Notes from a Native Son: Stuart Must Make Maximum use of his Honeymoon Period

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Now that the general election is over, and the nation has indicated its distrust, or indecision, of the two main parties, the marginal majority held by the DLP must, nevertheless, be treated with the respect and seriousness which the urgency of the nation’s predicament deserves. It is, however, an opportunity for the DLP government to start afresh, and, whatever the impulse, the prime minister must take a firm grip on policy and drive through his ideas. This is now his government, the electorate have given him a mandate and it is his moment to make history. He now has an opportunity to write his name in the nation’s story comparable to that of Errol Barrow or even Grantley Adams. Equally, he can go down as another Bernard ‘Bree’ St John or Erskine Sandiford, as someone who made very little impact on the nation and who is remembered for all the wrong reasons. After appointing his Cabinet, the first thing the prime minister – and at the time of writing only the attorney general has been appointed – should do is draft a ten-year development plan, with radical pathways for dragging Barbados, kicking and screaming, in to the 21st century.

Reforming the Public Sector:
Some civil servants, in their arrogance or ignorance of democracy, boast that while politicians are there for short periods, they are there for a working life. One of the first things the prime minister should do is to dis-abuse them of this nonsense. However, this does not mean entering territorial fight with senior civil servants; the changes must be carried out with civility and professionalism on both sides in the interest, most importantly, of present taxpayers and future generations. The failure of politicians and civil servants to work effectively together will in any case impact on the quality of service the general public receives. But, it is to improve the efficiency of this service that changes must be made.

First, he should appoint a policy delivery unit in his department by reforming the so-called general management and coordination services unit, with the authority to intervene right across the entirety of the public sector to ensure that policy is being adhered to and in being implemented in agreed time limits.

This could be funded by cost-savings. At present the unit has one permanent secretary on an annual salary of about Bds$147926, a chief research officer ($98087), a director of communications ($88182), a senior administrative officer ($88182), and other positions, including a cleaner, a so-called general worker, seven maids, two telephone operators, three driver/messengers, a fulltime messenger, one senior messenger, four clerk/typists, two stenographer typists, three clerical officers,  and a maintenance coordinator, a total of 51 staff at a cost of over Bds$2m a year.

This is the staffing levels and positions that have been in existence since Adam was a lad, many of them totally irrelevant in a modern age. Instead of a departmental cleaner, why not form a central government cleaning department with responsibility for cleaning all government offices, and privatize it, giving ordinary people the feel for being entrepreneurs?

In this day and age there is no need for so-called maids, to do what? Just put a couple electrical tea-makers in offices and let the staff get on with it; why two telephone operators, just let calls go through to the available staff members who can transfer those calls as relevant; three driver/messengers, a senior messenger, a fulltime messenger, can all be replaced with a simple well-staffed post room; four clerk/typists, two stenographer typists (an oxymoron since a stenographer is a typist), can be replaced by giving all members of staff should have a personal computer on their desks, all departmental drivers should be formed in to a single pool with a three-year government contract to provide their services. And the permanent secretary, senior administrative office and director of communications could all be replaced with a head of department and a press officer, all bringing about enormous savings. Little additions such as template letters, style sheets for report writing will go a long way towards improving efficiency and cost reductions. Reforming the public sector is not principally about reducing staff numbers or cutting costs; it is in the main about making the public sector more efficient and effective in its delivery of services to the public.

Training is also important.
We need to reform our educational system, the administration of justice and the rest of the criminal justice system; we need a traffic control system, and a proper environmental policy.  Finally, any reforms of the public sector must have at its centre the full use of the diversity of talents who at present are under-utilised. Working in the public sector must become one of the most prestigious ambitions of our brightest and best coming out of any university, including the University of the West Indies. But they must be given the freedom, in an orderly way, to develop their ideas and reach for the top so that the nation, the very people who pay for their education, could ultimately benefit.

Economic Reforms:
The first challenge for the government is to drive down both the deficit, while at the same time encourage savings. This can be done by increasing VAT on certain luxury items (alcohol and unimportant luxury goods), the introduction of a tourist visa reasonably priced (Bds$30) will fund the BTA, for example. There are numerous other cost-saving initiatives that could be introduced. One just needs common sense reasoning, not economic expertise, to realise that government cannot borrow to pay civil servants salaries, rather than raise the necessary revenue. Common sense tells us that if we are underperforming the global economy, and indeed the regional one, then our economy we are in dire straits. What handsomely paid technocrats are paid for is to come up with solutions to these problems, even if they are not fully accepted by the decision-makers.

With Governor Worrell, despite the lessons of Economics 101, we know what he is not in favour of: decoupling and even devaluing the Barbados dollar from the Greenback, spending any part of that massive war chest we have as foreign reserves; creating a new retail bank to financialise the system; widespread public sector reforms; the presence of Canadian-owned banks.

However, what we do not know is what he prefers, what his answers are to these historic economic problems, deep structural problems that clog up the system and have nothing to do with the 2007/8 crisis – and that is what he and his senior team are paid for. Prime minister Stuart does not have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for a miracle to happen, like the academics and technocrats, it is his job to rescue the nation’s finances.

We know, based on its most recent projections, the central bank is basing the nation’s economic recovery on the traditional tourism sources of the UK, Canada and the US to themselves recover; but these economies – even the Canadian – are not as strong as they used to be. Without repeating the numbers, if is worth saying that to make a simple point. According to Tony Rennell, three years ago the Chinese comprised about four per cent of hotel guests; now they comprise a third.
We have already seen the government building up a portfolio of three and four star hotels and one five star, the Hilton, which it runs on a franchise. Yet, for totally inexplicable reasons, we have seen the government underwriting Bds$70m and rising to fund the Four Seasons white elephant on the false belief that what tourists really need to come to Barbados is another five star hotel – while the others remain under-occupied. This is the economic reasoning of the mad house. Not only that, does our medium to long-term tourism plan include marketing to the Chinese, the fastest growing international travelling sector?

In any case, is tourism the only answer to our catastrophic economic underperformance? We already have a world-class premium product, and have done for the last three hundred years, rum, yet compared with its peers (other spirits) Barbadian rum is seriously underperforming. I have been calling for the past few years for a legal definition of Barbadian (Bajan) rum, which goes unnoticed in a political culture dominated by lawyers. Can Barbadian (Bajan) rum be defined by the breed of sugar, the manufacturing of the molasses, the art of distilling, what exactly is it? If we do not legally define out rum Bajan rum will become a generic product like Demerara sugar and we will lose that intellectual property right.

Infrastructure Improvements:
The new DLP government should use its first 100 days to launch a massive Keynesian ten-year infrastructural plan in which many of the traditional communities, including all the slums in the middle of the city, should be bulldozed and rebuilt. It should turn areas such as Nelson Street, Wellington Street and the surrounding areas in to a modern garden communities, complete with play areas for children, offices, one,  two and three bedroom homes, offices and shops, along with a school(s) and places of worship. They should have free wi-fi, a cycle park, a skate board park, road tennis facility and community halls with gyms. It should improve Palmetto Square and make it an extension of our main shopping thorough fare, with decent retail shops and offices; it should improve Tudor Street, Baxters Road, Suttle Street, New Orleans and that entire district. I have already suggested a small theme park linking Culpepper Island to Ragged Point, in a way that has not been done since Sir Grantley Adams filled in the sea between Pelican Island and the mainland to form the port. They should also carry out a cost/benefit analysis on developing a dry ski slope in the Scotland District, two or three nationwide leisure centres, a good dolphinarium and more. In short, he must give the impression of thinking. There are those who will pour scorn on these plans on the grounds of funding; but they are all fundable, an issue that I have dealt with elsewhere and will be quite prepared to do so again.

