About National Development

Submitted by Looking Glass


Election promises in a commercial/services economy lead one to wonder about the island’s development. Among other things the BLP promised to reduce the cost of living, cheaper electricity, fuel, tax relief and put money in the people pocket. Government does not own and cannot control the private sector. Are you going to take over the electric company or set up another one to make electricity cheaper? The country is terribly short of job generating industry, in tremendous debt and importing everything. Do tell the people exactly how you will reduce the cost of living and put money which you cannot print in the people pockets. You are the first political party anywhere to openly make such promises.

Development means to “expand or realize the potentials; to bring to a fuller or better state” and is both quantitative and qualitative. Growth means to increase naturally in size and is quantitative. Growth in crime, debt, foreign population and the loss or take over of profitable assets does not constitute development but amounts to progressive retrogression.

National Development incorporates the entire system. In part it involves certain socio-psychological intangibles and a culture that recognizes the limits to growth. Externally determined and financed “development” is contingent upon problematic and subjective circumstances over which we have no control. Tourism is a case in point. Where the marginal cost to government is very high the loss of real and human capital obtains. National Development is unlikely to occur even if the debt burden is substantially alleviated which is unlikely.

Consider the following: absence of job generating industry, the sale of profitable assets sky high debt and social deficits, increasing unemployment and crime and the implications of demographic change, diminishing returns from perennially overstated tourism, deteriorating civility and the implications of increasing unemployment and population. We have no powerful additions to fuel development, no defining force or culture for the future or industrial accomplishments to meaningfully facilitate our national development. There is little to suggest alleviation for the people especially those intent on living beyond their means.

We are no longer the Sceptred Isle. In a couple of decades we have managed to undo what it took generations to accomplish. Mega millions in debt and accumulated debt interest left us in an ocean of red ink and without the where-with-all. Having set our deck chairs on the Titanic of our own making, given population and unemployment increase we linger in the shadow of socio-economic death.

Economic prosperity involves quantitative and qualitative factors. Yes successful upgrading will increase employment and productivity. It requires a vibrant domestic market and some access to external markets. It also depends on the resources we have, pattern employed and the capacity of industry etc. to upgrade itself. We are hopelessly short of natural resources and without comparative advantage in anything. To attract the latter we need to create industry and produce products at competitive prices. Failure to do so will result in slow per capita income growth. All we have is land, sea and sun. Stop selling the land. Use it to grow vegetables some of which can be exported and food. It will reduce the import bill, provide employment and income, improve health and reduce health cost. It was suggested in 1981 to catch live Flying-fish, Dolphins, Sharks etc, set them in our waters and leave them to grow and multiply. It fell on death ears, but it is not too late.

0 thoughts on “About National Development

    The C.U.P we have more than 20,000 open lots at 500 bds a year , not land tax but land rent with permission from the true owners to build..

  2. @Looking Glass
    the “bird’s eye view” thinkers necessary to push and innovate national development are not in the places to do so and don’t have the voice to shout enough. A certain “class” holds the reins of political and financial power and a particular status quo is desired over long term pride and industry. that’s just the way it is.

    Just Observing

  3. I can not deal wid all the fancy talk….So here is what I see happened we had trees that were bearing fruit and we would sell them fruit and get some money. We wanted to live like the Joneses and started selling off the trees to live big. The more trees we sold the less fruit we had to sell. Now that we have not much fruit to sell and having squandered the money on fancy living we now in trouble. One should try as much as possible to keep the goose that lays the golden eggs (trees that produce the fruit) seems we were so well educated we had no wisdom (COMMON SENSE). IF yah don’t own the fruit trees yah can not legally sell the fruit. ……..REAL ISSUE GREED and THE ITUNES attitude …PD Personal development a selfish way of operating

  4. Barbados needs import more productive goods ie. machinery etc that will increase exports. Will a alternative energy project achieve that?

  5. Government needs to use influence to move our importers of consumer goods (cars, tv’s, cosmetics etc) into export areas would has that abilty to influence?

  6. The truth about the shadows has to be known …that both parties B and D are heavily financed by White, Indian, Syrian, Jewish shadows that influnce both parties direction for the country heavily

  7. Now pray tell, how will these two political parties get any kickbacks out of the above intelligent suggestions of common sense scenarios. We have to face reality.

