Notes From a Native Son: Has Mauritius Anything to Teach Little Barbados?

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

In a recent essay on how small economies cope with a volatile world economy, Jeffrey Frankel, professor of economics at Harvard University, referenced Costa Rico, in Central America, and Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, as two nations with interesting growth models. Both nations, he pointed out, had outshone their peers and, noticeably, they had also been innovative and, of some importance, both avoided having a standing army. Those reading these Notes over the years may recall that one of the policy initiatives I have long called for was the return to a volunteer regiment and abandoning the Barbados Defence Force for reasons too long to go in to here. Such a change can be done without any loss of service people’s jobs, with a few gazetted officers remaining in place to run the regiment, and transferring the others to the police and Coastguards.

It is our coastal borders that pose the highest security risk to our nation, which is the responsibility for the Coastguard, and the police, not a standing army, could deal with any internal breakdown in law and order. However, Professor Frankel went on to point out more interesting coincidences between the two nations: “The results in both cases have been a political history devoid of coups, and financial savings that can be used for education, investment, and other good things.” Mauritius gained its constitutional independence from Britain in 1968 and embarked with some difficulty on a process of nation-building. Unlike Barbados, there was no automatic assumption of punching above its weight or of being more British than the British. It was a process of bringing the Muslim, Hindus, Africans, Chinese, creoles, French and British together as a single nation.

One change or innovation that will be key to any economic rebalance of the Barbados economy will be a countercyclical fiscal policy, saving during the good times in preparation for the tough times on the horizon. It is the old Biblical story of the famine, but for reasons best known to themselves, most developing nation prefer to follow the Anglo-Saxon economies with state overspending during the boom years, then imposing painful austerity measures in the tough years.

The other initiative that may be very productive is a fiscal budget balance over the lifetime of a parliament; so governments could overspend in the early years of a new administration, but approaching the end of that parliament the focus should be on balancing the books. This condition could be written in to legislation. These points aside, Mauritius has important lessons for a small semi-open economy such as Barbados in that it has recovered from previous external shocks by diversifying the economy, rather than refocusing on tourism or an over-dependence on sugar. It is this simple, but effective rebalancing tool that for six years has outfoxed the minister of finance, Chris Sinckler, and the governor of the central bank, Dr DeLisle Worrell.

According to Laurent Belsie, of the National Bureau for Economic Research, Mauritius has been successful because it has working institutions. “That this 720-sq mile island is an African success story is borne out in various rankings: first among sub-Saharan African nations in the Rule of Law index from World Governance Indicators; first in the index of African governance; and the highest ranking African nation in the United Nation’s Human Development Index (and 81 our of 182 countries worldwide).” Ignoring for the time being the over-inflated importance of the UN’s Human Development Index, the facts on the ground are very impressive. |Owner-occupation in the US is about 70 per cent, in the UK it is about 65 per cent, but in Mauritius it is 87 per cent, only Singapore, with about 90 per cent, is higher. This is progress. The Mauritian economy, without the advantage of natural resources, has also grown at an annualised five per cent over the last 30 years and per capita income has also grown from about US$400 a year to $6700 at present. The ‘miracle’ is that Mauritian society has settled on a social compact, one based not on crude economics, but on social cohesion and obligations across generations. It is a society that has realised that the US model of militarising all state institutions is one that leads to widespread inequality and a decline in society. Therefore it has re-focused on not spending what little money it has on a standing military and opt to use that budget for the wider social good.

