Notes From a Native Son: Make Xmas the Season for Creating a New Housing Market in Barbados

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

As Christmas approaches, one gift older generations could give younger people now setting out on their careers is a foothold on the housing ladder. In most Western democracies, homeownership has been the key measure of household prosperity and a leading metric of how we are progressing through life. In fact, one of the cornerstones of post-war prosperity has been homeownership. In most developed economies, with the notable exception of Germany, the growth in homeownership has been the driver of household asset accumulation.

Even in those more mature developing economies, such as China and Brazil, fast-growing homeownership is a mark of the developing middle and professional classes. Yet, for reasons that are not yet clear, Barbados has failed to develop a substantial local homeowner class – over and above the extravagances of the Heights and Terraces – even though all the basic conditions are there.

Every year the island produces hundreds of university graduates, hundreds more join the workforce in secure jobs and tens of thousands more, who under the right circumstances would rather own their own homes, are left in the rental sector. One senior member of the present government, when in opposition, told parliament that 30,000 people were in need of housing.

Given there are under 130,000 homes in Barbados, according to some records, that number may be a bit extravagant, but what is incontestable is that there are still a number of homes with two, three and even four generations living under the same roof. Under no reckoning can this be acceptable. How then, with all this potential, can a dynamic housing market be created from scratch, sustainably funded and without creating a bubble?

Without repeating arguments for a sustainable land use policy, which governments since Independence have avoided, I will concentrate on one particular, underused and undervalued parcel of land which could be better used providing mixed use homes for an aspiring middle and professional, many of those badly in need of decent homes, and even for holiday homes for those living overseas and regular visitors. All this is along with a proper use of brown-field sites, the regeneration of the City and its environs and the rebuilding of many of the old communities, such as Carrington Village and Deacons.

A Residential Market:
The Transport Board site could provide an incredibly, architect-designed site, comprising one, two and three-bedroom apartments, a leisure centre including a gym, shops and offices, a supermarket, medical and dental surgeries and a nursery. As a mixed residential site, with a bias towards younger professional owners, the site could become a highly sort after residence for aspiring young people, couples and singletons.
With the added advantage of bordering Weymouth playing field, which at present is dominated by the Police Club, the entire site could be planned as major residential, commercial, leisure and entertainment site, without rivalry in the Eastern Caribbean. Weymouth, although separate, could form of the overall attraction of the area, with a modern and well-equipped leisure centre, a swimming pool, netball and basketball courts, tennis and road tennis courts, and a silver service restaurant. In fact, with some of the apartments having balconies overlooking the playing field, this could become an added marketing attraction.

Preliminary Planning:
To extract value from the site, government could move the Transport Board to a site in St John. This would have a number of economic advantages, and, indeed political opportunities. The parish of St John is generally recognised as the poorest of the parishes, with relatively few job or business opportunities. Politically, if a DLP government were to move the Transport Board to St John, its staunchest parliamentary seat, it would strengthen its connection with voters and make the seat even safer.

If a BLP government were to do it, it would undermine the strength of DLP support and turn what has been a safe DLP seat since Errol Barrow won it, into a marginal at best. But it is the social policy advantages that would be of greater benefit to the nation, including reversing in a small way the flow of rush-hour traffic in to Bridgetown, moving jobs out to the periphery, thereby encouraging small businesses to develop in the cluster, and tempt many of the men and women working for the Transport Board to move to parish.

The other major job would be making the site suitable for development by bringing in the bulldozers to remove the bus carcases and other rubbish on the site and know down the old school building. In the meantime, detailed plans should be drawn up (I cannot see whey buildings cannot go up eight or ten storeys), with the freehold held under a Real Estate Investment Trust, or an independent Sovereign Wealth Fund. The main funding for would be borrowers could be arranged through a Post Office bank, with existing retail banks and credit unions – and cash purchasers – being all in the mix. Sales could be off-plan, based on a show apartment, and, according to the success of the marketing, through a well worked out pricing policy.

A Rental market:
There is ready-made rental market, made up of young professionals, individuals and couples, temporary foreign workers and even short-term rentals for visitors and short-stayers. For the wealthy, especially those with low returns on their bank deposits and investments, buy-to-let residential property can provide the much-needed yield that they are looking for, while at the same time satisfying a social need by providing rented accommodation for young people.

