Notes From a Native Son: Let Us All Tighten Our Belts

Hal Austin

Introduction:
The government has taken the bold step of announcing in principle an intention of ploughing Bds$800m into building a new hospital. Like the curate’s egg, this is good in part, but it also sends a lot of negative messages about the management of the fiscal and current account deficit and the much-needed urgency of a radical restructuring of the economy.

In simple terms, Barbados is importing more than it exports and this must be reversed if the economy is going to be rebalanced. This is the major challenge for the minister of finance and the governor of the central bank. So far, they have done nothing substantial about this deep structural problem. At the same time, with high unemployment – 12 per cent and rising – and presumably with jobless youth (16-24 yr olds) accounting for the bulk of that number, government must look seriously at the medium to long-term repercussions of the build up of such a social problem. For example, we know that if young people do not enter the jobs market within a short time of leaving school, the problem of joblessness will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

And, we also know, from the global longevity figures, including that of Barbados, people are living longer and, with that, spending nearly a third of their lives out of regular work. Let me explain that: if a young man or woman enters the jobs market at the age of 22, and works to the age of 67 before reaching retirement, that person has on average a further 16 years or more receiving a state pension before dying. We also know that living longer does not necessarily mean living a healthier life, especially as one ages. Ill health and pensioner poverty are the two things most likely to impact on pensioners.

But Barbados faces two particular long-term health problems. First, it has one of the highest HIV/Aids infectivity rates for under-twenty fours in the world, which, apart from the cost of retroviral treatment, will have a heaven burden on health budget. Likewise, type-two diabetes is the elephant in the room in Barbados, due mainly to lifestyle and diet. Apart from the long-term eye, kidney and orthopaedic problems, we now know that diabetics, like HIV sufferers, are very susceptible to tuberculosis. Again, this will have a huge cost.

So, given this, the state faces a massive health cost of beneficiaries living longer, health care and a growing bill for long term care. We also know that about 70 per cent of school leavers are leaving school without five or more CXCs at grade C or above, so they are unlikely to enter the professions. This is a simmering social problem. Further, we also know that, apart from mortality drag, high unemployment also affects revenue in terms of direct and indirect taxation. Unemployed people do not pay income taxes and are unlikely to pay much VAT. This growing social dark cloud poses a threat of intergenerational conflict if the younger generation sees the baby boomers grabbing everything for themselves and denying them even the crumbs, as we already see in Greece.

Let us deal with the ethical nature of this social threat first: at the very least, members of parliamentary owe it to themselves and the nation to at least take a salary cut as a gesture, to show the nation, especially those young people, that they feel their pain. But such gestures are not enough. We have a system in which any individual being elected to parliament for two full terms automatically becomes entitled to a full pension. This is a scandal. What is really needed are policy changes to deal with these and other anticipated social problems. One way of tackling this is to make all entry level public sector jobs part-time for those under the age of 24, on the principle that it is better to have a part-time job than no job at all. At the same time, government should raise the statutory school-leaving age to 18 – with the final four years for the non-academic in training or some vocational education – at one end, and at the other encouraging, incentivising, those nearing retirement to gradually work their way in to retirement by first reducing their working week to four days, without loss of pay, then three, then two, with the extra time being taken up by school leavers.

Government should also incentivise the private sector to act similarly, maybe by having a payment holiday for national insurance, or even an income tax break. Of course, this is not a comprehensive restructuring plan, it is simply an appeal to the movers and shakers to set an example to the rest of the nation.

Greed:
There are further examples of this collective greed, as the nation goes down the pan, much of it is bureaucratic bungling, partly incompetence and then there is corruption, by accident or design. Bureaucratic bungling is to have over 20 different public sector pensions, a good ten of those alone affecting teachers. Incompetence is to pass a Pensions Act in 2003 and the pensions regulations in 2011. It is like making a motor vehicle in one year and the petrol or electricity to drive it seven years later. Then there is corruption.