Like most emerging economies, Mauritius faces an enormous challenge from the post-globalisation initiatives of developed economies to devalue their real exchange rates through the process of quantitative easing, or the ‘printing’ of money, in order to drive their exports. Under this new paradigm having an open economy, one in which nations can trade across borders transparently and with minimum hindrance, three key features are necessary: the rule of law, so that there is enforcement of contracts, (just look at the logjam in the courts), the absence of protective import tariffs (the extortionate Barbados second hand car sector operates to my mind like a Mafia), and the absence of export subsidies. From 1970 to 75, exactly when Barbados was suffering from the exogenous shock of the Middle East oil embargo, the Mauritian economy was growing by an average eight per cent, and from 1970 to 2010, when the global banking crisis had mutated in to an historic recession, it averaged 5.4 per cent. The island emerged through the various developmental stages: from an economy dependent on sugar, to one producing basic labour-intensive manufacturing, including textiles and more recently it entered a third stage of tourism, services and technology. Very importantly, Mauritius devalued twice, encouraged by the International Monetary Fund, and has diversified in to new industries, while holding on to its traditional ones.

On the other hand, we have a situation in Barbados where low-cost textiles are imported from China and South Africa, putting indigenous small firms out of business. On the contrary, look at the numerous failed attempts by Barbados governments and businesses to get a viable Sea Island cotton industry off the ground; look at our failure to develop a black belly sheep industry, both in terms of meat and wool. Successive Mauritian governments have also made very interesting interventions in the macroeconomy: a 15 per cent simplified tax universal across individuals and corporations, and the Business Facilitation Act, which removed barriers to investing and hiring. Part of these reforms mean that a business can be started in Mauritius within three days, numerous regulatory conditions have merged in to a single requirement; tourism operators are encouraged to innovate, both products and markets, and new industries include legal and financial services.

All of these Barbados can do to a comparable level, or even better; Mauritius has developed a seafood industry, unlike Barbados which had a viable shrimp industry with 15 trawlers on independence, and not a single one today. Last time I checked people were still eating sea food. There is also a major capital project, a trade zone, funded by the China government and valued at US$700m, which is projected to create 40000 new jobs over five years. The new export-led industries will earn a further over $300m a year. The other major project is a US$3bn new City, which the government expects will ease traffic congestion and pollution. Equally, it has a floating currency, all ideas for the ministry of finance.

One remarkable feature of this government is its apparent obstinacy and closing its collective mind to new ideas. This is borne out of political partisanship and an ego-driven cultural obsession with the notion that the principals must be seen to be driving any changes or innovative policies. Barbados has an uncompetitive fixed exchange rate, based on the macroeconomic thinking of the early to mid 1970s and not the needs of the post-Great Recession global and local economic climate. What compounds this volatile situation is the importation of energy and food inflation and that driven by local traders doubling and trebling retail prices without any official oversight. The government could have avoided this, and still can, by creating a prices and incomes commission which would take full responsibility for any changes in retail prices and wage increases. Further, at some point it must be realised that although Barbados has not had a riot or other serious social disturbance since 1937, the reluctance of the two dominant political parties to cooperate in the face of stinging economic problems is a symptom of political instability. The situation is even worse since the fact that not a single parliamentarian, many of them with second jobs and businesses, has volunteered to forego a cut in salary to benefit the poor and impoverished in their constituencies, a sure sign of lack of empathy and charitable sensitivity. They should be punished at the polls for this.

One single important difference between Mauritius and Barbados is that one nation is innovative, enterprising, adventurous, while the other rests on its laurels in the vain belief that something must come along. Mauritius has not got all the answers, nor is all its innovations that brilliant; what is important is that they are prepared to try new things, some of which work. In the search for new ideas it is important to remember there are two dominant growth theories: one based on capital and labour and the other on ideas. One approach to ideas-driven growth is skills transfers through foreign direct investments and investing in people, neither of which Barbados is known for. The economic success of Mauritius is a good example of a country that has diversified its economy and, despite its other faults, stands as a good model for other micro-states and small open economies.

Like Trinidad and Guyana, after the abolition of slavery there followed a labour shortage on the plantations and that labour was imported from India; other groups quickly settle and the nation has managed to bring them together as one, certainly compared with any other multi-cultural, multi-ethic, multi-religious nation. In time, a variety of ethnic and religious rivalries and conflicts occurred, but post-independence it appears as if Mauritius has overcome those social and political set backs.

