Notes From a Native Son: Mottley Can Make History – Cometh the Moment, Cometh the Woman

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The newly elected DLP government has now spelt out its programme for this parliamentary session and, it is fair to say, it must be seen as the best shot this government has in its armoury. In the Queen’s Speech, the nation was told: “The centre piece of Barbados’ economic strategy will be the creation of a Renewable Energy Revolution which will enhance the competitiveness of the productive sectors by reducing energy costs, reducing the fuel import bill, creating new jobs and helping to lower the cost of living.” It continues: “My government will therefore immediately prepare a Renewable Energy Bill to bring in to effect the relevant budgetary measures of 2012, and establish a Bds$15m “Hotel Refurbishment, Energy Efficiency and Food Production Fund” within the National Insurance Scheme investment portfolio….” This is waffle. Does it mean that the objective to to provide wind, solar and wave energy within the next five years? Does it mean that privately-owned run-down hotels badly in need of refurbishment can now depend on taxpayers’ pensions contribution to be refurbished? Does it mean the government now has a food security policy, if so what is it?

The other important reference is that on technology. It states: “To further drive economic growth and social development, it is important that Barbados be at the cutting edge of the new information technology.” How does it plan to do this? Not by training young people in the various aspects of the new technology; not by introducing technology across the entirety of the public sector; but by reducing the cost of the internet and broadband to households with a tax reduction.

Recycling Mediocrity:
Nothing about the delaying in naming his Cabinet, nor in the 16-page Throne Speech indicates that Stuart and his advisers understand fully the depth of the crisis. An example of this is the quote: “Our nation has successfully weathered the greatest economic turbulence since independence. The resourcefulness and common sense of our people have been central to this success.” This is not just an untruth, it is insanity to believe that Barbados has successfully weathered the economic storm. This fiction is the work of a demented mind. There is no evidence that the central bank officials fully appreciate the dynamics of global economic change and the implications of this for small economies like Barbados. Although in principle a reshuffle is to be applauded, this one must be seen as shifting chairs on the Titanic; the ministers moved can be seen as failures, even by Stuart’s myopic vision.

In particular, many of these are the very people rejected by the electorate. It is either a case of stifling conservatism, which means in policy terms no great reforms, or mind-boggling political ignorance. It was a good opportunity to introduce young blood to the Senate and thank some of the old hands for services rendered. So far, Stuart has not shown any confidence in his ability to manage, his team. In fact, if anything, what we have seen so far is uncertain: it took him a week to appoint his new Cabinet and then most of the old ministers were simply re-inserted in to their old jobs. The implication of this is that he was happy with what they had done and would be prepared to let them carry on. Does this apply to Chris Sinckler?

Second, and this has wider political implications, he extended this uncertainty by backing the appointing of former ministers to the Senate and re-appointed them as ministers, after the electorate had rejected them. So, one can only assume, he is not a democrat. But the coup de grace is his 16-page Queen’s Speech, his programme for this parliament.

BLP Opposition:
Mia Mottley, the re-installed leader of the official Opposition, can count herself lucky in part. By any reckoning, she would have returned the BLP to government had she been the captain of the ship during the last general election, no doubt with a substantial popular mandate. But time and a government not sure of itself are on her side: she is still in the prime of her youth, she stands head and shoulders above this generation of parliamentarians, and she is hugely intelligent. What is more, although not a trained economist, she demonstrates an awareness that is far more sophisticated than many of those who are trained on her side of the House, and than all on the government’s side.

In short, this is now her time and she alone can throw it away; but first she must get rid of some bad habits and one or two of her pet loves. First, she must discard the populist, but politically dangerous habit of speaking without notes. It does not prove anything, far less brilliance, and leaves her exposed to repetition, factual error and rhetorical gobbledegook. As Official leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, what she says at official gatherings will now be regarded as of historical and political importance. She must use notes, at the very least, and fully written speeches, at best.
She must also demonstrate a hold on her Shadow Cabinet, keeping close control on the ones likely to stray. If they do, sack them.

As leader, Mottley must have an iron hand in a velvet glove. She must not allow her Shadow team, under any condition, to undermine her, and I know how difficult it can be at times to manage aggressive, stubborn, hard-headed, know-all Barbadians. While giving her team a full hand at developing policy and participating in discussions, she must remind them that she is the first among equals – they have the freedom to speak, she has the authority to decide. Above all she must not repeat the mistake Arthur made during the election campaign, turning Clico from a regulatory and political issue in to one about dishonesty and fraud. We are going over the same old ground of the Mutual debate, when we allowed people not sophisticated about insurance to shift the debate to one about board room representation, which is important, rather than the actuarial valuation of the society and its legacy wealth. The result, in my view, is that the Mutual’s members virtually gave away their investments.
With Clico, we should have called in the police if there was a prima facie case of fraud; the regulator should have moved in and taken over the day to day management while freezing assets; and the silly idea of a judicial management review was wrong in two key ways: judges do not know about finance and almost certainly about insurance companies. What they did was to legalise the Clico crisis; the other mistake was to get accountants to carry out the review, rather than actuaries. Actuaries run insurance companies, accountants play around with numbers for the tax man. It is like getting a motor mechanic to carry out repairs on a plane. Would you ride in such an aircraft?