Let us deal with a hypothetical situation to explain this one: say, for example, that person A has had a long career as a lawyer, say rising to the dizzy heights of Chief Justice. Then on retirement s/he becomes Governor General, with a pension entitlement of 100 per cent of salary. So, Person A is already receiving a full 100 per cent of salary as pension as Chief Justice then, after a few years as Governor General, is entitled to a further 100 per cent of salary as pension – two pensions at a substantial amount. Or say, for example, person B, who has had a full career as governor of the central bank, retires on a substantial pension (the Central Bank Act is unclear) and takes up a diplomatic post in Switzerland which, most likely, will entitle the holder to a further pension.

Or, the most unethical of all, the entitlement of a pension after two terms as a member of parliament. So, for example, let us assume a young person, say aged 40, gets elected to parliament, is returned at the next general election, as is the custom in Barbados, but is dropped by his or her constituents at the third General Election. That MP would be about aged 50. He or she would then be entitled to a pension for, if s/he lives an average life, a further thirty years. Of course that would be dishonest. No doubts so many people want to be members of parliament, it is a career choice and not one of serving the community.

What is really needed is a comprehensive overhaul of the state pensions system, including all workers,private and public, with a career-average pension at the end of a working life. This means if someone has worked for an average of 45 years, rising from as junior to as senior position, his/her salary will be averaged out over that working life to determine his/her pension. If that person wants to take out a personal pension or, God forbid, an annuity, then he/she is entitled to do so. But the state pensions should be ring fenced. With members of parliament, Governor Generals, Chief Justices and other high office holders, on leaving office they should receive a resettlement grant, say up to six months’ pay, then they are on their own.

Analysis and Conclusion:
A small nation like Barbados cannot afford to carry this dead weight, even of people who have served the nation well. Unless those at the very top respond to the urgency of the economic crisis, there is very little incentive for the hard-pressed to do so. If as a nation we want to see how to organise a new state pension, just look at the Chilean model, of the Kiwisaver, the Australian superannuation, the UK’s NEST or the US’ 401(k).

37 thoughts on “Notes From a Native Son: Let Us All Tighten Our Belts


  1. Any onew listening to the mouthings of this administration recently, would bewlieve that everything is well and money is flowing freely, multi-million dollar hospital, multi-million dollar marina, multi-million dollar cruise pier, now i recently heard Ronald Jones talk about demolishing about six schools and rebuilding them within the next six years;this again is another multi-million dollar project. The question is, where are these millions coming from? Added to that is the growing amount of multi-million dollar law suits that faces this government right now. I know general elections are due soon but bajans would be very gullible if they AGAIN allow this DLP party to fool us with promisese, look at the MANY that were made to win the government and only a few implimented. it seems the DLP has just awaken from their victory canvassing in the 2008 elections and realise they are on the doorsteps of another general and trying to put together a new list of false promises.


  2. @ The Scout
    But could it really be the sole doing of the DLP alone?
    It is to my understanding that the BLP also had a helping hand within the current position that we are in. If I remember correctly, the nation’s beloved Sir Owen Arthur had failed to make any significant strides while in power to maximize the nation’s industrial capabilities.

    Not to mention, as David (B.U.) pointed out, there is a massive motion of corruption perpetuated by virtually all sides of the spectrum with Barbados’ political scheme.

    That is why I have been profusely calling for the immediate mobilization of Barbados Underground subscribers and readers to help build awareness about the current state of our economy amongst the Bajan peoples with SERIOUS URGENCY.

    We need to educate normal Bajans about the situation of our economy; whether they’d be from the working class onwards to the upper class. We need to be aggressive in educating our unemployed, the working demographic, the manufacturers, members in the financial sector, our teachers, our Priests and Churches; all the key peoples who bear essential staff to the Barbadian society about this so they can educate the mass of Bajans!

    We must be active now. we must also hold workshops in churches, workplaces, and schools about the prospects of agriculture! Make phone calls, email people, friends, and co-workers. Pitch up canvassers on the streets and send them to people’s houses and go door to door to educate people about our current predicament and our viable options. We must also teach solidarity, resilience, and self-reliance to be widely practiced and interwoven within our national fabric!

    And when I say “aggressive rallying and demonstrations”;
    Please keep in mind that I stress that they are to be peaceful ones!! We Barbadians are too civil and learned to degrade ourselves to such lows!! We must set the standard, as is Trinidad & Tobago!! Our biggest immediate threat yet!!!!