Over and above the off-plan sales, government could create a REIT, as already suggested to develop the site, or alternatively, issue housing bonds, housing exchange-traded funds. Lending through a newly created Post Office bank would be balance sheet and prudent lending, taking the lessons of the 2007/8 banking crisis in to consideration, along with compulsory protection cover. Responsible lending must be based on certain fundamental principles, apart from the health of the balance sheet. Some of these are: the general state of the macro-economy, the volatility of house prices, general employment prospects, housing supply and any facing economic headwinds. With, for example, a loan to value of 85 per cent, first-time buyers will be investing a substantial amount of money in their new homes and are unlikely to default, if experience in other markets is anything to by. We know that the majority of homeowners would prefer to go without meals, or cut down on their leisure pursuits, than to default on their mortgages.

A new housing development would provide a number of jobs, most of them direct, including builders, electricians, plumbers, security, lawyers, surveyors, civil engineers, architects, shop assistants, maintenance staff and nursery nurses, for example, which would be of central value to consumption.

Analysis and Conclusion:
There is no risk of over-heating the housing market in Barbados, since for all extents and purposes, the over-priced West Coast developments are as separated from the real local economy as Spain is from Bridgetown.

At present the three main drivers of the local housing sector are, as said, the super-wealthy buying trophy homes on the West Coast, returnees, who in the main return home to resettle with cash from the sale of their homes in Europe and North America and, in the case of the UK, the 25per cent cash free lump sum from their pensions.

So, in short, they are not in need of loans; the third and under-supplied sector, is the local aspiring homeowners who cannot access decent mortgages and the under-supply of homes. It is the job of government to create the monetary environment to kick-start this development. The downside of any over-heated housing market is the risk of defaults and, sadly, repossession.

Repossession laws in Barbados, and in particular regulation, are badly in need of reform. I know this from personal experience. The first was an approach to a Broad Street bank for a mortgage to buy a local property, which was agreed in principle, until the young lady clerk informed me that I would have to take out mortgage indemnity; I sad fine, but who would be the beneficiary, if the unthinkable were to happen; it was, predictably, to be the bank’s. Such fraudulent practices should be outlawed. Basically, when taking out a mortgage, the lenders forces the borrower to also take out a mortgage indemnity insurance, which covers about 80-85 per cent of the market value of the house. If there is a default, and the borrowers cannot resolve the problem, the lender (usually a bank) will start proceedings for repossession: letter before claim, formal notice seeking possession, court action, eviction and enforcement of judgement.

It is the latter of these where the fraudulent activity by the lender takes place. One of the first things the lenders do is to call on the mortgage indemnity insurance, which is most cases, mean they will get 80-85 per cent of the value of the home paid direct to them and not to the former home owner. This still leaves the lender with possession of the house, with its 100 per cent value. In Barbados they will get their attorney to also act as auctioneer, a professional they are usually not qualified for.  In legal terms, the auctioneer will be aiming to obtain a buying price above that reserved by the lender; but it is incumbent on the lender to obtain the highest price possible. But, having already obtained up to 85 per cent of the value, it is not in the lender’s interest to haggle about the selling price; anything above 15 per cent will be icing on the cake. However, many of the auctioneers do deals with property developers, which I learned from hard experience.

My second experience was putting in a written bid for a property, but having to return to London, I asked to be allowed to make a telephone bid; at the same time, I asked a member of attorney/auctioneer’s staff, who I knew privately, to keep an eye out on proceedings for me. Needless to say, the property was sold in a semi-private deal, while all the time pretending the process was open and transparent. It was a practical experience of the corruption at the very heart of Barbados – the very island that Transparency International can sit in Germany and pronounce as one of the most transparent nations in the world. It says a lot about how Germans go about these things.

Developing a dynamic housing market is necessary, much-needed and hardly rocket science.

57 thoughts on “Notes From a Native Son: Make Xmas the Season for Creating a New Housing Market in Barbados

  1. I do agree with Mr. Austin that there is need to tidy up many “fraudulent” activities. I still cannot understand how attorneys can use the interest on clients’ accounts and still charge for services without deducting the interest they have used form their clients’ monies. Also, the banks have solid reserves but are not too keen on helping manufacturers and small (black) business people. With government short of cash ,banks should be encouraging the public to invest in housing , small businesses etc. They only want black people buying cars and consumer items. The economists are not telling the truth, those supporting the government are not telling the truth; those supporting the opposition are not telling the truth. The island is in a recession but new real estate moguls are reaping tremendous profits. Imagine decades ago progressive voices raised hell against Barbados Shipping and Trading. They have been bought out and now we have some real corporate power elites owning twenty or more companies. In the mean time the majority people are putting up structures of old galvanise and termite infested wood selling whatever they can. All the small butchers gone or going; the small farmers gone or going, the fisherfolk can’t get no serious help. One group renting villas the other group catching hell. And we have 30 people in parliament cussing and behaving like complete idiots. We are heading to a very dangerous place and as Gabby said: “One day coming soon”.

