Notes From a Native Son: Before Voting, think with your heads and not your hearts

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

When the voters of Barbados enter the polling booths on Thursday, it will be an enormous challenge for them to abandon old political tribal loyalties and objectively put the nation, future generations and their own futures before irrationally supporting a party or candidate they have always supported, while suspending reason. The harsh truth is that this is the most testing general election, not only since November 30, 1966, but since the early 1950s and the introduction of internal self-government.

In the new globalised world, there is no turning back for small nation states such as Barbados. New global organisations, such as the World Trade Organisation and the newly re-energised International Monetary Fund, now have power over small states, mostly wrapped up in international treaties, that they have never had before. At the same time, rich and powerful nations are subsidising their farmers and industrialists, such as car manufacturing and farming in the US, farming in the EU, and a long list of state-owned or controlled industries in China, which put further pressure on small states. But we are not just economic people, as a nation we are rounded with equal value given to our social relations, our civic and moral responsibilities and our cultural and creative environment.

Increasing Government Productivity:
One of the biggest drags on growth in Barbados is public sector efficiency, from improvements in technology, competent management to output per person. One only has to read the annual report of the auditor-general to see the extent of public sector incompetence. Take a simple, but important example, uncollected VAT. Value added tax is a sales tax paid by consumers and collected by trades and service people. For convenience, that money is paid to the government at pre-set dates – monthly, quarterly etc. However, in Barbados, there is a huge backlog of payments, of business people failing to handover to government monies collected on its behalf.

It is clear that many of these business people are using that VAT as part of their business cash flow, yet for some unknown reason, laziness, connivance or simply misguided unofficial decision to allow these people to have these unapproved “loans”, the Inland Revenue and the ministry of finance have, together, failed to collect this revenue on time and in full. Resolution, of course, is rather simple: give the firm proper notice of collection and if it fails then prosecute the owners/directors for embezzlement. But public sector reforms must go beyond the introduction of technology and the proper collection of taxation; it must also include a re-negotiation of individual contracts of employment and a new relationship with the powerful trade unions.

Economic Rebalancing:
Barbadians are being misled, often by the very top public servants and politicians that should be providing leadership for the nation. Given the importance of the economy at this historical juncture, the most unforgiving of this deception is about the economy. Ordinary people are regularly told that the economy is now stabilising; it is not. They are told that there will be economic growth this year, but nowhere do these ‘experts’ give any credible sources of this growth. Ignoring for the time being the observation by the late J.K.Galbraith that economic forecasting was invented to make astrology look respectable, the fact is that the very premises that the central bank, in its analysis, are at best bogus, and at worst deliberately deceptive.

To return to basic economics, the three key drivers of any economy are consumer spending, corporate investments or public sector spending. It is clear that with an historically high debt to earnings ratio, households are not in a position to drive any economic stimulation; it is also clear that with a growing lack of confidence in the management of the economy private firms are not prepared to invest in an atmosphere of such uncertainty.

One misguided policy, encouraged by senior economic advisers, is the accumulation of a massive stockpile of foreign exchange reserves and, even worse, the cultivation of economically semi-literate people who go around like born-again religious converts reaching this blatantly misleading idea [highlighted by BU]. It is like having a larder full of food, while children are sulking around hungry and bored – like the large numbers of unemployed young men and women on the block. There are as number or examples of misguided financial economic and regulatory policymaking. A good example, in fact a classic example of its kind, was when the governor of the central bank, Dr DeLisle Worrell, said: “Barbados is fortunate to have a banking system composed entirely of foreign banks.” (August 9, 2011). Nothing more has to be said about this spectacular demonstration of regulatory ignorance.

First, there is moral hazard; if the local banking system is under the control of a foreign banking regulator, that means that they take their orders and guidance from foreigners, of the local regulator, the central bank governor. Without going in to technical arguments about the regulation of branches and subsidiaries, here we have an example of the governor quite clearly abandoning his moral responsibility. Or, let us take his statement on the performing of the economy in 2012, a further example of an inventory of decline and deception.

After the misleading statement that foreign reserves held up because of Bds$165m received for the NIS shares in the Barbados National Bank, the rest of the 14-page press release read like a work of fiction. First, that was a one-off inflow which does not avoid the urgent need for structural reform because the problem remains. Second, and just as important, those were shares held in the BNB by the national insurance scheme and should have gone in to its pension pot, not the coffers of the consolidated fund or the central bank. The statement goes on: “Real economic growth for Barbados in 2013 is forecast at 0.7 per cent. This projection is based on the most recent IMF forecast of average growth of 1.7 per cent for Barbados’ major trading partners (the US, UK and Canada), as well as an improvement in consumer expenditure in these markets of 1.2 per cent.”