Government should put a compulsory purchasing order on the entire area, then draw up the necessary plans complete with completion costs; then it can approach the money markets to raise the money, using the development as collateral, it can auction off parts of it to foreign direct investors, or it can become more cautious and develop the area gradually, giving existing property owners first refusal on the new apartments.

There could also be dual pricing: one for locals and one for second-home overseas buyers, including Barbadians. Priced correctly, the overseas buyers could part-subsidise the funding for locals. Government should enter the money markets, institutional and retail in a robust way, using its fiscal muscle to attract investors.

For retail investors, it should take lessons from Greece and Israel and launch a Diaspora Development fund, either closed or open ended, with taxed investments, tax-free growth, and tax-free dividend withdrawals, after a set period, say five years. There must be a reason why people want to invest in Barbados. It should launch a premium bond, based on the UK example, to fund the leisure sector; introduce a compulsory long-term saving plan, based on the Singapore or the US 401(K) models, or even the UK’s ISA plans.

We need to draw up a portfolio of assets that could be sole off: the Government Printery, Transport Board, the hotel portfolio as mentioned, instead of selling CBC auctioning a licence instead for a second television station, impose a tax on mobile (cell) phones, get rid of the vulgar ZR vans, impose a new tax regime on churches and other places of worship and secular charities – the list of possible revenue-raising policies is endless.

Analysis and Conclusion:
All over the world there is an intense debate going on between regulators, politicians, academics, think-tanks and the press over the financial crisis and policies to return troubled economies to growth. Even in Italy, Spain and Greece, where the technocrats have intervened, the discussion has been robust and informative. Yet, for deep cultural reasons, there is none of this echo in Barbados; there is a mistaken belief that the minister of finance, the governor of the central and their advisers know best – leave it to the ‘experts’. But an opened, informed debate can produce remarkable results if all the participants are honest about their knowledge and biases.

Only this week I attended a meeting with a eurozone central bank governor – it was under Chatham House rules so I cannot give too many details – organised by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, which should have been relayed to the Barbadian public. First, it showed that even when the governor is a highly respected academic s/he is not a fount of all knowledge. Sometimes in a crisis other people, especially those working at the coal face, have workable ideas and suggestions that may be, just may be, worth trying. This may not be the Barbadian way of doing things, but changing behaviours is one of the challenges of innovation.

Instead of seeing this crisis as doom and gloom, it should be seen as an opportunity to refine our governance and re-structure our systems to make them more relevant for a modern, high-tech world. Despite the resistance of the central bank governor and his supporters to new ideas, we are still waiting, five years after the global banking crisis, for the green shoots to spring from their alternative suggestions. All we get, however, are excuses: that it is a global problem, that our major trading partners are having problems, everything but sound proposals to answer the uniqueness of the Barbados economic situation.

In the final analysis, the sham that masquerades as a legal system, including the long delays and questionable expertise, will block any hopes the government, and many senior business people, have of making Barbados a leading regional – even global – financial centre. Business people need legal certainty, competence, good non-banking professionals and sound governance if they are to do business from offshore jurisdictions. To attract reputable international businesses we need a competent and transparent regulatory system, and the Financial Services Commission is not it; we need a proper ombudsman service representing the interests of consumers; we need a proper banking network to provide the credit needs of businesses. They also need high-quality supporting services, including first-rate middle and back office workers – so far, apart from the local CFA Institute branch, there is no evidence of this. In fact, government could spend some of the money it is wasting on the UWI on funding able young people through the CFA Analysts exams.

The ball is now in prime minister Stuart’s court, it is his to drop or serve with passion. There can now be no excuse.

0 thoughts on “Notes from a Native Son: Stuart Must Make Maximum use of his Honeymoon Period

  1. Unless Bajans are willing to give up the so-called: “culture of casual indifference ” we are all doomed. We need to recalibrate & come again. Barbados is a jewel & we need to return to promoting our strengths and affability.

  2. Hal Cook as always starts off sounding very reasonable, but before long he is firing people left right and centre, making this more ‘efficient’, privatizing this and that. Just because they did this sort of thing in England does not mean it is worth doing.

  3. Expanding even more on this article is an editorial in barbados written by Carlos Forte. In shifting around certain persons the PM shows he is well aware of what is going on in his cabinet to tarnish and damage the island. Let’s hope he seriously follows up on the mess. The story about one politician having $4,000 snatched out of his hand during campaigning and still not getting a seat in parliament smacks of some justice. We want to see justice so everyone can move on. I really wish they would get those old colonial laws of the statute books, they have now become very glaring, and whe old discriminatory laws become glaring, they have the potential to become dangerous, what is the use of claiming independence and still not being an independent individual.

  4. The tension which exist between many civil servants and in particular permanent secretaries is well known. If Barbados is serious about addressing its implementation deficit and increasing productivity this is something we have to wrestle to the ground. BU is on record pointing out that one reason for the distress of the E11 was the lack of urgency by the prime minister to address this issue.

  5. @ Foxy Roxy

    There is not a single word about firing people in my Notes. I am talking about privatisation, which means in conventional terms, that the business will be transferred to the private sector, in other words, entrepreneurs will take control ie workers and ordinary Barbadians. It is the key to building a prosperous society.
    Depending on the public sectdor alone is the way to national bankruptcy.

  6. You just have to go to some of the other articles to see why Barbados is screwed. Maybe it was the 15hr day I put in yesterday or the aspirins I had to down just to be able to move,Maybe it was the foot of snow I had to shovel to get to my car but reading some of the articles made me re-think what keeps me coming back to Barbados.I have always been able to put up with people looking at me as a meal ticket, that is what tourism in Barbados has evolved into,not different than a lot of countries the warmth is little and far between. but the shear hate of my color and culture while smiling to my face, begs the question do you deserve my money. Yes my hard earned,white, blue collar,money.Hal good article Everybody knows if you are spending more than you are bringing in.. you have problems. But dont waste what little resources you have on a dolphinarium or any other big expense if you cant cure the cancer your country is dying from. The ugliness exhibted by more than a few of the writers is disheartening. Hey flash we all have a history, good and bad move on…. Another news flash white people can read stop your racist rants your underminig the good work of some trying to save your sorry ass. So if me, an ardent supporter of Barbados is questioning why should I give you my money ,and lets not forget money is hours of ones life.If I am having second thoughts your really in trouble.So until you get these twisted racist bastards on board, save your money for food..