    • The issue brings us back to the lack of entrepreneurship in Barbados. Especially the so called middleclass. The appetite is not there to take risk and this is the reality. The government can facilitate and enable all it wants but can it make us drink?

    • @Simple Simon

      My response: Just say “”NO” to the banks’ consumer loans. Barbados actually has a fairly decent bus service. I’ll run out to use it now. Nothing beats $2 to get to work. Why should I buy a car?

      Don’t be simple. The ‘taste’ of our middleclase has been honed over the years to be 100% on consumption. Then when one examines the class structure and the aspirational needs it will be difficult to say NO!

  2. @Skiiner

    Don’t you think we need a Development Bank? Pity there is no longer a National Bank.

    @Hal Austin
    Govt has given concessions to first time howe owners and it up to barbadian middle class to invest in home ownership instead of expensive vehicles. I believe govt’s role is to provide housing for the lower and lower middleclass. Then again, there is a belief that persons in govt houses should enjoy living accomodations provided by govt, and the payment of rent is at the bottom of their priority list when rent is due.

  3. @Hal Austin there are still a number of homes with two, three and even four generations living under the same roof.

    My response: When you find 3 or 4 generations living under the same roof, something much worse that government policy is going on, including too early child bearing, irresponsible fathers, families who compete with each other instead of cooperating with each other, learned dependency (especially on the government), politicians who lie to people and fool people into believing that the government can/will take care of them, sickness and or disability, etc., etc.

    @the third and under-supplied sector, is the local aspiring homeowners who cannot access decent mortgages and the under-supply of homes.

    As I see it the greatest obstacle is the cost of land. Now if you had talked about a sensible land use policy, you would have had my support. But we have had a BLP policy of land going to the highest bidder. Now tell me how can a Bajan nurse and her school teacher husband compete with the highest bidders in the world? The nurse would have to move to Saudi Arabia, where nursing wages are good, but the who would dress our grandmother’s lame foots? and teach our little Johnnies how to read and write when our best and brightest people migrate?

    @William Skinner “They only want black people buying cars and consumer items. ”

    My response: Just say “”NO” to the banks’ consumer loans. Barbados actually has a fairly decent bus service. I’ll run out to use it now. Nothing beats $2 to get to work. Why should I buy a car?

    Long ago I told the banks “get lost” Why should I burden myself with a perpetual car loan, when I can get to work, shop, church, social activities for $2?

    Simple Simon: 50 and mortgage free. Car loan free too. And happy.

  4. Dear David:

    My semi-literate grandparents always told me that you can’t have it in the bottle and the cup too.

    If you insist in rolling in the big ride with an expensive loan from the loan sharks (sorry I mean the banks) you may NEVER, NEVER, NEVER own your own home.

    My semi-literate grandmother, and her semi-literate sister bought several pieces of the rock in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

    Grandmothers only ever owned one pair of shoes at a time. A pair of white dress shoes which were worn on Sundays only (to church) and which therefore lasted for years, and years, and years.

    David a lotta we fooling young people that owning a home is easy and that the government can do it for us.


  5. Great points by all . I agree 100 % that neither party has a proper or progressive land use policy. I also agree that governments must create housing solutions for our lower income earners. I further agree that public transportation is relatively cheap but it is not properly managed. We still have too many problems moving people and services. One will note that all the services on which poor people depend are under mismanagement: public housing, public transportation, public health, proper roads, public education. The apologists for the BLP and DLP play the blame game but if these two parties after more than a collective half century cannot get it right, responsible citizens have to push for proper governnance. We still don’t want to accept that after 46 years of Independence our island state is still technically under the control of the same people who controlled the economy 100 years ago. The Black parliamentarians spend time cussing each other while the masses are left to scramble until we admit this , we can’t move forward. I am yet to see anybody eat an economics argument.I am yet to see anybody live under an economics argument. I am yet to see anybody wear an economics argument. We are living in a country where the minimum wage is still under $300 per week while 3000 square feet of land in almost any part of St. Michael or Christ Church can cost $54,000.We need to put the information out there. There are very few people earning $300 per week or less who can buy land and build a house. I understand personal responsibility but we cant have a Barbados with one side living like Hollywood stars and the rest scrunting and on the verge of total social and economic extinction.