After her unfortunate sacking as party leader, Mottley needs to rebuild her credibility, and she must look forward, remembering that the past is a foreign country. But there are one or two other populist housekeeping things she must do: avoid going on television cookery programmes; avoid trying to be actively involved in sports, although she must vigorously support her constituency teams; she must avoid being seen as a big player in the music industry, although she must be an ambassador for Barbadian popular culture. Her priority now are the bread and butter of Opposition politics: speeches, responding to government, political calculation, reassuring her party and reenergising her supporters, keeping the media and business leaders on side, all that while flying the flag for a better tomorrow under her leadership. She must surround herself with advisers who would not just tell her what she wants to hear, but the truth, however painful. Above all, she must not try to be an academic economist, but must dominate that juncture where economics meet politics, she can be the mistress of that space.

Modern politics is the art of weaving a political narrative with an economic storyline and social policy objectives, blending them all in to a potpourri which appeals to the hearts and minds of voters. She must remind herself that at the height of the 2007/8 crisis, the Bretton Woods organisation had 20000 economists all with blue chip PhDs and all saying how wonderful the global economy was. They all failed. She only has to read Ben Bernanke’s speeches leading up to the crisis, the global expert on the 1930s recession, he too failed to spot the emerging crisis. There are no experts. Mottley must remember that the mark of a good leader is not to know everything about government, but to know people who have the expertise and ability to guide her on the right path. She must take the fight to every single minister, making him or her account for policy. There is a popular English saying: Stuart may be in office, but he is not in power.

Analysis and Conclusion:
By any reckoning, the BLP has got the pick of the litter. Mia Mottley is by far a more politically intelligent and astute politician than Stuart and is generally seen by the public as such. Her one problem, and it is a big one, is that she is perceived as someone who is capable of saying the right thing in public and something else in private. It is an image problem she must deal with over the next five years. One way of dealing with this is by encouraging people who will speak the truth to her in to her inner cabinet of advisers. Her real enemies are the people who keep telling her how wonderful she is.

One of her strengths is that she understands macro-economics, in fact more so than Chris Sinckler, and she should shadow the finance brief. She comes from a long tradition of politicians and those of us old enough to remember her grand father often remembers a man who was not above doing deals, but who also had a magnificent record of social welfare policies, from the Queen’s Park food kitchens, to clothing the poor and handing out cash to help poverty-stricken families in the Lower Green to make ends meet. But doing good is not all, as Barrow showed when he got rid of local government just to spite Ernest Deighton, her grand father.

So, Mia Mottley must watch her back, build bridges, cultivate friends in strange places, and, above all, be a woman of integrity. If she wants an example of how a small island state can be captured by criminals and oligarchs, she just has to look at Cyprus.

We must stop seeing the colour of money and learn the value of taking precautionary steps before we sell every last inch of land to vultures – and some well-intentioned people – from Europe and North America.
We allowed, for example, a failed kitchen and bathroom manufacturer from Yorkshire to come to Barbados, buy an entire plantation and turn it in to a massively expensive upmarket gated community complete with golf course. We also allowed a caravan park owner to turn up and buy huge amounts of land to turn in to expensive apartments and houses. And, in all this, the obvious question: what is in this for us seemed to have passed our policymakers, planners and politicians by.

This is what the new politics are about: thinking globally, while acting locally. If she does not know yet, this is what Mottley must learn, and fast.
Mottley now has an opportunity to re-write our recent history, not through implementation of policy, but by framing her politics in a grown up way, away from personalities to policy. In the end, by whatever measure, we must see prime minister Stuart as a failure at the top job: he failed to call a general election in the wake of the late David Thompson’s death; he failed to take control of economic strategy when Chris Sinckler and De Lisle Worrell were obviously messing up things; he failed to intervene when Ronald Jones was like a captain on a rudderless ship with the crisis at Alexandra, and the continuing failure of school leavers to gain reasonable CXCs; Stuart also lost control of the criminal justice system.
Mottley can now put pressure on Stuart since she has less to lose. Stuart is managing a team which includes many mavericks one of whom would likely walk out if s/he does not get his own way.

Further, the central bank should not be allowed to function without accountability, a message that must be driven home to the governor and his supporters. And, under Sinckler, the ministry of finance has lost control of tax policy, policy coherence and, in fact, all fiscal credibility and not even parliament can control its wild public expenditure. As the economic ministry, over the last five years has not introduced any innovation, has no authority over policy, and no obvious experts on its staff to lead the national discussion.