  3. ^^ [@ The Scout ]

    Let’s not stop there either. Let’s make this relevant to our national military defense services as well our nation’s local law enforcement!!

    Let us bring them on board by avidly educating them on how the government has failed in establishing sufficient provisions to create a healthy industry for highly mechanized and skilled security and paramilitary companies that could have been servicing top notch as well as commercial banks, Financial firms, and other commerce and government based institutions! Touch upon how such services could have entered the domestic market in providing security to private residences and/or facilities.

    We need to get everybody on board. And the law enforcement’s support would be our most best and strategic asset yet!!


  4. Well thought out contribution on a better way forward for Barbados. However, do we have the social and political maturity as a people to make such changes in order to progress towards a more just and ‘good’ society? I think not!


  5. Lest we forget a house that is built on rock will survive the stormy weather . However a house that is built on sand will eventually fall to the ground. After 14years of being told how strong our economy was we have finally come to realise that the foundation was being built on sand and the realization is that now the storms have arrived we are about to crumbled to the ground. The past administration was indeed the builder now the job of the present administration is rebuild pick up the pieces and and rebuilt with a stronger ands firmer foundation reinforcements and all.


  6. Have to agree with Hal on most of his piece.

    Often times when we discuss restructuring the economy it is located to fiscal and monetary policy. However there is a lot more which must be don’t to complement such a strategy. Interesting to note that there is a suggestion that Greek authorities are examining cuts to pensions.


  7. I’ll try to return to this later, but for now I think that Hal Austin has, as usual, penned an excellent article, full of ideas that deserve to be further explored and sifted. There are several ideas there that needs to be implemented. The pensions reforms that he hints at needs to be developed and implemented quickly.

    I don’t think that either of the Political Parties currently have the will, personnel, outlook or ability to implement the changes necessary, unless somehow there could be a merging of the best, relatively young, people of the two sides into a consensus grouping that could get the country moving.

    What about getting Hal Austin to come back and help in some capacity in moving his ideas forward. There are several other local, overseas based or returning bajans out there with good track records in various arenas and good ideas, who could make outstanding contributions in advisory capacities to politicians or even as politicians themselves.

    The BU discussions on the important topics that Hal Austin brings to this forum is typically helter skelter and usually disintegrates after a few posters twist the topic away from the original focus. This one has started OK. I hope it will continue in that vein.

    Re. moving forward. Such discussions on BU, even though edifying to many of us will not be enough. I would suggest that some bajan Private Sector philanthropists get together and gets Hal Austin to put his thoughts together, as revealed in his notes from a native son and then have a media blitz where Hal Austin and others could, through town hall meetings, meetings with the cabinet, radio and TV messages / discussions, get the message across to the public that Barbados needs to change in several areas and that proposes some sort of a blueprint and roadmap for the necessary changes and point omega. I think a meeting with the parliamentarians on both sides would also be in order.


  8. @Checkit-Out

    BU is only one cog in the wheel.

    As you know Caswell et who contribute to the blogs also write letters to traditional media which are sometimes published. Hal use to write for the Nation, don’t know what happened there, he would have to volunteer. Hal’s pieces are also circulated on mass mailings via email.

    Regarding your critique of how discussions go, each person is responsible for their contribution. A nonsense comment can only distract if the commenter who follows allow it to happen.


  9. @ Check -it
    Well said . You are proving to be a most valuable compatriot with the pen.
    Dotting all i’s and crossing all T’s. a true educator.
    Pity you tend to be wrong sided on headmaster issues.I wonder why? May this is the key that onion should ponder on some more.Thumbs up.


  10. @Checkit-Out | February 10, 2012 at 7:11 AM |
    “I think a meeting with the parliamentarians on both sides would also be in order.”

    With that ‘poorakey” lot? Don’t make us laugh! Do you listen to the crap that emanates from there? Listen to Caswell! These people are interested only in self-aggrandizement not serving the people and facilitating national development.
    If Hal ever returns he would be vilified and criticise beyond measure, especially after living in Britain: I can just imagine: “you come bout hey to tell we wha to do? We been doing things we way fa donkey years”.