  6. We have always wondered why this contributor and maliciously avoids the fundamental analysis of existential phenomena. How is it possible to approach the issue of housing in Barbados without a reference to its causation, the current realities and a discussion of future prospects?

    Despite the of all government and particularly the current housing minister, tens of thousands of Barbadians will remain ill-housed to the end of any epoch. The writer refuses to acknowledge that land reform or the payment of reparations to the descendants of ‘former’ slaves; the ownership patterns of land in Barbados and more particularly the concentration of up to 20% of the landmass in the hands of a COW; the strategic decision by the country, in particular OSA, for a perverse commodification of land in Barbados; together with this, Barbados has opted for a form of development that has never been about the development of people or the equitable distribution of incomes but instead it is to serve as a centre for the servicing of rich white peoples’ needs, as it always has. In this respect, how is Barbados today remarkably different from the slave days? To pretend that a housing/ownership culture could be deepened or widened with a surgeon’s knife is quaint at best and disingenuous at worst.

    Given these circumstances, how is it then possible to sustain an argument that posits historical amnesia in a fight with the existential. Grand plans like those suggested by the writer seems highly inconsistent with current global political-economy realities. The unbearable national debt and the foreign exchange position of the country alone with suggest a non-starter for this idea. For sustainable development must mean, not just having the masses of people well housed, for this only fills the need for consumption. What the average Bajan needs, is not a 30 year mortgage, but the means to be able to build a house without ‘eternal’ debt peonage, and be able to do that generation after generation. Nothing within the present environment indicates that even the deepening of debt serfdom of which you suggest is even possible at this time.

    The future prospects are even more daunting. We have argued elsewhere that capitalism everywhere is collapsing and we hold to this view. So why would we want to invest more into a dying system? A system that has proven that it can never bring justice to most of the people of the earth. We have suggested a participatory society as a replacement for capitalism. That participatory society should equitably share power, work and resources. Full employment should be a given. The ending of monopolies on money/debt creation by the international banking mafia must be a necessary even if insufficient pre-condition. The prolongation of the bankrupt system is no longer tenable. We are willing to lock horns with you on these matters but you are not well known for engagement in mortal ideological combat.

  7. … is VERY difficult to for a Bushman to understand how a country can have persons of the vision and intellect of Pachamama, …and be condemned to the kind of leadership that we currently have on both sides of the political table…..

  8. Neither higher densities nor the redevelopment of urban areas will be built unless there is a demand. Like RE, our concept of housing requires an attitudinal change involving the adoption of a new perspective/definition of what a ‘house’ means in the Barbadian context. It has very little to do with who buying villas etc, the truth is we could learn a lot from what the expat is interested in buying. Secondly, we continue to confuse home ownership with access to housing. Though Mr.Austin’s plan for the TB site is flawed in many ways, the inclusion of medium density housing is on the mark as it not only promotes better land use but fits right into the RE agenda.

  9. Bush Tea “… is VERY difficult to for a Bushman to understand how a country can have persons of the vision and intellect of Pachamama, …and be condemned to the kind of leadership that we currently have on both sides of the political table…..” You are absolutely correct ! Pachamama and others will not succeed in the current political cannibalism and intellectual fraud that is currently masquerading as leadership.. For the country to proceed both the BLP and DLP must be equally charged with gross mismanagement especially the last thirty years or so.They and their apologists cannot hoodwink progressive thinkers such as Pachamama. We refuse to hold our elected representatives to any clear vision for the development of our island state. However, both the BLP and DLP have collectively tried to silence progressive voices or some progressives have hitched their livelihood to these two parties and now are silenced forever. This silencing of progressive forces and thinkers was the purpose of the Public Order Act passed by the DLP under Barrow and inherited and embraced by the BLP under Tom Adams. In other words both parties have done as they please legislating civil servants salaries etc . Neither the BLP nor the DLP and their pathetic assortment of apologists want to accept that they have both abandoned the masses and have been serving the wishes of the entrenched corporate classes both Black and White. However, there is now a resurgence of progressive thinkers and they will no longer escape the scrutiny of Pacahamama and others. In the fullness of time the BLP/DLP corruption machine will be forced to come to a screeching halt.Enough is enough.

  10. I just have to say that I find it hard to read articles submitted by people who do not back up their comments. Anyone who finds a different issue to speak about every week is NOT someone that I am prepared to address… sorry.