In general, there is no evidence of any intellectual understanding of supply side economics and, overall, along with the central bank, lacks proof of capability. If this is the success the Queen’s Speech is referring to then we are all living in a dream world. One necessary change is to make it illegal for the ministry or central bank to spend money without parliamentary approval. This will be a good start.

56 thoughts on “Notes From a Native Son: Mottley Can Make History – Cometh the Moment, Cometh the Woman

  1. Mia is a crook , the speech if junk and long talk , It dont take 5 years to do nothing 6 to 9 months , most things can be done , All the crooks have long talk and speaking dont make nothing happen, it takes Action, All the Fools will finds ways to steal the People’s money again as taxes love to go up. Nothing new and 6 months before the next election back to housing and payoffs , A bunch of Turkeys dress up in all kinds if chicken feathers.
    Let them take the money and go the the internet and order what ever they need, COD. FED EX , UPS , DHL or send a plane for whats needed,
    Pay your road TAX, pay your VAT, pay car insurance , pay your CLICO so all the Masters of the PONZI fraud can live goo next 5 years.
    We will be back at the polls before that., So let them sleep, God cant sleep , he have to watch the crooks and We are also awake , To records the dressed up Monkeys.
    Water up 60% and 60 Million Missing ? All 8 of them? better find to put it back and do some time in jail, Accounting General better call the Fraud Squad and the AG better get them charge now.

    • @Hal

      MAM may already have trouble on the horizon if word on the ground is anything to go by. It appears George Payne and Edmund Hinkson are at it. In the Bajan parlance it was cat puiss and pepper when they met to select the Opposition Leader last week. You may recall that Hinkson defeated Douglas Skeete for the St. James North riding and there was alleged illegal activity, vote padding etc. MAM should be acutely aware of this matter because it was at this time she made a failed bid to get the BLP to democratize the process of candidate/delegate selection. She is Opposition Leader and the ball is now back in her court to do something about it.

  2. @ Hal Austin:

    “How does it plan to do this? Not by training young people in the various aspects of the new technology; not by introducing technology across the entirety of the public sector; but by reducing the cost of the internet and broadband to households with a tax reduction.”

    Another piece of crappy gobbledygook!
    Is it this government’s intention to widen the already information technological divide along income and class lines?
    If those people with assessable income in excess of say $50,000 per annum are going to benefit from this tax deduction what about those whose incomes fall below this threshold and do not file or pay income tax? What about the unemployed?

    The funny thing is that this tax benefit is aimed at the middle and upper “working” class which in nearly every case already have access to internet and broadband. Does this proposal mean that these taxpayers will be allowed to claim their existing internet and broadband bills on their tax form when filing their annual returns?

    A very poorly thought out proposal and certainly of no benefit to those who need the incentive to get on or further climb the ICT ladder.

    Your training proposal along with the widening of Wi Fi access would make more social engineering sense than giving those already on line on further up the ICT ladder a further tax benefit to the further marginalization of those on the ICT periphery.

  3. Successive governments have talked over the last 20 years about DOING SOMETHING about the minibus culture, agriculture, etc, etc,…………….. nothing was ever done. Let’s see what they do about renewable energy.

  4. Let us agree with those who say let us wait on the Estimates Debate. The Throne Speech was a collection of flowery words designed to feed the pomp and ceremony which the occasion demanded.

  5. It’s a well worn template, if something drastic does not happen to change the garbage thrown at taxpayers, it will continue indefinitely.

  6. @ David | March 8, 2013 at 8:39 AM |

    Tend to agree for a matter of practicality since the proof of the economic pudding is in the financial eating. The Estimates for the ensuing two financial years must reflect financial reality and not political hyperbole.

    But it cannot be gainsaid that the throne speech was just a rehash of the manifesto. So if we are to threat the throne speech in such an appropriate manner should a similar approach be made to the manifesto written solely for electoral purposes with no contractual strings attached?
    Just asking!!

  7. @Miller

    Niether of the political parties are not known for slavishly following their manifesto promises, and let us admit, there are only pledges and the people have shown that they don’t care if they keep their promises. We get the government we deserve.

  8. @ David | March 8, 2013 at 9:50 AM |

    The choice given to the people is one between “B” liar and “D “liar”.
    Which one is preferred in this Hobson’s choice of liars? The one who lies the more or the less?
    Bim is in deep shit and you know it. I lie, David?

  9. @Miller

    We keep doing the same thing yet the world around us has made quantum changes to how it does business. Those who want to critically challenge our system are summarily dismissed as gloomers. Will we have to descent to rubble for us to determine that we need to increase productivity? More importantly how do we eradicate corruption which is subtle to avoid Transparency International perception index?