75 thoughts on “Notes From a Native Son: Has Mauritius Anything to Teach Little Barbados?


    Hal Austin@ focus on the crooks and look to add to what they are doing and have done, All what you write will not matter until we get the crooks out to see the light of day,
    ← Integrity Legislation:Lord I Can’t Take It No More@ someone now getting the point , stay on point

  2. Plantation Deeds

    Without the effective checks and balances, integrity legislation is a bunch of bull. How about an ethics -committee which monitor the conduct of those in parliament? And a second committee which oversights the ethics-committee to ensure that it does its job. This one way to deal with the self – interest which too often corrupts the political process.

  3. Hal Austin

    Here is an answer to one of the points you have made in the above article.

    What is prudence in the conduct of every family can scare be folly in that of a Kingdom. If a foreign country can supply us with a “commodity” cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better buy it of them with some part of the produce of our own industry, employed in a way in which we have some advantage.
    Adam Smith

  4. @Hal

    Phasing out the BDF and absorbing to the Police Force will not work, many of those soldiers can hardly read. The entry requirements are different.

  5. Hal Austin

    This is a Report of the International Forum on Globalization.

    Obviously, any nation or community’s security would be better enhanced if its own people could grow their own foods – at least ensuring thereby their survival free of market idiosyncrasies- and also manufacture as many of their other needs as possible before entering world markets. The goal of societies should not be to find cheaper prices for products but to find the means to ensure that all the needs of people are met and that a satisfactory and stable life is perpetuated within a system that does not collapse from being part of the volatile global market. If people grow their own food, produce their own necessities and control the conditions of their lives, the issue of price becomes irrelevant.

    • @Dompey

      Why don’t you make up your mind? You can’t quote Adam Smith in one breath about buying food cheaper on the world market and then quote the above. Do you have a position, in your own words using your own cognitive matter?


    dompey | April 11, 2014 at 4:02 AM | @
    No bad words for Hal nor you
    All what he wrote people over the years had to fight in their minds who to believe, Now they can see that these people are Crooks , Liars and Scumbags , We are awaiting the next TOP person to be name such ,
    The people is getting a front row view of these top title PIMPS,
    At this time we are at WAR for the truth and we need to STAY ON THEM HARD,

    To help the Nation move forward in getting these Bitches out of office ,We feel that Hal would help much better now that all can see who is doing what and for why, To keep the pressure on them . Hal seem to know the true or not far from that truth , but yet love to side step what is really and truly going on ,

    This is no time to be a D or B, this is time to be Bajan and not even Barbadian for the Barbadian seem to be part of the government and not to them self as the Royalty of Barbados the Bajan.

    We stand as Bajans . For we want no part of these type of people ,
    Enemy of My Enemy is STILL NOT MY Friend.D nor B

    We say is you love lies Please stay out of the Church House and run to the Government house for your truth,
    We Stand with God , and not GOD nor god,
    Thy Kingdom Come, Truth stand alone , anytime and any place,

  7. Why can’t Dompey do that David?
    If you have no idea what you are saying – then any quote would be adequate ….once the source sounds impressive… 🙂

  8. Simple question for Hal from his research….
    Is Mauritius full of dishonest brass bowls….?

    …if the answer is ‘no’, then your conclusions are flawed because your basis of comparison would be flawed.

    Bushie will rest his case there.

  9. @ David
    Are you telling me the police can read, but the soldiers cannot. How can you give these young men and women guns in such circumstances?
    By the way, I remember one minister saying that we had to import nurses because people could not pass the exams; same thing for the police.
    What is happening to our education system? Is this the country that the British government came to to recruit nurses, transport workers and soldiers?

  10. @ David
    Who sets the standards? 70 per cent of school leavers leave without any good exam results, that is the education system. People go up to Cave Hill to do degrees without A levels, and many of those who do have to get remedial English lessons.
    Two year s ago Canada declined to recognise CXC exams. I am not sure what the situation is now.

