Incompetence: Who Is To Blame?

Submitted by Looking Glass

Owen Arthur, Leader of the Opposition (l) Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister (r)

According to the leader of the opposition inappropriate macro-economic policies have aggravated our present depressed economic circumstance. He blames the current government for incompetence and neglect including improperly kept financial trails and that we are lurching dangerously close on a financial brink. (Advocate 1/26/2012). Inappropriate macro-economic policies have aggravated Barbados present depressed economic circumstances for which apparently blames the global condition which is totally untrue.

Having defined Stagflation as a situation “where a country experiences economic or no growth accompanied rising unemployment and rampant inflation,” he notes “the growth that has been recorded and projected following steep decline in 2008 and 2009 means that the country is in Stagflation. As was noted in Fallacy In Shoddy Robes and elsewhere we were on in a “royal mess” and stagflation long before the global meltdown.

The sale of scarce assets and borrowing do not constitute growth. Economic growth as people understand it is misleading. It ignores debt accumulation, non-monetary transactions and unemployment; does not reflect the true state of the economy or nation and perpetuates an illusion of progress. Such growth is largely a function of the private sector and the people not the government.

Looking back he seems to be talking about himself. Selling scarce profitable resources does not constitute appropriate macro-economic policy and results ultimately in the loss of income. The sale of the national bank exposed the people to the mercy of the foreign banks. Borrowing money to build a new prison etc. provided temporary employment and added significantly to the national debt. The absence of non-cyclical job generating industries, sale of profitable assets, and the unrestricted entry of thousands of Europeans via the backdoor which facilitated unemployment and social problems help to set the deck on the Titanic (Mixing Fact with Fiction). No wonder the IMF 2006 and 2008 Reports noted among other things the “weaknesses in statistical information,” the coverage and transparency of data on public service entities and capital accounts, the lack of development and vulnerability to external shock and likened us to “a breeding ground” for social unrest and disorder.

Non-economic policies are equally disturbing. Who for example paid for the repair of the West Wing of Parliament: and why? The sale of the St Peter Hospital for which some blame the current government, failure to update the old one (QEH) and the education system was a disservice to the country.

Yes the current Prime Minister is a bad joke bordering on disaster, but it is unfair and shameless to blame the government for the current socio-economic condition which did not happen overnight and is largely the product of the last regime. In reality the current administration inherited tremendous national debt, “deficits” and an empty bucket with which to water the garden.

It is unlikely the condition will improve significantly in the short term. For one thing the global situation is in a depressed state and we are short of water with which to water the garden. In real terms government cannot be better than its leader but we should not be too quick to blame the current. They are some good and able souls in the government, but they cannot perform as entities and lack leadership and direction. For this to happen the mentally and morally corrupt head man is clueless and needs to be replaced in a hurry. Until then recovery and restructuring remain a pipe dream..

Now the Prime Minister tells us that despite economic vulnerability and fiscal consolidation government will continue to maintain a much needed economic presence, “wants to see a more vibrant private sector” and will maintain high international standards of tourism products (Advocate 26/1/2012). Exactly what does he mean? The private sector cannot make blood out of stone. Hotels closures, potential investors backing away and basic marketing is a bad word there. That he has the audacity to maintain high standards suggests his ignorance. He is the first head man anywhere to accommodate a minister who accepted a seat on the board of a foreign company, and in a matter related to air travel solely responsible for the government loss of respect and criticism in the region and beyond. Are these the standards to be maintained?

Exactly what does he mean by fiscal consolidation? Borrowing to pay bills consolidates debt and selling resources is not consolidation. So is he talking about personal fiscal consolidation, and does it refer to a politician who sells both country and soul for pieces of silver? If so he might be thinking of himself. As noted in About Rising Prices and Oil two of our late PMs said no to the company that wanted drill for oil, last year the current one accommodated the company. Last year David Thompson declined or at least hesitated to sell land in St George, Bathsheba and St Lucy to three foreign companies to build hotels and houses to sell to foreigners. He sold the land in St Lucy and this year sold about 20 acres of agricultural land in St George to one of them to build homes for sale to foreigners.

Now some others other claim it is a mistake to increase VAT which they claim will shift it would shift and stifle growth. The middle class needs to have to pay for everything for everything from food to eating out, entertainment, eating out and travel. The key to growth they say is to “keep the middle class alive. So others must support you and your unproductive lifestyle. So where will we get the money from to do all they claim is needed to be done: borrow more and increase the debt or sell more of the country?

The amount of foreign owned small businesses in and around the city suggests the existence for productive endeavour. It is cheaper and better to grow your own food but cutting the grass in your own backyard is a disgrace. Instead you import everything and produce nothing and in so doing support the foreign exporters at the country’s expense.