  10. @Hal
    ” long traditon of politicans ” the Mottleys have betrayed the BLP from generations, do your research!
    MAM behaves like wanne be rock star

  11. @Native son.
    I have not repoeid in depth to your previous blogs because many of the things you pontificate on are so outrageous that they have to be ignored after careful study. However your latest blog has moved me to reply immediately. It is patently obvious that your sympathies are with the BLP. I expected they would have lost (won a hundred dollars and a bottle of brandy on that)by a thinking electorate and the Barbadian electorate is a thinking electorate. You criticize Prime Minister Stuart for his “delay in naming a cabinet?” what do you mean? Is there a minimum or maximum time after election in naming a cabinet? You yourself point out that the Cabinet was named “a week after election”. Did you want it to be named in less time? How much time would have satisfied you? How does this compare with other countries:Britain, Canada Australia, African Countries etc? Re: the reappointment of previous ministers to Cabinet portfolios…
    “Many of these were people rejected by the electorate…” How many were these “many”?Again you posit that these “old hands” should have been replaced by ” young blood in the senate…”If memory serves me right, Dr. Esther Byer -uckoo is a young woman, she haas done well in the Ministry of Labour and it was right to place her in the senate. She has only served one trem in the House, and she lost the election, not because she isa failure, but because the constituency she ran in is a traditional BLP seat held by Louis Tull for many, many years. And talking of “old hands”, apart from the few new faces in the BLP lineup the others are all “old hands”.the Mia you praise so highly is herself an “old hand”, not in the “prime of her youth” as you claim. esther Byer Suckoo, Mara Thompson, Chris Sinckler, and others are all “younger” than any of those in the BLP hierarchy especially the “5”.
    Re Clico, no prima facie case has been made out with regard to fraud. the final report of the Judicial manager has not yet been brought forward, so it will take time before the final verdict can be brought.
    Re. Mia’s Economic credentials. On what basis (apart from an obvious “gut feeling” do you conclude that Mia “knows more about Macro Deonomics than Sinckler?” Where is the evidence? Show me.Re. Alexandra “crisis” what was Mia’s position in Parliament at the begining of the “Crisis”Wasn’t she the Minister of Education at the time? Wasn’t she in the position of authority in the Cabinet at the time to solve this “crisis” long before the DLP was elected in 2008? This”crisis” didn’t have its begining under the DLP and ronald Jones or Stuart.
    You keep trying to belittle the achievements of the place of which you are “aNative son”. You depracate the achievements of our children by making statements like”… the continuing failure of school leavers to gain reasonable CXC’s…”. Didn’t the failure of English scholars to gain adequate CXc’s create a furore in the United Kingdom a few years ago? Instead of lookint at those who “do not obtain adequate csc’s, look at those who do. Look at the number of students at BCC, look at those in UWI, look at those doing post graduate work, look at those attending evening classes to get the increased number of CXC’s that they may not have obtained upon leaving school. I don’t look at the failures (although they should not be ignored) I look at the successes, and Barbados has more than enough successes that it can be proud of.
    Finally, you make wild unsubstantiated allegations about which you have no knowledge and about which you know notheig as is evidenced by your statements “. ..Under Sinckler…National discussion, especially your statement re “experts on its staff”… Wouldn’t you call Dr. Frank Alleyne and expert?” If I am not mistaken he is chairman of a Committee that advises government on Economic matters.
    Wheel and come again.

  12. @ Alvin Cummins | March 8, 2013 at 4:29 PM |
    “Instead of lookint at those who “do not obtain adequate csc’s, look at those who do. Look at the number of students at BCC, look at those in UWI, look at those doing post graduate work, look at those attending evening classes to get the increased number of CXC’s that they may not have obtained upon leaving school. I don’t look at the failures (although they should not be ignored) I look at the successes, and Barbados has more than enough successes that it can be proud of.”

    What a good mouthful of spiel to vaingloriously guard our proud and much vaunted educational system from kindergarten to tertiary. Well done, Barbados, you are the best in the West!
    We also note you have had a good go at (in your opinion) intellectually shallow Hal for his critique of the country’s educational system.

    We also know you are brilliant at proffering solutions to problems but we would be most disappointed if you refuse to make a contribution to the pot of ideas on how this country’s tertiary education should be funded.

    But before you throw your hat in the ling we would wish that you turn your light bulb on and tell us how the Government of Barbados intends to settle the $170 million in arrears due to the UWI.
    Should we just write it off and start afresh by telling the airy-fairy Principal of the Cave Hill Campus to buzz off as far as that $170 million is concerned. If they can survive without it to date why not write off the phantom debt and go forward with a clean slate where a 50:50 ratio financing arrangement between students and government is a necessary step forward.

    Speak up Alvin, or the other chipmunks intending to burrow their way free of cost to Cave Hill will not be happy bunnies come September 2013.

    • We await those times when we can discuss serious issues without ascribing political motives.

