Minister STEPHEN LASHLEY’S Philosophy of Development is Seriously FLAWED

Submitted by David Comissiong, Barbados Citizen
Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

The Sunday Sun newspaper has reported that Minister of Sport, Youth and Culture, Stephen Lashley, recently addressed a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) gathering on the topic of “50 Years of Independence: The Barbados Story“, and informed the DLP faithful that Barbados Scholars should NOT be required to return and work in Barbados, but should instead be facilitated to work in foreign countries and to send back “remittances” to Barbados.

Well, with all due respect to Mr Lashley– one of the more thoughtful and forward thinking Ministers of the DLP Administration— I totally disagree with this sentiment and with the philosophy on which it is based!

Barbados is a relatively young, economically under-developed country, with very limited NATURAL resources. Thus, our nation’s fundamental developmental  strategy must be one that is firmly based on the cultural and educational attainments and assets of the people of Barbados, and on our people’s capacity to evince energy, initiative, creativity, drive and a spirit of self-reliance in the development of their own country.

In other words, if we are serious about developing our country then we should be able to understand that  the primary architects and builders of the economy of Barbados MUST be the Barbadian people themselves, and in particular  the brilliant, young, highly educated and trained scholars of our nation.

It is an undeniable fact that virtually every single progressive nation on this earth not only seeks to hold on to its most brilliant and highly educated young people, but even go beyond this and seek to entice to their shores the brilliant and highly educated young people of other nations!

Take the little east Asian nation of Singapore as an example. The Government of Singapore actually gives Singapore Government scholarships to brilliant foreign students in order that they might receive their university education in Singapore and be persuaded to settle permanently in Singapore! And the same holds true for larger countries such as Canada and the United States of America.

So, why then should our nation pursue a strategy in which Barbadian citizens and taxpayers– at great expense and sacrifice to themselves— finance the university education of our country’s most brilliant young sons and daughters, and then send them off to use their skills to contribute to and develop the Canadas, USAs and Singapores of this world?

If, after 50 years of supposed “Independence” we still have not learnt that we— and in particular our talented and educated young sons and daughters– have to consciously and passionately assume the role of being the primary craftsmen of our own national fate, then we are well and truly lost as a nation.

No, Brother Lashley, we don’t want the brightest of our young people working in and developing some-body else’s country and merely sending “remittances” to their Barbados-based family members! Rather, we want them right here with us in Barbados, making their contribution to the further positive evolution of our national culture, and utilizing their intelligence, education and talent in the development of our economy and other social, political and cultural structures.

By all means let us permit them to remain outside for an appropriate period of time in their pursuit of knowledge and new experiences and insights, but let us fundamentally understand that there is no quantity of remittances that can compensate for the loss to the nation of the direct intellectual and cultural input of its brightest and most highly educated sons and daughters.

And finally, I need to make the following point to Minister Lashley and to all the other Ministers of our Barbados Government :-  it is your job and DUTY as Ministers of Government to put the relevant policies and mechanisms in place to facilitate and foster the active involvement of our very own educated and trained youth in all aspects of our national development effort. And if you don’t understand this, then you have missed the whole point of and reason for being a Minister of Government!


  • Why wunna confusing wunna heads?

    Policy what?

    The Minister’s daughter who was at Queen’s College a few years ago with my Little Johnnie got a scholarship or exhibition did she not?


    People so foolish.


  • @bajans November 7, 2016 at 11:30 PM “My son would not live in Barbados. He finds it boring.

    A Simple Response “Maybe your son is the boring one. The last married Bajan woman I hear complaining about how boring Barbados is and she can’t live here really wanted to run back to New York so that she continue to sleep with a boss.”

    @bajans November 7, 2016 at 11:30 PM “The country is short in quality visual and performing arts. ”

    A Simple Response: I am not sure where you and or your son go when in Barbados for to see and hear the visual and performing arts, but I question your statement. Barbados in fact has a population of only 326,936. If we exclude those younger than 20 and those older than 70 we are working with a population of 227,491 people. I put it to you that those people have produced just as much or greater quantity and quality of artistic riches that most Canadian towns of the same size.

    In addition and for example many, many Americans find Canada boring. And many, many Canadians find their own small towns to be boring. In fact some Bajans who live in Toronto will tell you that they find Scarborough to be boring.

    The point being that it is really really, hard to replicate something like Broadway unless one can, like New York, call on a population of 8 1/2 million people both to create the art and to pay the artists for their creative work.

    @bajans November 7, 2016 at 11:30 PM “no National Orchestra or visiting orchestras…”

    There is a National Youth Orchestra and a very fine police band. I just looked at the website of the Frank Collymore Hall and for December alone the Hall will host 4 concerts, and a film show. I know for certain that the hall regularly hosts visual arts exhibitions, film shows visiting and local orchestras etc. I’ve attended many of these events myself.

