Hall if a good number of migratory Bajans neglect the children (spouses) and parents left they behind in what academic pie in the sky world do you expect them to put their money in a heritage fund.

    I put it to you that a man who would not buy diapers for his child or his father will not put one red cent into your heritage fund.

    I like to keep it real, because I have always had to LIVE IT REAL.


  • @Random

    and what happens if the macro position collapses?


  • The 10% savings fund – isn’t that exactly what the NIS is?


  • Hal while I agree that we are living in a world of make believe we no longer TRUST anyone with our money. Seeing what CLICO has done and now the NIS who can we trust? Many prefer to leave it in the bank for now even then we can’t put too much trust in them as well. We are really screwed whichever road we take.


  • David (and Hal) I am already paying enough in income tax, VAT, property tax, and NIS.

    I DON’T want the governmenr (any party) managing anymore of my money.

    Plain and simple.

    And besides our Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has told us that Leroy Parris is his friend.

    Leroy Parris (nor Freundel Stuart) could not be my friends. I choose my freinds much more carefully than that.

    In many other jurisdictions Leroy Parris would have been charged by now, but in Barbados the Prime MInister is claiming his as friend, and now Hal Austin is trying to find ways for the government and its “friends” to get their hands on more of our money.

    In my 40 years of getting up every morning and going to work whether I feel like it or not (and I’ve only taken 4 weks sick leave in 40 years, I’ve paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in VAT, income tax, NIS, and property tax. How much has Hal or Freundel or Leroy paid?

    I say HELL NO!!!!!

    And David to answer your question if the macro position collapses I’ll do like those loyal sons Hal Austin and Avinash Persaud. I’ll migrate to the GREAT WHITE NORTH


  • Here we go again!

    Here’s comes Moses again to lead us to the promised land with a piece of paper filled with words.
    I love Mr. Austin’s ideas…please don’t get me wrong. Every single thing he says makes so much sense. Almost too good to be true. Almost too simple to be true. Mr. Austin’s simple ideas and intellect are truly incomparable and second to none really.
    This is what I’d like Mr. Austin to do. LEAD THE F_CKING WAY!

    Show us, don’t tell us.
    Come back to the Ivy and run a few rum shops successfully like how our foreparents who went to Panama did. They bought land with their Panama money and came back and ran successful rumshops. Please do the same.

    Take your hard earned money and open a few hotels in Barbados and run them successfully or if you don’t believe in tourism as you so eloquently stated, then start up a few investment funds.

    Come and start up some investment funds with your own money. Hire the best Bajan brains from around the world and run these funds successfully right here. All you will need is some powerful servers and good broadband connection.

    I challenge you to start a few funds…not with US$10 000 but at least US$50M.

    Bring it on and show us how to do it.
    Start right now…don’t waste anymore time…the clock is ticking and we’re in dire straits…come on! Come on!

    Click the mouse and do the wire transfer to you account in Barbados and get things moving right now. Right this minute.



  • @ Here we go again!

    Thank you!


  • @Random

    It is normal that we view thinks from a personal perspective. Unfortunately it does not quite work that way when running a country does it? Can you imagine the confusion?


  • Here we go again!

    Barrow came back and led the way. Tom came back and led the way. Owen came back and led the way. Lee Kuan Yee went back and led the way.
    Stop wasting time Mr. Austin. Come back and lead the way!

    Just do it!


  • F#ck there is someone on this blog who wants to put Owen Arthur and Lee Kuan Yew in the same category …


  • Random Thoughts

    You are a lawyer … Why wait for the macro position to collapse, there really is no time like the present ..!


  • Here we go again!

    U r correct. Lew Kuan Yew was a dictator. Oooops I forgot that!


  • Oh my God, how easy it is to twist sentiments around …. Yew was am “effective” leader who made hard decisions and saw them through … He now has a legacy. Oooops, you should have remembered that!


  • We always seem to get sidetrack.

    Has the gentleman presented some good ideas worthy of consideration or not?


  • Here we go again!