You and you alone are the Bajan economy. Either cutback on the unproductive life-style and become more productive or prepare to welcome servitude. Time is not on your side.

47 thoughts on “Incompetence: Who Is To Blame?

  1. Hallelujah ! The light shines through the looking glass!
    The IMF officials are ready to pack bags for a flight to Bim and live the “privileged life”, condos and upscale restaurants every night at the expense of poor Bajan taxpayers just because of a bunch of jokers who want to see this country run just like a backwater republic.

    The same way the boys and girls in suits are like vultures living off the decaying CLICO/BAICO carcass, so too would the International bailiffs called “administrators” treat Bim.

  2. Looking Glass; A rare balanced article. Both of them contributed to the current circumstances.

    I see that some of our neighbours / (tourism competitors) are at least making some efforts to let their populace see that the politicians are prepared to take the required medicines along with the general population. When will we see that here?

  3. Looking Glass; I didn’t mean that your contributions are not normally balanced. I mean that a large proportion of posters / article writers on BU are demonstrably partisan in their writings.

    This article shared the licks in an even handed manner.

  4. Interesting to read about the German economy which is reputed to be the strongest in the world if we measure using the amount of exports per person. Also the strength of its economy is located in its small and medium size businesses which are mostly export oriented with a heavy dependence on the technical. To sustain their strength heavy investment is made in technical areas (engineering).

    Perhaps there are some lessons to be learned here in out we can better leverage our resources to benefit the need for Barbados to feed itself. We cannot continue to spend money on education in a totally disconnected way from what is required to survive.

    Here is the link:

  5. @ the Poster

    The current government is just as guilty as the prior regimes because of its failure to sufficiently prioritize Barbados’ expenditures to the immediate restructuring of key and necessary sectors to create industries and jobs.

    Instead of blowing $800 MILLION on the new construction of a hospital facility, the current regime should take the more cost effective approach in using a small portion of that for the refurbishment and renovation of QEH while upgrading through maximizing its infrastructural capabilities.

    Meanwhile, the large surplus that would be left behind should be invested into the restructuring of the nation’s agriculture sector and renewable energy industry as well as a complete revamping of our manufacturing capabilities. that sum would be more than enough to achieve in implementing the proper infrastructure and resources.

    Much AGREED with ALL of the arguments of this poster.

    BUY BAJAN!!!

    • FYI


      St George’s, February 10th 2012: The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is working with other Government departments, particularly the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Ministry of Finance, to arrive at a solution to the current financial difficulties being experienced by the Grenada Airports Authority.

      This situation arose as result of the EXIM Bank of Taiwan obtaining judgment against the Government of Grenada for outstanding loans in a Suit filed in the United States. The Taiwanese has made a claim for all monies owing to the Government of Grenada and its agencies to be paid against the loan. Consequently, a request was made to airlines operating on the Grenada route to pay monies owed to the Grenada Airports Authority to the Taiwanese.

      An Escrow account has been established and carriers such as Virgin Airlines, British Airways and Delta Airlines have begun to deposit monies owed to the Airports Authority into the said account. This has placed the Airports Authority in a very precarious financial position.

      “Mr. Rodney George, Chairman of the Grenada Airports Authority, has alerted us in the government about the situation facing our airport. I am doing all that I can from a civil aviation point of view. The Ministry of Finance is doing its part from the debt-financing angle and the Attorney General’s Chambers is working towards a legal solution”; said Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Hon. Peter David, who is currently attending an OECS Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministers’ Meeting in St. Vincent.

      The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation will continue to work with other Government departments to ensure this matter is resolved quickly and does not severely disrupt airport operations, which would directly impact our economy at a time when we can least afford it.

      Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation

      10th February, 2012

      Betty-Ann Lazarus

      Public Relations Officer
      Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture
      Botanical Gardens
      St George’s.

  6. I am growing more anxious by the day in this god-foresaken college dorm-room up here in New York and I am growing ever more impatient with the huge lag of actual moves to mobilize. So far, I have sent emails to at least twelve different organizations and businesses here that are Bajan owned to spread the awareness and need for a petition. I am going to try and see if I can get a petition started to try and see if I can spread the awareness about our current situation.

    However, I am BEGGING all of you to please stop just reading and typing and act by sending letters and educating people and avidly trying to establish a mobilization.. I’ve been reading in the news how people on the east coast are opposing the development plans to establish urban facilities there. Try and see if you can educate these people about our current economic standing.