  7. Hal Austin has made a significant contribution to the urgent task of providing a sustainable future for Barbados. He has challenged the Government on several fronts: widen and deepen the sources of expertise; look with fresh vision, creatively and radically at the stagnant model of the economy ; revitalize the urban infrastructure and much more. Well done. It is not that I can agree with all but that is not the point of a think-piece like his but above all it is patriotic!
    Elsewhere I have been accused of being over negative. So be it. But the reality that all of our people face (save for few ) is that we have essentially a mid 20th century economic paradigm struggling to survive in this aggressive 21st C globalized world..
    There are several challenges.
    Debt servicing while trying to maintain social programmes.
    Defending our dollar will cost us in increased hardship for ALL
    We must think beyond the one-crop of tourism. Barbados is past-tense for traditional markets and China is 16 hours away. Adding more taxes to the tourism sector will kill it quicker.
    Enough. All I wanted was to praise and big-up Austin on offering his intellectual reasonings for the ultimate good of the country. Well done.

  8. @ Hal Austin
    Why is it that all your prescriptions even proscriptions seem dated. They seem located within another epoch. Certainly, things that others have been talking about for 40 years cannot be relevant today, can they? This privatization, not popular participation, is a modern colonial mandate. The traditional business classes in Barbados and indeed elsewhere are generally unable to be profitable unless they have substantial concessions that must include THE TRANSFER OF PUBLIC GOODS TO PRIVATE HANDS. On the other hand, centrally planned, non-western, religious democracies and others are making ‘progress’. We have to encourage new ideas not live forever in the past. And this can’t happen until there is acceptance in Barbados that the capitalist model is dead. Internationally, a critical mass is emerging. Next we are to locate the dagger in the heart of the vampire, capitalism.

  9. Pachamama ….wrote “On the other hand, centrally planned, non-western, religious democracies and others are making ‘progress’.”

    I would love to know where these countries are. Can you give examples?

  10. Tourism outpaced any other form of industry and commerce globally last year and while its fanciful to think that we can replace it easily, the reality is no-one yet has come up with a credible alternative for Barbados.
    As I woke up early this morning, to see the few cabinet changes, I wondered purely from a tourism perspective what has changed over the last week or so.
    The appointment of Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner as Parlimentary Secretary in the now Ministry of Tourism and International Transport (more expense to change everything) might bring a young bright influence to a clearly currently stagnant industry. But what else has changed?
    Will the MOT use this opportunity to change the BTA board, removing the cronies and replacing them with people of proven ability?
    Or will the status quo remain and the decline in numbers and spend continue against almost the trend of almost all other Caribbean tourism dependent countries?

  11. To dovetail Adrian’s point when the late David Thompson took up office he met with all the statutory corporations to communicate his expectation that a culture of high productivity and professionalism should be practised. Are there yet? How does Stuart hold these Boards to a high standard read deviate from the patronage and cronyism which we know is practised. If Stuart wants to earn the reputation as a man of integrity it must be seen in how his ministers manage and this includes the moribund public service for which Stuart has been responsible and continues to be responsible.

  12. @ Pacahama

    In a small article it is not possible to debate the full diversity of economic models. But social enterprise is but one we must give serious consideration to, a mutual sector is another.
    However, the most successful business model at present is the Sovereign Wealth Fund – ie a hands-off state enterprise.
    I have previously suggested that we could do this by turning a number of public sector enterprises in to a SWF, which would then be free to invest in projects such as Four Seasons.
    More importantly, it would mean that the NIS would not continue to be a piggy bank for the government.
    We also have to enter the money markets with workable investment products which the minister of finance can be the architect of. Two Budgets ago he played around with the idea of ETYFs, quite clearly not knowing anything about them.
    But there are other investment vehicles that he could use. For example, Harlequin is using investments Sipp owners in its projects.
    I have said this, only the projects will be under-written by the Barbados government. Well packaged and designed products will attract foreign direct investors.
    Once we have as mature debate we will come up with ideas. I will give another that gets me going. T he Pine Hill Dairies has been in operation about fifty years and still sells fruit juice made from concentrates.
    Yet, go to Dominica, Grenada or St Lucia, as I do, and you see farmers who cannot sell their citrus produce. Most people are buying from American-owned Latin American producers.
    Why can’t we buy our fruit from fellow Caricom countries, get our fresh fruit, and make marmalades and jams from the residue? Also, how about carrying out bio-chemical research on these products?
    We are living in a comfort zone.

    @ Loveridge

    I am not suggesting that tourism is not important. What I am suggesting is that we do not have a tourism infrastructure to add value; nice beaches are not an exclusive Bajan thing, nor sunshine. Apart from those natural resources, what else do we have to earn the tours’ dollar?
    Rum helps to diversify our economy and it is a product created in Barbados and, as any reading of Diageo’s annual reports will show, profits are climbing.
    Let us become the home of premium rum for the new global middle class. Our greatest ambassadors will be the tourists.
    There are lots of other good ideas. We do not have to re-invent the wheel.

  13. Another good reason why the highly intelligent brains in both parties should be more than able to come up with other sources of foreign exchange income, so local people would not continually seem to be overly dependent on the tourist dollar regardless of the color.

  14. The elephant in the room is that we have a political system where the policymakers give priority to policies which seek to garner popular support. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this support when it conflicts with nation priorities we land where we here now – an economic model which has exhausted itself.

  15. Perhaps we need to introduce some of Forbes Burnham policies where locals had no choice but to use local produce and become innovative.

  16. Mr. Austin,,
    YES! Increase rum manufactured on Barbados with imported molasses from Guyana. That should more than make up from the nearly BDS$2 billion earned from tourism. I wonder exactly how many bottles of rum it would take to replace that BDS$2 billion?

  17. “Yet, go to Dominica, Grenada or St Lucia, as I do, and you see farmers who cannot sell their citrus produce. Most people are buying from American-owned Latin American producers.”

    How will we be able to purchase without transportation? Should we go there by inner tubes? This is where inter island transportation becomes a priority for all. How long will we have to wait to see an inter island ferry become a reality?

  18. Congrats to the PM for at last starting the process of making cabinet changes that show he is in touch with current realities and also that he is making an effort to start the process of defining his own image in the governance of the country. Imho the changes in Housing and Health are evidence of the thrust to demonstrate a slight primacy of a new integrity based aspect of his government vis a vis the proven strong performance ability of the past incumbents in those ministries.

    The retention of the two Ministers in the Ministries of Agriculture vs. Finance / Economic Affairs seems to have been crafted by the PM more to send a message of his now being in control than of being a resultant of the need for the best available leadership in the most important of ministries at this time of continuing economic turmoil and need for fresh ideas particularly in the economic and business sectors.

    The PM’s relatively low work load has continued and seems to suggest that he considers that his methodologies of the past have worked well and need no tweaking or that the frailty of man is a prime consideration.

    All in all a fairly predictable mix, the ultimate success of which at a time like this does not jump out of the press release.

  19. Islandgal246,

    We had the perfect opportunity with EasyCruise which operated for a while, a low cost inter-island ferry/cruise ship (s) which allowed overnight travel in basic cabin accommodation to other islands. These ships could have been adapted to take freight as well. Giving a near monopoly air carrier (LIAT) some competition, growing Intra Caribbean travel and transporting tradeable commodities. Like you, when visiting Dominica, you see millions of mangos on the ground rotting, yet if we want to but Mango juice made with more that 15 per cent fruit, we have to import it from South Africa (6,000 direct miles away).
    When the EasyCruise service stopped, I contacted Sir Stelios (the owner) and he was courteous to reply, citing operating (port charges) costs as being too high.

