Open Letter to the Prime Minister: The People’s Price Tag on a Republic

Submitted by Heather Cole

Submitted by Heather Cole

I write on the behalf of the people of Barbados to highlight what I think is a matter of great concern to your attention. It is with regards to the changing of the system of Government in Barbados from the Westminster system to a Republic.

You may recall that in 1652 the under represented English Colonies, flexed their muscles and obtained quasi independence under the Treaty of Oistins by advocating their rights under the banner of ‘no taxation without representation.’

Errol Barrow then took a step further in 1966 to obtain full Independence for this island from Great Britain.

In admiration of your quest to achieve the status of a Republic in 2016, we have noted that you do not have the two thirds majority in the Lower House and that the Leader of the Opposition may not entertain your wish for a Republican status at this time. In 2016, the people feel the same under representation as the early colonies did, especially given the harsh economic climate that currently exists on the island. So, the people of Barbados can put a firm offer on the table. We can propose by way of a referendum if our below proposals are met to deliver to you a Republic.

One does not have to look too far to see that the provision of the basic necessities of life are now in need of addressing; water, housing, education and health. We have noted that you reward the upper class with contracts, chairmanships, hotel concessions and land to the detriment of providing the people the basic necessities of life. The same people have been burdened with taxes to cover the concessions which you have given away. The poor of this country are given nothing by your government except the constant carnivals that perpetuate the psychological hold that the end of the crop celebrations have placed in their minds since the time of Slavery. There must be something meaningful in exchange for a Republic that will benefit the masses of Barbados.

Here is what I propose in exchange for a Republic:

  1. That the Integrity Legislation that was a manifesto promise of the election of 2008 is implemented.
  2. Sustainable access to running water for all by putting one of those studies that we have been informed are at the BWA into action by digging into the underground aquifers to supply the island. All of Barbados must be ensured this necessity not just the Heights, Terraces and tourist industry.
  3. The removal of VAT across the board on food.
  4. The revision of the VAT rate on cellphone usage back to 17.5%.
  5. On reflection, it is the current education system that is the last bastion of colonialism not our present system of Government. A change in the structure of our educational system will change the mindset of the people. Teaching entrepreneurship from the primary level will halt the curse of the past which dictates success to a selected few who enter the halls of the older secondary schools. In essence the new model will give every child a chance to succeed; instilling in them that the poor black man of this country can own a business and not depend on others to survive.
  6. Free access to tertiary education at the University of the West Indies, the Barbados Community College and The SJP Polytechnic.
  7. The creation of a micro business development programme that has ambassadors who go out to communities guiding the youth into areas where they can start small businesses. Equipping them with skills and knowledge and handholding for predetermined period is a much better way to offer hope to the youth as opposed to football tournaments.
  8. That by a defined selected process the poor of this island are allowed to rent or own the houses that the government has stockpiled.
  9. Offer support to small farmers to form cooperatives with the aim of reducing the imported food bill. There is already the land which Mr. Bjerkham no longer wants that can be used for this purpose.
  10. Reduction in the land tax bills. The cost is now prohibitive to the poor.
  11. The cancellation of the Cahill Waste to Energy Project and a return of the $200,000 finder’s fee back to the public purse immediately and to engage the people in any projects that affect the environment.
  12. The removal of the tipping fee that has led to rampant illegal dumping putting the health of all Barbados at risk.
  13. The provision of resources and equipment at the QEH and the Psychiatric Hospital to ensure adequate care of the residents and citizens of Barbados.
  14. And last but not least the de-criminalization of Marijuana, the scourge that has wrecked the lives of the youth of this county since the mid 1970’s. It should never have been criminalized.

Please note that the above mentioned if agreed upon must be enacted by a date prior to the referendum and that a change to a Republican status will not bind the people to elect your government for a third term in office. The enactment of the above will certainly give the people of Barbados something meaningful to celebrate.

