Privatization of State Enterprises on the Horizon
Posted by Artaxerxes to the UWI Cave Hill Takes a Hit
Politicians from the BLP and DLP are guilty of implementing policies that seemingly benefit the electorate in the short term, but in actuality having long term benefits for the political party.
For example, the NHC housing policy has been exploited by both the electorate and political parties. These housing units should have been starter homes for individuals/families who are in the process for developing themselves. Tenants should have been limited to rent units for a specific time period, while encouraging them to build their own homes. Financial assistance should have been given to those low income workers to either build their homes or purchase the units. Hence, rentals should have been an on-going process, whereby when one tenant moves out, another one moves in. Instead, and more so for political reasons, tenants were encouraged to occupy the houses for several years or not to pay rent. In 2008, this administration transferred ownership of the units to those tenants who occupied them for over 20 years, free of cost.
Additionally, I was doing a bit of reading and realised, prior to the 1976 general elections, Errol Barrow reduced bus fares from a per stage basis to a standardized rate of 25¢ per destination. However, he went on to lose the elections to Tom Adams and the Barbados Labour Party. Many people think Barrow is beyond criticism, but if we want to have a serious discussion about the Transport Board, we must first examine what implications this election gimmick had on the Board’s operations and financial stability over the years.
From 1976 until now, both political parties refused to address the “over- subsidization” of the Transport Board. Rather than allowing passengers to pay according to distance, as was done prior to 1976, and at a time when wages were way lower than they are now, they continue to burden taxpayers by maintaining a standard bus fare, mainly for political reasons. Barbadians brag about being more economically developed than our neighbours, who have in existence a policy whereby bus fare is charged accordingly.
We are now confronted with the reality that operating the Transport Board in its current format is unsustainable, and are playing with the idea of privatization or charging the appropriate fares. However, there is great hesitation in doing so as yet, because the political environment is not conducive at this time for such action.
Essentially, the days of free tertiary level education have come to an end, and the government has made a bold move to partially “privatize” this aspect of the educational system. Full privatization will soon be with us, as it will also become unsustainable for government to continue sponsoring the economic costs for Barbadian students.
The time has come for us to demand that our politicians to cease their practice of inculcating a culture of mendicancy, mediocrity and complacency in the minds of our citizens.