    • @Hal

      The dumbing down of UWI, Cave Hill entry matriculation is the subject of debate now with students asked to pay etc.

  11. David
    Is this not something that minister Jones should be concerned about, rather than involve himself in people’s bedroom habits? Or is voyeurism part of his portfolio?

  12. @David
    Phasing out the BDF and absorbing to the Police Force will not work, many of those soldiers can hardly read. The entry requirements are different.
    That is whole lot of condemnation and if that’s truly the case Bajans should be worried because nothing would scare me more than uneducated men with access to weapons sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

    An army of illiterates beats a graduate in every household any day of the week and what happened to 98% literacy?

  13. Hal Austin wrote “Two year s ago Canada declined to recognise CXC exams.

    McGill University….For Caribbean students: CAPE Unit 1 and 2 and CSEC examinations are acceptable in place of AL and GCSE, with minimum grades of I to III.

    Ryerson University Toronto
    The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE). The completed CAPE Diploma must include a total of at least six individual units with grades of I, II or III. All program specific prerequisite subjects must be included at either the CSEC or at the CAPE Level. Subject to competition applicants may be required to present averages/grades above the minimum.
    Ryerson will also consider a preliminary year at the University of the West Indies, Barbados Community College or equivalent in lieu of the CAPE Diploma.
    CSEC papers must be at the General Proficiency Level, if written before 1998 with grades of one or two, commencing 1998 with grades of one, two or three.
    Prerequisites at the CAPE level are highly recommended.
    Preference is given to applicants applying to mathematics and science-based programs that include mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology at the CAPE level (as per applicable program prerequisite subject requirements).
    CAPE units with grades of III or better may be considered for transfer credit on an individual basis.
    See also United Kingdom and Commonwealth.

  14. What makes any of you think one has to literate to shoot and use a rifle. In hundreds of underdeveloped countries children as young as 10 make up a considerable number of armed combatants and they are very skilled at using their weapons, however not one of them is literate.

    You do not have to be literate or intelligent to shoot and kill someone, however not to kill is where intelligence and literacy comes in.

    BDF is a waste of the countries money, just a welfare organization for individuals that cannot get a real job.

  15. Hal……Canada recognizes CXC only if it’s accompanied by CAPE subjects, one relative i have had 8 CXC’s and 10 CAPE subjects and had no problem entering one of their top universities.

  16. LOL
    Indeed – the best soldiers (even sergeants) are those who know no better that to follow often idiotic orders from petty politicians and pompous officers, driving around in luxury cars while the damn trucks are all broken down….

    The old volunteer Barbados Regiment was BY FAR a better effective force for this country than the current welfare institution ( as Wily Coyote so accurately puts it) THOSE officers were otherwise INTELLIGENT citizens who excelled in private life….

    Of course, if properly run, BDF has the POTENTIAL to be a major national asset, but its focus on mimicking the British / US armies displays a complete lack of any sense of relevance to local needs.

    When has an independent feasibility audit ever been done on the value this country gets from the multiple millions of dollars we spend on this “force” every year?

  17. @ Hal
    Here in Italy we have the Carabinieri which can be compared possibly to the State Police in the USA. There are always 3 of them in a car. Why?

    One who can read.
    One who can write.
    One who likes being in the company of intelligent people.

    Does this answer your query about the BDF personnel?

  18. David

    David, is there an unwritten BU rule which would suggest that I ought to adhere to a specific point of view because I’ve written two quotes which are diametrically oppose to each other? Now, there is obviously some truth in both narratives; one would think.

  19. @Hal
    Many of your points are well taken, but there are some notable differences apart from those that you outlined. Firstly, although the population of Mauritius is multi-ethnic, a large proportion of them is ethnic Indian. The geographical location of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, gives it close access to markets in India, Arabia, and Africa. All either large or wealthy markets. Nevertheless, in the 80’s and 90’s at least, Mauritius was able to produce garments, particularly knitwear, and ship the 8000 miles to Europe, and still offer them cheaper than anyone in the Caribbean, only half the distance away.I know that Errol Barorow was really interested in the Mauritius model, as he was in the Singapore model. The problem is that, successful as those models are, “dat cyan work here!”.

