Economic Advancement Based on Educational and Human Development

Submitted by David Comissiong

(Part 4 of “Don’t Agonize!  Organize!”)

Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education

Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education

There is only one way forward for Barbados! Simply put, our country has – by its own efforts – to develop itself out of the condition of stasis and crisis that it has found itself in over the past decade.


And it must do so by pursuing critical reforms in its education system (along the lines outlined in Part 3 of this extended essay), and also by basing its future development efforts squarely on the advanced educational and human development standards that it achieves and upholds as a nation.

If we Barbadians adopt this type of approach to the future development of our nation, there are – at least – twenty developmental projects and initiatives that I would wish to recommend. And these are as follows:-

(1) Education As An Industry

I have already made the point that we should set out to establish “Education” as a foreign-exchange earning industry in its own right, and a new addition to the productive engines of our economy. The details of this proposal were spelt out in Part 3 of this extended essay and I will therefore not repeat them! Suffice it to say that it is not beyond Barbados to provide fee-based services for a wide range of regional and extra-regional students.

(2) High or Advanced Technology Manufacturing

There are two ways in which Barbados can get involved in and pursue high or advanced technology manufacturing!

Firstly, we must recognize that in as much as Barbados is such an extremely small nation, that local enterprises that are attempting to manufacture goods for the export market should be brought together in a centralized, cooperative structure that would permit the most advanced equipment (technology) to be collectively acquired and made available to the entire collective entity.

In order words, let us conceive of our small nation as one centralized factory, and let our enterprises collectively (and with the support and input of our Government) acquire the most advanced and efficient equipment – equipment that would otherwise be beyond the reach of any individual enterprise – and let us produce a generic “Barbados” branded product for the export market.

Secondly, where foreign high technology manufacturing companies are concerned, let us adopt the approach that Singapore utilized in relation to attracting German and Japanese high technology manufacturing companies to that small South East Asian country.

The Singapore strategy was to invite initially sceptical high technology German and Japanese companies to partner with the Government of Singapore in establishing (on a 50:50 basis) Singapore – based training institutions in which the Germans and Japanese would instruct would-be employees in the techniques and standards required by the Japanese or German manufacturing company. Thereafter – having participated in the training of the workers – the Japanese and German companies became confident about relocating some of their high technology manufacturing operations to Singapore.

Permit me to give one example of how Barbados can pursue this idea. Barbados claims to have a special relationship with Great Britain. Well, let us invite Britain to not merely send tourists to our shores, but to relocate some of the factory operations of their high technology Pharmaceutical and Aeronautics industries, on the basis of the joint (Barbados Government: British multi-national company) establishment of specialized worker training institutes.

Please note that I am not making a case for any and every type of foreign industry! Rather, I am restricting myself to high wage-paying, high technology industry that is based on a highly trained and educated cohort of workers.

(3) Intensive, High Technology, Food Production

Barbados’ food import bill is approaching $800 million per year! If the Israelis can utilize technology that permits them to grow food in the desert, there in no reason why Barbados – with advanced standards of literacy and education – cannot utilize appropriate technology and organizational methods to produce much more of the food required for local consumption.

The problem that we face is not one of the lack of intellectual or technical capacity, but one of attitude! Here is one example that proves the point: several years ago a “Green-house” was donated to Harrison College by a well-meaning benefactor, but to this day it has never been used and has fallen into a state of decay! Why do our educational authorities refuse to introduce our high academic achievers to the idea of participating in intensive technology-based food production?

The way forward therefore is for the relevant Barbadian institutions to conceptualize an intensive, high technology-based food production industry for Barbados, and to orchestrate a national mission to reduce Barbados’ food import bill by some two-thirds!

(4) Cultural or Arts-based Industries

Barbados has excelled in the sphere of literature, having produced the likes of Hilton Vaughan, Frank Collymore, George Lamming, Kamau Brathwaite, Paule Marshall, Tom Clarke, Timothy Callender, and Bruce St John among many others. And yet we have done nothing to build an industry around this national resource!

Similarly, we possess – in the person of Robyn Rihanna Fenty – an international musical superstar who has broken virtually every conceivable record and created a “buzz” around the name of her country of origin. And yet, our Government and private sector have done nothing to capitalize on the opportunity that Rihanna’s success has presented to construct a music / entertainment industry!

We need a national programme to pull together and synergise the undoubted talent that exists in Barbados in music, drama, literature, dance, painting and performance poetry; to organise this talent along industrial lines; to give it a “Barbados” brand; and to market it to the world. Once again, we need to think of Barbados as one centralized entity!