Heather Cole

150 comments

  • @flyonthewall. I must burst your bubble. You have just assassinated the English Language. Plain and simple. It is difficult to read, lack structure. There is no style and I do presume that you are older than 9. It does not grab my attention or make me want to read more. Writing and story telling is an art. Perhaps you should go back to the drawing board. However any grading would just be because you accepted the challenge.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences

    Colonel….it’s a disease afflicting the politicians, everything that the people should know is wrapped in secrecy only to be vomited when they see white people. Local politicians just cannot be trusted….and the people they talk out their guts to, will trust them the least, because what affects the electorate has absolutely nothing to do with them, they don’t care, they are on vacation and most of them would like to get rid of the monstrosity that is parading as a monarchy, but these hard headed negro men and women cannot get that through their thick skulls.

    Like

  • History decides whether this govt or any other govt were for the betterment or the worse of a country. The players and the stakeholders who lend their voices to the ongoing of the system mostly do so out of their “wants” and needs and very seldom what is in the best interest of the country.
    For e.g no 12 in the article lays out a formula based on a premise that a tipping fee put in place was the cause for illegal dumping which is a blatant untruth when all and sundry knows that 1. illegal dumping has been an on going problem in barbados for years and continues to be worsened by the lack of implementing laws to curve or stop those practices (which in part can be due to the lack of funding),The question therefore IMHO who does the fee benefits in the long term .Those who are against the tipping fee lost sight of the fact that the fee is initiated in its purest form towards the long term benefit of the environment but ignores the overall benefits and by facts driven by political propaganda and self interest .
    For others who would rather not see the long term dire consequences of an environmental nightmare because of lack of policies sufficiently funded and well formulated in the need of preventative measures the purpose of the fee will serve the long term viability of an environmental friendly barbados and not purposely put in place to help a few but an initiative that serves all of society
    The article is a diatribe of self interest wants and needs housed in a dream like world of “make belief absent of facts and truths having the applaud of those of likened minds

    Like

  • @WW&C

    Chuckle…..where ignorance is bliss……..

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  • Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass.

    flyonthewall January 15, 2016 at 6:17 PM #
    @Are we there yet
    You are mistaken if you believe I, like AC, have any DLP affiliation. This is the worst government the country has ever had. I have no intention of defending it. But I stand by my comments and I believe time will prove me right.

    Heather’s political motivation seems obvious to me, I presume without one she wouldn’t bother to agitate. I also presume she believes, like all of us, that violent revolution is impossible and undesirable so we must therefore agitate for change with the tools we have available: press, social media etc. By definition that makes her political.

    It does not follow, however, that anyone against the DLP is for the BLP; it is that asinine thinking that has brought us to the brink of destruction. As well as other 2-party Caribbean states, albeit with voting masses more ignorant than ours.

    I sincerely hope that Heather finds the patriotic motivation to stand for election in the 2017 polls. If there was ever an example of what our 3rd party should look like it is her. There are many other patriots with strong opinions about what is best for Barbados who won’t stand for election, our greatest challenge is finding them an effective forum and power base.

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  • Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass.

    ac January 16, 2016 at 6:21 AM #
    History decides whether this govt or any other govt were for the betterment or the worse of a country. The players and the stakeholders who lend their voices to the ongoing of the system mostly do so out of their “wants” and needs and very seldom what is in the best interest of the country.
    For e.g no 12 in the article lays out a formula based on a premise that a tipping fee put in place was the cause for illegal dumping which is a blatant untruth when all and sundry knows that 1. illegal dumping has been an on going problem in barbados for years and continues to be worsened by the lack of implementing laws to curve or stop those practices (which in part can be due to the lack of funding),The question therefore IMHO who does the fee benefits in the long term .Those who are against the tipping fee lost sight of the fact that the fee is initiated in its purest form towards the long term benefit of the environment but ignores the overall benefits and by facts driven by political propaganda and self interest .

    When you spew this $hit do you read it back to yourself before distribution?

    For decades we have fought illegal dumping and just about managed to get it under control, especially due to Bynoe and other recyclers. What did the retarded a$$holes in your cabinet think would happen when they demanded Bajans pay for something they had for free and could continue to get for free? Did the same brainless jackasses think for one minute that measures such as army patrols, police patrols, firmer legislation, larger fines etc. should have been put in place before the tipping fee was implemented to mitigate against the obvious consequences?