Apart from the fact, as JK Galbraith has warned us, this is disingenuous, under-performed global growth during the boom years (2002-7) when global wealth grew at a compound rate of 11 per cent. Barbados has also under-performed emerging markets and, most of all the Latin America and Caribbean region. It has also under-performed since. It is a story of steady decline, and lying and cheating by politicians and senior public servants. Global wealth grew by 8 per cent in 2010, to a total of US$121.8 trillion, US$20 trillion more than at the height of the 2007/8 financial crisis. Global wealth grew in every region, with North America (US and Canada) accounting for a growth of US$3.6 trillion, with total assets under management of US$38.2 trillion – about a third of global wealth. Europe, for a long period the wealthiest region, grew at about 4.8 per cent over the same period, with a growth of US$1.7 trillion under management. But it was in Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan) were there was a spectacular growth of 17.1 per cent, with Africa and the Middle East accounting for an 8.6 per cent growth, and Latin America and the Caribbean, 8.2 per cent spurt.

These three regions account for a total of US$29.7 trillion, a total share of global wealth 24.4 per cent in 2010, from 20.9 per cent in 2008, the height of the global banking crisis. In a recent speech on the UK economy, the governor of the Bank of England, someone who should know more about that economy than Dr Worrell or the IMF, said: “Growth has been much weaker than most commentators expected. In fact, according to the official figures, there has been barely any growth at all over the past 2.5 years. ….. “ He goes on: “Three factors in particular have adversely affected the pace of recovery in the UK. The first is an especially deep and protracted squeeze on the level of many people’s take-home pay. “Over the past four years, money wages have on average been rising at less than 2 per cent a year….” With wage increases under the rate of inflation, most UK households are busy paring down their debt, not planning the luxury of a long-haul holiday.

Nothing in the governor’s projections have recognised this reality, that the world is now far wealthier than it was in 2007/8 and, even more, neither the central bank nor the ministry of finance has any plausible answers for rescuing the Barbados economy given this brilliant global performance. It is true, there have been sovereign debt problems in the eurozone, but this is largely because of debt that had built up within banking was transferred in to public debt in order to rescue the banking system, but that is a story for another time.

Social Programme
In many ways, it is the social programme of any incoming government that will really test the quality of our civilisation. How we care for the old and informed, the mentally ill, the homeless and poorly educated. In many ways, it is the civic aspects of our social lives which expose the lack of any social cohesion, a society divided by class and wealth, a society which has allowed the rich to barricade themselves behind walled ghettos while heavily armed.

It is a new society in which a new form of para-military policing, with the Defence Force patrolling our streets and beaches giving tourists and expatriates a protection that ordinary Barbadians do not get. We have seen the collapse of our educational system, with 30 per cent of pupils taking CXC exams failing to get even a single pass, only 23 per cent taking English literature, 10 per cent taking technical exams, seven per cent arts, and less than one per cent music. And worst of all, only 20 per cent – one-fifth – getting passes in five or more subjects at levels A to C.
This is the future of the nation, the net generation of leaders; even worse than that systemic failure is that criminal behaviour of many teachers who, according to some officials, deliberately under teach the children so that their parents must buy private lessons for them. This is the behaviour of a society in decay, of people who are to all extent and purposes criminally inclined. Yet, in the humiliating row over Alexandra School, Harrison College, Lodge and some of the other secondary schools, all the public got, from both parties, was a form of yaboo politics more fitted for a jungle. There was a simple reason for this: the children failing in the educational system – which many Barbadians still fool themselves is the best in the world, that a nation over-burdened with semi-literate people – are the best educated in the world.

Analysis and Conclusion:
As the curtain closes on this phase in our history, forty six years of constitutional independence is not too late to look back at what we have achieved as a nation. And, unless one is as blinkered nationalist, it is very difficult to reach a conclusion other than that our revolution remains unfinished business.

The social and cultural aspects of change remain undone, our once proud educational system is now retreating, with thirty per cent of the pupils who took the latest CXC exams failing to gain any passes and the jewel in the crown, our social influence within the Caribbean has waned.
What is more worrying is that all our politicians were either educated in whole or in part under the post-DLP “free” educational system.

The classic way to cheat a nation is by denying its citizens a proper education. And the classic way for citizens to cheat themselves is by pretending they are more knowledgeable than they really are. Barbados should be the home of weekend cultural activities for the Eastern Caribbean middle class; we should be the dynamic centre of Caribbean financial services.

Finally, there is one thing that Barbadians must take seriously: the current electoral register has 247211 people, these are people aged over 18 – 118669 men and 128542 women – compared with that in January 2012, which had 245672. Apart from the increase, which has not been explained, other questions are raised: is the increase due to the registration of New Barbadians? If so, who are they? More important, demographically, Barbados should have a substantial population of under-18s, if not a majority. However we look at this, conservatively this should put the real population of the nation at over 300000, or even as high as 350000. Unexplained and unplanned demographic change can be a guide to the future of the nation and, too, an indicator of future social problems.