Furthermore, Barbados should also possess at least one national symphony orchestra, dance company, and theatre company for the enjoyment of both locals and visitors to the island.

(5) Cultural and Heritage Tourism

The next phase in the development of Barbados’ tourism industry should be a “Cultural Tourism” phase centred around locally owned hotels and guest houses that radiate the unique culture and sense of hospitality of Barbados and of their Barbadian owners.

In addition, the entire island of Barbados – its landscape, history, heritage, arts and culture – should be seen as the tourism product, and not merely the traditional sun, sea and sex! Thus, we should – for example – develop multiple sight-seeing and heritage trails (replete with proper signage) that encourage and facilitate tourists to visit and experience the entire island, thereby permitting a wide range of Barbadian product and service providers to benefit financially.

Hotels must also be encouraged to invest in and to provide good and substantial career opportunities for the entertainers and performing artistes of Barbados. Let visitors be invited to come to Barbados to – among other things – discover the next Rihanna!

(6) Health Tourism

Far from discouraging young Barbadians from getting involved in Medical training, and rejecting young Cuba – trained Barbadian doctors, we should recognise that Barbados possesses a potential comparative advantage where Health or Medical Tourism is concerned, and we should set about to capitalize on such potential. There are multiple possibilities for the construction of new Medical Tourism facilities, inclusive of the old General Hospital and Eye Ward properties located on Bay Street and abutting on the magnificent Browne’s Beach.

There is also the possibility of partnering with the Cuban medical system, and availing ourselves of all of the new, advanced medications and medical techniques that Cuba has developed for dealing with ailments ranging from Diabetes to Cancer.

(7) Sport Tourism

Every single national Sport or Game Association in Barbados should be required to have a “Sports Tourism Sub-Committee” as part of its management structure, and there should be designated “Sports Tourism Facilitation Officers” in place at the Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Tourism, Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, and Barbados Tourism Authority, ready and willing to work collaboratively with the National Associations to develop and implement Sports Tourism projects.

There are twelve months in a year, and there is no reason why – with the right vision and organization – we cannot have year-round Sports Tourism activities based on the more than two dozen sports and games that are practiced in Barbados!

(To be continued)

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23 Comments on “Economic Advancement Based on Educational and Human Development”

  1. Well Well & Consequences November 17, 2015 at 8:10 AM #

    Start the economic advancement by educating Caribbean people that the sun is free, there for their use and foreign companies should not be allowed to continuously exploit. By all means buy shares in the company, but power your own houses. Solar power is the start of economic advancement. If these governments cannot see that, they are useless.


  2. Well Well & Consequences November 17, 2015 at 12:58 PM #

    Guess the leaders will have to also be educated that there is much more money in not having the police and BDF chase down every marijuana seed and leaf. The industry is booming in countries. Canada is about to legalize, what is wrong with Caribbean leaders.


  3. Well Well & Consequences November 17, 2015 at 7:03 PM #

    “Black leaders in newly independent black countries like Nkrumah in 1965 and Barrow in 1973 were without any guide for government reform”

    I believe the above quote summed it up back then and still applies now. This is 2015 and the politicians and government ministers could at least try.


  4. David November 17, 2015 at 7:37 PM #

    Comment Mr. Comissiong?

    The Nation Newspaper | Denny PEP-pers Comissiong

    PEP founding member David Denny yesterday accused interim chairman David Comissiong of mainly using the party to carry out a personal vendetta against Prime Minister Owen Arthur.


  5. SuckaBubby November 17, 2015 at 7:54 PM #

    Mr Comissiong, I mean you no offense but this is a revolutionary piece which is only as good as the minds of the people.I think it would be more useful to outline a basic ideology for people to hang up in their house like they do with a picture of a white Jesus.


  6. pieceuhderockyeahright November 17, 2015 at 8:11 PM #

    @ Suckabubby

    I dont know if you have been reviewing these articles by Come Sing a Song.

    It is noted that each week Sing A Song is improving his content slowly………. grafting his content from submissions by the Blogmaster, Bush Tea, Donna, Due Diligence, Artaxerxes Hants, Gabriel, you and even Domps (by not putting in what he and Legion submit)

    Very Phreaking Slowly….He is a slow learner

    Next week he will be working on the content for the other ministries. Do not mek him bus he brain by asking for more in depth materials….please or when the General Election rolls around he will not have his manifesto finished and may again have to do the victory run from the back of the blue Suzuki Van alone!!