    The tipping fee is a perfect example of the detachment the DLP cabinet has from reality and their blind ignorance of the consequences of their ill-conceived, ill-advised foolishness. Any 11 year old child would have told Lowe and his money grabbing whore of a cabinet what the consequences would have been.

    You and your whore masters have not one shred of credibility left in this country, there will be wild celebrations in Bim when you are gone. Continue to increase taxation, we will still starve you out of office. When there is nothing left to teef the teefs will crawl back to where they came from.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences

    Vincent…ha, ha, but I don’t keep my visions secret, all to myself.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences

    AC will spew shit whether it’s warranted or not, a shit spewer.

    Like

  • “Seek maximum exposure for everything you write”. This is exactly what she or any “writer” on social/political topics should be doing. She is not writing in her personal diary, but online.

    “And then, lo in the next paragraph you present a solution”. That was what i like about the article. Refute her solution, suggests competing ideas and bshow where she is wrong.

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  • To equate this dribble of nonsense with what was written by Ms. Cole is a sign of insanity.

    It looks as if we will all have to get a whacker.

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  • Colonel, as an example (perhaps a bad one) . if I saw you building a shelter, I would call it lunacy. If I saw the US embassy building one, I would try to get one also. One has to take all of the information into consideration.

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  • Businessman, I have seen this too often on BU.
    If you express an opinion that does not completely align with the ideas of some, then you are assumed to be supportive of the “other’ side.
    Don’t be intimidated into saying nothing.

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  • Ha!Ha! Overly frustrated and confuse business man.Your response is inertia typical of those with tunnel vision waiting for the bottom to fall out before taking all available preventitive measures . Clowns like you relish the idea that the band aid method of repair is always the best. Never able to grasp alternatives until it is too late

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  • Why hasn’t this come as a surprise to anyone ? What did Owen Arthur called this government?

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  • Well Well & Consequences

    I don’t understand this, maybe am a little dim today. I remember very well back in the early 2000s the government bought a residence in Forest Hills, Queens, I believe the price tag was in the region of 2 million US, that would be about or near 16 years ago, so what does that article mean….makes no sense.

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  • Well Well & Consequences

    Colonel…am really not being sarcastic or anything, I was truly confused on seeing that article. The US 2 million dollar residence for diplomats would or should have been insured. Forest Hills is the epitome of hoity toity in NY.

    Like

  • Frustrated confuse a.sshole business man

    The fact that my comment drew hostility speaks of your acceptance of the status quo which are all so eloquently bundle together in the article under the persumption of change .

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  • Colonel

    And, why does a country with a population ranking 171 of 193 require a property, located in the tree-lined and sedate high-income community of Forest Hills in Queens, then goes begging for concessionary financing.

    Like

  • Perhaps what we will see in the future, is some enterprising Barbadian purchasing property in New York, Washington, Miami ,Toronto and London and renting out to the Barbados Government , like what has been done at the Sky Mall (JulieN),a fat wallet throw away from the sprawling and under used , LLoyd Erskine Sandiford Centre .
    We like it so.

    Like

  • @Colonel Buggy January 16, 2016 at 3:45 PM #

    Time you started to write a book on the happenings in Bim…..unfortunately most publishers would tell you that it has to be classified as work of fiction as no country with all of its much touted educational system could produce people who allow situations like that…..but worth a try…….who knows even a film deal……good for tourism too….we will be deemed a genetic impossibility……the sky is the limit

    Title:The BBs of the Caribbean.

    Like

  • It is a good time for Barbados to order 5 million barrels of crude oil @ $28USD / barrel & stockpile.Barbados should have signed the petrcarib deal ,take out a loan for 5 million barrels & lock in Venezuela .

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  • The Government not passing on any savings from cheap oil ( $28USD/ barrel) to consumers. It is still costing motorist $150+ BDS to full up at the gas stations. So there is no need to raise vat to 22.5% on cell phones.

    Like

  • @ David.
    If you can’t get a deal with Venezuela, then lock Trinidad.