0 thoughts on “Notes From a Native Son: Before Voting, think with your heads and not your hearts

  1. What is the status of the Central Revenue Collecting Unit stated to improve government’s revenue collection? This query is made against the concern shown by Hal about VAT delinquency.

  2. I believe with the high tax burden many businesses will continue to be delinquent with VAT lets face it consumers have no money to spend and business owners still have bills and wages to pay. there needs to be some more creative thought and discourse on the best way to reduce foreign exchange demand and reduce government’s burgeoning wage bill. The slow meandering to a complete welfare state needs to be stopped. I am what would be considered middle class by most and I struggle to pay my bills and I don’t travel or do any entertainment to speak of.

  3. Many rented houses and lands are not reported to the Inland Rev, for the reason the form to report income states ,,WHO HAS TITLE OR RIGHT TO TITLE ” MOST dont have that , so they will not go to the inland and sign papers to that .
    We did, i did , so to show ownership,
    But we still cant close our books until the Govt of BIM pays theie rental of 18 govt building and land of 2.7 million a month , After we are paid at Deeds then we can pay the taxes.

  4. That is a good article but it overlooks some issues for instance every new government seem to feel a need to create more handouts without to the burden to already burdened tax payers. Socialism is fine but we have to draw the line somewhere. We cannot privatise health care, education or garbage removal for obvious reasons. Would we need some of these handouts if everything wasn’t so expensive? What is the sense of giving a reverse tax credit and then introducing a cess. Why give school children free bus rides and summer camps and then increase my personal income tax, VAT, road tax, diesel costs etc….I am still worse off at the end of the day. Give with one hand and take with another.

  5. @Hants
    Some people will read Professor Drayton and say “Amen”, others will dismiss him as someone from “over and away” who don’t know what’s going on in Barbados . The responses are predictable and will be strictly along Party lines.

  6. Richard’s brief essay is highly relevant. As it implies, one outcome of today’s general election will be the marginalisation of parliament as the principal institution of public debate on current affairs.
    The role will be taken over by the blogs, where people of Richard’s quality (and others) will debate contemporary issues in a more mature way.

  7. I do agree with this brilliant young man, but there is still the DLP as an alternative and not much great hope there either. With the current mentality of the present politicians firmly in place, unfortunately there will be a roll back of living standards for the average Barbadian, if something drastic does not happen to change this scenario. We can all hope that something happens today.

  8. This article is a lot of writing not to say much. Please note that VAT is a regressive TAX and any government using it must if it is a caring government have beefed up social services for the vulnerable and poor. To the extent this is done and the issue discussed shows our maturity or lack of. The lack of addressing the real issues is clear. The selfish ….PD (personal development) thing is one of the issues that neds to be tackled. The people have stolen the “I” from the rastafarian group and called it their own giving us an Itunes society. The need to export (visible and invisible is a prority) as well the as the ned to seriously cut down on the comsumerables. It alarms me that the very same people that tell me about buying local are driving around in a $200,000.00 imported vehicle and complaining when a $200.00 a week worker do not buy local produce. How sick can you be!!!!

  9. The nation voted with its head, but not in the way you may think. Voters were divided – 16:14 is not a landslide. What is now needed is a government of national unity.
    Stuart needs to go back to the drawing board in terms of economic policy, and to draft a comprehensive social policy programme.

  10. @Hal

    dont u think that pm know what he has to do, he has advisers; economists, people with business acumen and social engineering skills. The point is u have predicted gloom for stuart and he prevailed.

  11. I have never predicted gloom for the prime minister, since I am not an astrologer nor do I go in for economic projections as a science.
    What I have said, to sum it up in a sentence, is that Barados has under-performed global economic growth for fourteen years under the BLP and for five years, the DLP government had not put in place as viable economic strategy to rescue the economy.
    Blaming the last government could only take us so far. I think Sinckler is out of his depth as economic minister, the central bank is bluffing its way partly because the governor is not held accountable and he is looking back to the 70s, but economic ideas have moved on, in particular since 2007/8, and the private advisers, ass embodied in the medium term strategy, are just as much at a lost as the governor, even though they disagree with him.
    That, my friend, is where we are as a nation – look at Four Seasons, the waste of NIS funds, public sector pay increases, the bogus idea of corporatist government, the so-called social partnership, and lots more.
    Stuart now has an opportunity to reshuffle his government, moving Sinckler and taking on finance, if there is no one better, putting in place a viable monetary policy, and a comprehensive social programme. It also has to review Caricom as a matter of urgency and look again at the criminal justice system, including its administration.

  12. @Hal

    u should be wishing the govt well as it tries to restructure the economy to have a green one,

    I will agree with u that sincler should not be Minister of Finance, but disagree as I would make Estwick Minister of Finance.

    I would like u to look at the dlpa manifesto and analyse it and offer constructive criticism.