  13. @miller.
    You have thrown out the challenge;-(as I once told a famous Barbadian who shall remain nameless-)or rather, the gauntlet and I have picked it up. So here goes.
    I will not give you my full curriculum vitae, but I will just say that I will defend out “vaunted” educational system to the death. We are indeed as you say”the best in the West.” I am indeed fortunate to have lived long enough to have been educated at some of our best schools here; Wesley Hall, where students who reached seventh standard were good enough to teach some classes, and could hold their own with almost anyone, then Combermere, (the University at Waterford, which I attended when it was in Roebuck Street) and whose exploits I need not expound. I also went there in the days when my mother found great difficulty in raising the few shillings necessary to pay the fees each term, even though I had a Vestry Scholarship that paid part of the fees. When I went to the US to further my studies (Bachelors in Biology) on a tuition waiver (had to work part time; to find the balance of the fees, living expenses, books etc) You would not be aware of the difficulties that presented. By the time I returned to BIM we were in to our Independence era, the Barrow years, the “absence of fees for attendance at secondary school (free education) and the release of the potential of so many thousands of bright children who otherwise would not have been able to attend secondary school. That was the beauty of what Barrow did; the opportunity for EVERY CHILD to be able to attend secondary school without the parents having to worry where the money was coming from to pay the school fees. I furthered my studies in Jamaica with a loan from the Higher Education loan fund. (Paid back).The years passed with further education overseas (Canada) paid for, and then when I returned, by then Cave Hill was opened and the government had opened the door to further education for its people by paying the fees for Barbadian students there. I won’t go into further details, suffice to say that I benefited from this by undertaking further studies to the PhD. level. I can thus speak with authority of the benefits of Government paying for (investing in )its people by giving them the OPPORTUNITY to improve themselves.
    You wonder how the Government is going to discharge its obligations to the University. This is the first time that Barbados has been in arrears. This is because its programme has been so successful. Take note of the number of people young, middle aged, and old, who are taking the opportunity to educate themselves. Stand by the traffic lights at the entrance to the campus any evening and see the number of adults attending evening classes, look at the sizes of the graduating classes and the diversity of the degrees granted. and you will see why the expenditure and consequent cost to Government has grown so much. Visit the campus itself, a world class campus; talk with the foreign students, not only from the other islands but from all over the world; last year I had a student from Finland occupying one of my rooms that I rent out strictly to students. Our credentials are accepted worldwide, and our reputation is envied by many. Do not think that this economic recession will last forever. Do not think that the government deficit will last all the time. There will come a time (not far off) when the government will be able to fulfill that obligation. In the past Barbados has had to carry other caribbean countries that were not able to meet their obligations and Barbados stepped into the breach. As I said look at the positives, not the negatives.
    I am proud of our educational system It has stood us in good stead, has produced outstanding scholars, who can hold their own with anybody in the world, and EVERY BARBADIAN should be proud of it, defend it, do what they can to help it, do what they can to support it, and contribute to its further success. As I ALWAYS tell the young people that I meet; Education is the most important thing in your life. You can lose everything you have in one way or another, people can take your material possessions, but once you have it in your head NO ONE can take it from you.
    HOW TO GET THE NECESSARY FUNDS? Here are a few suggestions off the top of my head.
    1. Seek more Corporate sponsorship; either by coercion or taxes. (Don’t holler so loudly, let me finish)Pharmaceutical companies (not local middle-men) make hundreds of millions of dollars in medicines; prescriptions and over the counter drugs, topical preparations and cosmetics sold to Barbadians. What do they contribute to the local educational system? If they don’t donate impose an educational or R&D tax, with restrictions on passing on those costs to the population through higher costs for the medicines they sell.
    2. Impose a cess on each graduate to be paid within ten years of graduation.
    3Encourage more graduates to become part of Alumni associations and give back in the form of scholarships, endowments and grants or gifts.
    4. Encourage more philantropy by local “rich” persons, and there are many in Barbados.
    5. Encourage more community volunteerism and assistance by “friends” of the University.
    6.More public support for activities at the University-attendance at lectures, talks, plays etc. In other words become more firendly with the university. Get to know it.
    These are only a few ideas. I am sure others can come up with better ideas.
    I will continue to support and fight for “free” education at the tertiary level. It is too important, when I look at other places (Like the U.S.) where the struggle for a tertiary education is a struggle sometimes between life and death.Rather than tearing it down we should support it further.We have a good thing. It is our children who are attending the U.W.I at Cave Hill.
    Nuff said.

  14. After the dust is settled how do we measure/assess the value the current education model is contributing to the productivity, sustainability, well-being and competitiveness of Barbados.

    To critically assess is NOT a negative activity.

  15. Have to agree with Enuff.

    The 1950’s idea that CXCs, Bachelors and PhDs were the end-all of education, and justifies the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars annually in a population of 1/4 million is ludicrous.

    There is NO MODERN VALUE in an expensive education system which produces so many “graduates” …but so few LEADERS, MANAGERS, CREATORS, BUSINESSMEN, ORIGINAL THINKERS – and so many sheep….as does ours. ….NONE!

    The egotistical objective of having a “graduate in every household” is a misguided symptom of such outdated thinking.
    Hilary would be much better placed renouncing his embarrassing “Sir” title, and (as he did in a previous life) educating Bajans about their true history, and reinforcing why they NEED TO focus on ENFRANCHISEMENT rather than titles, POMP and show.