  8. Interesting comment yesterday about the ramification of privatisation. Many of the local companies sold to T&T has affected local business which provided services to those companies. The domino effect maybe?

  9. Looking Glass wrote “All we have is land, sea and sun. Stop selling the land. Use it to grow vegetables some of which can be exported and food. It will reduce the import bill, provide employment and income, improve health and reduce health cost.”

    We have been preaching Food Security on this blog but no one listens.

    It will take a collapse in the economy to change the “import everything” mentality.

    The next two years will be very difficult for Bajans.

  10. @Hants

    Did you listen to the Sunday Brasstacks show yesterday or were you glued to the wide-screen watching the girls in Mumbai?

    There was this young female farmer who proffered the view that Barbados should concentrate on producing three crops: sweet potatoes, and a couple others using smart farming. Barbados she said can easily generate 300 million in export earnings. The beauty is that the crops although raised for exports would represent a fall back in the event there is a global food shortage. Brilliant because the groups she mentioned are in demand and the acreage needed is available on little Barbados.

    Great show David Ellis. Next time ask Randolgh Sandiford what is the status of his court matter with Inland Revenue.

  11. @David
    I would be very interested in knowing what the two other export crops are other than sweet potatoes to generate that income. I get sweet potatoes here fairly inexpensive so what acreage are you looking at to cultivate this crop to bring in say 100 million (1/3 the amount)

  12. @Sargeant

    Sorry but was multitasking at the time (Hants 🙂

    Believe the others mentioned were yam and herbs. She was sweet on herbs because of the lack of weight and therefore airlift was an option. Sweet potato/yam has good shelf life as well. Did she say 1000 acres?

    She was also sweet of fruit orchards.

  13. @ David | February 18, 2013 at 12:59 PM |

    I was most impressed with the young lady, Ms Holder.
    She is not only talking convincingly but is also proffering viable solutions and meaningful directions to bring back some life to our agribusiness export sector.

    The three products identified as potentially exportable in commercial quantities are sweet potatoes, butternut squash and herbs seasoned with real tropical sunshine.

    Both the sweet potato and squash have relatively long self lives and are most suited for export. They have also been promoted and have caught on well in metropolitan areas as ‘health’ foods easily incorporated in many culinary dishes across a variety of multi cultural appetites.

    I like Akeli’s proposals and even Brudah-Bim would be impressed.
    We can start with the regeneration of the Scotland District to take on Ms Holder’s proposal. A refreshingly very brilliant young woman to put all of the Ministers, PS’s CAO’s and the 20 odd PhD’s in the Ministry of Agriculture to shame.

    We just need the political will instead of all the bullshit of the impossible task of generating 25,000 megawatts of power to supply 50,000 households from a dying sugar cane industry on contracting lands retained for real estate speculative purposes like the CLICO plantations that exists for only, at most, 3 months in the year.
    What would these 50,000 households do for power while the canes are growing? Install solar panels imported from China with a 2 year roof life?

  14. Being from the Scotland district I like her idea of planting fruit trees up there. Sweet potatoes are cheap here in Canada from Costa Rica and Dominican Republic. But her idea of growing Bajan pears is brilliant. The ones we get here, haas from Mexico and Israel are small and ripen very fast and dont keep. Get too pappy too early. The Bruce avocado from the US (probabaly California) are large, but watery and tasteless.

    When Canadians, who are big on avocadoes because of the MUFAs, taste a Bajan pear, they will buy nothing else. One hopes that the next government will listen and start planting. The thing with pears, they can be picked green and ripen in the store or home.

  15. David no I was not watching the girls lose in Mumbai and I don’t listen to Brasstacks anymore.

    I believe this young farmer will be very successful because Food Security and import substitution will become paramount in Barbados.

    I think “modern farming” and food production will be embraced by Barbadians.
    Hydroponics and Aquaculture can transform RAB LAND into Food production venues.

    There is a lot of competition in vegetable and fruit production especially from China and South America but I firmly believe “you can always get a piece of the action”.
    Barbados can only supply very small quantities to the North American markets and that makes the export of Bajan grown food viable.

  16. People have aged over the years trying to convince these two parties of the financial benefit of exporting herbs, some fruits and some vegetables that would definitely cease the dependency on non existent tourism and sugar. People got too old to be bothered and care what these idiots do anymore, maybe things will change if they could only get rid of those blights. I am certainly not holding my breath.

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