  13. @ To the point

    I have already said the people have spoken and wished the prime minister and government well. Trawl through the various blogs and you will find that posted within minutes of the official results.
    I did say that Sinckler was out of his intellectual depths and have said so on many occasions.
    I have also said (see above) that the prime minister should take over finance only if there is no one batter. I have also said in previous Notes that Estwick has as better understanding of the economy Sinckler and that the latter’s formal studying of international trade does not equip him to head the ministry of finance at this historic juncture.
    Constituionally there is nothing to stop the prime minister from taking on the portfolio, appointing a senator with the necessary expertise and giving him/her day to day responsibility for economic policy, leaving the PM to answer in parliament for that policy.

    • BU will look at key appointments to give an insight to the approach of Stuart in his FIRST mandate to lead. The ministries are tourism, fiance/economic planning, environment , culture. So far he has not done anything adventurous by the reapportionment of Brathwaite to AG.

  14. @Hal

    If Fumble is as wise as people believe him to be he will reshuffle his cabinet and utilize the mandate that the electorate has given him. I am inclined to think that he will since it serves two purposes (i) shows who is boss, something which is critical per these eager beaver 11 and (ii) will bring a new mix to the fore with people who are better suited to the challenges that face Barbados and ALL Bajans irrespective of if you are B or D.

    He should do it now and upset their apple cart knowing full well that if he waits they may be inclined to cross the floor earlier than i anticipate

    They, now being chosen by the people, would be less inclined to show their recalcitrant natures and get vex with a reshuffle.

    THe one’s i would leave are Donville (he has been a very good health minister, porno and ownership/shareholdings in private care. institutions nothwithstanding.

    Stephen lashley has been good where he is, and he has a good personality that is consistent with his ministry/remit.

    Michael Lashley, who may still have a date with INS of the United States in 2018 should remain at Housing, but Fumble needs to put a leash on this man. No one cannot say that he had build more houses in his term than the BLP did in their 14 years, all that has to happen now is that he makes the houses affordable for the average man and that he stops extorting money from JADA and Preconco and gives a few poor man construction companies a piece of the fatted calf. (Forgive me Mr. Moderator, i said a bad word “fatted calf”)

    Whisper a.k.a John Boyce (or is it the other way) as Minister of Transport and Works has, and i begrudgingly lay this compliment to the pig and social cretin, done a relatively good job as minister of Transport and Works. Barring the “oblongabout” at Warrens, the accident capital of the World, he has done, rather has been at the helm when all of the road works which the BLP could not seem to get started, have come to fruition. Doan mind the cost, the overpass at the Pine is to be commended, i just hope that he gets two done at the springgarden dieway before he demits office.

    I am inclined to concur that the DLP needs to seriously revisit a viable economic strategy for the economy for such is the bane that would have also besieged the BLP if they had gotten in.

    You might not be into soothsaying and astrology and nether am i but you dont have to be a diviner or necromancer to know that if the DLP dont manage this term properly, they are going to be whitewashed come 2018, Barbados a la Grenada!!

    One more thing, Fumble needs to show that he has balls and he, and his ministers, have to tell the public servants that are enemies to progress, that they have to stop impeding progress.

    When you hire a CEO to do a job and the civil servants in his accounts department fuc**ng up, with tardy payments and other strategies to show who is the real boss, he is to give his appointees license to fire them asses, or, since Trotman the union man always trying to become a Frank Walcott, facilitate transfers for these “tails that are now wagging the dog”

  15. David, bearing in mind the current crisis in the Barbados tourism sector, is it a plausible possibility that the PM would appoint a new Senator , who has proven ability and success in tourism to become the new Minister of Tourism? Or is it likely to be more of the same, with cronies on the BTA board rather that people who can make a positive difference.
    Just asking.

  16. Stuart should have announced his first ministerial appointments this weekend to show he is hitting the ground running. This is not time for prevarication. It looks as if he did not expect to win.
    Loveridge has made as good point: knowledgeable appointees in all key positions.
    By the way, congratulations to my old friend Trevor Prescod. Well done.


  17. A bold move – but perhaps too bold now – would be to appoint a Minister of talent from the BLP. This would present many problems for Prime Minister Stuart, particularly among his own Parliamentarians who would believe that we are able too. However, It would prevent an able BLP politician from languishing in the opposition for five years. It might also cause problems for the person chosen but it would find favour with the Electorate at large.

    Perhaps at this stage in Barbados politics it might be too large a step for him to take.

  18. @ Yardbroom

    You are spot on. This is a time for national unity. Country before party. We have lots of good people, both in the country and overseas, who should be considered.
    Stuart must think outside the box, if not we will have five more years of mediocrity.
    People who put themselves forward to be MPs are not necessarily the best people available. Just look at the 660 people in the UK parliament.