    But the rest ah wunna saying things that gettin’ me pissed now, but time will tell. HA HA HA

  11. I jest get connect to fibre optics cabling … Man Lime rush thru my request, after all, Karib Kable got a army a men in the area running lines. COMPETITION ..!!! This fibre t’ing SWEET man, I find I typing faster now … Serious …!

  12. @ Bushie
    Thanks. Our real peeve is that nobody in Barbados even considers what is happening in the wider world – from a strategic point of view. The country behaves as if ‘god’ is a Bajan or that we will always be able to beg our way in this world. So regardless as to what is happening in the world somebody somewhere is going to have mercy on us and save us. But survival, as a people, is never guaranteed. Just this week a FOIA request showed that the American government had plans to unleash an all out nuclear strike on the USSR and China EVEN if a discharge of a weapon/s by them happened accidentally. Ship commanders were giver order for a nuclear strike if the chain was broken. And this very week the ‘black’ boy who lives in a white house declared that a terrorist gang, including his supposed enemy al- Qaeda are the government of Syria – a sovereign state. A state that has thousand of years of civilization. When the Syrians (Assyrians) were writing and had universities white people were still living in trees and painting their faces blue. Do you see who is the king of world that we live in and its nature. If the Europeans and the Americans (the white world) could have plans to destroy more than 2 billion people what naivete encourages us to wait around for these people to save us when they themselves are struggling for mere survival? And why would they just not let Barbados descend into a state economic and political collapse.

  13. Just saw this Obama talking about the shooting in a school in Connecticut. I wonder when these people will make the connection between violence abroad by their state and violence at home.

  14. @Pacha

    Do you think this pigeon hole navel gazing mindset is linked to how we educate ourselves? Is it a normal consequence of an interconnect world we live where national boundaries have become blurred and cultures diluted?

  15. @ Yes David
    The British after world war two was faced with the same circumstance as the USA is now. The central question in each case is how do you maintain an empire abroad and a democracy at home. You cant have both. The Roman Empire faced the same central question. In the case of the USA they have chosen to have an empire abroad and a fascist regime at home when confronted with the inherent contradictions of empire. The symptoms of failure of the American Empire are becoming more evident.

    They are 50 million Americans who are have problem getting food to eat. They are 150 million American who are living in or near the poverty line. More generally social dislocation is one of the indicators of a collapsing empire. We are expecting the types of unrest you have seen in southern Europe early in 2013. The fascist in the USA have changed a lot of laws to have mass imprisonment camps etc – Hitler style. We don’t know of you’ve heard about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) as secretly negotiated by corporate interests to shift more economic activity to Asia. It was leaked a few months ago. My point is that Obama and his corporate backers are about to role out a brutal plan against the people of Americans as they come out into the streets to beg for bread. The shooting is Connecticut is merely a symptom of a more profound malady.

  16. Man David you like a lot of overanalyzing yuh know.
    …don’t you think the “mindset” is linked to the fact that the VAST MAJORITY of us and basically …..GOATS?
    …indeed bushie is pleasantly surprised at the number of rational bloggers occasionally interacting on BU…. No name no lock up!! 🙂

  17. @ David
    More to your point. The biggest ideas that rum this world come from some population. For example Athenian democracy. Yes, we are satisfy that Barbados in a stasis. Nobody is trying to break out of this old thinking.

  18. Thanks Pacha, let us hope from this tragic act today in Connecticut will provoke a Damascacine moment among our leaders. Recently we had to tolerate political hacks who trivialised the brandishing of weapons in our parliament augmented by ‘cussin’ of late. It all adds up to a negative affect on our small society.

  19. @David
    You will hope in vain. The devils that run this world are incapable of the response you hope for. Even if what happened today happens a million times before the end of the year, you will not get the response you will hope for.

  20. The USA has more guns per capita that anywhere else. The gun lobby will never believe that a gun can kill an innocent person. To them only criminal kill people not gun. The gun is NEVER wrong. LOL
    Both parties are held hostage to lobbies. National politician are incapable of doing anything to control gun. American citizens have the right to even buy AK47 and hands guns that carry nearly 50 bullets

  21. Obama in a second term should be a completely different individual, more true to his writings since he does not now have to worry about being another one term president ….. ….. OR NOT !

  22. Pacha

    Let me tell you straight that I am a Socialist (Atheist too) that does NOT believe that all men are created equal, but holds fast to the view that the “gifted” have a grave responsibility to protect the vulnerable. That is my position. You wid me?

  23. The Bahamas downgraded again.

    This under the new Government recently sworn in, which went all around the Bahamas telling all who would listen that the economic problems of the Bahamas were the fault of the Ingram Government.