    I would suggest that you do not put Sing a Song in the spotlight by asking him to comment on a “basic ideology”

    @ THe Blogmaster.

    What Party?

    Come Sing a Song got a Party? Still?

    This frat between Comrade Denny and Comrade Sina A Song is probably over $$ from the Cuban Ambassador to visit Cuba or Venezuela.

    Denny vex since he lost that last Spanish wife and looking to go back there for anudder one and David doan wanna pay for the plane ticket.

    Wunna got to learn to read between de lines…lol Owen Arfur what, David doan even tink bout Owen aftur he, Arfur, give he David de Pan African agency.

    Denny sorta slow heself doah….


  7. Alvin Cummins November 17, 2015 at 8:15 PM #

    @Well Well:

    The Sun is free, but the technology to make it effective costs money.


  8. Bush Tea November 17, 2015 at 8:50 PM #

    @ Piece
    You TOO bad….!!! 🙂


  9. chad99999 November 17, 2015 at 11:49 PM #

    This is the usual stuff about copying Singapore. Medical tourism. Rihanna. Pie in the sky. Barbadians do not have the discipline and technological aptitudes of the Chinese. Entrepreneurial talent is also scarce.Our businessmen still overspend on personal toys (if they are black) or hoard their wealth (if they are white).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sargeant November 18, 2015 at 12:56 AM #

    We need a national programme to pull together and synergise the undoubted talent that exists in Barbados in music, drama, literature, dance, painting and performance poetry; to organise this talent along industrial lines; to give it a “Barbados” brand; and to market it to the world. Once again, we need to think of Barbados as one centralized entity!


    It would be good if DC could put flesh on these bones instead of engaging in platitudes. How do you build an industry around authors? Is he planning a “Festival of Authors” every week? As for entertainment along “industrial lines”, is he planning a Music Extravaganza monthly? Are there enough people in Barbados with disposal incomes to take advantage of this talent or does he envisage a wholesale invasion of tourists to enjoy these spectacles?

    Does “national programme” mean that the Gov’t will reach into its deep pockets and fund these “brands”?

    DC’s inner Walter Mitty must be acting up again.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. pieceuhderockyeahright November 18, 2015 at 5:59 AM #

    Exorcising Devils – Fighting wid de demon inside

    De madam finally get de ole man to go to a male doctor fuh dat yearly prostate examination which I was used tuh enjoy going twice a year to with Dr de prettiest female doctor in Barbados til she went way to “upgrade she skills.” almost two years ago.

    Well all uh wunna know de ole man vex fuh two reasons.

    One, causing one red man (de doctor) pushing he finger up me rectum as opposed tuh dat pretty ting and ever more strange is dat, whereas de madam always used to come wid me when I was going to dat female doctor she doan come when I going to dis man.

    I dun tell she dat if sumting happen tuh me when he examining my nether region, I is not gine forgive she.

    De Doctor fellow tell me dat I is antagonistic and dat I need to “get out and societ wid peeple” and he say dat I should “go to Q in de community and de ole peeple complex in green Hill” to address my “antisocial behavior”.

    I tell de man dat I is part of de church feed my sheeps, and I does interact with de young peeples at church and does watch Jerry Springer and Dem udder ingrunt sensitive cooking shows wid me madam and ting (agony itself)

    But I was not able to share wid him this pastime here pun BU nor this specific pleasure which is between wanting write nuff cuss words regarding dis Sing A Song Fellow which approximates fighting wid Damien from the Exorcist

    De ting is dat Sing A Song ent really a bad fellow it is jes dat he is jes like de rest uh brass bowls round de cuntry but he a little brighter Dan de rest uh we and every now and then this part of him does rise up and start to rebel like how I does want to rebel gainst de madam instructions to go to dis male doctor who does lef he finger 3/4 of a second too long in me nether parts…

    In time, Come Sing A Song I pray that he will change, unfortunately time is not a commodity that our country has a lot of as he continues to experiment with these glorious communist precepts


  12. Well Well & Consequences November 18, 2015 at 8:12 AM #

    Alvin….do a little research and find out how much the Chinese sell their solar technology for and they have winter and they have over 1 billion people. As with everything in Barbados all the greedy suspects will look to overcharge and gouge Bajans to satisfy that insatiable greed it’s up to the government to curb and put an end to price gouging.


  13. Artaxerxes November 18, 2015 at 9:54 PM #

    Interestingly, St. Lucia has been fortunate to have two Nobel Peace Prize winners.