  20. @ Adrian

    Thanks. Sometimes I find the can’t do pessism too depressing to even read, farless reply. For most of the 20th century Barbados had a thriving trade with schooners trading between the islands. My generation and older will remember them coming in to the Careenage. If the trade proves economic I am sure entrepreneurs will fill the gap.
    Further, in the years before independence, we had 15 shrimp trawlers travelling out of the Careenage to fish off Guyana. Again, it was a dynamic business. More people eat shrimp now than at any time in history.
    Further, again after the collapse of the federation, we had three vessels given to the federation for trade between the islands.
    As a young lad I remember we had a dry dock next to the Central Foundry, what happened to that. Our failure cannot always be blamed at other people.
    On the very spot where the $70m court buildings now stand we had a world-class engineering works, the Barbados Foundry, what happened to that; and in Carrington Village, we had the Caterpillar engineering works.
    Our lack of regional industrial might is because of the mind set of the people who lead us.
    Sometime ago the Nation ran an interview with a plumber who re-trained to be a lawyer. Can you believe that? We have City lawyers in Britain who leave to run restaurants, pubs and train as plumbers.
    We have to think outside the UWI, lawyer/doctor box and it must come from the top.

  21. @ Loveridge

    I am not talking about replacing tourism, I am talking about adding to – diversification, not replacement.


  22. @Hal Austin.
    Hal this is not personal. Just a few thoughts as I read thro your offering.
    Some people got something to say.
    Other people got to say something.
    I try to recognise your position.
    Nailing jelly to the ceiling,is about as useful and an easy as what you are suggesting
    I am not saying that your proferrings are not well written and flowing and as an “outsider” seemingly helpful.
    But in reality about as much help as a broken leg.
    Come back home and live this “Bajun Life” as an everyday thing and see your ideas dont have a “snowball in Hells chance”
    You are not in this World, I mean in this Bajun World.
    Barbados does not need to be dragged anyplace “Kicking and screaming” certainly NOT into the 21st century.
    Our “Charm” (as it was know) is in our ability to live side by side with “the modern 21st century money grabbing madmen” and still be seemingly slightly “out of date” “out of fashion” but haveing real “old fashioned values” Being real in the sense ;the REAL sense.
    Bujun dont want to be 21st Century “modern know all people”,they want to be Bajuns.Small Island; people, with time for each other and love and compassion for all.Thats what peopel came to Barbados for ,loved us for.
    We tolerated Corruption , as we tolerated a lot of things cos we are tolerant people,.This guy had his peice fo change here and someone else had their piece of change someplace else and ,it wasnt so important.
    It was a way of life we tolerated it and it was at a level that didnt interfere with peoples lives.
    The sun was out the sky was blue and not a cloud to spoil the veiw.
    Modernity cought up with us , or was foisted on us.
    Corruption became endemic, endless , massive, it sucked the life from real bajuns .
    It was a cancer that had inhabited our Bajun life and dragged it to a level ,and that level was one that could not sustain real Bajun life.
    So now we are sad as we are dieing, as an island ;as a culture, and we know that the cancer is incurable,and we know we must die to leave the space for rebirth.
    Hal ,we ARE in the 21st Century ,unforetunately ,and dieing from it.
    All sorts of “fancying around and rearranging the bedcloths will not resurect the corpse”
    Mr F Stuart,”can serve the ball” with passion or leave it where it bounced.
    It will , he will ,do absolutely nothing that is of any consequence.
    You need to understand ,that this Island is dieing.
    Your “good intentions ” are merely paving stones to the graveyard.
    Another voice in the funeral Courtage of Barbados.
    What you advocate is “trimming the toenails of a dead body”
    “Balls” not tennis balls ,are needed to serve Barbados and secure its survival.
    CUT away the incurable cancer, destroy the causes,sanitize the environment.
    There I go doing a “Hal”
    It is not going to happen!
    Not a damned thing we can do,and anybody telling you different , is a liar.
    We heard enough from them over the last few weeks.
    A lot of Ostriches with thier heads in the sand will reply to this post and “gain say” everyword,so with the heads in the sand we know from whence cometh the words.
    Nobody likes to witness the death of a loved one, but Barbados “had a good innings”
    Its over.
    Corruption;the stronger team won.
    “The King is dead God save the King”

  23. I could not agree more with the above, i don’t think anyone is trying to replace tourism, it would be counterproductive since 1+1 still equals 2. I do remember in the days before tourism took flight there were quite a few inter-island schooners, one was the Stella S, doing brisk trades throughout the islands, lots of vegetables and fruits, fresh. The blame has to be laid with the leaders, cause then enter tourism and no one thought it would end.

  24. @ Hal Austin | March 1, 2013 at 8:42 AM |
    “Our lack of regional industrial might is because of the mind set of the people who lead us.”

    There will never be any true regional trade, investment or real cultural exchange until there is a proper transport system to move both people and goods.
    Maybe we need another gift of the Federal Maple & Palm as part of the reparations from the UK. What about two of those ferries which ply between Dover & Calais every hour on the hour?

    “Sometime ago the Nation ran an interview with a plumber who re-trained to be a lawyer. Can you believe that? We have City lawyers in Britain who leave to run restaurants, pubs and train as plumbers.”

    This has been going on since the financial collapse in the City with a significant reduction in demand for legal and accounting services with many lawyers and accountants finding themselves back in the classroom or vocational centre either teaching or for retraining.
    Same thing will soon happen here in Bim. Many of the services performed by lawyers in Barbados are just form filling tasks that can be now done in the UK either over the Internet like divorces or probating of wills for estates under a certain value (Is it still around £300,000) or at any Citizen Advice Bureau.

  25. @ Hal Austin
    There are several discourses about the central matter under consideration here. For years there have been people seeking to tinker with the system around the edges. Even the government itself is now talking about transformation. They made their argumentation during the last campaign and before. But the transformation about which they speak will amount to a mere rearrangement of the chairs on the Titanic, absent a contact with capitalism as an fundamental organizing principle.

    You are talking about business models and we arguing that the failures of government/s are structurally bound, a function of the internal contradictions of which you speak and therefore the whole system needs to be turned on its head. We have worked in the financial markets on a few continents and are unaware of your exposure. However, for you to suggests the promotion of more reliance on ‘the financial markets’ ignores the fact that Barbados’ GDP to debt ratio is about 100%, the radical changes within those market, changes that are anathema to the interests of small island states. Yes, there are other countries which are relatively worse situations. But to promote more debt, even to fund marginally profitable industrial expansion raises the question that ‘capitalists’ always ask ‘Is this the optimal investment opportunity?’ Can these resources to better deployed? Why should the owners of this capital be exposed to higher risks? Could another more productive opportunity not be found?

    Mr Austin, how can we have ‘a mature debate’ when you are wedded to old ideas and not prepared to come out of the orbit of a dying capitalist system. We can’t even get the backward elites in Barbados to redefine our population that will include up to one million Bajans and their descendants living in exile. We can’t even get the government of Barbados to study a strategic debt default. Not to necessarily default but to give the country wider options. We can’t get the government to consider the relationships between the distribution power, incomes and resources as initial steps for a turely participatory organizing model.

    Talking about SWF. We have worked with several. The largest ones tend to come from the MENA countries. In these countries, non-withstanding small populations, the absence of popular accountabilities and broad-based support of the global hegemon – unemployment, poverty, lack of housing and all the other negative indicators limit what you will call development. SWF type models are of little application for Barbados as suggested by you. We are convinced that everything we think is true must be revisited. This is no time for acceptance of official narratives.