  19. Hi Hal
    I think a move as I have indicated is at least worthy of a “serious conversation”, the smaller the pool available the less one is likely to get the best talent available. However, if Prime Minister Stuart decides not to go that route, I would understand his reservations. In the situation Barbados finds itself, we have not only to beat the same drum but to be in sync with the music, because only by so doing can we ultimately ALL dance with joy.

  20. Most arguments are avoidable…. if only participants would take the time to establish the basic premise and ground rules up front.

    For years now, for example, David(BU) has been pushing this line about politicians “doing the right thing for the country” and other such BS. Loveridge is on every week about what needs to be done for tourism and Hal Austin is persistent about some high level academic position or the other….

    This is all very good for making BU interesting, but the REALITY is that it is a lot of BS.

    Politicians are not about national development or looking after the people’s interest. These are merely obstacles that must be crossed in order for politicians to achieve their REAL agendas…..SELF ACTUALIZATION.

    Wunna REALLY think that some minister care about the long term well-being of tourism/agriculture/economy? ……WHY? So that in a few years his successor would reap the sweets?

    Politicians want to enjoy the POWER of office, the level of success that they would otherwise NEVER merit; and the kind of acclaim that only comes from mendicant masses looking for a free ride on their coat tails. To do this they only need to say the right things, make lots of promises (a good source of comfort to many) and unveil the occasional high sounding project such as “Public Sector Reform”, or Edutech, or GREENING or CSME and other such distractions which can keep idiots distracted for long enough to allow the politician to achieve his REAL objectives.

    The successful politician then retires to enjoy his fruits, on full pension, while the brazen bowls rally behind the new set of political hopefuls…..waiting their turn to commit rape.

    This system describes the ultimate in idiocy, and the obvious answer is a NEW SYSTEM which seeks to put TRUE LEADERS in place.

    • @Bush Tea

      The problem with achieving your result is that it is only possible in the shortest time if we start from rubble. Think about it.

  21. Hi Bush Tea
    You have come out this morning with both barrels blazing. . is this a sign of things to come, no HONEYMOON period? Fire bout hey!!!

  22. “The problem with achieving your result is that it is only possible in the shortest time if we start from rubble. Think about it.”
    Wrong again David
    It will NEVER work if we were to start from rubble. That is how we got to where we are now….
    When we start from rubble, mediocrity looks like excellence. ‘Fair’ looks like utopia.

    Why do you think we spent years praising our education system?
    …because compared to the canefields, it looks like a great achievement. Simple analysis here on BU however, quickly shows that realistically, it is junk, compared to where we SHOULD be.

    In FACT, the way to achieve Bushie’s result is for people to THINK, and to DEMAND results that make sense….. the required concept is continuous improvement.

    The very same way that we can all see the obvious incompetence of our crop of leaders, many MUST be able to identify those among us who has the CAPABILITY to lead successfully.
    Here is a hint….

    “….Those who are faithful in small things, I will make them rulers over great things….”

    If a fellow was an outstanding sports club leader, community organizer, supervisor at work and a good family leader, then he may be a good prospect as a national leader.
    If a fellow has a good record of SUCCESSFULLY running something, this is a prospect for higher leadership.

    Conversely, if a fellow can’t hold down a normal job, or even even run a snow cone cart at Kadooment, how the hell can people seriously elect him to run a ministry….?

    What rubble what?!?

    …it only requires some common sense….and some logical steps to apply basic logic… BUT THAT TAKES BALLS to move against the established crooks. (…and Caswell like he could only run he mouth….)

    @ Yardbroom
    Man what barrels blazing what?!
    Bushie is just totally frustrated at our ongoing collective tendency to replicate bowls of brass.

    • @Bush Tea

      The problem with your solutions is that we all agree that it is a good place to get to but you always leave out or avoid the challenge of getting there – the bridge or transition path. Why do you think we all know that we have a problem but we are clueless how to make the quantum leap to the other side? Why do you think mainly lawyers are encouraged to be candidates in general elections? Why are all of our Boards led or occupied by lawyers? Ordinary people will not get to the place we know we ought to be because the ‘system’ rules. The ‘system’ will have to be shattered and rebuilt and TRANSFER key learnings from the old system.

    • @Hal

      Again you – like Bush Tea – are looking pass the pain point to get to heaven. Remember when Mia was on the outside looking in when she had the spat with the party a la gang of 5? What did she highlight as one of the big issues? Do you recall she spoke about the need for democratization of the processes within the party as far as electing/nominating people to office/roles? Remember it is from this origin that candidates find their way to the national stage.

    • @Bush Tea

      To your last comment, again it shows you have raced ahead from where the problem is located. Yes you have given the suggestion/recommendation of the better system but what does it require to get buyin? Please follow here Bushie, BU is using simple language:-).

    • Again Bushie surprised by your last comment when you know that lawyers control the airflow of government and given the importance of justice in any stable society it is a profession (key artery) which you do an injustice by comparing to other professions.