    In 1979 Sir Arthur Lewis won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics – distinguishing himself as the first Black person to ever win an award in a category other than those relating to “Peace”.

    And in 1992, when St. Lucian poet and visual artist, Derek Walcott, won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was recognized as the first Caribbean writer to receive this award. Walcott continued to bring honour to St. Lucia, when he secured professorships at the prestigious Harvard University, Boston University and the Universities of Alberta and Essex, in Canada and the UK, respectively.

    I read that Trinidadian song writer, Jason “Shaft” Bishop, while addressing the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries’ Creative Industries Development workshop, held at Cave Hill School of Business, said that there is lack of content in Barbadian music. He said this was as a result of “artistes having limited themselves to familiar surroundings.”

    In other words, Bishop was politely saying that Barbadian musicians don’t get out (travel) and expose themselves to new things, resulting in the “lot of shiite songs” they write for Crop Over every year.

    Yet, every year, we have the likes of some the so called “prominent” calypsonians praising these shiite songs and “bigging up” the shiite composers. Then there are the radio DJs parading as “song producers,” who are allowed to play these shiite songs on our popular radio stations for the world to hear. And we are satisfied and proud to call this our culture or the “art form.”
    (No wonder we now have the Trinidadians teaching us how to take over and operate businesses and how to compose calypsos).

    As such and against this background, I would have to support Comissiong’s suggestion of building “cultural or arts-based industries.”
    But why can’t Austin Clarke, for example, who now resides in Canada, assist Barbadians pursuing studies in literature, etc, in securing admission in Canadian universities to pursue post graduate studies in these areas.

    This could provide opportunities for young aspiring Barbadian writers to avail themselves to the intricacies of writing plays or movie scripts. They could use their knowledge to write plays or movies for the Caribbean, thereby creating an industry unique to this region, and creating a new type of entrepreneur in the process.

    The Nigerians and Ghanaians have been able to successfully create a movie industry, producing the popular “African Movies.”


  14. Alvin Cummins November 18, 2015 at 10:30 PM #

    @Well Well;
    Re Solar Panels
    “…they have over 1 billion people. …” (China) …279,000…(Barbados)
    Economies of scale my dear. Economies of scale. They do not manufacture to give them away. What is the wholesale cost? What is the CIF cost, what would be the markup? What would be the profit margin. What would be the cost of installation? Work out these costs and get back to me.


  15. Alvin Cummins November 18, 2015 at 10:58 PM #

    Austin Clarke is very ill.


  16. The People's Democratic Congress November 19, 2015 at 3:55 AM #

    Imagine there presents a good opportunity to perhaps engage Mr. Comissiong on any issues pertaining to the various articles he has thus far helped to submit on BU and here is it we have a few stupid jackasses who seem so short on doing so.

    No wonder there are some people – who we know – that have said they will not help post any opinions on here.



  17. Well Well & Consequences November 19, 2015 at 9:58 AM #

    Alvin…I am not working out anything, you are the typical time waster…..China is not and does not have the problem, Barbados does have a problem with high energy costs. You need to put that Ph.D to work for the good of the island and come up with cost efficient ways for the people to install solar panels. Make yourself useful and stop wasting the precious time you have left with idiocy….like your master Bjerkham.


  18. Ping Pong November 24, 2015 at 7:56 AM #

    The following UWI tracer study should be required reading. Reality has a way of deflating fanciful notions.

    Some excerpts….

    “Following a similar pattern of decline the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados registered a 73 per cent employment rate for its 2013 cohort down from a 79 per cent rate for its 2009 graduates.”

    “Below average employment rates were, however, recorded for graduates who pursued studies in Agriculture, Science and Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences.”

    “At the lower end of the tier, earning below median salaries were students with degrees in Life and Physical Sciences, History, Literary, Cultural and Communication Studies and Economics.”

    ” The data analysis also noted that young graduates are not prepared for the competitive and harsh labour market conditions due to lack of proper career guidance services.”


  19. Bush Tea November 24, 2015 at 9:04 AM #

    @ Ping Pong
    Perhaps the very genesis of the moot here is flawed.

    Talk about economic advancement based on education and human development is just a lotta hot air …as you well know…and as anyone who have children would know, despite all the talk we give them, by their teenage years they care ONLY about what they actually see us DOING….