  26. Pachamama………………I know you mean well, but that would be way too much work for our leaders.

  27. @Pacha

    Many here are sympathetic to your postulations but you still need to step down from your nebulous (esoteric) positions. If we are pragmatic about it:

    We have a small service based economy with a population which is toxicated on consumption which has invaded our lifestyle DNA. Let us begin the conversation from this reality read: how do we many the shift in thinking required by a nucleus.

  28. @ David
    What is real about an economy that is technically bankrupt? What is real about an economy (country) so attached to capitalism that it is unable to plan for the basic survival of the people, absent capitalism? We are not persuaded by your pleadings. Greater ‘civilizations’ that this have been brought to naught. Even your questions are located within a relatively short historical period. Capitalism, as we know it is less than 240 years old. Communism came and went. Why is it so difficult for most to think about a world without capitalism? A lifestyle that could be markedly different to what we’ve become used to? Even a consideration of the tragic global climate circumstances, alone, point to radical changes. But we are afraid that human beings will have to collapse before we wake up the truth. In short, what you called a ‘reality’ is not at all real. What sense does it make to put our unborn into debt peonage because we want to drive motor cars and eat hot dogs?

    We have previously suggested a participatory society where power, work and rewards are equitably distributed. We have expanded on these ideas but they are unlikely to gain traction until similar concepts are imposed from without.

  29. @Pacha

    We have to locate the argument in the short historical context because it defines the problem. We have a debt:gdp of 100% which is a drag on what is possible. Any debate must factor how the debt burden will influence decisionmaking.

  30. David
    Let us agree that all the easy solutions are no longer viable. That there is no near term fix to the problem outlined by you. GDP is merely an imbalance caused by mal-distribution globally. If we agree that there can be no easy answers then we’ll have to get to the real problems of ‘development’. We believe that the national debt of Barbados and most others places are unrepayable. Given this as fact, a time will soon approach when measures will be taken to settle these ambiguities. What will Barbados do at that juncture? Is is possible to plan for this scenario?

  31. There may very well be a debt forgiveness for all nations, going down the road, however most of them will still start fresh again using the same old useless and tired capitalism template – cross roads ahead.

  32. @David
    I beg to differ slightly with the penultimate of the last section fo your post.
    Life is a matter of Graduation.
    “small” yes as in “Worldly” small, no, as in $ acrued by the same economy ,taking into account the population size.
    Barbados is ideally placed to be able to provide that which the populace desire and is not available locally. Still having not constrained itself financially , were it not for the total lack of Governance .
    There is absolutely nothing ,that is not fixable in Barbados,given that those we elect have ,the will, the desire, the motivation,the ability .
    Now looking at the scale of Graduation.
    If the leader is the prime example of the followers.We are in trouble as we can see the caliber of the ruling faction.
    This Gordian knot tightens around our throats(which in itself maybe agood thing as it will shut off a lot of Hot air),we are thus in a position of securing our survival by the only means.We cannot undo the knot to survive we must cut it.
    I find it impossible to beleive that the intelligent people who blog here are blind to the facts.
    Nothing is to be our fate,but disaster ,if we do not remove the cancer of corruption.
    Will they not see that ?
    No benefits come from continually discussing and tinkering with the symtoms. The root cause must be dealt with.
    The desire for imported goods,stems from just natural behaviour , to obtain your needs/desires and they be of the best quality and as low price as possible.
    We shun local goods as they generally are foisted on us at vastly inflated prices and vastly lower quality,made by companies featherbedded by the “like it or lump it” ethics of a Government that supports a “Closed” business community.
    When they are not ,we support them 100% altho examples are difficult to give.
    The appearance of vast quantities of imports is because lack of governance allows profligate spending by Ministers ,vastly in excess of the amount the polulace use fullfilling the desires for imported goods,leaving what is needed to finance the country, appearing to be dwarfed by imported goods costs .
    Let we all see a tally of the waste created by the Governing factions, that totally will make the “Graduation” understandable, we will see that, what the elected individuals waste; puts imported goods total into a totally different light.
    The populace earn the $ that the ministers spend,why are the people who earn the $ then used as whipping boys to cover the total incompetance of the Elected officers ability to control or EVEN TRY to control their own profligacy.
    Making it appear that the problems of Barbados stem from the workers GREED for imports,rather than the REAL TRUTH,of the corrupt use of government funds ,by those in Goverment in a position to do so.
    I do not see the bulk of the population of Barbados,endlessly squandering hard earned $ on imported frivolities AND they earned it , so they surely would have it as their right if they so chose; to spend in such a fashion their own hard earned $.
    What I see is; sensible people who work hard allowing a few “Joys” for them selves and their loved ones ,by buying items that are just not made in the local market and in the process of doing so further enriching the Treasury by paying massive import duties.
    What I DO see EVERYDAY are the examples set by those in Government,
    top of the range cars fitted with every IMPORTED conceivable extra,gold chains, diamond rings , designer suits, 1500 $ shoes , exspensive watches.
    Trips around the Globe ,(not tourist class either) for them selves,freinds , relatives., yardfowls etc etc.

    Barbados folk work hard;they have to to survive.
    Lets get some transparency, some accountability among and from those who hold the country in their hands,for the VAST amounts they NEEDLESSLY dispose of.
    Leave alone the GEESE that lay the GOLDEN EGGS to have a few little hard earned “Luxuries”.
    The workers .The bedrock of Barbados. They EARNED IT, they DESERVE IT.

  33. @ Pachamama

    I have never before been called a capitalist, but I suppose there is a first for everything.

  34. The downfall of the Caribbean as a whole can be contributed all to the very heavy and blinded dependency on tourism (the egg in one basket syndrome) saying that would then lead to suggesting the coming together of all the islands (CSME, CANT ME) where the leaders will never see the financial benefits, insularity will guarantee, it will never work. We are doomed.

  35. @ Pachamama | March 1, 2013 at 10:23 AM |
    “Greater ‘civilizations’ that this have been brought to naught. Even your questions are located within a relatively short historical period. Capitalism, as we know it is less than 240 years old. Communism came and went. Why is it so difficult for most to think about a world without capitalism?”

    Nice one Pacha, real food for thought.

    Now that is the thinking of a person whose intellectual archway spans the corridors of time! A man of the past, present and future.

    Wish our leaders can see the paradigm shift taking place and stop looking for the bogus international recession to recede.
    Pacha, do you know of any economic recession (a term peculiar to capitalism) that has lasted so long without being styled or titled a “Depression”?
    What we are witnessing is not the ebb and flow of the tide but a real tsunami of change that is upon us. We must stop expecting an ease in the recessional rain and hoping to revert to our credit card old ways of importing and consuming at the expense of producing.

  36. @ Hal Austin
    Yes we are all capitalists, aren’t we? We live in capitalist societies and most of what we are and have been is predicated on capital formation policies. So culturally we are all capitalists. Well, there maybe be gradations but capitalists we all are! The real differences are that we are prepared to acknowledge this as fact we are trying to find radical alternatives because we see the whole construct going into fundamental collapse. This will be nothing new, societies or civilizations collapse all the time – if we can see a longer horizon.