    Sounds a little familiar?

    • @Sargeant

      The Venezuelan houses in Husbands were built using the same prefab technology on less than 1000 sqq ft but were built using the starter concept. Many have seen additions and are unrecognizable from the start design. They were snapped up by working class to working middle.

  24. @ Baf
    Sorry, can’t agree on either count.

    Atheism is a religion and we’re not religious. To us it is like some somebody saying they have no philosophy, for the absence of a philosophy is in itself a philosophy. Books have been written about this nullity. All hierarchical structures are anathema how we see the world. Some may call this anarchism.

    Class distinctions are the main contributor to the problems in the world. Religion is up there too. These artificial distinctions have children in Barbados competing for the ‘better’ schools and the competitions continues to the grave. We even have these same people who competed from cradle fighting class wars at age 65 to be governor general of Barbados, for knighthood etc. In between we would have competed for the best O level grades and A Level and university etc. If we had our our way we’ll electronically transfer children between schools randomly using a computer program, without an exam, for example. Of course other resources will be assigned likewise. Hoping to break up this construction.

    We are never persuaded that anybody have better brains than us, or worse. If you gave most people information, in the absence of the manufacture of consent, they are likely to make the decision that serve their interests. This does not mean that some people are not better than other at some things but this works in the reverse also. Most people if given the right opportunity, assuming their is an interest, can learn anything. Can’t agree at all, on either count. Sorry!

  25. Why is it given the shortage of homes in Barbados, that not many potential home owners are flocking to take up residence in the sprawling ,’The Villages’ in Coverley in Christ Church ?. From what I see ,when this project is completed it should take care of a great number of those 30, 000 people who are in need of homes.

  26. @ Carson

    Just means that Barbados’ around the corner. You should also be reminded that your party went around Barbados saying the high cost of living was the result of the BLP government. Today the cost of living has increased by 33%!!!

  27. Pacha

    You can’ prove you and I can’ prove me, other than for life’s experience but I will say this to you, organisms defend the desire to live. Organisms fear death. Higher organism fear obscurity. I believe that this is natural. It is natural to want to live and prosper and yes, be remembered. This must guide ones concept of how communities gel. We all want the same things for ourselves and the world that we were born into will already have determined for us the traits that are best suited for the surviving and prosperity designs that one would need, if one is to succeed. Some win by the luck of the draw, others do not. I do not have to be a brain surgeon to recognize that some women have bigger breasts than others, that some men are taller than others, that some people prefer to have sex with their own gender … that some people are just hopeless Jack Asses.

    With respect, change your view and we can talk some more

  28. I am very disappointed in our PM the leader of the party I support.

    How dare you Prime Minister. I just listened to you on BarbadorToday and you were so far out of your depth.

    Only Owen Seymore Arthur is qualified to be on the premises of David Seale’s rum factory.
    PM Stuart you do not have the experience and expertise to comment on anything related to rum.

    Next time ask Owen for his assistance. He would not let you down opposition leader or not.


  29. @ David
    In fact Coverley may very well be Husbands Redux and yes worse. The book Low Cost Housing In Barbados: Evolution Or Social Revolution
    By Mark R. Watson, Robert B. Potter
    is a good read. It highlights the watering down of the tenantries act by the DLP as well as the negative impact poor decisionmaking at the NHC during the 1980s had on its operations in the 1990s. Imagine since 1988 a USAID consultant was concluding that privatisation of the NHC was necessary to achieve efficiency. Hmmmmmmmm

  30. @David
    Worse than the Venezuelan houses in Husbands?
    I haven’t seen the houses in Husbands care to describe them? I would also like to know what you or anyone else for that matter thinks should be the optimum house size (square feet) for a Bajan family (for this exercise two parents 2-3 children) and the size of the lot on which the house should be constructed.

  31. ‘and the rest scrunting and on the verge of total social and economic extinction.”

  32. The future prospects are even more daunting. We have argued elsewhere that capitalism everywhere is collapsing and we hold to this view. So why would we want to invest more into a dying system?
    if capitalism is dying the alternative oppressive system of communism is still struggling to get off the ground by curtailing the freedom of those it purports to represent

  33. ‘We have suggested a participatory society as a replacement for capitalism. That participatory society should equitably share power, work and resources. Full employment should be a given.”
    a noble and laudable idea my friend which i have dreamed about as well but isn’t this what communism and or socialism was supposed to achieve?