  16. These notes have become tediously repetitive. And boring. And predictable.

    Maybe that’s why so few are moved to comment.

  17. .
    @ Alvin Cummins | March 8, 2013 at 8:00 PM |
    “Do not think that this economic recession will last forever. Do not think that the government deficit will last all the time. There will come a time (not far off) when the government will be able to fulfill that obligation.”

    I disagree with you that there is an economic recession that will soon end.
    Alvin, what the North Atlantic countries of the Western World are experiencing is not a recession or temporary downturn in their capitalist economies but a paradigm shift in their economic dominance and geopolitical influence. It’s the last phases of an era in which the West will no longer be able to call the economic and political shots.

    Be that as it may, let me acknowledge your recommendations for helping the UWI to get itself out of its funding stranglehold. But there are a few concerns that need to be highlighted.
    What to you mean by: ‘a cess on students to be repaid within 10 years of graduation’?
    Are you thinking about a student loan scheme funded by the government or the commercial lending institutions? Remember the UWI needs the money while the students are enrolled not after graduation. The funding horse would be starving while the green money grass is slowly growing on taxpayers’ trees.

    How will the government and UWI resolve the large amount in arrears? Think CLICO commitment, repayment of NIS multi-million dollar projects outlined in manifesto and throne speech against a background of exceedingly limited or expensive access to borrowing on foreign markets due to junk bond status all set against a financing backdrop of a prevailing fiscal deficit of almost $9 billion. Unlike the USA, Barbados does not own its own money printing press and must therefore follow the dictates of the IMF.

    You have outlined the wonderful benefits free education up to University level has bestowed upon the once disadvantaged people now reaping the financial whirlwind of their successes. What about getting these former graduates now the country’s socio-economic movers and shakers to help pay for their offspring’s university education?
    Why can’t they subscribe to an individual educational savings plan with associated tax deductions to help fund their children tertiary education requirements?
    Why not give up the SUV and settle for a cheaper family car or put off occasionally the annual overseas vacation to Disney or New York or Miami to shop for the latest gadgets and clothing?
    Just a few thoughts for you to mull on, Alvin, without the political flying of partisan colours to the intellectual mast; even though we share a common school tie that socially binds.

  18. Those of us who emigrated to Canada have had to pay for our children’s University Education.

    However it is easier to do that in Canada that it would be in Barbados.

    In Canada you can work 2 jobs and the child can find part time jobs to help pay the bills. In some cases the child can get a student loan to help.

    I believe that free University education in Barbados is necessary because for most people there are not enough opportunities to make extra money.

  19. @ Bush Tea
    You too bright…sometimes.
    Nuffin wrong with a ‘graduate’ in every household though, the problem is in what and from where. One would think that by now, for example, the gov’t would stop ‘extending’ SJPP by a chattel house and build a 4-storey block.

  20. LOL @ Enuff
    Skippa, there is nothing wrong with EVERY CITIZEN being a graduate…..far less one in each household.

    The problem is in making that THE ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE to be achieved.

    The national objective MUST be for every citizen to reach THEIR MAXIMUM POTENTIALITY through education, empowerment and a level playing field.

    If this cost twice what we are currently paying, AND GOT THE REQUIRED RESULTS, then it would be worth every single cent.

    On the other hand, if we succeed in getting a graduate in every household, and they continue to be the kind of clowns looking for foreigners to get them jobs, run their businesses, invest in their industries (while they put their savings in the Credit Unions) then we are WASTING EVERY DAMN CENT.

    Visionary leadership is about seeing the difference between these two approaches….

  21. @Bushtea. Education is not only CXC’s, Bachelors or PhD. Education is KNOWLEDGE, in all spheres. it is learning and is essential to living. Our fishermen resist training, but if they left the shores of Barbados and wanted to become fishermen in Newfoundland they would HAVE (by law) to get training, go to school and get certified, just to go fishing. If they wanted to be mechanics they would have to go to school, etc. In this outside world education is necessary to survive at a reasonable level. We do have the facilities and the expertise for those who are not inclined to become PhD’s We have the SJP which can produce the artisans and those of such bent. In other words we have within our shores all that is necessary to impart KNOWLEDGE of whatever kind we want. Barbadian children CAN BE ANYTHING THEY WANT TO BE, THEY JUST HAVE TO HAVE THE DESIRE.We do produce those leaders etc that you have highlighted. It is just that outside of Barbados they are recognized for what they possess in knowledge. In Barbados the old biblical statement has relevance “a prophet is not without honour save in his own country”.as an example wouldn’t you say that Sir Branford Taitt was a leader? Bizzy williams went through our school system, wouldn’t you consider him a businessman and an original thinker?, and there are so many others here and overseas, worldwide.
    @Miller: I will return to you another time since I will put my thoughts to further analysis. I agree with you about the educational savings plan and the ways of saving foreign exchange and expenditure. I wish others would join in and make the discussion less partisan and more constructive. It is a waste of time and energy to be continuing a campaign where the winner has already been decided, however unpalatable its may be to some.Up and on.