  20. Wily Coyote

    You obviously do not understand the principles of military Science. Of course any five year old is capable of firing a weapon. But there are obvious principles one ought to understand before he or she fires a weapon.

  21. Hear Dompey….
    “I’ve written two quotes which are diametrically oppose to each other…….Now, there is obviously some truth in both narratives”
    Ladies and gentlemen….Bushie gives you a man who has absolutely NO idea what “diametrically opposed” means….
    …either that, or the meaning of “truth” may also be evading his limited capacity for comprehension.

    With advisors like Dompey and ac, it is no wonder the kinds of decisions we see coming from government….

  22. They say a thief from a thief make God laugh. Mark Maloney and Barney Gibbs may not be thieves but their so called quarrel is a sick joke on poor people. Poor people who have made them two multi millionaires as a result of government contracts. The two of them arguing about bill boarding while thousands of poor people are out of work and need jobs. They need to cut the crap. The project by Maloney for the private sector to adopt sections of the highway and pay workers to upkeep them makes sense. The private sector known for only talk and criticizing government must forge ahead and do the highway clean ups.. The small bill boarding is a small price to pay to get unemployed Bajans back to work. Multi millionaire Barney Gibbs with a monopoly on bus shelter signs and benches signs must be told what he does is bill boarding too. He is splitting hairs. He and Maloney have received overflowing financial bounties over the years from the government and the people . Its time for them to give back and give us a break with the false arguments. That’s not putting food on anyone’s table. Let them leave their egos at the fancy country clubs and exclusive places where they socialize. We are in deep recession time for action not crap about who d*** bigger than whose. We the people are poor not stupid. Put up and shut up.

  23. David and Bush Tea please stop abusing Domnkey or I will report you to the Commission for the Prevention of Cruelty to ( fill in the blank ).

  24. @ Hants
    The most that Bushie will plead guilty to…is aiding and abetting in willful self abuse….
    …however…the Bushman will try to cease and desist…… 🙁

  25. Back to Mark Maloney…………..

    Is this a back door contract? Are we being told that the private sector is doing this as a way of giving back but some how the taxpayers will be paying? I don not trust Mark Maloney.

    Yea it is a good idea to clean up the high way minus the billboards …………..
    but with so many companies in financial difficulty due to the policies of this inept incompetent government who have the country in a permanent recession, are they really going to shell out money that they do not need to?

    Really? Is he giving back some of the millions he got to construct the molasses terminals at the port? I wonder………….that 800 people finding jobs seem bogus!

    Just saying!

  26. well glad somebody understand the importance of govt putting projects on table and handing them to private sectors to take charge,,,,,,,,only misfit and jibberjabbers would not understand such an importance ..yet uh got the bLP yardfowls day after day cackling about privatization but in this instances all they do is belly ache,,,,,,

    • @Prodigal Son

      Agree with you that government had the opportunity to empower some of those sent home by giving then the opportunity form small companies to bid on the beautification work. This could have been done in much the same way Sir David Seale gave the opportunity to his truck drivers years ago.

  27. wuh yuh think govt going get the money in order to help these new small start up companies,,,, get moving,,,,,,,,,,,it took almost six years to get this project off the ground,,,,,,now with govt most likely having to fiance these new starter uppers…. more likely than not this project would never happen…what the govt did makes sense and has avoided all the legal wrangling and logistics that goes along with new enterprises,,,,,,kudos for the govt,,,,

    • @ac

      Your head is hard that we know. The government would issue contracts which the displaced workers can invest/borrow against.

  28. @Scribe

    “The project by Maloney for the private sector to adopt sections of the highway and pay workers to upkeep them makes sense.”