    It doesn’t have to be a domestic movement either. Get the Bajan diaspora involved and reach out to leaders of organizations, churches, schools, teachers, professors, taxi drivers, vendors, farmers, every one!! Stop preaching AND START DOING! To post mere criticisms on a blog that isn’t well grasped amongst the Bajan society won’t be enough I’m afraid. That is why we must act now!

  7. @ Brudah-Bim ,

    Name 3 New Industries that can employ 200 people each in Barbados and be competitive on the world market.

    A lot of Canadian companies have a formula that is working.

    1.When cost effective, manufacture in China and sell in the USA and Canada.
    2. In non unionised factories, employ semi skilled workers through an agency to keep the cost of employment benefits down.

  8. David “This situation arose as result of the EXIM Bank of Taiwan obtaining judgment against the Government of Grenada for outstanding loans in a Suit filed in the United States.”

    Makes you wonder if any other Caribbean countries are exposed to this kind of legal action.

  9. @ David (B.U.)
    I’m posting all of these ideas and yet it all just doesn’t seem to work. Is it me or does it seem that no one actually analyzes what I say?

    • Perhaps people are reading but not necessarily feeding back.

      One swallow does not a summer make.

      As suggested, post on FB, write to the newspapers, call the talk shows etc.

      Keep at it!

  10. What was the solution to the prison? Leave them in st Lucy etc. the prison need to be built.

    Selling the BNB has brought more income to the goverment than if it had remained under our ownership.

    Most land sold was by private interests. The goverment did not sell land.

    You obvious bias is clear.

  11. @ David

    I, too, have already suggested on another blog that Brudah Bim should seek other avenues (fora) to expose his ideas to as wide an audience as possible. I also see, Dave, that you have started up a petition to be signed by all those who feel strongly about BB”s ideas. Way to go. It’s high time these politicos get up off their fat ???es and get things done in this country instead of trying to foist their responsibilities along with the blame game on to Hilly, Billy & crew who may or may not have done their share in times past. GET TO WORK, it’s already been 4 YEARS and DEM still blaming every and any body for their ineptness and inefficiencies. When do they intend to get down to the job of governing this country properly? Oh well, de Xs will soon make a decision. When is elections again, sometime in May 2012?

  12. @ Hants. we shouldn’t just focus on exporting to the U.S. U.K. or Canada. We should focus more on exporting products to Brazil, Venezuela, the greater caribbean, central america such as Costa Rica. We should also see if we can export goods to the Philippines as well as Taiwan and indeed China.

    we should also set our sights on the middle east in terms of exporting goods there. We need to be far sighted and strategic…

  13. The DLP made it their number one,( No.1) priority in their manifesto to REDUCE COST OF LIVING remember ?…they failed miserably and instead gave us MORE TAXES… Freundel, could you seriously tell the man in the street to have faith in the joker pack and give you all one more term ? >>>> NO, you would have to be crazy !
    ONE TERM ONE TERM….you have been weighed and found wanting.

  14. What to do? What to do? What to dooo??!?!

    There’s so much to be done. I’m sending out emails to Bajan businesses both in Barbados as well as abroad. Not to mention that I’ve been emailing Bajan-oriented organizations to alert them of the need for mobilization.

    I’m offering the opportunity for committed Bajans who are serious about our nations future to alert me if they are willing to submit to a video conference or online-chat deliberating on what our next approach should be for the further education of Bajans about the impending need to urge our government to prioritize our expenditures to the necessary industries immediately. Please let me know if you are willing to conscript to such an arrangement.

    I am trying to make the sufficient moves in order to encourage for the Bajan people to PLACE PRESSURE on the government be fore it too late!!!

  15. Quoting: true to form

    It does not matter which market you go to the people are saying that this Government DLP, does not know what it is doing and it does not know what to do. You cannot put your hand up in the air and declare that the World Economic situation is the cause of ALL our problem. Try something, appear to be in charge, do not give up and blame everything except yourself. This government has gone on without taking responsibility for any thing which it has done.

    I could not say it better>>>>> Bankrupt of Ideas

  16. Hants | February 11, 2012 at 5:43 PM |
    @ Brudah-Bim ,

    Name 3 New Industries that can employ 200 people each in Barbados and be competitive on the world market.
    I certainly can name three companies in Barbados employing 200+ people each , and do not have to bother one bit about competition in the world market ,as they are making a big killing here as monopolies.

    • A story of interest:

      Emera’s quarterly profit doubles

      February 10, 2012 – 2:10pm By JOANN ALBERSTAT Business Reporter


      Emera CEO Chris Huskilson says the company’s Caribbean investments helped their bottom line. (TED PRITCHARD / Staff / File)

      UPDATED 6:27 p.m.