    You should have remembered the price that was paid including outlawing labor unions and such other draconian measures. He now also has a legacy where brown-skinned people come in from the Phillipines and do the low-end work that Singaporeans wont do.
    A legacy that now has a ring of slums around the city for these migrant workers and second class cities to abide in.
    Go visit and come back and tell us how to implement the Singapore model.
    You too should lead the way…we are waiting on a Moses to lead us to the promised land…come on guys.

    I have a few pennies to throw into some well run funds.

    Start something nuh man!


  • Here we go again!

    @ David
    The gentleman has presented precisely that – “good ideas worthy of consideration.”

    Now we’ve acknowledged that the ideas are not only good, they’re brilliant – excellent. Worthy of more than just a cursory consideration.

    They should be implemented.

    Jesus…all I’m saying is that I’d like Mr. Austin to at least come and start the implementation of his own ideas.

    Start a model school with a reformed curriculum for lil children from his own neighborhood in de Ivy.

    Could Chrise man! Dont just talk it. If he’s so brilliant, show us how to do it.


    Show us the hotels he bought in Bdos and the amount of persons employed.

    If he’s not in the league of the hotels and golf courses, then show us the successful small businesses he’s run in Bdos so we’ll know how to do it.
    Show us the lil shop he opened in Swan Street, or de gas station he does run.
    Show us how we can do better.

    Dat’s all I’m asking. Cuddear! Wha loss1


  • Opposition Leader’s delver to the BCCI last week:


  • Here we go again!

    Ok…let me be very fair to Mr. Austin.

    Let’s take his compulsory 10% savings idea.

    Let’s assume that it gets through parliament since this implies constitutional reform. Such an idea will be challenged at every level. But assuming it’s passed.

    Help us with the mechanics of this idea Mr. Austin.

    Where is the TRUST factor?
    Will this be a voluntary or compulsory fund?
    Will it apply to both private and public sectors?
    Will the funds be insured?
    Who will run this fund?
    Where will the monies be invested?
    How will we convert this to foreign exchange?
    Do we have the trained personnel?
    Will you come and run it?

    Help us! Helpppppppppppppppppppppppppppp!

    We need you!


  • Hal we need a third party here soo badly, why don’t you come home and start one? We need people like you, we are crying out for people like you.


  • Hey hey,

    I worked in the area of Singapore over twenty five years ago and was impressed. I am not a fan of Yew but I am a fan of dict actors who have a vision that is people first. Democracies produce only promises and short term planning. As a socialist I frown on the developing of slums and the importation of migrant cheap labour. But on this blog I am scorned as a socialist and one who prefers “dictators” (or at least terms of office that exceed ten years. Now who is the hypocrite.

    As for leadership I follow my own beat, make more foreign exchange than you spend. I lead by my own example. Works for me …


  • @Here we go again!

    If you concede he has good ideas is there anything wrong with others who are entrenched to run with said ideas?


  • Here we go again!

    We are not short on good ideas. We are short on action-oriented people.
    Talk cheap cheap cheap.
    We have thousands of Bajans who commit to 30 mortgages.
    Investors who start enterprise, fail, get up and start again.

    So those who have been into the belly of the beast can come and tell us how to do it.

    Bring us tested ideas that have worked.


  • Here we go again!

    Wha I dont understand!

    All that is required is for someone to string some sentences together, make a flowery speech and then tell the 30 men and women in parliament, this is what you SHOULD do!

    That part is real easy! Any Joe blow can spout rhetoric and say, do this, do dat, do de third.

    Come and hire a lawyer, incorporate a company, set up VAT, rent office space, buy equipment, put some people to work, pay them, make a profit and pay taxes. Make millions and reinvest and lead us out of troubled waters.

    Oh dear!


  • @Here we go again!

    Aren’t you being somewhat simplistic?

    If your position is taken the mile then we should tell Persaud, Howard, Robinson i.e. the academics, there is no role for you to play


  • Quoting BABFP “You are a lawyer”



  • Quoting Hal on Social Networds “When we first arrived in this country we had social support networks such as meetings, partners, sou sous”

    To the best of my knowledge these social networks are still working in Barbados. I don’t know a single Bajan woman who has hasn’t been in a meeting or several at one time or the other. I am in one right now. WIll get my turn before Christmas. Will use it to retire some debt.