    • The moment in the campaign coverage which did it for BU was to hear Harold Hoyte, David Ellis and co on the VoB election coverage lauding about the campaigns of both parties.We are lost!

  23. @ Bush teas

    You have hit the nail on the head. We have a culture of lawyer/politicians. The typical man/woman goes to primary school, secondary school, university, often with the same people from a similar background.
    They go off to Wooding then return to start practising. No where in this experience have they ever had to manage a budget or a sizeable team.
    Then they enter politics, become a minister and find themselves in charge of budgets of millions of dollars and teams of scores, if not hundreds.
    Sometime ago I asked one of our best know politicians if ministers ever received any tutorials in finance or management before taking up their positions and s/he said no.
    In Britain all new government appointees receive private tutorials from some of the best brains in the country. It is little discussed in public because the general public do not know about it.
    It is something that the UWI Business School should consider. Weekend crash courses for ministers and junior ministers.
    I am also reliably told that last year was the first that tutorials in finance were made compulsory at Wooding.
    Small talent pool, limited training – the result is mediocrity.

  24. @ Bush tea

    I am agreeing with you. There is a structural problem: lawyers are self-employed and have the time to indulge in politics. Most other professional people, doctors aside, are employees and cannot demand time off to take part in politics.
    The other problem is the superficiality of lawyers being clever. They are trained to take briefs and go in to court and talk as if they were spresent when the event took place.
    Then they move on to the next case and do the same. All the time it is superficiality. It is one reason why we have to pay QCs fore refreshing, it is a con.
    There are two solutions: other people must take a chance on taking part in community/politics activity, employers must give people unpaid leave to take part in elections and ordinary people must look beyond lawyers as ‘experts’ on everything.

  25. @ David
    “..we all agree that it is a good place to get to but you always leave out or avoid the challenge of getting there…”
    Bushie will not use unparliamentary language and call that statement a bold face lie, but will simply label it an unfortunate elongation of veracity.

    On numerous occasions, the bushman has outlined in unprecedented detail, how we could have established the BUP- Barbados Unity Party (or Barbados Underground Party) and how this simple mechanism, based on cooperative principles could have been implemented to CHANGE THE SYSTEM and the whole focus of our politics…..RIGHT HERE ON BU.

    Wuh, even BAFFY was on board with Bushie’s suggestion, except he disagreed with Caswell’s proposed role in the plot….he like he wanted to run de show….

    You may have taken Bushie’s proposal as a joke, but Bushie was serious as a judge (not a Bajan judge, them ain’t serious 🙂 )

    ….Caswell was even worse….he won’t even fart in Bushie’s direction…. 🙂

  26. I know. I saw the CBC panel with Bertram Niles, Doug Hoyte, Ezra Alleyne, Don Marshall and Frank Alleyne, and was amazed at the poor quality of the discussion.
    Even when it came to the question of a hung parliament I was looking forward to Ezra in particular leading the conversation and he failed. Said some nonsense about the Governor General having to play a pivotal role; when Bertram intervened to mention Trinidad, Ezra erroneously talked nonsense about Trinidad being a Republic, which is factually correct and Barbados being a democratic monarchy.
    In fact, if there was a hung parliament the governor general would constitutionally compelled to appoint as prime minister the person who could command a majority in parliament; in this case since there was none, he would have no alternative but to re-appoint Stuart, who could rule until he could to get his policies through parliament.
    The way round this is to push through soft policies which would get opposition support, then once his economic policies got blocked, call another general election.
    In other words, the position would be the same as if there was a minority government. I am sure the Ezra Alleyne who taught law at Westminster College in the late 1960s/early70s would have remembered this.
    The panel was making a mountain of a mole hill. There wer also other issues.

  27. @ Hal
    The truth is that most of the other professional people are just as crooked and inept as the lawyers. The only difference is that they mostly make their money off poor people by universally accepted scams, unlike lawyers who have to lie and steal on a case by case basic….but that is another story.

    The solution is not necessarily to bring other professions in, but simply to make it a PREREQUISITE for candidates for national leadership positions to meet BASIC QUALIFICATIONS and to present a full CV to the selection committee (the public)

    ….would you hire a CEO to run your billion dollar business, based on how many (foolish) people they can bribe to vote for them…?

    …well we do!!!!

    • @ Bush Tea

      Honesty is about personal integrity and morality. It has nothing to do with competence. In a society with few opportunities the tendency to be dishonest comes to the fore. It is a survival tactic. It is like hungry people stealing food.
      What we need, from the church to nutsellers, is integrity in public space. Lawyers are but an example, but we all know that justice is on sale in Barbados. This is for ordinary people to change.
      May I also say, although I dislike criticising the press, our awful media – broadcasting and print.

  28. Man David, all it requires REALLY, is for you and Caswell to buy into the approach and to launch the concept….
    You are critical from a PR / education perspective and Caswell from a process and procedure angle.