  35. ‘Let me tell you straight that I am a Socialist (Atheist too) that does NOT believe that all men are created equal, but holds fast to the view that the “gifted” have a grave responsibility to protect the vulnerable. That is my position. You wid me?”


  36. ‘Worse than the Venezuelan houses in Husbands?’
    unlike coverley the venezuelan housing project was immediately occupied because cost of houses were affordable and unlike coverley they weren’t enough built to satisfy demand and unlike coverley minus restrictions

  37. @Balance
    Why do we have to to limited to either socialism, communism or capitalism. Is there no sense of imagining that can develop other systems? Our support for a participatory society represents a departure of these big three. We could expand on this later. Today in the news we see Gorbachev talking about the imminent collapse of capitalism. See here.

  38. @ Baf
    We could only change our views when evidence is presented that is compelling. We never like the pigeon holes that are assigned to people. Though the evolutionary philosophy cannot be seriously questioned we have never found it necessary to define ourselves by this alone. While the European socialist and communist ideals were well intentioned there are not enough to defend us. And surely, there are good people in all the world religions, but we are defined by neither. For us it is about what serves the interests of the people, in an holistic fashion. In this regards we submit that European socialism has generally failed. Newer versions seem more viable, however. This failure has been caused by, amongst other factors, the class systems that were central to European socialism, as distinct from African socialism, for example. In this regards, neither European communism nor socialism were much different from capitalism. You must know that Russia and other eastern European countries are maybe the most racist places on earth now. After 80 years of communism/socialism. While under Communism this was hidden from the view of the world. So racism transcends political philosophy. Cuba is another case in point.

    Baf, we understand how Barbados has been historically brutalized by these class cleavages that you seek to defend by insisting on a social formation based on intellect, ancestry, affiliation etc. We are against all of these, all the time. Your thinking would suggest that because somebody has a degree, and we have about half dozen, that somehow this gives one more intelligence and therefore a higher class that somebody else. We disagree. It may give the ‘lettered’ person more information about a narrow area of knowledge. Our point is that almost everybody else, if exposed the the same life experiences, will be able to be just as capable. Classism should be the foe of any true ‘socialist’ – no? In short we see ourselves as more radical than all the ‘isms’ listed above because we adhere to none exclusively while at the same time we recognize the gains of South American socialism and the effectiveness of capitalism at producing economic growth, maybe too much.

  39. @ Pachamama | December 14, 2012 at 4:57 PM |
    “Just this week a FOIA request showed that the American government had plans to unleash an all out nuclear strike on the USSR and China EVEN if a discharge of a weapon/s by them happened accidentally.”

    Be careful, Pacha Inti, how you bandy about those potentially ‘explosive’ words.
    There is a seasoned rightwing lieutenant with chevron stripes called Sargeant on this blog who will come after you like an al-Qaeda agent for being a soothsayer of biblical proportion promulgating a doomsday doctrine as predicted in the last book of myths and legends in which the same drill Sargeant believes as gospel.

    Thing is this, naysayer has flippantly dismiss the existence of such a “MAD” plan but is unable to offer a solution to America’s impossibly repayable zillion dollar debt to China.
    Pacha, what do you see in your crystal ball? Do you see a peaceful resolution to this USA/China trade war or do you think it would all end in a mushroom cloud?

    The man that you owe, and has a gun, is the man who owns you unless you have a bigger gun.
    Poor Bim, tied to the almighty dollar but only by crocus bag strings (not even silk cotton or spider thread), can’t even think of pulling such a trick on the IMF of: ‘Trust and Don’t Pay’.

  40. @ The Miller
    We’ve lived amongst these people for many years and are not convinced they have much sense. They are however intent to do what they think is necessary to hold on power over the world. This includes a wide application of nuclear weapons. Don’t you see the strategic realignment of USA?NATO forces in Asia and the South China Sea. White people brains have evolved in such a way that suggest an innate fear of they survival. This fear encourages them to think up Doomsday scenarios that other might recoil from more readily.

    Miller, we are in no danger from these tellers of folk tales and legends as is the Sargent. You are generally right. Barbados should seek to reduce its holdings of US dollars, do more trading through barter and store silver and gold. The guardian from the north will not like this, at all. The USA want to checkmate China, Russia and aims to militarily attack them if they can’t defeat them in other ways – diplomatically, economically, culturally – thes is the new Great Game

  41. @ Balance

    Well, we think we have to separate micro matters from macro issues. In the case of Syria we were talking about all types of violations of international legal norms to an extent unknown hitherto. We have found that there are all types of personalities within all tribes, colors, languages, races etc. We would not suggest that any people should be characterized by the behaviors of a sample given.