    Quoting Hal on Programmes for Change “the willingness of ordinary Singaporean to work hard and invest in their own medium and long-term futures” I’ve been doing this for 40 years, and investing not only in my own future, but the futures of my children, and my children’s children as well. My parents and thier parents did the same. Aren’t most Bajans doing the
    Quoting Hal on A Compulsory Long-term Saving Plan:

    A long-term saving plan would impose a ten per cent payroll saving on every working man, woman and child
    This is the one I don’t like. I’d rather put my 10% in an individual retirement account, that way foreign based consultants cannot make plans to spend it without consulting me. It is my money. I worked for it. I saved it. You HAVE to consult me if you want to spend it. NO point treating me as though I am good enough to work,but not good enough to decide how and where and when I can spend my own money.


  • I don’t like the idea of working children/child labour either. I think we have enough local and foreign Bajan adults who can and should work that we can leave children out of the work mix. Let the adults work. Let the children study.


  • Here we go again!

    @ David

    The best teachers are doers who come back to the classroom and teach, even at tertiary level. In fact, at tertiary level, this is where we want the doers.
    We need lawyers who practice to teach (this happens).
    Businessmen and consultants with successful businesses to teach (this happens)
    Doctors and surgeons who practice to teach (this happens)
    Translators and interpreters who work in the field to teach (this happens)
    Researcher who leave their labs and come back and share their experience.

    I personally dont want a theoretician who’s never ever run a small shop or a gas station to come and teach me about business.
    I dont want a lecturer who’s never had to balance to the cent to teach me accounting.
    Neither do I want a teacher who’s never put up a building that’s still standing to teach me engineering.
    And I certainly dont want an academic who has never sat before a computer with real money belonging to real investors to teach me about investment.

    Until he or she has sat behind a screen and puked blood because the ticker is losing millions of dollars by the minute, then I dont want to hear ya. Until he or she has sat behind the same screen and made back real good returns for his or her investors. Then I dont wanna hear ya.

    This is not new Sir…this is the tested way of teaching. This is how universities began. This is the idea of behind the masters. The masters teach you from their own experience.

    Maybe this is why we’re in this rut. Too many people telling us about what Shumpeter and Poompeter said in a frigging book. Too many people telling us about what the hell a derivative is and they’ve never even run a meeting-turn.

    Too many people telling us about fund this and fund that and never run one.

    I dont need to call names for you to get my point.

    We had lots of f_cking ideas and brains to get Fours Seasons up and running again. That project aint need no lotta long talk. It’s simply cash-strapped and has lost investor confidence.

    Too much long talk David. Get on with the bloody job. Rome is burning. Call de fire engine instead of over analyzing why de place burning to f-ck down. Put out de fire first.


  • millertheanunnaki

    Here we go again! | December 3, 2011 at 1:24 PM |

    You are hot, hot, hot!
    I am with you all the way on this one! Keep the fire burning!
    If only the UWI people are listening! There is a body of talent out here with both the theoretical and practical know-how who would just like to give back to society by way of the classroom but too many academic buffoons are in charge of the decision making process and don’t want their inadequacies and irrelevance to be put under the spotlight.


  • Here we go again!

    Hal Austin, Editor, Financial Adviser

    Hal Austin has been editor of Financial Adviser for over ten years. Before that he worked as a freelance on contract or staff for Professional Pensions, the News of the World, Sunday Times, Sunday people, Evening Standard, BBc Radio, where he was a news and current affairs producer, and for the Daily Mail, where he worked for 14 years. He has been pension reporter of the year and won the Association of British Insurers’ Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2008.

    Need I say more?


  • Here we go again!

    I really thought the writer of the brilliant essay at the top of the page had a few millions to come and invest – to build a new hospital or a new school.

    Dont mek muh laff doo!


  • Here we go again!

    Ohhhhh, he’s an adviser! Oh shoot…excuse me denn.
    His role is to give advise.

    Advice well taken sir. In the meantime, let’s us wise people continue surviving by how best we know to.

    Dis reminds me of the mutual affair when when a certain erudite fellow was out front cursing de white people, den to find out he chile was at St. Winifreds or St Gabriels or some shite so.

    When pressured for an answer the goodly chap said, “I want my child to learn how de white people think.”
    Oh lord have his mercy. LMAO.