    Like

  • ERROL BARROW REFUSED TO BE JOSHUA AND WE SHOULD THANK HIM FOR IT

    Ms Cole has expressed a desire for me to write something on BU. I imagine she wishes an opportunity to comment on my work as I have done on hers. I’m not one to disappoint a lady, so I am giving it my best shot. However, let me first make a number of disclaimers:
    First, since she introduced the 50-years-since-Independence theme, I have kept to it. What I write is an entirely personal interpretation – not a work of history – of what transpired in the early years as we set off on the journey. And since that journey truly began under Errol Barrow, I have chosen to focus on him.
    Second, I never met Barrow or any member of his government. The closest I ever came to him was in a discotheque in Barbados, and even then he was 20 feet away.
    Third, I am not a DLP supporter; I don’t have any deep regard for the other party either as it is currently constituted, but if forced to choose I will probably lean in its direction.
    ________________________________

    Barbadians love their biblical stories and heroes, and they are adept at finding parallels in their own time. The story that resonates most strongly for black Barbadians, as indeed it has done for black Christians everywhere, is the freeing of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. It is not by coincidence that Grantley Adams was called the “Black Moses”.
    But as we know, while Moses led his people out of Egypt, it was not his destiny to take them into the Promised Land. That responsibility – that privilege – would fall to Joshua. It would be Joshua whose army defeated the Canaanites; it would be he who would blow his horn to blast the walls of Jericho and, one by one, also bring down the other citadels of Canaan.

    In 1966, there were many Barbadians who saw Errol Barrow as Joshua and were eager for the sound of his horn. The citadels would fall and the Canaanites would be routed, and within the context of Barbados at that time it’s not hard to figure out who the “Canaanites” were.

    Errol Barrow shunned that role and we should all thank him for it. Had he embraced it, Barbados today would be another bankrupt experiment in democracy, a dysfunctional little rock in the Atlantic. He left the “Canaanites” in place in their citadels (i.e. White-run commercial enterprises) and set out to build a nation that would accommodate them.
    I believe he knew that, in time, there would be more Israelites inside the citadels than Canaanites. What is more, they would build their own. Besides, he needed those White-run commercial enterprises – those citadels – to function well to help fund the vision he had for Barbados.

    And Barrow was very adept at drawing on the talents and experience of those White business leaders. He knew that these men, despite their colour, would help him build a new Barbados. He asked them to serve and they did. What is more, they did it for free.

    As I see it, Barrow chose the path of evolution rather than revolution, even though he knew it would be a far more gradual process than many wished it to be. And he made that path attractive by paving it with education and making it smoother to travel on.
    Across the Atlantic, in Africa, other leaders in newly independent countries chose differently.

    There, a plethora of highly destructive “Joshuas” held Africa back for decades. Fifty years on, there is hardly a country on that continent in which democracy is anything but a thin coat of varnish.

    Errol Barrow wanted to build a more equitable society but not by fire. What many people don’t appreciate is that, in the social hierarchy of Barbados – at least the Black hierarchy – he was an aristocrat. And aristocrats tend to value rather than despise order and stability.
    He was an international thinker, extremely well educated and with a world view honed by participation in a world war. And on November 30, 1966, he knew EXACTLY how precarious his country’s future was.

    Contrary to what some may believe Britain did not resist the idea of Independence for Barbados. What concerned the British Government of the day was that, having helped push the “Good Ship Barbados” out to sea, they would have to come rescue us as we foundered within sight of shore.

    Errol Barrow must have had the same fear. He knew that if it all went pear-shaped Barbados was well and truly f—-d.

    That things did not go pear-shaped is due to his leadership and a vision that went far beyond politics. I have heard it said that he was autocratic, but in the early days of Independence he probably needed to be. (Besides, I have this said of other prime ministers we have had. From all accounts, Tom Adams was no “sweet bread” and neither was Owen Arthur.)

    I’m grateful to Errol Barrow, and to the other leaders that Barbados produced since 1966. We may say they were flawed, but which of us isn’t.