    Hal, these fellas would only entertain you if you bringing real dosh to grease the palms. Cawmere boy or no Cawmere boy, they don’t want to hear from you! Ask Brudah-Bim and the like.
    Maybe if you were white with suspect money to invest in buying land on the east Coast and building condos where some can be diverted into personal bank accounts you might just get the ear of the pols.


  11. Miller; The reality is that the Politicians are at the control centre in Barbados (and most other places). You can’t reasonably exclude them even though we all know that they are a sorry lot. My view would be to involve them at least initially. Pehaps there may be a few on both sides who can see that the only way forward is by drastic change. If, as most expect, none of them come on board in any discernible way, the Movement for change will move on. But individual politicians should be given the option to be educated; to get on board; to not get on board; to work towards real change; to remain moribund, to be really relevant for the world of 2012 and the Barbados that has to fit within that world. But the momentum of the movement should come from citizens (ordinary and extraordinary) and not allow politicians to put stumbling blocks in its way at any point of the journey.

    David; I was not trying to blame you for the tenor of the typical discussions on important topics on BU. BU is after all a talk shop, a rum shop, a verandah. It is not a parliament, a board room, a formal club. The value of the discussions tend to vary with the preponderance of the types who might be in the rumshop at any point in time.

    Usually there is no chairman at a rumshop who can strictly and officially guide the discussion. But, given that, despite the chaff there is almost always a good amount of fine wheat there.

    The blogs have an important part to play in educating the public and moving the HA type of agenda forwards.


  12. @checkit-Out

    Your position is understood.

    The challenge is how do we get the ‘wheat’ to leap across the chasm which separates social and tradition media and thus allow for a cross fertilization.


  13. @Checkit-Out | February 10, 2012 at 9:08 AM |
    ‘My view would be to involve them at least initially. Perhaps there may be a few on both sides who can see that the only way forward is by drastic change.”

    I like your “look on the bright side” attitude with regard to pols having a Damascene experience for the survival of this country. Do you really listen to them? They shout to high heavens about the same need for social and economic transformation required to move Bim forward. They are already ‘educated” and informed where significant change in the way we do business is necessary. Almost 20 years in the making. No political will demonstrated only crass political expediency. Free this and free that still on offer!
    But if we don’t let the Greeks teach us some home truths then we will certainly find a Trojan horse in our very Treasury come next year.
    Change will only come when it is forced upon us, checkmate!


  14. David;
    Thinking aloud re. your question above!

    Extend linkages with Facebook, Twitter, etc. Encourage posters to sign up with those social media.
    Cultivate ties with Barbados Today.
    Encourage and assist posters to copy their posts to the Nation Newspaper Blog and, if the Advocate has one, to that too.
    BU itself could post to blog appendages of the mainstream media.
    Encourage posters to also call into the call-in programmes.
    Ask posters to volunteer to compile, sanitize, synthesize or choose comments on BU that are thought to be of significance or relevance to the wider Barbadian community and have BU find a means to disseminate the compilations to components of the regular media.
    Encourage, if possible, media practitioners to publish material from BU with the proper attribution.


  15. @ check-it
    Sounds fine to me .But what happens when the boys on in parliament don’t give two hoots…..
    What is going to happen when elections comes and.. the present administration reports..” we spent $250,000 on a sign ” (Min Kelman Bras Tacks today). This is squandermaina to the max.


  16. @Checkit-Out

    Thanks for your good feedback some have been explored already. The traditional media do not see blogs as a credible partners even though they scavage the blogs for leads.

    The next step is for BU to receive a sponsor to more widely circulate our existence on one of the mass mailers which are out there. BU contributors can also use the links under the blogs to share on email, FB, Twitter etc.

    Note that David – BU has a FB account and all stories posted on BU are circulated on FB where Bajans are said to number 100,000 plus. The Skeetes Bay story for example went viral on FB.

    Keep the suggestions coming.


  17. David this blog if fine as it is.

    The opinions expressed here vary across the spectrum of our intellect.

    We have “expertise” like Dr.GP and Amused and bovine excretions from Hants. Somewhere in between falls BAFBFP,Chris Halsall and Bush Tea.

    Lef de blog how it is.


  18. David “The traditional media do not see blogs as a credible partners”.

    There is too much honesty on blogs like BU and the traditional media in Barbados are “spinners”.