  42. @Miller etc.
    There is a seasoned rightwing lieutenant with chevron stripes called Sargeant on this blog who will come after you like an al-Qaeda agent for being a soothsayer of biblical proportion promulgating a doomsday doctrine as predicted in the last book of myths and legends in which the same drill Sargeant believes as gospel.
    Miller you do me an injustice, “right wing”? I take offence to that but what Pacha has writtenhas been edited to suit his narrative, here is what I’ve seen:
    “As late as 1968, the U.S. government had plans in place to fire an automatic “full nuclear response” against both the Soviet Union and China in the event of the death or disappearance of the President in the course of an attack against the United States, but President Lyndon Johnson changed that policy in October 1968, according to a previously Top Secret document published today for the first time by the National Security Archive”

    Now you see what selective editing can do? You could have saved yourself the misery at being proved wrong (again) just by using Google. Anyway I am not one to rub it in but your scenario was of a US unprovoked attack on China which is light years away from what Pacha wrote even if what he wrote skirts the truth.

    Now you can cuss me…..

  43. @ Sargeant | December 15, 2012 at 10:01 AM |

    OK, Sarge, I retract the politically charged “rightwing” label ascribed to you.
    But you just can’t dismiss the high probability of a nuclear scenario being played out as a final solution to the long drawn out trade and political sabre-rattling.
    Can you just imagine if the next president is of rightwing persuasion and a mindset similar to Adam the young man who just committed mass murder of the innocents?
    There has been nuclear war in the very distant past on this planet and with history replete with the likes of Herod, Pope InocentV111, Ivan the Terrible Hitler Pol Pot and many other megalomaniacs who is to say that modern warfare technology would not be employed by mad men including Christian and Islamic fundamentalist of extremist political persuasion.

    But Sarge let us look on the bright side. Can you proffer an alternative to this intractable state of sizzling upheaval other than via the military route employing ‘advanced’ weaponry to eliminate at least 1/3rd of the Globe’s population as is being touted by scientists in order to save mankind from near extinction by culling, famine and starvation?

    How can the real “Pachamama” allow her beloved garden called Gaia continue to be used and abused by billions of parasites called humans at the expense and exponential extinction of other more interesting, environmentally aware and less resource demanding life forms?

    The recent sightings of ‘lights in the skies’ as reported all over the globe are not there to whet the appetites of “UFOers” or ‘21-12-2012 doomsday’ cult followers but as signs of things to come.

  44. @Miller
    Mankind does have the means to destroy itself and I don’t discount that some Islamist somewhere or the North Koreans might not start something but the point is many of these people who send others to die want to preserve their own lives, even the ‘”Fundamentalists” who send young people on suicide missions prefer to wait until they live a full life before they encounter the virgins.

    We have been down this road before (Cuban Missile Crisis) and war was only prevented because the prospective combatants realised that they would destroy each other their calculations probably don’t include a 2/3rd survival rate. No one can predict the outcome of a nuclear war and the resulting fallout. If there is a nuclear war we would be back to Lucy in Africa.
    When it comes to a nuclear war in a previous epoch or UFO’s etc. I am in the Donald Rumsfeld camp who put it succinctly:
    “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know”.

  45. “I don’t discount that some Islamist somewhere or the North Koreans might not start something but the point is many of these people who send others to die want to preserve their own lives, even the ‘”Fundamentalists” who send young people on suicide missions prefer to wait until they live a full life before they encounter the virgins.”

    Wow Sargeant, the United States has raged war on three (four if you include Syria) major territories in the past year and you look to places like North Korea or an Islamist to start a war since you are made to believe that they “send others out to die” …? I guess that the “Democracy” fundamentalists escape mention because they no longer “send others to die” but send smart missiles and drones instead to kill innocent others huh …!


    My issue with your position is in my world it is best to accept that idealism is not a workable plan. Idealism is like salt in a bottle … one adds it to the food until it tastes right. Marx, Lennon, Keynes were not average men, and they cannot be ignored. A Ph.D , William Darity spoke at the Central Bank a few weeks ago. His is a plan for a world that includes the opportunity to have work which pays a meaningful minimum wage as a Human Right which should be facilitated by the state. I believe it to be a good plan. A plan has to be workable otherwise it becomes an exercise in intellectualizing. I have no desire to include differences in race as a consideration, but to my mind a workable scheme has to accept that we all are NOT born equal.

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