    It REALLY is a nobrainer.
    It would have been ideal about nine months before elections, however it would make LOTS of sense to get the process started now too….cause it will obviously not be long before a new election is called in Barbados….

    Don’t get Bushie wrong. Titanic still sinking, but with sensible leadership in place, we may be able to maximize the usefulness of the lifeboats… 🙂

  29. Man David why do you always have to incite the bushman to blog up the site nuh? ….all Bushie would like to do is to sit back and read post from people like piece of de rock, Baffy and Islandgal (when she have been able to keep off the bottle….)
    …but you like trouble…

    ….what you mean?…… that the other professions not as crooked as lawyers…?

    Gimme a break David.
    The whole damn place crooked.
    Lawyers are admittedly in a class of their own and additionally, they are not a particularly intellectually astute group, so their crookery tends to be ” in your face”
    ….a lawyer would openly thief an old woman’s land and somehow expect to get away with it.
    ….a lawyer would take your deposit and pay down on a Mercedes and expect to get away with it
    …a lawyer would thief the land titles from the old lady and not expect that she have a nephew or cousin named PLANTATION DEEDS…. 🙂

    But if you want to talk about other professions …name one?

    ….them fellows have one of the classiest scams in town. They actually make their fortune by exploiting the health of the ignorant.
    The send you for unnecessary, expensive tests…at their Labs.
    ….sell you expensive, largely useless drugs from their pharmacies
    And offers hardly any assistance in the MOST CRITICAL areas of health ….PREVENTION!

    ….well that is not even a real science, so they are dishonest from the very start.

    As Hal says, honesty is a PERSONAL trait. There may even be an honest lawyer out there….WHO KNOWS? 🙂

  30. Sorry Bushie, as you know BU has been a big supporter of your views but the nut to crack remains how do you get ordinary people to jump. How do you get Caswell to change gears.

    BU is willing to host Caswell Video Blogging. It is about opening minds, PR and Advertising stuff as you correctly stated.

    Caswell, talk to Mario and let’s do it.

  31. To change the subject a bit today’s London Mail on Sunday newspaper has a near full page on Harlequin development.
    This new government should review the planning permissions given to Harlequin and other major developments.
    The name of Barbados, rightly or wrongly, is being dragged through the mud. The first job of government is the security of its people – reputational damage is a security issue.

    • One is left to wonder why Barbados has been so lazy to address this matter, especially since the FSA alerts.

  32. @ David

    Harlequin is not the only one. We have Irish Canadians with massive proposals to build tourism-related properties, at the height of the boom dodgy Irish property dealers saw Barbados as a gold mine, buying up West Coast property, dishonest hedge fund managers, and many others.
    We have a situation in which the Trinidad and Canadian owned banks only lend to their nationals, where our town and country planning officers need a training upgrade, the whole planning system needs reorganising, the list goes on.
    Our national reputation is at high risk, like the Caymans, Bermuda, Turks & Caicos, Delaware sand other US states, Monaco, Switzerland and the UK.
    Our good name is all we have to give, we do not have natural resources.

  33. The world is an increasingly dangerous place. As economies continue to deteriorate, it will become downright hazardous. consider what is going on in Spain as we speak.

    the outward looking mendicancy characterized by the BLP was a long term security liability to this little island that was obvious to anyone with eyes.

    who in their right minds (except perhaps Islandgal) could fail to see the threat to our national security of having persons of unknown character so closely tied up with our politicians, businesses, banks and properties?

    This is why Bushie will opt for a “do nothing” prime minister before any mendicant economist who runs around begging outsiders to come and buy Barbados….

  34. but BUSHIE i can’t understand your logic of putting Caswell in a leadership postion. can’t you discern the difference between INTEGRITY and FRIENDSHIP. Man bushie caswell carries a lot of baggage some would say that is what caused OSA to lose respect of the people and his party losing the election.
    All i say is be careful of what you ask cause it might turn around and bite you in the arsss. BTW i like caswell. but can’t vote fuh he as the leader of anything not so much as that of a “dogcatcher” No way Jose>

  35. @Hal Austin
    We have a situation in which the Trinidad and Canadian owned banks only lend to their nationals
    Can you substantiate those remarks? Either bring proof or else thinking people would believe that they are off the cuff designed to bring out the latent xenophobia existing below the surface.

  36. @ Sargeant

    The banks are not lending to households or small and medium enterprises in Barbados. They are all headquartered in their home states, where policy is made, the function of a bank is to lend, therefore thy must be lending.
    The only ‘proof’ is by examining the banks’ lending records, or by the central banks going in and demanding to see their lending records.
    With the Canadian banks we have proof on the record, I am assuming the Trinidad owned banks have similar records, unfortunately not as transparent. Just look at their annual reports.

  37. @ ac
    Bushie likes you too, but would not vote for you for any role that requires logic or comprehension.
    Persistence and strongheadedness..YES!