    Den de lil boy grew up, smoke nuff pot and stab another pothead to death in Jamaica.

    Wunna does really mek me laff.

    Thanks for de advice ya hear!


  • Quoting here we go again “I want my child to learn how de white people think.”

    The thing is there is no such thing as white people thinking.

    There is only sensible thinking

    And thoughtlessness.

    Anybody can think sensibly. You don’t have to go to an expensive private school to think sensibly. My dad who didn’t go to school pass the age of 11 was a very sensible fellow. Sensible enough to have a solid marriage which lasted for more than 50 years, to raise nearly a dozen children, none of who smoke herb, or anything else, none of whom have ever killed a fellow, all of whom are gainfully employed, none of whom have gone to jail, none of whom drink to drunkeness. All of whom can compete in the work market in anyplace in the world, and many of whom have and do.

    This thing that schools can teach common sense, or can substitute for sensible parents is what is getting us into a lot of trouble. This foolishness that we must pay an expensive private school to do for us what we can and must and should do for our children is nothing but bare boo.

    And anybody can be sensible.

    Anybody can be foolish.


  • miller like U this Here we go again guy in on the mark when he speaks about doers as opposed to advice givers … But like U he is a Arthur fan … Sorry, I just don’ get it …!


  • The gentleman should have said “My Jamaican wife insists that we send our children toprivate school, because that is what middle class Jamaicans do, and even though we are in Barbados and not in Jamaica, I will not culturally adapt. I will insist on behaving as though Barbados is Jamaica. Therefore I will not send my children to an elementary school in the village.

    The boy could have gone to Welches Primary or West Terrace Primary both of which are within walking distance. More that one of my little kin and their friends who are that boy’s age went to West Terrace Primary and Welches and now they are now doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, tradesmen, entrepreneur, and all kinda thing. It didn’t cost their parents no lotta money and the children did very well without a single white teacher or child in sight. This notion that the “”white people” have something vitally important to teach is is just so much nonsense.

    And if in the Bajan contaxt white people wanted to teach black children so badly, may I ask how come we do not have a single white person teaching at a public elementary school in Barbados?

    Sometime we does make asses of ourselves. And then other people ride us.


  • Any ZR man, or any passenger on the route 3 ZR which leave down by the post office could have told the parents that the boy was somking herb in the bus stand. But we Bajans are a funny people if you do not walk out your gate and mix with us we will see your house on fire (or your child smoking herb) and not unpick we teet.

    A community becomes good when neighbours look out for each other, and especially when they look out for each other’s children.

    When they don’t all hell brek loose.


  • Random Thoughts or J or whatever you choose to call yourself H Austin wrote a treatise on what he thinks the Gov’t should do to improve the situation in Barbados and the first thing that you do is revive that old chestnut of yours attacking Bajans who migrate. Here is something to chew on, life is about choices and for every Bajan who chose to migrate there was another waiting to step into his shoes and one less person to compete against for the country’s resources.

    I will not apologise to anyone for the choice I made, I became a more rounded person who was able to rely on his own skills to survive and thrive. There was no family, godfather or politician to grease the wheels for anything success that I achieved.

    Along the way while I was trudging through rain, sleet ,snow and freezing highways to provide for my offspring education and my retirement you could bask in the sun while celebrating one of the myriad holidays that the state offers, secure in the knowledge that the Gov’t will provide both for your retirement and your children’s’ future education.

    Mine is not the only story there are thousand of other Bajans who thrived in a sometimes hostile environment and have nothing but the best interests of the country at heart but it is sickening to read your constant rant of how we are returning to deprive you of the country’s riches. If the situation is personal you should address it to those concerned rather that make general statements reflecting those of us in the diaspora.

    I don’t know if you migrated and couldn’t hack it but perhaps some time in another country could have done wonders for the insular outlook that permeates your life or help to remove the boulder that rests on your shoulders. The door on Bajans who abandon their parents swing both ways if there are some who reside overseas and are guilty of this, then there are countless others who remained there and do the same.

    One last thing try not to look at what others do, but focus on what you do. If you can look within yourself and be happy with your contribution that’s all that matters.