    Fifty years on, I believe many Barbadians would willingly settle for some of that old-fashioned autocracy instead of what currently exists. We are drowning is politicians while starved for statesmen.

    The difference between the two is this: a statesman thinks of the next generation; a politician thinks of the next election.

    Like

  • FlyOnTheWall;

    Nice!
    Write something on the Cahill debacle.

    Like

  • Due Diligence January 16, 2016 at 2:23 PM #

    You asked why? The Great Errol Walton Barrow has long ago given us the answer.
    We have champagne taste with mauby pockets.

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  • @flyonthewall January 16, 2016 at 7:05 PM #

    Hats off to you,a good assesment up to independence.

    What are your views of his 10 years tenure post independence?

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  • “We have champagne taste with mauby pockets.”
    It was as a result of his ‘make you feel good’ policies which encouraged people to live and consumes conspicuously in other words to live above our means.

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  • @ balance
    It was as a result of his ‘make you feel good’ policies which encouraged people to live and consumes conspicuously
    +++++++++++++++++++++++
    Nonsense…
    Not only did we live within our means back then, but we also managed to acquire valuable national assets such as the Harbour, Airport, Manufacturing estates, Bartel, etc…

    The deficit got out of hand under the great ‘economist’ (what ever the hell THAT is…)

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  • “And Barrow was very adept at drawing on the talents and experience of those White business leaders. He knew that these men, despite their colour, would help him build a new Barbados. He asked them to serve and they did. What is more, they did it for free.”

    We may say they were flawed, but which of us isn’t. Yes I do agree that we all have our demons but I have never been able to comprehend how Mr Barrow had the temerity to curse in a vicious way the same white businessmen he turned to for help as you put it. I heard Mr barrow on the political platform whipping the crowd into a frenzy by telling the crowd the Barbados Shipping and trading was the bastion of colonialism and calling certain businessmen by name to the adulation of the crowd said they wanted putting on the Lord Combermere and put out to sea.

    Like

  • @Flyonthewall
    Across the Atlantic, in Africa, other leaders in newly independent countries chose differently.
    There, a plethora of highly destructive “Joshuas” held Africa back for decades. Fifty years on, there is hardly a country on that continent in which democracy is anything but a thin coat of varnish

    +++++++++++
    Don’t try to elevate Barbados by giving African countries short shrift, stop comparing oranges with apples. For a proper context compare the experience of Barbados post Independence with other Caribbean countries. Barbados was blessed with a good foundation, a small island, homogeneous population, good primary schools and a high literacy rate, decent communication (read roads). Let’s look at Ghana the first of those African countries that gained Independence from Britain. A large country, rural population, schools but not on par tribal society (there is still an Ashanti King) many languages and dialects different regions cobbled together to form a country. Look at Nigeria , large sprawling country which the colonial power brought together, many languages, tribal differences, religious differences, Central Gov’t despised by other regions (see Igbos), non- homogeneous see differences between people from the North and those from the South. Look at Kenya, large country tribal differences, Independence gained through a guerrilla uprising (Mau Mau), I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture.

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  • @balance January 17, 2016 at 12:10 AM #

    Any good/great political leader has a balancing act to perform by telling the poor class masses what they want to hear(including cussing all&sundry) as they are the ones providing the votes and at the same time convincing the monied class that he will look after them if they support him.

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  • In my opinion all talk about black v. white, republic and so on is only a big distraction from the true issue: economy, overhead in public service and integrity in serving Bim.

    “Punching above weight” was only possible by good governance in the past. There is no white or black, republican or royal, left or right wing economic policy, but only good and bad for the majority of this country in order to protect the weak, encourage the strong and to balance society.

    As commentators said before, the tools to get out of the present mess are already know. Where is the captain to lead by example and to change the rules of the game?

    Like

  • @Are we there yet

    Like the vast majority of Bajans I’m appalled by degree of corruption that it represents, but I can’t add anything to what BU and others have exposed. I’m not a “player”. I came here to learn the truth behind this deal.

    Like

  • David, I believe that Fly-on-the-wall’s submission deserves a separate space. The topic as to the veryearly years of our sovereign statehood is of significant contemporary relevance in our 50th year.