    @ The Miller
    You are quite right. Miller, you must remember that most of the people are sheeple. They will follow illogical reasoning once it comes form a place they ‘respect’. We have called this a depression years ago but the sheeple are still taking about recession when even their own definition of what is happening does not apply here. Capitalism is at the end of the line. Like the Communist system we will wake up one morning and find dystopia at our doorsteps. That is what a lack of foresight will get us all.

    We are facing a seismic shift and that we could have had a general election and neither party could speak to us about issues not covered in the talking points given to them merely assigns us all to Gehenna.

  37. @Pacha

    Based on where one is anchored you are bound to get different responses. Do you agree that no system of government is perfect? To discuss how we can improve should not be at the expense of rubbishing the hybrid Westmister system.

  38. @ David

    Agreed! It is this lack of perfection that gives us an opportunity to make an intervention. For example, and by way of solutions let’s look at health care. There is no doubt that escalating costs are not sustainable. We would suggest an immediate 50% reduction in the 150MM dollars or more expended every year. Conterminously, we would encourage Bajans to go to a healthy lifestyle; subsidize exercise cost based on results; eat organic foods as theirs medicines; other alternative remedies as based based on peer reviewed studies; ban the importation of pesticides, fungicides, etc; industrialize local/regional pharmacopoeia; ban the use of all sugars and high hypoglycemic products; promote alternative sweeteners like agave etc; increase the taxes on alcohol by 500%; see alcohol as petrol instead of a consumption substance; promote alternative medical modalities; further decentralize health care delivery; reduce the food import bill by 50% immediately; promote an integrated medical system; increase the taxes on fast and unhealthy foods that would run them out of business; lowering or eliminating all taxes and duties on healthy foods; tax fat people and on and on. But we might need a dictatorship to implement these. Dictatorship is an imperfect governing system too! This is the level of desperation we feel.

  39. After appointing his Cabinet, the first thing the prime minister – and at the time of writing only the attorney general has been appointed – should do is draft a ten-year development plan, with radical pathways for dragging Barbados, kicking and screaming, in to the 21st century.

    Could you define radical? Some need to visit this place moe’ often befoe’ when speaking with such latitude.We have kick so hard by now … Havent you heard…Bdos is the capital of one foot men…..and not Miller ‘middle foot’ Sam. Probably annuda MTFPP..hmmmm

  40. Are you kidding? the problem besides the one I stated earlier is that Bajans are living too long. Free booze free cigarettes free skydiving, no such thing as impaired driving, oh wait you already have that.Free sex! Now that is how you cut your food bill in half.Or like our eskimos when their parents get really old 45 yrs or so.they leave them on an ice floe to play with the polar bears.

  41. +++++++++++++++ Locating dystopia

    Pacha is seeking dystopia on our doorsteps like the mark of the beast painted in blood on each door but what we will actually find is a sweet Bajan myopia, refusing to see troublesome signs or we listen to the politicians
    and their party(partee) vision of utopia. His non-capitalist paradigm of development has of course been tried not too far away in Grenada with a bloody dystopian climax. W e can all imagine models of the future that are desirable but under the current reality we can only promote models that are possible. And we have had our models.
    Many may not be familair with the New World group of Caribbaen radical intellectuals who sought to project a non-marxist non-capitalist route of state enterprises; substantial integration of Caribbean economies and an ‘autonomous Caribbean discourse on development due to our unique historical experience and political geography (Beckford:Bourne; Best; Girvan Greene:Hall:Jones:Vaugh Lewis:Lindsay: Massiah:Mills: Odle:Carl Parris: Philips: Ryan: Stone: Venner: Wiltshire: Witter:Wong and so many others put their intellect and education on the line to create philosophically if not politically a new future from a plantation past. ( Much of it attempted by Manley and failed.)
    They were in turn opposed by a The Barbadian/Lewis/Courtney Blackman model of orthodox pro-capitalist export-oriented economic strategies with education led service industries. Of course both were opposed by the ultra-orthodox authoritarian Marxist-Leninism of Munroe, Coard, the Cubans and the Soviet union leading to the tragic consequences of 1983.

    So when specific models are promoted it is useful to see how they worked in the past and of far greater importance how they might function on behalf of society under the conditions we face today as well as the improbable utopian future.

    One thing we do know: the current national model of 83% of GDP from services, 13% manufacturing and 4% agriculture is not sustainable/ add in the harsh reality that every working day in Barbados we accumulate $2 million Bds dollars worth of foreign debt and change is vital or we slide into being a ‘delinquent peripherality’ with ‘dystopia on our doorstep.’

  42. Hal… here have a dose of good old bajan CS..

    If you had a sheep and no money. to buy more mash….you should begin to feed it on less and less GRADUALLY on the lil bit remaining….Should one adopt your kinda starvation tactics .. one morning you would wake up and find the sheep dead…. all your money down jacob’s horse nostril… breds…..ask gran!

  43. As log as Bajans expect to be able to drive luxury cars, eat imported food, drink big mout drinks and live in 4000 sq. ft houses…..the economy will continue on a downward spiral.

    Bajans do not sacrifice un less they are forced to like the ones wuo emigrated to the UK,USA and Canada.

    All the intellectualised educated long talk is useless drivel unless Bajans are prepared to change their wannabe Amurcan life styles.

    If you want meaningful change study the Cuban model of governance after they lost the support of the Russians.

    No gasoline,no pestcides, but the still were able to feed the people. Find out how and you have the blueprint for organic agriculture.

    No matter how brilliant the ideas they all take time to implement and Barbados does not have a lot of time so start now.

    Clean the nasty stinking place starting in Bridgetown.

    Start growing food to replace imports.

    Cut the importation of gasoline.

    Ban the importation of any vehicle bigger than a Honda Accord and make hybrids and electric cars duty free.

    That is Hants unedited rant fuh now.

  44. Hants

    You catch any large trout lately?….We hear you so wud know all bout big mout drinks.($$$)… We can’t even find nah flying fish bout hay and you joining Hal to finish squeeze we “belly thru we backs “? Man wha kinda Bajan CdnYankie u doa any ways ?

  45. @old onion bags,

    I caught a nice Rainbow Trout on Christmas morning but since then the river freeze up so I have to wait a couple weeks for the spring thaw.