  • @sarg

    Well said. Keep it up. I had the opportunity to study in Canada and had to go through snow and rain and had to walk with my fingers in my pocket during the winter because i used to end up with one glove for some unknkwn reason. You sjould not expect anything from a negative person, except negativity.


  • St George's Dragon

    Barbados is indeed privileged to have at least two famous inventors who worked on internet search engines. I knew about Alan Emtage who invented “Archie”, which is considered to be the first internet search engine. Now it seems there was a Jeffrey Emtage who was working in the same field.
    I hope Mr Austin knows more about economics than he does search engine inventors.


  • David Icke – Essential Knowledge For A Wall Street Protestor (and for the rest of us too)


  • Sarge and Educated…..leff Random thoughts ALONE wunna hear? She is entitled to her views and I find them quite truthful and amusing. Obviously she may have rubbed you all up the wrong way but I agree with many of the things she has stated. Sarge I know you are peeved about the fact that she has stated that if anyone who has lived abroad all their working lives and hasn’t contributed to the NIS or paid Taxes in Barbados should not be entilted to free health care even if they were born here. And she has a very valid point. And Educated you only trying to fool people bout who you really are, You are not stupid so stop crying wolf.


  • @ Here we go again
    For what it is worth what do you have to offer? So easy to criticise. When all is said and done Austin has submitted a proposal .all you have done is become “chicken Little” instead of telling Austin to put his money where his mouth is. Why don’t you at least say something that would be an alternative to what Austin proposed. People like you are constantly kicking the can down the street and criticising those who try to kick it back up.


  • Here we go again!

    @ ac

    Did you read my postings?

    I adore Mr. Austin’s ideas. All I said was that he should lead the f_cking way. It’s easy to tell people what to do!

    I simply challenge de man to do it and stop talking c_nt!

    If he’s not willing to put his money where his mouth is he should shut to f_ck up indeed.
    Everybody tink um easy till dey get in de hot seat.

    Who’s criticizing and kicking the can down the street is Mr. Austin.
    Do you all realize that this is a population of a mere 280 000?

    What do you all expect? NASA scientists, world cup footballers, the world’s top scientists? Get real. We are limited by size, history, lack or resources and the list goes on.

    Though I agree with Mr. Austin that we cannot rest on our laurels, his proposals are nothing more than a wish list of pretty words.

    Put them to the test!
    Our government’s offices have loads and loads and loads of consulting reports filled with ideas and ideas and ideas. Nothing he said is really new actually. They’re all written down in consulting reports.

    Now get up off your asses and implement them. It’s called an Implementation Deficit.
    The Singapore that you all so admire, does not waste time talking about it…they simply do it.

    Now if you wanna get personal and ask for my track record of doing, I’ll gladly present it.

    In the meantime, go give free lessons to underprivileged children, volunteer your time with a church or a charity, stop littering, adopt a school and paint a classroom, car pool with your neighbors. Get back to the basics.

    We love Mr. Austin’s ideas. But that’s all they are and if he’s so clairvoyant and has ALL the answers to our IILs, then I dont understand why he wouldn’t solve them.



  • Wait, Random Thoughts is a woman? How come I din’ know that?


  • Here we go again!

    @ ac
    “We have failed, since independence, to develop a long-term economic anchor, choosing to depend – in fact over-depending – on the tourism industry, developed by the late Ronald Tree and his friend on the West Coast in the early 1960s”

    “…I want to ignore much that is made of the UN Human Index report which claims that Barbadosis now a ‘developed’ nation.”

    “The bulk of construction in Barbados is divided in to the top end constructions on the West Coast, in which some apartments go for US$15m and above, well out of the reach of even the wealthiest local people; and the middle market, professional Barbadian, but mainly returnee market, which is funded not by local banks and non-bank institutions, but by the sale of family homes in Britain, savings over a lifetime of working for London Transport and the national health, and the 25 per cent cash free payout from occupational pensions.”

    “We have lost that social togetherness. That element of social trust has gone.”

    “Yet, only this year, we had our prime minister and a party of senior politicians and civil servants trooping off to Beijing begging the Chinese for Bds$6m to build a cultural centre. How embarrassing. How developed are we?”