    I am still lost. Why is Maloney involved in getting private sector companies to adopt sections of a GOVERNMENT owned highway? Who managed the adopt-a-roundabout? Our government so dunce, corrupt or all two both?

  29. don’t mek me laugh .really anybody who believes that an unemployed worker out of the civil service with no business sense or any form of collateral would be given financial assistance by lending agencies in bubbudus to oversee or run such a large project got to have rocks in their head,,,,,,the govt can give them all the contracts but in the end the financial aspect is necessary to get the project moving.

  30. Enuff | April 11, 2014 at 9:40 PM |

    Are you the same ac that was against privatisation prior to the elections?

    meaning what………………YES……………

  31. here is a question the JA asking you………how are these money dispersed,,, are they not rules and standards to be met,,,,and how long does it take for a person to qualify or gained access of funds to start a business,,,going by past knowledge of how lending agencies scrutinize applications for creditworthiness applicants must meet a high standard i would say that people who are unemployed and have not a first rate record of credit are always not approved because of high risk,,,, …as in the case with those recently unemployed for them to be approved they would have to show how they can repay the loan and that alone would be a strike against their credibility ,,unless thy have another source of income or can show sufficient proof of being able to repay the loan…. there are many people with great ideas who are unable to start a business because of a high credit standard and some have jobs and good credit rating and are caught in a loop because of high credit standards use by lending agencies ….do not be fooled govt has no money to throw around willy nilly at this time,,,,,,,and furthermore govt like any other lending agency first must protect their revenue and have to be absolutely certain that the money given can be repaid by the applicant before handing out money left and right in the name of empowerment…these people who are now unemployed if their are serious about becoming entrepreneurs would have to build their credit rating and in the mean time surround themselves with people who know how to develop and market their trade .

  32. @ David
    Everybody knows that ac is a JA.(..well except possibly Dompey who may still be trying to figure out what a JA is….)

    What the hell level of financing would be needed to take up such a project by a small team?
    Four lawn mowers, six whackers, and a few rakes,…?
    Steupsss …Wuh the government could have GIVEN them the tools that they had been already working with…..cause you can bet your last dollar that those have probably all disappeared already…. 🙂

    That was a slam dunk project for handover to the same very workers while one of the do-nothing government agencies like NCC co-or donated the sponsorship with the private sector.
    …but where there is no vision, and a lotta dishonesty, the brass bowls will get pissed on….

    • @Bush Tea

      If they asked for private sector sponsorship to deliver seed money there is every confidence that a couple would have stepped forward. Where is the enterprise thinking? Instead one man, one operation is cleaning up.

  33. Hal, you don’t sleep and you should be paid top dollar for not sleeping, but also for the abundance of info you consistently produce making people nervous or making them refuse to read your output. Nice piece on Mauritius.

    I read the piece carefully and noted that with all of Mauritius’ success they devalued their currency twice. But I wish you had also told your readers that Mauritius became a republic in 1992 and is doing just fine in-spite of or because of those two things.

    I have long maintained that devaluation should not be a sacred cow. Should not be a monster everyone is afraid to touch. There is nothing intrinsically valuable about not using devaluation as one of the economic tools to healing an economy. Barbados is no exception. Singapore who we always talk about as a great success story didn’t hesitate to take that step in 2009:
    “The Monetary Authority of Singapore moved to reflect the poor economic data by effectively devaluing the local currency by lowering the trading band in which it is managed. The move, which echoes the action taken in previous downturns in 2002 and 2003, devalues the currency by around 2pc according to economists.” Nick Fildes. Daily Telegraph, April 14, 2009.

    The politics is the bully standing in the way of using all effective means to a healthy economy by throwing devaluation into the mix. The politics also stands in the way of tackling the import monster that let us spend 80 cents of every dollar on imports. Successive governments are at fault here. This kind of analysis should never be a partisan tool and I do not look at it that way.