      Emera Inc. saw its profit nearly double in the fourth quarter of 2011.

      The Halifax-based energy company reported earnings Friday of $46.8 million, or 38 cents per share, for the three months ending Dec. 31. That compares to $24.1 million, or 21 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2010.

      Emera attributed the growth to increased investments in the Caribbean.

      For the full year, the energy producer posted record earnings in 2011, with profit rising 26 per cent.

      Consolidated net income was $241.1 million, or $1.99 per share, last year. That’s up from $190.7 million, or $1.67 per share, in 2010.

  17. @Colonel Buggy
    really? and are those companies domestically owned? or are they foreign corporations? Please, do provide the names of those companies….

  18. @Colonel Buggy,

    I wrote name 3 NEW Industries.

    I am trying to continue a serious discussion because Barbados has the added cost of importing raw materials in small quantities.

    Then there is the disadvantage of not having people who can be forced to work for $10 per day.

    We have to find industries that will pay “living wages”.

    • @Hants

      We have ‘manufactured’ a high standard of living which as you know is/has been funded by tourism and other services. With the changing world economy and increased competition the existing model will be pushed to sustain the standard we have become accustomed.

      If we go manufacturing it will have to be highly skilled specialized. it will be hard to fire up such a sector from scratch.

  19. Yes David. They are in Business to make profit.

    They have a captive market of Bajan consumers who will talk shavin cream instead of turning off lights and appliances.

  20. @David.

    While looking for new ways of earning forex, it is equally important to improve existing Industries Tourism,Rum etc. and to replace imported food with locally produced crops.

    Growing more food is the easiest way to reduce the import bill.

  21. @Hants

    I used to leave on my mctv, mocroeave and electic stove, i unplug them evey day, but i dont see any reduction and i dont leave on the lights in rooms.

  22. @ [ David (B.U.) ]

    Not necessarily. the government can allocate funds (from the previously suggested sources in prior posts) towards the recruitment of foreign professionals to train Bajan citizens in specialized skills. The government must increase the amount of seats in vocational schools an completely revitalize the education programs provided. The government can achieve such a task by shifting the focuses currently provided within the nation’s vocational-education system in favor of the prospective markets that will be relevant to the nations economic future. There should be an emphasis on Horticulture by making the availability in educational opportunities for that field more available to the Bajan citizenry, with a focus on hydroponics, aeroponics, greenhouse gardening, and other methods of controlled environment agricultural activities. Luckily, Aeroponic and greenhouse agriculture require a medium to minimum knowledge in harvesting the plants. However,in terms of maintenance and handling of product logistics as well as business affairs is a matter which requires more extensive knowledge. The government must also seek to be avid in providing a baseline for the preparation of the Bajan domestic workforce.

    The reason why I am pushing for such a move in government for the subsidization as well legal protection of the nation’s agricultural sector is because should the government invest in the development of Hydroponic & Aeroponic agricultural co-op communities, companies, community green houses, etc. as well as make a serious shift from just pure sugar production, into other key cash crops such as bananas, cassavas, avacadoes, and a variety of other produce; we could stand a chance at being a serious competitive market within the region in less than seven years. Which is why there must be an avid demand in the prioritization of our nation’s budget. Which might I add, all of our so-call “politicians” are responsible for perppetuating, regardless of their political pary standing.

    It should be noted that hydroponic and Aeroponic farming doesn’t require nearly even as to a quarter as much energy and resources as that of conventional agriculture; which would also require more money and not to mention will degrade our land in the process.

    I stress that the government especially fund community efforts who choose to be/who are active in the agricultural sector. Supporting community based companies and creating a legal lee-way for them to compete domestically will eventually lead them to being able to compete internationally, equating to revenues for both communities and government (as they would be entitled to holding shares. However, they should typically own no more than 7% of such shares in my opinion). This in turn creates a strong economic foundation for domestic farmers to contribute to the market by being highly productive. Continual government provision of subsidies on domestic products will encourage the much needed stimulation of our agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

  23. More local and regional Food production Please!
    Most Bajans depend on supermarkets , even automarts for all of their food needs. These supermarkets are facing increasing cost of goods,utilities and shipping costs.Costs are passed on to customers and because persons do not see other options, they complain and still buy. We all have to eat but if there is more supply, the price must come down.I do not agree with flooding the market with cheaper foreign goods as this must be balanced with the need in a small open economy to maintain adequate levels of foreign reserves.It is never good policy to depend on importation for all of our food needs.

    We need to plant more food locally and improve the speed and efficiency at which we can transport produce from one island to the other while paying attention to standards.