  19. “Let’s not stop there either. Let’s make this relevant to our national military defense services as well our nation’s local law enforcement!!”
    All of a sudden wunna talking bout revolution in Barbados? cause dah is wuh does happen when underpaid soldiers an policemen get angry.

    Where were you all when Ministers were coming to Toronto boasting about the Rich and Famous “in First world Barbados building $75 million houses and Judges having better cars than their Canadian counterparts.
    Wunna did shoppin pun Bloor street an in Yorkville wen Hants did shoppin at Sears an Walmart.

    Wunna facktup Buhbados an now want to incite de masses?

    Wunna want to stir up shite after saturating de place wid bimmers an benzs that wunna now can’t sell used because all ah wunna brek.


  20. Love this piece by the Native Son. Well researched and well argued. Most of all, the recipes he prescribes are what Barbados needs today. Change must start at the top. The moral must be community first, not taking food from the poor to feed our myopic ambitions that do not address the good of the whole of this country. I now have to look at what the other models are. Barbados needs to come into the 21st century. It has an ancient system of monopolies and cartels with no anti-trust legislation. And the policies are nearly as old as the parliament. We can’t proclaim to be a leader of developing countries when our constitution and policies remains archaic. Thanks Native Son for this excellent piece.


  21. @ [ millertheanunnaki ]
    If Hal ever returns he would be vilified and criticise beyond measure, especially after living in Britain: I can just imagine: “you come bout hey to tell we wha to do? We been doing things we way fa donkey years”.

    Then I would say that they have truly made an ASS out of Bimshire indeed!

    @ [ Checkit-Out ]

    I completely agree with you (Where were you on the post that called for the restructuring of Barbados’ agricultural sector? I really could have used your help!)

    Aside from that, I completely agree. As I have been saying for quite some time now, there must be a “people” oriented approach in how we go about spreading the awareness. That said, we must take into consideration that not many Bajans are aware of the current economic standing of Barbados.

    There indeed is a huge element of complacency that has been embedded within our society, which has essentially hindered any kind of real development of the Island’s economy. Unfortunately, a lot of Bajans will equate their hard economic troubles as being a force of temporary “turbulence”, which leads many (if not most) to have faith in our quote-on-quote “government” and to rest their remaining hopes upon God.

    While that maybe civil in some sense, Bajans must be MADE to realize that there are even some things that are out of God’s hands because it is not of his handling. That said, we must start from the grassroots upwards to the local businesses and expat Barbadians abroad There needs to also be a series of forums held throughout Barbados which could help to create awareness.

    We must also be proficient in conveying the urgency of such matters, thus pushing for an established petition that contains the demands of the people that DEMANDS the government on where prioritization of Bim’s expenditures should be strategically placed in our economy’s necessary sectors. Having the signatures of literally tens of thousands of Bajan citizens in Barbados and abroad would surely FRIGHTEN our politicians, along with the backing of strategic peaceful protests and rallies held outside/inside major government institutions. Make our voice heard.

    We must encourage diligence and being preemptive within our culture. We must establish a culture of politically aware citizens that are not afraid to take to the streets should they find that their government has failed to facilitate a solid future in our nation’s ability to be both self sufficient and globally competitive.

    It starts from the ground up. There is PLENTY of work involved with spreading awareness, but I assure you that with diligence and persitence along with a solid team of dedicated and hard-working visionary and innovative Bajans that have their country’s future always in mind.

    I would be the first to sign up for such a task, however my ability to do so is quite limited to my location in America. However, I have also noted that here in NYC there is quite the sizable diaspora of Bajans here that own businesses and are involvedin other occupations/careers. Perhaps I can start by looking for majority Bajan churches and establishments here in NYC.

    But even so, I fear that wouldn’t be enough for I feel that there will be a good amount of Bajans who have no sights on looking back on Bim and will not be willing to support this initiative. No matter, I know I can be persistent IF NECESSARY!


  22. @ Hants

    Spreading awareness to our defense ministries and law enforcement won’t equate to a “REVOLUTION” as you so colourfully put it. If anything, it would be strategic in that the politically mobilized people’s best asset would be the support of the defense ministries, which would instill fear in our government.