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  • @ Vincent

    In all honesty I am not qualified to assess Barrow’s political performance. I’m not a political scientist or historian, and by the time of his second period in office I was living overseas. As I said in my post, my observations are personal and subjective. Looking back, I believe things could have gone sideways under someone less wise.
    @Sargeant
    I do get the picture: tribalism made it extremely difficult to create cohesive societies. Nonetheless, the “Joshua role” has been played out in many countries in Africa. It was perfected by Robert Mugabe.
    @Balance
    He knew what they wanted to hear and what made good political theatre. It boils down to votes. You know Bajans don’t go to political meetings to hear reasoned arguments grounded in sound policy. I have a very dear friend (white) who has been a staunch BLP supporter in the background since the time of Bree St. John. he told me a story about how a very high-up BLPite called him one night to tell him that whites would be getting some licks from the platform the next night. “Don’t take it seriously,” he said. “You know how it goes and why.” I heard the story that Dipper wanted to put all white people on a boat and push them out to sea. But let me tell you a story about him and boats that I know for a fact. Apart from loving to cook, he loved to fish. And many is the time he went fishing with white men on THEIR boats. He could discuss things discreetly without being seen to fraternize with the “enemy”.

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  • flyonthewall January 17, 2016 at 11:30 AM #

    I Agree with your post above…….I was not here for much of the 2nd term but for his 3rd term I was back here and it was his worse,possibly driven by the fuel crisis.

    Like

  • Barrow was a man born ahead of his time, and while Barbados benefitted from his vision, he suffered the usual fate of those who are similarly out of touch with contemporary thinking.

    Flyonthewall is largely correct, but Barrow was self-assured enough to be able to see himself as leader of all Barbados – Black and White, and to take steps aimed at maximising collective results. Tom also to an extent, but then we had the Don Blackman /USA approach taking hold …and its inherent divisiveness.

    Barrow could not swallow the fact that after all he had done, he was rejected by the masses in election….. he NEVER got over that rejection. This happens often when wise, competent leaders attempt to guide brass bowls to safe grazings …only to be ignored and rejected in favour of others of the brass bowl ilk….. 🙂

    …something about casting pearls to swine….

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  • I just realized that in my last post I addressed Are We There Yet instead of Balance. I apologize for any confusion.

    @Jeff
    Thank you Jeff, I take your suggestion as a great compliment. But I am content to be an ordinary blogger. I don’t have any desire to make a name for myself or receive any special attention.

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  • @flyonthewall

    This is where you and Heather are different, you have a (good) point to make share it. What good is having an idea or perspective and be passive in its dissemination. Agree with Jeff your intervention should be highlighted :-). Feel free to submit your thoughts by clicking on ‘Submit Confidential’ at the top of the page. This is what we need in Barbados, IDEAS, especially from the apolitical :-).

    Like

  • Pingback: Errol Barrow Refused to be JOSHUA | Barbados Underground

  • You are quite right David: Heather Cole and I are very different.

    Liked by 1 person

  • “but we also managed to acquire valuable national assets such as the Harbour, Airport, Manufacturing estates, Bartel, etc”
    Nonsense all of the above were evident before 1961.

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  • What if I do not agree with two or three of your proposals? And my neighbor agrees with me on two but with you on the other. A platform for popular consensus must be built, minus the partisan political waste of human and financial resources.

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  • And this is where vision informed by leadership comes in to play.

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  • You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

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  • My comment now is similar to when this article was first offered. There are many good ideas for improving the governance / economic management of this country. A platform that compiles suggestions and gives citizens the opportunity to be engaged in ongoing decision making, while involved in free and fair enterprise, would be beneficial.
    Westminster geographical constituency parliamentary politics is outdated considering the technology that is now available. Incorporate Barbados with a TEAM of qualified professionals, chosen for sectoral representation and guided by a direct participatory democracy on a digital platform. If becoming a republic causes Barbadians to be more individually responsible and develop self sufficiency, rather than depend on the electoral system contenders to pander their needs, I’m all for it.

    Like

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