    Oh, the Republic, the republic, that crown for a republic.

    • @John A. Moore

      We discuss all these ideological, economic and other constructs as if they will work without the will of the people. This is the key area we need to target in our opinion – why our education has failed to this point where we lack the knowledge capital to drawn down at this time of need. Mauritius, Singapore and others in the East and Pacific region have a different culture and approach to Barbados and many of our islands in the Caribbean which labour under the legacy of a colonial past, civil service, Westminster system (hybrid etc) which are not relevant to driving competitiveness in todays world..

    • The following is instructive and speaks to the stark difference between Barbados and a success of Mauritius AND the challenge tossed up by comparing:

      Under a series of coalition governments, the nation moved from agriculture to manufacturing. It implemented trade policies that boosted exports: an Export Processing Zone, smart diplomacy regarding export preferences, and a competitive exchange rate. “The reforms were implemented over three successive governments; a number of observers have highlighted what this says about the stability of the political system and its ability to do what is best for the country even while simultaneously squabbling furiously over personal and factional politics,” Frankel writes. When outside shocks hit – the oil price increases, loss of trade preferences, and overwhelming competition from Chinese textiles – the island nation was able to adapt with business-friendly policies that allowed its economy to continue to diversify and thrive.

      The island’s accomplishments suggest at least three possible lessons for the rest of Africa. First, trade is crucial to growth. Second, ethnic differences can be accommodated by a well-designed parliamentary political system. Third, democracies can reform economic systems in ways that foster economic growth.


  34. David

    If you’re so anti – government and I hope I am not understating your position? Why don’t you create your unique system of government and man it with robots that are programmed to do no wrong? You’re obviously an idealistic thinker, if you believe for once that there is perfection in our human system of government. Good God man, as intelligent as you appear to be, you should at least allow some room for impropriety. You’re no spring chicken brother and I hope you do not take affront to this comment? But I am quite sure you have heard the saying, ” Plan with the Devil in the details.” This applies to our institution of government as well David.

  35. David

    What we need to comeback the egregious conduct we see in our institution of government today: is an effective system of Checks and Balances, design to flush-out the wrong doers.

  36. David

    I don’t’ care what Mauritius has to offer Barbados for an example because once you address man’s faults and failings: any system of government will work to deliver the necessary goods to the people. The struggle my friend is between the self-interest over the collective- interest; Angola and Nigeria are prime examples.

  37. Whenever you get past the verbosity and the sociological exegesis David, it boils down to whether or not the people are brass bowls….
    After all…
    An educated brass bowl …is a brass bowl
    A republic brass bowl……is a bb
    A devalued currency brass bowl….is a bb

    Unless we come up with some kind of alchemy that can convert brass into gold, our looking at other successful systems and comparing ourselves to them is a purely academic exercise…albeit an interesting one…

    • @Bush Tea

      Agree with you, ultimately it will be the good character of a people that will shape its destiny.

      And we must not define education and only academics.

  38. David

    Look at the progress Ghana has made after discovering oil in 1990’s and Nigeria who has had this natural resource as far back as I could remember. Now, look at the collective interest at work in Ghana and the self-interest and corruption which infested that system in Nigeria.

  39. David

    Man you don’t seem to get it because irrespective of how perfect of a system you believe Mauritius to be. What would prevent some of the leaders of that country from changing course today? I’ll tell you brother: the effective checks and balances which deters improprieties.

  40. BT and David

    We have been here before….we keep looking for crutches to save us as opposed to using the brains that we are born with to strategise our direction as a country and a region.

    It takes an intelligent person to play the part of a fool.

  41. can anyone come up with the name of the prime minister that started this selling of barbados lands in huge quantities and all along the shore line to ruthless foreigners only interested in today’s only love and end to be all.
    the stinking love of money, materialism,consumerism,lies.deceit, and anything to make this precious money you all crave like dogs salivating at their mouths.
    the lord said”the love of money” is the cause of all evil.
    and now as we look around ,man he was so, more money, got to have godless fools.
    oh yes the name of the first ass that sold out barbados . should be called a traitor but probably looking down pun you in heroes square.
    it should be called he teef square.! right? are any of you understanding?
    i hope you are ?