    I’m not saying that our soldiers and police officers should protest on the streets and rally with us, however that would be ideal. However, we MUST get the signatures of members in Law enforcement and defense ministries. I am merely pointing out that should the people establish unity with our law enforcement and defense units, then it would immediately compel our politicians OUT OF FEAR to enact policies within the best interest of the people.

    Take Thailand for example, they avoided a “bloodless coup” because the people and their defense ministries had established a unity and determined that their then “unruly” Prime-Minister was unfit to lead the Kingdom of Thailand. In the case of Barbados, we do not want a coup, however we need a unified force like that of Thailand in order to enforce and promote massive changes in our government.

    The reason why our politicians are so dirty is because the citizens of Barbados have FAILED to hold them accountable by being politically avid, active, and involved. That is due in part to the sense of “comfort” Bajans feel as a result of the tourism boom. But now Bajans are starting to realize that ‘comforts’ are at risk of becoming obsolete due to the fact that their is a high level of vulnerabilities within Barbados’ economic structuring (ie. the nation’s emphasis on tourism and offshore banking).


  23. ac @ 6.42 a.;m
    Your article could have only be relevant if the BLP was the government, the DLP knew what was happening in the BLP, they knew of an impending global recession, yet they promises the voters, the moon, the sun, and the stars, they have FAILED miserably. When the DLP took up the government most of us did not expect many of the promises to be fulfilled, however, they constructed another story upon the house the BLP (according to you) built on the sand. The result is total catastrophe, now every thing is a total disaster, and the DLP MUST carry the blame, not only are they the party in government but as i pointed out in my first blog, they added to the BLP’s third term mismanagement.


  24. With the over its over emphasis on services/servicing as well as its over reliance on imports, the government has essentially established the nation, our beloved BIMSHIRE, into a plutocratic oligarchy that has been paraded aroung as a “democracy”.

    In lament’s terms: De guv’ment dun set up de Rock like a dyamn ovuh-sized plantation, en day have we de people set up like de chattel.

    They preach venom to the people to continue on with going into the service industry such as tourism and offshore banking along with crippling the nation by overly relying on imports; much to the detriment of the nation’s key sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.

    Wake-Up Barbayduss!!
    Our time to salvage our nation is now!


  25. De guv’ment dun set up de ROCK like a dyamn ovuh-sized plantation, and dey have we de people set up like de chattel.

    They continue to preach about going into the service industry to “further develop” the economy with an over-reliance on imports. Much to the detriment of the nation’s domestic manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

    Instead of making a squalor out of our budget and recklessly spending over $800 million on the construction of a new hospital facility, they should prioritize that to the much needed upgrade of QEH by maximizing its infrastructural capabilities through renovation and refurbishment plans; which would be much cheaper for us.

    They could use the remainder slump sum to fund the major overhauling of Barbados’ agricultural and manufacturing sector. Please refer to B.U.’s prior post titled “Carmeta Fraser Trumpeted ‘Food First’!”. It has a gentlemen depicted fornicating with a bucket of KFC chicken as the thumbnail.


  26. In the post of “Carmeta Fraser Trumpeted ‘Food First’!”, I suggested on ways in which the government could invest in infrastructure that would maximize our nation’s productivity with a focus on agriculture.

    In it, I posted up two videos that demonstrated the capabilities of Hydroponics and Aeroponics. I have those same videos posted here in the following links.

    Intro to Aeroponics and its capabilities:
    http://youtu.be/HMrjQScAQFY

    Intro to Hydroponics and its capabilities:


  27. To simplify the message, Barbadians must come to a shared understanding the country has developed a champagne taste but our earnings can only afford mauby taste. Until we reach this common position we will continue to be mired in decision paralysis on agreeing to a sensible way forward.


  28. ^^
    Thus Calling for a major move to mobilize on part of the Barbadian people.
    We must stop talking and ACT NOW!!!


  29. There is a VERY simple, legal, peaceful and DOABLE way in which Bajans can take FULL control of their political affairs within the next 12 months.

    Bush Tea has already outlined this methodology on many occasions here on BU before, but of course Bajans are waiting for some messiah to come along and throw peace and prosperity and good governance into our laps…..