  22. @ Alvin
    It is hard to stand your ground when it is shifting sand 🙂

    Next you will want to further expand on your definition of education to include success, motivation to excel, desire to achieve excellence, and perhaps even ability to grasp the true meaning of life…..
    …and you would of course be correct.

    This discussion is however about the Education System of Barbados as it is currently constituted and operated.
    …now since you left it at a time when it actually was a world leader, …and with the experience of attending the best school in the world at the time as a point of reference, you may be forgiven for any presumptions on your part, that we would have built on that foundation.

    The choice of COW and Bradford is unfortunate since both are of our era, COW’s success is NOT built on any academic foundation, and indeed most of those of his ilk who have succeeded, have largely done so without reference to the formal academic system.

    Bradford, was highly influenced by his sojourn in different jurisdictions and his success cannot then be ascribed exclusively to any local or regional system.

    An expensive advanced education system should be geared to generating the required talent and human resources needed for the ongoing success of a country.
    Draw up a list of who owns and runs Barbados and it will become clear that ours has been a dismal failure in this respect.

    Even the world class Rhianna has become a success completely independently of our (education) human development systems, and without external intervention, would have been probably just another pretty clerk in some Canadian owned building.

    Apart from producing large numbers of consuming, egotistical, titled followers, who can talk pretty and implement little, what has been the PRACTICAL value to Barbados of the 1/2 Billion spent each year?

    Up and on.

  23. I have always said family and business go together. Bizzy and COW had the family background which taught them the principles of business.

    The second concept I will suggest which goes with business is trust. A shared and common belief generates trust. Trust allows people to work together for a common objective.

    To demonstrate how the two have worked in the past, I am going to point to the Quakers.

    The Quakers did not have an outlet for their energies in the Army or Church and until the 1870’s were not even allowed to attend university.

    Instead they directed their energies and work ethic at creating businesses which would provide them with the financial independence to practice their beliefs.

    Their names are synonymous with business success and whilst today the businesses have long changed hands and are no longer under Quaker control.

    Here is a list of businesses from wikipedia.,_organizations_and_charities

    …. and here is an article worth the read.

    Barbadians have no shared common belief and the family has been shot to hell.

    There is no guiding principle …. nothing …. well … perhaps one …..$.

    It was not always that way!!

    Why on earth would a graduate from UWI or an individual not follow what our leaders have shown to be the National objective …. teef as much as you can …. every man for himself …… and the devil tek the hindmost.

    Sorry, that is three!!

  24. @bush Tea. Read my blog. I did not say COW I mentioned Bizzy Williams, who went through the same educational system obtaining a degree in electrical engineering. . What do you mean by “practical value? If I am not mistaken, Professor Wade , Peofessor Emeritus of M.I.T went through our educational system and has a large number of patents in a number of fields. for example when you turn on your cell phone and a blue light comes on that was his patent. He has returned to BIM and is contributing his knowledge to further extend his knowledge to students. Professor Oliver Headley (now deceased) was one of the pioneers in the use of solar energy in Barbados. Visit the fish landing site at Skeetes bay, he pioneered the use of solar energy for referigeration there. Now, non functional because it was allowed to fall into disrepair because of the same “:prophet without Honour”: syndrome of those who had no vision.There are others in other areas I could give as examples. You are obviously one of those who can only see the glass as half empty all the time.Even Rihanna, a product of the University at Waterford, despite her success and philantropy is still “without honour….” We have world acclaimed Neurosurgeons, who “passed through our system, scientists. writers and others in any field you can think of, and out Central Bank governor is a world respected economist that is highly thought of world wide. Check his publicaitions and accolades. “A prophet again…?”
    Barbados is part of the World and does not stand alone.

  25. @john;
    Are the simpsons not Barbadian/ Are the Goddards not Barbadians? Wern’t the Tudors, the Maxwells, London Bourne, not Barbadians? Why do you want us to emulate the quakers who were foreign entreprenwurs,.

    • @Alvin

      One has the distinct impression you are extrapolating on the success of a few which has its origin in a 50s and 60s paradigm to band aid an obvious systemic problem in our education system in 2013. Again, if we evaluate our competitive position in the global market are we happy with our knowledge capital/skills bank?

  26. Alvin

    Suppose I tell you that besides being Bajans the family names you mention were in all probability also at one time Quaker ….. and quite apart from being Quaker were foreign entrepreneurs!!

    Every Bajan today has an ancestor who was foreign!!

  27. so then it begs the question why is it that barbados human resources is seeked out by larger countries and put to good use. the fact is that after the millions or billions of dollars spent on educating bajans the education is given a shelve life of decay because of lack of opportunity. these same educated bajans excel in foreign countries using the same knowledge that was given freely by our system. the fault lies in the system who has no faith in those who they freely educates but continues rely on outsiders as the way forward to us achieving success .