    How does Come-and-sing propose to build a society on that basis when the youth see all around them that ‘economic advancement’ is based on quick scams like ‘borrowing FOREX to be repaid by grand-children’; on ‘finders fees for CAHILL; on pulling off heists like CLICO; on ‘business’ arrangements with JADA, Bizzy, COW etc; and on selling some tampie…?

    The problem with wunna HC bright-boys is that wunna does read too many research papers and big books without pictures…..coming up with million dollar solutions to a ten-cents problem.

    As one of the GENUINELY bright HC ones, perhaps you may wish to guide Come-and-sing that the challenge will be to ACTUALLY change the society into a MERITOCRACY instead of the mendicant /panhandling/ lackey shiite that now have ….and of which he is a classic example.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. pieceuhderockyeahright November 24, 2015 at 9:33 AM #

    @ Bush Tea

    Befo’ de ole man depart dis earf (as if I got any say in the time and de season) de ole man wuh like to meet wid you and one or two udders here (de Blogmaster), jes to see de man behind de words dem.

    Unlike de ole man ramblings you does not vacillate.

    Me Madam tell me dat if she did tek mo time tuh court de ole man dat all like now she wudda lef me ingrunt self single!!

    She say dat I shudda bin a comedian causing today I talking serious stuff and den two minutes later a beriffle uh ingrunce but you skippa does doan shift from you statements and “are as constant as the northern star, like who dere is no fellow in de firmament…”

    You dun see dat Comrade Come Sing a Song ent cum bak heah tuh comment pun he mess, now i wud tell you if i was de Blogmaster dat he come and copy alot uh wunna remarks to publish pun he manifesto but he en pick he teet at we since.

    @ The Blogmaster

    BU “Respect is Due to a Dog” policy.

    I tink it is time tuh implement a policy where anybody who submit a blog and doan cum back tuh comment gine get dem blog tek down out uh respect fuh de 19 udder commenters dat tek dem time tuh comment heah.

    You is a married man youself and you know de risk tuh life and limb dat we does be tekking de risk uh “we madam not cooking fuh we scvunt” and, like Hants say, “going to dem sistah or muddah house to eat dem food, and lef we menses who at 80 nuff ent even know how tuh bile water, hungry when dem (understandably??) vex wid we hollering “jes one mo like sweetums…jes leh me finish dis one line…”


  21. Ping Pong November 24, 2015 at 7:32 PM #

    The current flavour-of-the-month in education circles is the promotion of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). However one must wonder if a STEM degree is worth the time and money if one takes into account the results of the UWI tracer survey.

    This survey revealed that while graduates that studied Education, Medicine and Engineering continue to enjoy above average employment rates on an annual basis, below average employment rates were, however, recorded for graduates who pursued studies in Agriculture, Science and Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences.

    Further it was revealed that graduates with degrees in Life and Physical Sciences, History, Literary, Cultural and Communication Studies and Economics earned salaries below the median income.

    I wonder what a similar tracer survey of polytechnic graduates would show. I despair for my country that while the employment prospects of our young persons continue to fall, the political future of Agard and the BLP receives so much attention.


  22. Bush Tea November 24, 2015 at 8:46 PM #

    @ Peice
    You flatter the bushman….but thank you anyway. 🙂

    @ Ping Pong
    Boss, don’t you think that this ‘tracer study’ is a juvenile piece of shiirt?
    Steupss….. No wonder employment rates are down for those who ‘study social sciences’.

    Wuh it is ONLY OBVIOUS that employment rates for qualified Bajans MUST fall ..if we sell off all our businesses to foreigners – who then fire all the local professional staff, bring in outsiders for all kinda positions …and only use bajans as clerks, security guards and porters.

    Shiite man!!
    You don’t see the funny looking albino technicians working all over Barbados in the villages and gaps stringing wire and making joints? …apparently this work is too complex for locals DESPITE all the education….

    You don’t see that EVERY meaningful company have all albino foreigners in management … and that new gringos are continually rotated through for training and experience – while Bajans suck salt? and scrunt to be loyal customers?

    If these social science jokers were “worthy of Paddy’s aim”, then their various analyses would have led the donkeys who are leading the country to make the connection when they were selling off the country’s silverware to raise FOREX to buy their SUVs and expensive brandy.

    This is a typical UWI shiite study that says nothing; means nothing; does nothing and addresses nothing.
    …no doubt someone will be awarded a PhD and maybe even a Sir as a result…. we LOVE mediocrity….


  23. David November 26, 2015 at 6:47 PM #

    BU notes with interest David Comissiong did NOT submit his recent article in the series to BU.


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