    The WEAK point that haunts all democratic governments is the polls. They were able to manage this quite effectively in the days when they controlled the PRESS and therefore mass communications.
    Here in Barbados, Tom Adams tightened his grip by introducing the dirty tactic of recording each voter’s NID number on their vote so that it could later be established EXACTLY who voted for who…… a CLEAR corruption of the process which continue to this day.

    However….
    With tools like BU, BFP and Facebook, the PEOPLE again have the upper hand – all we need is a PLAN….
    …and this is where BUSHIE comes in…

    THE PLAN
    We need a DIFFERENT KIND of politician – one who is CONTINUALLY answerable to the people. A model already exist in Barbados and has worked EXTREMELY WELL here under the control of ORDINARY BAJANS.

    It is called the CO-OPERATIVE.

    ACTION NEEDED
    1 – We hand pick a NATIONAL SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE (NSC) which encompass a number of special requirements.
    * They must know and follow the rules – (CASWELL F lol)
    * They must be fearless in defending what is fair and right
    * They must bring significant voter influence to the table
    – BARP
    – Credit Union Movement
    – A joint Church grouping
    – A joint youth grouping
    etc
    * The NSC will weld ZERO clout EXCEPT such as needed to protect the process…..just like in the Credit Union.

    This NSC then coordinates a SELECTION process to find 30 QUALIFIED candidates to be fielded in the upcoming elections.

    Each candidate, upon accepting the nomination, signs an undated letter of resignation to be held by the NSC and to be dated and submitted upon a 2/3 vote by the NSC at any time.

    The NSC now draws up a manifesto ( using BU and other media to ‘debate’ and decide the issues) representing a practical strategic plan for Barbados over the next 5 year period. They then lobby for their large constituent membership to support the plan and the appropriate candidate.

    Once elected, these new MPs now work FOR the people of Barbados and implement the strategic plan that had been developed and approved by the NSC.
    Performance is reviewed on an ongoing basis and failure to perform dealt with expeditiously.

    LOL – it won’t make much of a difference when the usual global idiots commence their nuclear and other destructive assaults shortly,…. but it is the right and doable thing for Barbados….


  30. just want to touch on a comment in hal’s commentary with which i take issue and and about which i must add have not found much support. it is the view that people are living longer and somehow i believe that we are using the prevalence of centenarians emerging in the country as the basis for such thought with which i do not support. those centenarians were born in the clate or early 1900 in the worst of times so to speak. the number of persons under 70 passing away daily who would have had the benefit of an improved standard of living suggests to me that people born in the late forties and post 50 are noy living as long as we are led to believe.


  31. I just sent a letter to the People’s Empowerment Party (a lesser known Political party) via Facebook and posted comments on their page (also via Facebook), which at the topic of the topics was the nation’s current state of agriculture and need for self sufficiency. It is an appeal to them in order to help spread awareness amongst the Bajan people. Hopefully it will encourage them to gear up and become the leading hedges of the mobilization of the people.

    I wouldn’t blink though, because it is still not enough to make even the slightest dent.


    • BU understands that Republic Bank retrenched 250 employees in T&T this evening. Bear in mind T&T economy is said to be the strongest in the region. It seems T&T companies have been using the strategy of sending home people in the current challenging economic environment. Now that some many T&T companies own assets in Barbados it will have an impact.


  32. @ robbie ross

    thinks……why is it, I wonder, that the standard of blogging on BU is so much more articulate, thoughtful, less prejudiced and bigoted, and even forward looking (now don’t go over the top RR) than on Barbados Free Press? Will they take me seriously if I ask that? Yes, go on ask it. OK.


  33. @ robbie ross……..thinks….David is suggesting a petition banning genetically-modified food. Sounds a good idea. Why couldn’t BU do this for Raul Garcia? We’d be 10 steps ahead of the Church in Barbados wouldn’t we?


  34. @ David

    Thankyou. I just signed it. Mind, my only concern throughout this saga is that the principal protagonist is Frank Garcia, ie the family, who are not in the jurisdiction (?). That is not a slur on Frank. Far from it. But there is obviously an element of self-interest. Nor is that to denigrate the efforts of BU and BFP. And it is why I think the ‘sign-man’s’ gesture a shaft of light. But, sorry, I don’t want to turn this blog away from the subject-matter.

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