    • @Bim

      The focus should not only be on agriculture.


      The food distribution was compromised when we sold out to T&T with the expectation it would bring cost benefits. Have we seen benefits?

  24. @ Hants
    Are you referring to me. Because if so, you are mistaken. In no way am I preaching for austerity measures. I am in fact pushing for massive reform!

  25. @ David (B.U.)
    “@Bim-The focus should not only be on agriculture.”

    I am aware of this, which is why in my petition that the government focus on renewable energy as well as the manufacturing sector in its entirety. I even suggested that the government look into accommodating domestic companies that can manufacture pharmaceutical products such as pharmaceutical drugs, medical supplies, and medical electronics. China, Taiwan, Brazil, Jordan, Lebanon, and Chile all have bustling Pharmaceutical companies that are starting to give the west a run for its money, however we shouldn’t restrict ourselves to these markets.

    To put it in retrospect, it would be to see nice if GlaxoSmith-Klein of the U.K. were to seek an arrangement with a domestic Barbadian manufacturer and form a contract enabling that manufacturing company to be GlaxoSmith-Klein’ supplier, so long as the company has the capacity to keep up with Glaxo’s demands. However, keeping in mind that GlaxoSmith-Klein is already a mature corporation, Barbados is already of very little use. Which is why I urge that Barbados look into solidifying our ties with developing and emerging markets strategically. We need to be like China in our Preemptive strategies.

    I was merely stressing agriculture so it could be used by the government as a precursor to enact a series of reforms in order to help encourage such an outcome. Merely, agriculture is the stepping stone to enabling our markets to diversify.

  26. Bajanfuhlife wrote “We need to plant more food locally”.
    Absolutely correct.

    Brudah-Bim I was not referring to you. I was just reporting what I was watching on the TV news.

  27. I just watched Rhianna perform (Grammy awards).

    I am not a fan and I don’t listen to her type of music (I am 60 years old) but she is a world class performer.

    I hope she stays at the top of her game.

  28. @ Hants

    “I just watched Rhianna perform (Grammy awards).”

    And tell us how this is relevant to the post?
    Please brother Hants, at least try to stick to the topic here…
    For the sake of keeping to the element of relevancy and professionalism.

    We must stay politically charged as well as economically engaged. We cannot afford to put down our sights for a slight second just for a ‘performer’. Spread the word on what must be done.

    Stop distracting yourself with idolatry and celebrities and get back on board in staying committed to safeguarding our nation’s economic future. To revert back into the “luxuries” of the “iconic” world is to sleep on the chance in mobilizing our nation for our economy’s protection.

  29. @Brudah-Bim,

    Who the —- you think you are telling me what I should or shouldn’t write on this blog.

    Only David can do that and he can also ban me if he so chooses.

    I have no intention of following any doctrine espoused by you.

    Big up another Bajan performer who played keyboards at the grammy awards tonight.

    Adele’s Music Director and Keyboardist Miles Robertson.

  30. @ Hants
    I am only asking you to uphold a certain character on the basis that this is a politically focused post and not an entertainment. While I respect your enthusiasm in revving up our nation’s most iconic figures, I am only asking you to just keep in mind of the circles of relevance.

    In no way am I trying to impose any type of “code” on you. Keep in mind that it is only an appeal to you for your credibility.

  31. Excellent submission!! However we really need to leave the blame thing behind. We should learn from the pass as we move forward..

    Whether we like it or not Owen Arthur is the most qualified leader to navigate barbados out of this mess .. He has made some mistakes, but he was overall effective at leading barbados.

    No one in the current government has a record of positive contributions to barbados that can match Owen Arthur and they know it.

    As I have said many times on BU .. I am for whoever is best for barbados, call it what you want ..

    And This time around its the BLP .. Fact

  32. @David Hey thanks …I missed this…but my submission back in January was all about…remember…hope others spot it your submission dated

    | February 12, 2012 at 4:12 PM |

    Emera’s quarterly profit doubles…….CEO attributes enormous profits to Caribbean Investments…(murder)

    ALL THOSE PROFITS……ARE OUR LOSSES yet another incompetent decision…….those advisers from BL&P who benefited from this calculated conspiracy should be locked up or made to leave the island for treason..I know you agree Bajanfa life and you too Sargeant ..right ?

  33. Reading the report in today’s newspaper..Rising poverty levels in Bim
    I cannot help but wonder where did Mr.Bynoe awake from.. calling for a 10% reduction in wages.Was he on planet dOrk ?
    How would this help his cause any ? Less money , less sales..
    Bynoe you really fell of the rock with this one….silly season indeed

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