    Look! for the last time.
    Caswell is NOT Bushie’s friend. ….nor the reverse.
    It is that Bushie has known Caswell for many years and it is clear that he possesses some vital attributes that FEW other Bajans have….

    In order to get ANY kind of BUP political revolution going, It will be necessary to have special leadership in a number of areas…

    Caswell understands the Cooperative Principles
    Caswell has balls
    Caswell is unafraid to run his mouth…(even when he is talking shoite)
    Caswell knows all the tricks of the political game
    Caswell knows ever legal rule and regulation
    Caswell is feared by politicians from all sides (cause his mouth has no cover)
    Caswell is not afraid to be wrong
    Caswell believes in rules and procedures.

    Call another Bajan with such credentials…
    Name someone who is Mr or Ms “Perfect” that you would want to be leader…
    BAFBFP? …too fond of cats – especially white ones
    Islandgal? .. too miserable and aggressive
    MIA? …too fond of cats
    Owen?….to fond of spirits, $, cats…
    Frundy? ….too fond of the status quo.
    Bushie?….too fond of Islandgal. Already committed to a party.
    David Estwick…… YOU! ….He is a possible candidate yuh! 🙂

  38. @ Sargeant
    what would you think?
    …that the policy of the Trini banks is to enfranchise Bajans?

    A bank is a strategic national asset with the intent and capacity to facilitate enfranchisement. This is why sensible leaders have national banks, …to leverage collective savings so that business and development can be controlled in the national interest.

    IDIOTS, on the other hand, take their savings and deposit them into the banks of other national interest – allowing them to use these savings to facilitate the banks strategic objectives (which is to empower their OWNERS).

    REAL ASSES sell their national banks for the short term profits.

    IDIOTS also deposit their savings into Credit Unions, which then place the collective assets under the control of these FOREIGN banks, allowing them to facilitate their owners strategic objectives.

    An IDIOT and his money are soon parted.

  39. Bushie you see the problem with your logic in finding a leader lies within the many reason you highlighted for Caswell being a leader. i tell you this go to the grass root level in differencing communities pick out elder person , a youthful person 2woman ! 2men! and 2 from the youth. ! give them an agenda to be the watchdogs of what goes on in parliament onTUESDAY and WEDNESDAY! then work with what you have they would report their findings back to you which can be posted on BU .CASWELL is a lightning rod and would cause friction among the ranks who thinks he knows too much but only takes one sided.BTW DAVID BU might be banning me soon because i speak up for the people!

  40. @Bushie
    one of those name u called studying in England fah he PHD, and it is not mascoll, so uwi won be bestowing a doctorate on him yah hear by george i swear.

  41. @Hal Austin

    Banks are in business to make profits and the more the merrier, the Canadian owned Banks in Barbados have adopted a template where everyone from the VP down has targets and those targets include increasing their loan portfolios.

    As long as the Banks are reasonably assured that they will be repaid they will lend money to anyone and that includes Bajan owned entities and Bajan households. There have been Bajan born CEO’s running the local institutions do you think they would subscribe to a policy that prohibits lending to Bajans?

  42. @ Sargeant

    I am not sure who you are, since you are hiding behind a nom de plume, but clearly you do not know anything about retail banks and how they are managed.
    You are applying a simplistic common sense view, which contradicts how banks are managed. Just look at the problems in the UK and US over retail banks, the Basel three proposals and the recent ECB decisions.
    So, with respect, I am finishing this conversation.

  43. @Bush Tea
    I was against the selling of BNB to the Trinidadians but unfortunately there wasn’t a medium like BU for me to register my discontent. However look at the big picture you now have a Hilton (from the proceeds of the sale) which you could go and admire or have your Sunday brunch or whatever.

    A renaming should be in the cards the “BNB Hilton”.

  44. @Hal Austin
    Many people here hiding behind pseudonyms, you made a generalisation about the Banks and I challenged it. You have been given a soapbox to ventilate your opinions on BU and I will continue to challenge them if I believe they are inaccurate or misleading which is part and parcel of how blogs operate

    If you want a compliant observer you are on the wrong blog.

  45. @ TTP
    Thank you for clarifying the source of Georgie’s PhD. It does not affect Bushie’s point….merely makes it a bit more difficult to argue for the downgrade of UWI 🙂

    @ Sargeant
    So you believe the PR put out by the foreign owned banks….LOL
    Bushie already warned you about enlisted men getting involved with high level policy discussions at the officer level.
    You may have reached the rank of Sergeant, but remember, as a NCO, yours is not to reason why,,,,,

  46. @ Carson C. Cadogan

    Carson, thanks for your advice. But as someone who is always looking to learn, plse tell me exactly is the garbage I write so that I may learn and improve..

  47. Congratulations to Mia Mottley on being made leader of the BLP. If this report is true, it is well deserved. Well done.

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