    Doa come with nuh “belly thru we backs”. a ole fisherman like you can’t can always ketch porgies an

  46. @native son.
    You have offered up a mixed bag of suggestions for improvement of our island. You have made these suggestions from a position based on overseas perceptions, a desire to see immediate and long term results; based on these perceptions, and with the idea that a lot of what obtains in these far off lands are applicable to our local situations. As one who has lived worked and studied overseas;
    U S.A, .Canada, Jamaica, Qatar, and returned to Barbados to work, become an entrepreneur (set up my own business) and returned to work and eventually retire, I can understand your desires and perceived frustrations at seemingly inaction or sloth in implementing seemingly good and “workable” ideas. I have been in that same frame of mind when I lived in Canada for over thirty five years. then I returned to Barbados and came face to face with a number of realities. I would even be so bold as to suggest that you return to Bim for a while and get back into the work and business environment to fully understand what is possible and practible and what is not.
    You were harsh in your criticism of former Prime Minister Sandiford. I will speak in his defence and posit that it was only after he left office that people fully understaood what he achieved. He was the first head of a government to stand up to the IMF and let them know that he would not accept their medicine, that Barbados would find its own solution to the crisis. He instituted his own home grown medicine
    ; it was tough, and he paid the price, but it was successful, and could have been lesspainful in the long run if people were not so highly critical. After that many others had the courage to follow his lead in dealing with the IMF. You can go back to the IMF reports of the time and read what was said.Despite the negative attitude some people have of the Civil Service, itw works and continuity survives. It is the Civil Service that makes the country work. there may be (probably is) a need for changes in attitude at the personal level, but the Civil Service has stood us in good stead.The governments inthe main have been forward thinking; that is why, in anticipation of the rise of China as a world power they took the initiative of having an ambassador to China in place, the said Mr. Sandiford. Re your suggestion on Culpepper Island, you may not be aware, but Culpepper is privately owned; Mr. Paul doyle, Canadian, owner of Crane Hotel, who has put forward proposals for the development of that area. town Hall meetings were already held in which many people participated.Your suggestion for a “Dolphinarium” (I assume you are talking about Porpoises) has already been tried. Ocean City which was located near to the Newton round about in Christ Church, enevtually had to close because of the high energy costs and lack of enough attendance to make it viable and sustainable. Barbados’population is not big enough to maintain these types of entertainment venues. They have high operating and maintainance costs, and they succeed in large countries because they have large numbers of first time visitors. Marineland in Ontario, at Niagara Falls succeeds because of the large numbers from all over the United states who visit Niagara Falls and attend that side attraction.In any conversation about investing and growth I would not mention the name of Greece. Your suggestion of the use of fruit from other islands to make jams etc, was already tried. An enterprise was set up near the airport, many people invested money, including Sir Charles Williams, it failed. (Doesn’t mean it can’t be tried again, but what I am trying to show you is that people do think and are thinking.
    @Dr. Love: “Ministers” do not “spend the money”. Ministries spend the money voted in the budget to provide the services needed for the people. The Minister of Housing does not get money in his hand to spend. He uses the budget to build the houses for the “people” .You seem to think that because you work and have the money you should spend it like you want. It does not work that way. If you have the money and want to buy a BMW there is a cost to the foreign exchange the country has, because the BMW company has to be paid in foreign exchange. I already asked this wuestion, If a BMW costs $50.000.00 U.S. how many tourists would have to come and how much would they each have to spend to replace that foreign exchange, or how much rum would have to be sold outside of the country to regain that foreign exchange? That is how we have to begin thinking about the consequences of our action. Every can of Pineapple chunks, every bunch of broccolli, every can of caviar, has to be paid with foreign exchange. I am not as pessimestic as you. the results of the election show tht Barbadians in general are thinking people.

  47. @ Native son. I forget to mention with regard to your quip about the Barbadian economy “underperforming” Stats Can reported today that the Canadian economy “grew” by 0.6% in the last quarter of 2012.

  48. A 2 seat majority is NOT a mandate. The 10 seat majority was. A 16 member cabinet seems excessive. I think the honeymoon period is already over. If the PM sneezes right now he will catch a cold. If he catches a cold, he’ll catch the flu. I wish I were a fly on the wall during the 1st cabinet meeting. Stay tune Barbados, more drama is coming.

  49. Diabetes makes everything worse. Everything including stress makes diabetes worse. Dont worry about the flu or a cold. Check my ppt on BU on diabetes.

  50. Mr Cummins I believe things are applicable,when you were in Canada garbage wasnt strewn about the streets without penalty.The rule of law was respected.Trust in the civil service was not eroded although I cannot say the same for politicians.I dare say you are entitled to a pension that has given you a good standard of living, even better in Barbados which should be the right of all people who have worked hard all their lives Iwould not speak for Mr Austin but for myself the problem is not that you dont have thinkers it is the doers that are lacking, and if you are a doer like Mr Sandiford you “pay the price”…
    I moved my 93 year old mum in with me because I promised her she would never go to a home. Now I see this darling old lady everyday, when my sister comes back home after the winter she says mum is looking more tired things are starting to fade parts are not working as good as they did, things I miss because they creep up so slowly.So sometimes looking from outside the fishbowl can be a benefit as well. Hopefully between the two inside and outside some way forward can be seen for Barbados to prosper.

  51. @enuff
    /I didn’t sell Culpepper to Mr. Doyle. I couldn’t afford to sell anything to anybody.. You might ask him who he bought it from, or perhaps you can ask MacFingall, or any of the residents of Skeete’s Bay. I would have attendedn that meeting but I left the island the day before it was scheduled. who was one of the people at the town hall meeting who raised questions of Mr. Doyle regarding his plans for the area/ You might find out from OSA when it was bought, who it was bought from and who the Minister in charge of Town planning was/ You might also ask whether it fell under the aegis of the Special Development Areas Act.
    @lawson. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. we make the type of life we want and set our own standards. If we can’t afford to buy the frozen fish in the supermarket, what’s to stop us from going down by the beach and discussing price with the fishermen, taking the fish home,scaling it and freezing it ourselves, thus saving those costs that contribute to the high price in the supermarket/ I have not been able to buy a new car yet in Barbados, but I have been able to get from point A to point B with my second hand cars. As long as we keep breathing we will get old, parts will wear out and death is inevitable So prepare for it in your mum and later in yourself. Our young people have to learn to treasure the older folk and do what you have done, take care of your mum. I helped my sister look after our mum at home until she died at 96. So feel good about taking care of her and set your own standards.

  52. Anyone who thinks we just have to hold on and tread water for a while until the US and European turn the corner and economic growth returns once more (for them and us) should be aware that signs are pointing to it being a very long haul that happens (if we don’t destroy ourselves in wars and revolutions first).

    Interview with Paul Craig Roberts former head of policy at Department of Treasury under Reagan, and the editor at The Wall Street Journal, founder of Institute for Political Economy, and prolific author. We speak about the crashing economy and why it is collapsing, austerity, corruption, Greece, the IMF, and Paul explains some of the complexities of the ill fated money system that is destroying us.

  53. I sincerely hope that the newly minted members of parliament that are now charged with running th island, read these blogs and see them as what they are intended, food for thought. This might make a huge difference. The comments above cannot be found in any hand book or dead colonial laws. Let’s hope the ministers are reading.

  54. @ Hal Austin do u know how much work is put in at the Government Printery can government pay a private firm to do Ballot paper,Estimates,and all other important docoument that the governmemt need. staff at the printery have a skill they dont get pay for that skill tell me who going to pay for 200 station dairies for police done by hand no machine did u ever come in the Government Printery and see the work that is done the staff had sleep less nights the pass 2 weeks getting out the ballot papers and now waiting for the estimates to come to the table so tell me is there a need to close the GOVERNMENT PRINTERY is there a need the amount of work that is done for all government department is of important for the country did u ever sit and think y yes we are more computer basis now but can a small printer produce what a press does in less that an hour no you need to take a visit to that department and see for yourself the (90) odd staff that does this work need praise not doom.