    “Yet, in the face of this mountainous debt, we have failed to develop a social enterprise or social philanthropic network.”

    “The aim would be to raised (sic) the standard of basic education to an internationally acceptable level over a ten-year period, judged by an approved index.”

    “…let me end by reminding those who bask in the glory that Barbados is now a so-called developed nation that a cockroach shares 83 per cent of a human’s DNA.

    In short, the difference between us and a cockroach is 17 per cent that does not mean a cockroach is a human, although some humans do behave like cockroaches.

    So, there is development and there is development.”

    “We can either continue to live in a world of make-believe, or admit that Barbados, as a manufacturing and service hub, is uncompetitive and inefficient.”

    “the bottom is going to drop out of their tiny world and their will realise they are living in a pretend world and when the debt collector calls they just cannot hide. There is a huge price to pay for our collective fecklessness.”

    Those are all quotes from Mr. Austin’s empty speech.
    Who is criticizing whom again?
    Who is kicking down the ladder after they’ve been schooled by the same lil two by three island?

    Did we read the same speech?
    Would you like me to point out how many time he used the world “should”?

    What Mr. Austin needs to learn is the importance of using tact to get his message across. His ideas would’ve been much better received (at least by me) if he’d framed his background differently.

    How dare f_cking he come and tell us that what we’ve achieved is nothing? He of all people know what the majority in this country has suffered for centuries. Now all of a sudden, he has the answers to all of our problems.

    Please read the man’s article and wheel and come again.

    Shit of get off de pot Austin.


  • Dear Sarge:

    I will not get into a pi**ing match with you.

    However you said “I will not apologise to anyone for the choice I made”
    Nobody is asking you to apologize for anything.

    Quoting Sarge “celebrating one of the myriad holidays that the state offers”
    A simple gogle search will show that Ontario and Quebec have 10 public holidays a year. Barbados has 12 and some of those 12 fall on Saturdays and are therefore not holidays for many working people.

    Quoting Sarge “that the Gov’t will provide both for your retirement and your children’s’ future education”

    I work. I pay taxes. My government provides me with certain services out of MY taxes.

    You work. You pay taxes. Your government provides you with certain service out of those taxes.

    Quoting Sarge “no family, godfather or politician to grease the wheels for anything success that I achieved.”

    no family, godfather or politician to grease the wheels for anything success that I achieved either.

    In closing there is an old, old saying, created by some wise person(s) lo, log before you or I were born. He who pays the piper calls teh tune.

    That saying is still true now, and it will still be true long afte you and I have been reduced to 2 thimbles full of duppy dust.

    Ah gone.


  • But Random Thoughts if you really is a woman, Sarge bound to beat you in any pissing match


  • Green Monkey

    Winston Cox tell me to my face , after he lecture to the Frank Collymore Hall, that Breton Woods is still very much in effect …! Of course when I started to verbalize my next cutting question he quickly excused himself and disappeared …!


  • @ Here we come again
    Still not clear on your suggestions or proposals or corrective measures in giving Barbados a new direction after reading your verbal diatribe. i have read hals suggestions but i am still awaiting yours. BTW i noticed that you have told bajans what to do but those few pointers are what some are already doing.



    any thoughts on Mr Chavez’s latest initiative, CELAC? I notice that Mr Stuart was in attendance but was there was any press release or commentary prior to his going to Caracas?


  • @BAFBFP…

    Let me please ask you this simple question…

    Do you think FOA and/or ATI legislation are a Good Thing?




  • Dear BAFBFP:

    I am not getting into any my thing is bigger/longer and can therefore pi** further that your thing argument with anybody.


  • Here we go again!

    @ ac

    Do you read? My proposal is very simple…I’m waiting on Mr. Austin to lead the way.

    I for one am willing to invest in his fund.

    Just waiting for him to start it.


  • Sargeant there are things called winter clothes and snow tires.

    On another note, I thought it was mostly hard working Bajans who made Barbados the modern country it is today.

    Barbados has done remarkably well for an island that has no natural resources.

    “New ideas” and revolutionary thinking is great but it must be in the context of the world we “trade” in.