    • @Vincent

      But you have stated what is the obvious, it is the catylst which remains elusive. Yes it will take intelligent people BUT we keep missing the litmus which will cause a nucleus of likeminded people (not just politicians) to get the job done.

  42. @John Moore
    I do get a good night’s sleep, but good on your with your call for a Republic – look what is has done to Trinidad and Guyana.
    The key point is, as you know, the obstinacy of our political leaders. As a legal scholar I know that you know that the legal form of of the head of state does not affect the quality of government.
    The collapse in our governance started after independence.

  43. David….
    The Catalyst is swiftly approaching,triggered by uncertainty,the lack of telling the people why/when/how things will unfold and what what has to be done by all to pull us out.

  44. @ David
    The reason why successive political parties ignore the 70 per cent educational failure rate sis because the 30 per cent passes are the sons and daughters of the well connected and wealthy.This is the reserved army of labour – made idle by technology and the recession..

  45. Vincent…………….I believe it was Hants told them yesterday (really good adice for the DLP/BLP) to stop waiting for the recession to end, this one is a keeper, they (the poilticians) will all most likely be in DEPENDS diapers, drooling into their night shirts and cannot remember their own names while sitting in a nursing home or rocking chair at home before this doozy of a recession ever ends, don’t know what it will take to make the politicians in Barbados realize the gravity of the situation that the world is now confronted with……….

    Again, there was a recession after world war 1 that lasted more than 29 years, but since the very idea of a recession is now something that Caribbean people is only now becoming cognizant of, no one is really taking this one seriously.

  46. Pingback: Notes From a Native Son: Has Mauritius Anything to Teach Little Barbados? | Black In Barbados

    • @Hal

      In countries the world over citizens are proud of the school tie. To allow pride to interfer in making sensible decisions betrays the pride the alumuni have in their respective schools.

  47. David
    I am very proud of Belmont, St Giles and the University of Waterford. They have contributed more to the making of me than any number of UK universities.

  48. David

    David, Mauritius is a shallow economy much like our… The Mauritius economy is organized around four key sectors, tourism, textiles, sugar and financial services and it is heavily dependent on European and Chinese tourist. David, Mauritius, life blood flows from Europe, the country’s’ main trading partner.

  49. David, thanks for the references and your comments. I however don’t see a cultural problem or legacy problem in managing an economy where serious problems must be tackled. Barbadians will follow the law like we have traditionally done. Do you think there is a cultural or legacy barrier to seriously reducing our imports? To put it another way, the ship is sinking, there is too much cargo on board. Do you think there is a problem in throwing some overboard?

    • @John

      Unfortunately yes because economic growth for Barbados is characterized and driven by conspicuous consumption. Any move to dismantle the current system will lead to chaos because what is required to survive, pragmatically speaking, does not align with embedded behavior which will be driven by emotion. It is a problem.


    In another blog you said “sell barbados to canada as it is looking for a destination canadiens can go”

    Sell what?

    A bankrupt island bleeding money.

    Canada just spent the last several years stopping its own bleeding.

    By the time Canada’s Auditor General conducted its own due diligence of the Barbados Government’s books (what books?) you could not give it to Canada, or for that matter pay them to take it.

    Canadians are happy to go to Mexico, Cuba, DR, Costa Rico, Panama.

  51. “Hal……Canada recognizes CXC only if it’s accompanied by CAPE subjects, one relative i have had 8 CXC’s and 10 CAPE subjects and had no problem entering one of their top universities.”


    8 CXCs “sounds” reasonable………. but 10 CAPE subjects????????? …..Wow!!!

    And a CAPE subject is (more or less) equivalent to a GCE “A” level.

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