  55. @ Georgie Porgie I checked out the diabetes link. All rehtoric aside that is worrisome and problematic. Thanks for the heads up. They say stress is the silent killer but this is worse than stess. Thanks agian for the data. I hope this type of information is being directed to the right quaters.
    @ Green Monkey your point is well taken. However, that was the excuse sold during the campaign for the stagnant economy (i,e US and Europe). The PM eluded to other markets (Brazil, India and China) so we should have hope since he is thinking outside the box. Refreshing. Let us see if they move in this direction because the old guard (Europe) has been over run.

    Good thoughtful comments from you guys.

  56. @ ASKQUITH

    Apparently Drama has already started on other side…..

    as reported by PUDDING & SOUSE in today’s Saturday Sun:

    Pure bedlam

    People were swarming all over each other as hell broke loose at a City meeting last week.

    From all accounts, the runoff was as close as the recent national poll and it came down to a secret ballot.

    The main man was nowhere to be seen but his influence loomed large enough to throw the event into chaos and near blows.

    The discussion over who should rule the roost got so hot that table and chairs were angrily pushed around. Some of the filthiest language was also heard, according to insiders. All of this allegedly took place in front of some shocked newbies.

    The opening of some old wounds triggered verbal attacks that almost ended up in punches being thrown. Frank discussion led not to unity but bitter divide and even started to sway some away from the popular choice.

    Exhausted by the verbal clashes, the group finally decided on a secret ballot which put the former chauffeur back in the driver’s seat.

    But there were at least two obstinate mates who had earlier gone around Marshalling the troops with whom the decision did not sit well.

    Friends are telling the new driver to keep her eyes not only on the road but on the passengers behind her.

    (I tell yuh!!!)

    • @Pacha

      We need to avoid this culture of ‘the maximum leader’. We are persuaded that Fruendel Stuart missed a unique opportunity to radically change the political culture of Barbados by forming a national unity government with the BLP. This early failure may well cause problems not so long from now

      Agree with your point 100%. Especially so when MAM is on public record stating that she will work with government for the betterment of Barbados. DLPites may recall that it was the late David Thompson who threw out an invitation to Arthur, Sandiford et al to sit at a round table and parley the issues. Can you imagine what public collaboration at the hierarchy of our political system would do for a nation in the throes of growing tribalism?

    • @PAcha

      The political pundits will tell you the Westminster system is designed to breed adversarial politics.

  57. @ SB

    Government is in the business of getting things printed, not owning print works.
    Govt should get the GP valued, ring fence the current staff pensions, give them a three year contract (the period small businesses take to survive), after that they will have to compete with other print works for govt work.
    It should be an enterprise owned by the workers who will be responsible for appointing their own managers.
    For the first three years they should be allowed to operate from the present site, paying a peppercorn rent, after which they will have to relocate.
    The workers will become entrepreneurs, rather than just lazing about and taking taxpayers’ money.

  58. @ Carson C. Cadogan | March 2, 2013 at 10:06 AM |
    “Stuart dont want or need any “advice” from you, Hal!!!”

    For one of the very rare occasions, CCC, I agree with you.
    Why seek further advice when he has a ready-made script to follow regarding the jumpstarting of the economy?
    His views on the economy to put some life into it are most interesting: getting consumers to spend and businesses to invest.
    Sounds like something stolen, sorry, “borrowed”- since Freundel is a man of integrity- from the BLP book of economic proposals.

    We shall now see instead of waiting to see.

    CCC, please let us move forward and no more OSA jokes. If you do we will send you back in the dog house to sleep with that bitch since she has ‘fired’ the pit bull.

  59. Countdown: Any day now we can expect the return of our good friend Tina Roach.We glad ta have ya back dear heart!

  60. @ hal austin you seem to have the way forward for barbados you should be PM Barbados would be in great hands all of the woo of the country be settle and we be in a better place so keep pushing for A Better To Tomorrow

  61. What amazes me is that we discuss all of these maters without mentioning the role that the current educational system plays in retarding national process. One of the reasons why we are lagging behind, has a lot to do with what and how we are teaching our children. Rest assured that unless we radically reform the educational system we will go nowhere and go nowhere very quickly.

  62. We feel compelled to defend Hal Austin. We have a government that just barely made it back. A system that is totally ignorant to any kind of governance of national unity – national reconstruction etc. A population, so backwardly, that it would prefer to pay 14 opposition MPs for doing nothing when what abilities they possess could better be deployed in the service of the nation at a time more critical than any other in human history. Political parties so entrenched in a dead culture of ‘winner takes all’ that they will see Barbados destroyed before they get down off their high horses and realize the limitations of their anachronistic organizations. Even their masters in Westminster have abandoned this perverse types of political rivalry. Party hacks, who invest, almost religiously, all confidence in politicians. A confidence that imbues political figures with godlike characteristics. ‘Infallible’ politicians intent on playing stupid political games with the peoples’ futures. And there are some who would say that the well-intentioned efforts of Hal Austin are misguided. When we look at all of the figures in this political pantomime in Barbados we do not find any genius anywhere. If there is to be genius it might best be located within the collective wisdom of the people, not politicians or any individual. Hal Austin is right to insert himself in the politics of Barbados. There is NOBODY within the body politic who does not need some help, or has a better brain than Mr Austin or anybody else.

  63. We need to avoid this culture of ‘the maximum leader’. We are persuaded that Fruendel Stuart missed a unique opportunity to radically change the political culture of Barbados by forming a national unity government with the BLP. This early failure may well cause problems not so long from now. This enlightened approach could have remove the urges of his people and those on the other side from imaging formations that may cause political dislocation. That we could have easily ended up with a hung parliament should have sent a signal to Stuart. Should political instability comes home to roost we will all know that he was the man who lacked the instincts to radically transform the political culture, forever! Surely, this must be a man that needs some help, no?

  64. @ David

    Yes. Would have been good transformational politics too – especially for the DLP regardless to whether the BLP accepted Stuart’s offer or not. Stuart could have emerged as the political doyen of this generation if a different type of interpretation of the results of the election was made.

  65. @David

    Well! Do you believe everything they say? Now is not the time to unquestioningly accept ‘official’ narratives. How can we as country ask people to be creative and our so-called leaders are intent on holding on to what others have long thrown away?

  66. The Westminster/Whitehall model has failed. We need a new politics part of which should be a new second chamber – one-off non party appointments to the senate for a seven-year terms. The idea is as second chamber made up of ‘experts’ who can scrutinise bills coming from the lower chamber. In that way we will get better legislation and not the second rate drafting that we get at present.

  67. @ David
    Yesterday we suggest that there was a misinterpretation of the election results by Freundel Stuart and the DLP. Our suggested was that a defeated Arthur would have been more amenable to this initiative that an elected Mottley (as leader of the opposition). Arthur was PM already and he might be looking towards his legacy. While Mottley would perceive a different trajectory and therefore less inclined to accept Stuart’s possible offer. While Arthur has been intent on not leaving the BLP with Mottley in charge. So we are talking about a narrow window.

    • @Pacha

      You realize you are saying that the vision of our leaders is not expected to align to national interest except when they have exhausted personal interest.

  68. There is no Honeymoon for Stuart and his Goons
    Honeymoon ??
    There should be moves to use Parliament to make the term of this Government the shortest possible.

    Last term was the longest ever; this term should be the shortest ever

  69. Yes of course! The people’s interests always have to be assumed to be secondary in our system. However, the people might benefit from a coincidence of interests (smile). Maybe a win, win.

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