  • @Here we go again



  • Ping

    I want people NEVER to forget that it was Owen Arthur who as head of Caricom tried to kick us all into Bush’ Free Trade Area of the Americas, even after witnessing the devastation unleashed on Mexico as a result of NAFTA.

    Any alternative to the FTAA is a good alternative ..! Now in my humble opinion Mr Stuart is only there because it is another excuse to get on a plane and blow some FX none of which he has ever worked for in his entire life …


  • Here we go again!

    @ ac

    Oh! Oh! Oh!



  • Here we go again

    pssst ….since you are willing to invest in Mr Austin’s fund … I have a CLICO executive flexible premium annuity that I willing to sell you. As it is you I will give you a good discount. Call me.


  • Random Thoughts

    I don’ mind women wearing pants and all that, but when wunna believe that you could win a pissin’ match with a man well now that’s goin’ to damn’ far …! So I glad you back down … 🙂



    the FTAA still around?! I had forgotten about that. Mr Stuart goes off to Caracas without a word on Barbados’s position. I am not aware that the Foreign Minister has made any commentary on this initiative either. You are probably right on Mr Stuart’s attitude.


  • Christopher Halsall

    I am a Socialist who believes that the best way forward in these parts is a good dose of dictatorship. The next best thing is of course a system of “Transparent” Democracy. What we have now is a farce. We agree on that


  • @Hants: “Sargeant there are things called winter clothes and snow tires.


    A few years ago I took my girlfriend to my “birth town”. It was early January, and the ambient temperature was -20 degrees centigrade.

    We rented a car which was fitted with “all season” tires, and as we drove down the hill from the airport and we reach 50 km/h I told her “I have to understand the dynamics; don’t freak out” and then slammed on the breaks…

    She screamed… But I kept the car on the road.

    And I learned the dynamics of that particular vehicle in that environment….


  • @Here we go again.

    Oh boy! you too much. any how love your rambunctious behaviour some how reminds me of me .


  • Here we go again!

    @ Ping Pong

    Oh Lord Jesus. Now pray tell me why I would put my money in a fund run by Leroy Parris who cant string a f_cking sentence together.

    I know you mekking bear sport.

    I prefer to let Mr. Austin set up he fund and leh he rip me off. At least he could string words together in de queen’s engahlesh.

    And I hey defending bajans saying dat we smart and we put we money in funds run by Leroy Parris.

    Oh dear!


  • Ping

    I am sorry that I was too young to critically analyze the likes of the Adams and Mr Barrow regimes when they were in office. I was too busy trying to pass exams and chase as many skirts as my limited talent would allow. Of course assessments of their performances at this stage will always be tainted in some way. But of the PMs that I have witnessed since and of late, my God …!


  • Here we go again!

    One thing about Leroy Parris that you cannot deny is that he took what little obvious ability he had and ran circles around the academic community in Barbados …!


  • BU understands that Minister Lowe is in Durban as well.


    Why would Arthur fight against Shiprider and OECD sanctions and give FTAA a pass?


  • Here we go again!

    Academics who’ve never done anything but regurgitate books?


  • @CH
    Sounds like a sexual encounter of the worst kind. “Hitting on the brakes and going down hill on all fours. Anyhow i give you credit for taking control!


  • David

    Jesus Christ man … These people do not understand the meaning of leading from the front and by example?

    Owen Arthur when he first came to power was saying the right things. He also wanted Nelson moved. Chris Mchale if memory serves threatened that he had his balls across the tracks of a fast moving train. Within a year of the comment, Arthur became a staunch Bush man …! Shiprider was a show for the balcony.


  • What is Barbados’s position on the Climate Change Conference in Durban? Are these issues (CELAC, climate change, etc) too heady for the majority of Barbadians that the Gov’t will not at least tell us what position it has taken on the issues before taking our limited forex and traveling to these talk shops?


  • @CH,

    I always go for a test drive after the first snow fall.

    Thats how I discovered that the Traction Control System on my car does not work when I am driving on snow.


  • @BAFBFP: “Chris Mchale if memory serves threatened that he had his balls across the tracks of a fast moving train.

    Care to provide references?


    Be aware you (IMHO) have agents working you and your influence.


  • My memory and the Nation News. I ain’ nah agent man. The intelligent agent get send back months now …!