  28. The problem is NOT foreigners getting in to Barbados, it is Barbadians NOT getting out. Barbados was 21 miles X 14 miles in the 1950s and 1960s, it is still 21 miles X 14 miles today.

    • Migration flow from Barbados has always been very low compared to other islands in the Caribbean. The issue as Enuff suggests is that we are producing skills which are not relevant in a Barbados context. Do we need to expend millions on lawyers, doctors, accountants, management people etc? We need to be more targeted in how we allocate scare resources. This is the conversation when we need to have and it is one which MOEHR Ronald Jones hinted at in his pre-election debate with MAM. Fees (means testing is coming).

  29. yeah supply andv demand .however our education systems works well in their favour in that they can grabhold of our available and easily accesible educated resources at no cost and use them to build their country. why can.t we used the same method and use our educated to our full advantage. i dare say that we have no confidence in our own. education without opportunity is worthless and until govt have the guts and the willingness to show that it is comfortable and confident in the people who i belive can put their education to good use for this country we would continue to see our education system as a failure.

  30. How many Barbadians migrated to say Guyana up to the 1920’s or Panama at the time of building the canal or to the UK in the 50’s and 60’s? How did these episodes affect the Barbadian economy and culture?$FILE/MIGRATION_&_THE_BARBADIAN_STANDARD_OF_LIVING.pdf

    • The BLP Manifesto promised that they would have:


      A scan of the DLP Manifesto does not address how it plans to fun the education budget. We are open to being corrected.

  31. David you reference george Pain and Edmund Hinckson cuss out at MAM leadership vote in roebuck street.

    Thats interesting we forgot their bitter conflict over rawle eastmond’s replacement.

    MAM not only have to look over her shoulders 24/7 for the 5 Gang beefed up by 1000lbs of blubber Kerrie she has to multitask as fireman/woman with small wars btween lightweight ego maniacs Hinckson and Pain.

    Dont bring on Rawdon yet short man BLP might call on your leadership again.

    Wait my tv show Pain more vertically challenged than short man.

    David what de azz I seeing.

  32. Also another point to ponder are those bajans who return to the island with a wealth of knoweldge acquired through work experience and further education in international countries and on there retun are seen as busy bodies when the reenter the workplace and what ever reservoir of good information they have is seen as useless. no wonder the CJ is having such a hard time getting anything done cause such is the mentality of the home grown educated bajan who thinks they know it all

  33. An excellent point………….whenever Bajans return to Barbados to give back in the form of knowledge, i experienced this personally “you tink you could come back and change things bout here”??. No one wants to deal with that negative mentality. Most of us just turned around and left.

    It also begs the question, why in 2013 3/4 of all businesses are not owned by Bajans, the black majority???. I wonder if it’s not because of that negative mentality.

  34. @ alvin cummings

    My sympathies for going to Wesley Hall. But if you had a full vestry scholarship to Combermere you would have been entitled to full tuition, including books, free uniform, including shoes and free lunch.
    If you had an exhibition scholarship it was only part-paid. I was a scholarship boy – from St Giles.


  35. Yes this kind of “know it all” is definetly a turn off and it does nothing to help the country in advancement especially in the area of science and technology where many oversees bajans would have gained experieced which in return bajans should take great advantage of.then we wonder why we are always behind the eight ball when we are always quick to dismiss and underestimated with a “holier than thou” attitude. The CJ must be wondering what de F…ck

  36. It would be interesting to understand why Beckles accepted that title when he was well on his way to changing the mindset of a lot of people, he should known it was an attempt to tame him, and it worked. After he accepted that title, no one has taken seriously since.

  37. I do not always agree with Hal’s articles, but I must say this article is on point, ‘notes from a native son’ is at his finest with this article.

  38. @ David
    Can you shed further light on the George Payne / Edmund Hinkson row ? If what you have heard squares with what I have heard ie Payne is about to sue Hinkson for defamation then there will be trouble . And you know , George Payne a’int easy !

    • @Just wondering!

      This is the word making the rounds, until something is filed we have to treat it with a pinch of salt.

  39. @ac ”no wonder the CJ is having such a hard time getting anything done ”’

    But Amused says he has only done ONE case in almost two years!!!! I guess he does have a problem getting things done if that is true.

  40. the answer easy when dealing wid a bunch of egostistical a//hole and know it all EXHBIT A for refernce CASWEll ! somethings are just best left to die a slow and natural death. one can only understand and appreciate what the CJ is dealing with in the judiciary if one is wearing his shoes.barbados has been slow and tardy when it came to judicial matters .unfortunately for CJ he has to deal with a bunch of nincoopoops who have decided that a faster approach would cut into their meal ticket. imagine a lawyer not having to hold on to case for not more than a year money wise that is a loss. the longer the case takes to be presented the more money the client has to pay up .

Leave a comment, join the discussion.