  • @BAFBFP: “My memory and the Nation News.

    So, I ask again. Please provide references.

    If you can….


  • Barbados’ position and that of Caricom on Nato’s invovlvement in the overthrow of Col Gadaffi’s regime was quick and clear … “Dear Col, the time has come for you to step down …” clearly a recital …!

    What position what. These guys are puppets …


  • Man Hashall

    Call the man and ask him. He will verify! I do not keep nuisance references …


  • Incidentally he also referred to Sandiford as an errant school teacher … wah I can’ fault he


  • @BAFBFP: “Call the man and ask him. He will verify! I do not keep nuisance references …

    What man?

    What is his name?

    What is his e-mail address?

    What is his phone number?


  • @All…

    Let us please examine the empirical…

    You have a “big man” like BAFBFP who talks big, but is not willing to give his real name.

    You have a “big man” like BAFBFP who makes many claims, but cannot back them up with real evidence.

    From this, is “big man” BAFBFP really so big?

    Or is he simply yet another anonymous coward?


  • I noticed in his profile that hal worked for the News of the World; then i can suppose he knows the Murdochs. Finding the funds to lead from in front should be no problem for him. I hope that AC shall be in full support too.


  • Chris Halsall

    I is a big man. I just don’ get your logic … But you call me a coward because I prefer to use a handle ..? You tekkin’ this thing too serious man, gah sleep do!


  • @BAFBFP: “I just don’ get your logic

    That, somehow, doesn’t surprise me.

    @BAFBFP: “But you call me a coward because I prefer to use a handle ..?

    A *real* man is comfortable standing behind what he says.

    Empirically, you are not any of the various definitions of a “man”.


  • Halsall

    Man gah to sleep. I trying to work here. Can’ deal with you and work at the same time..


  • @BAFBFP…

    Answer my questions.

    If you can, little man….


  • IG246

    How did the issue of Bajans who immigrate and abandon their parents make its way here from what Austin wrote? Random Thoughts or J has been singing from the same song sheet for a long time back to the days when she posted on BFP. It’s time to change the music and sing another tune.

    Where did she get her information from? Does she have any statistics on Bajans who immigrated and are now returning to milk the country of its NIS funds or obtain free health service? How come the Ministry of Finance can confirm that the remittances of those same Bajans have been a tremendous boon to the country’s economy?

    An Italian is always an Italian an Englishman is always an Englishman an American is always an American but a Bajan can’t go home again.


  • @All

    There is a qualifying criteria for either contributory or non-contributory pension form the NIS.



    Please read Jeff Cumberbatch’s article in today’s Advocate on 9.


    “There ARE qualifying criteria for either contributory or non-contributory pension from the NIS.”

    Criterion (n) – singular
    Criteria(n) – plural

    Don’t take it to heart, we have a lot of students who make this mistake.

    I still remember Dale Marshall pronouncing the “H” in Thailand. However, let’s leave that for another day.

    Remember dear heart, we boast 99% literacy! Okie dokie!


  • Chriss Halsall

    I now get up after a long hard night … What was the question again?


  • To Chris:
    Why don’t you leave BAFBFP alone. How many bloggers would there be if names were known. You are being a simpleton here as it relates o this matter. This is about life not playing games. If I had to i would write under my name and believe you me I would still be sticking to my positions.


  • Dear Sargeant:

    Don’t get so emotional man. I never said that you and other Bajans can’t come home.

    I welcome you to come home anytime, but when ya coming bring ya pensions and ya health insurance with ya.


  • Are they no intelligent , open minded, forward thinking individuals who can extract the parts of this article which ring true and suggest a meeting of like minds to consider options to keep this beautiful island country a place we can all continue to be proud of and to assist our progeny in maintaining/exceeding our proud heritage of pride and industry?


  • @ Jan…

    No, there aren’t.

    And if there are, they’ll be suffocated by the idiots in authority VERY quickly!


  • Still a good speech after all these years. Please pass it on to the BERT team.


  • Still a viable alternative to BERT.


  • I can develop this speech if anyone wants.


  • After all these years this is still one of the best analyses, if I may say so, of Barbados post-independence. I offer it as a gift to the president and her highly paid consultants.


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