    @bajans November 7, 2016 at 11:30 PM “You would never see the Treasures of the Vatican in Bim, nor an exhibition of Matisse nor van Gogh nor van Rijn.”

    You won’t see these in Scarboro either. Nor in Richmond Hill, Latchford, Ajax, Bancroft, Caledon, Deep River, Essex, Fort Erie, Grimsby, Huntsville, Innisfil, Kapuskasing, Milton, New Market, Oakville, Parry Sound, Smiths Falls, Tecumseh, nor Whitby. And I put it to you that it is easier and sometimes quicker to get from Barbados to Toronto ($700 CDN, 5 1/2 hours) to for example to enjoy their film festival (as I did this year) that it is to drive 9 hours from Kapuskasing, or take the or take 4 hours 10 mins flight with multiple stops from Kapuskasing to Toronto. So what is your point? Small places mostly cannot provide the cultural richness of metropolises. But there is plenty of boring to go around in Canada too. Barbados for example possesses a rich and diverse landscape and seascape. I doubt that you could find any 166 sq mile section of Canada that is as biologically diverse. There is probably more biodiversity in my village than there is in the whole of Toronto.

    @bajans November 7, 2016 at 11:30 PM “There is too much emphasis on reggae on the hill and kadooment.”

    A Siimple Response “Maybe your son loves the wuk-up festivals, and the very beautiful women who attend those festivals. You may think that there is “too much emphasis” but I would bet anything that your son loves, loves, loves the wuk-up festivals.

    @bajans November 7, 2016 at 11:30 PM “Those studends who choose to stay abroad are smart. Their parents paid most of the money for their education. Barbados gives very little for scholarships and exhibitions.

    A Simple Response “Not true (and I know becausin’ my little Johnnie got a scholarship too, hee!!, hee!! hee!!) The Barbados government pays the tuition and makes a contribution to airfare, housing, warm clothes, and ground transportation. Reasonably, why for example should the Barbados taxpayers feed our kids when they are abroad? If the kids were living in our house we would have to feed then, not so? So when they are abroad the parents should simply send them their fair share of the household’s weekly/monthly food money.

    @bajans November 7, 2016 at 11:30 PM “In Canada you are looking at $30k a year easily. Foreign students pay a premium to study here.”

    And indeed foreign students should pay more. Why should the Canadian taxpayers carry foreign students? Those foreign students have not yet paid taxes in Canada so why should they get a free ride off the backs of the Canadian taxpayer? Let the parents [and the students] tighten their belts do.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @bajans

    Even though Holder’s Hill is owned by a wealthy family, or by a family that used to be wealthy, and is now trying very hard to make a living from their very nice high maintenance property, it is NOT an invitation place only for the elites. Holder’s hosts public events. Anybody can attend. The place is 5 to 10 minutes walk down the hill from the corner of Holder’s Hill. Anybody who has $4 can catch a Wanstead bus or a route 3 ZR, which leaves from by the main post office in town and runs along Black Rock and attend events there. Tickets cost as little as $40 BDS so anybody who has a Barrow ($50 BDS) can attend an event, and if you can spare a Grantley ($100) once a year you can attend two events and still have change left over for busfare for a couple of days.


  • @Well Well & Consequences November 8, 2016 at 4:29 AM “30-40 thousand dollars a term, if it’s Canada and universities like Waterloo.”

    Not quite true.

    Foreign students pay $36,810 CDN per YEAR for Architecture (the most expensive) and $24,830 CDN for applied health science, art, environment, accounting and financial management (the cheapest) at Waterloo.

    So therefore between $18,765 BDS and 28,819 BDS per semester (half year). High cost yes. But nowhere near your stated “30-40 thousand dollars a term…[at] universities like Waterloo


  • And nowhere near the cost of attending these and similar American universities:

    $31,320 USD ($63,226BDS) per year at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign for example

    Or the $49,062 USD ($99,105) per year at New York University

    Which is why Canadian Universities are putting licks on American universities.

    Better than a Black Friday sale.



  • @David Comissiong November 8, 2016 at 12:42 PM “understand that what Minister Lashley is proposing is to change a governmental policy that currently exists? …I say NO. We need to understand that the primary responsibility for developing Barbados must reside with us— the people of Barbados– and in particular with our educated and talented young people…Let me hasten to say…that I do not have any difficulty with the idea of the scholar working overseas for a period of time either to gain further experience and knowledge, or where a job or an opportunity for self employment is not immediately available in Barbados, but what I object to is this notion that the scholar should not be required to return to Barbados at all, and that the possibility of them sending remittances should be good enough…we must make it clear to Minister Lashley and all the other Ministers and political leaders of Barbados that their primary DUTY is to put policies and mechanisms in place to facilitate our youth in so expressing themselves and making such a contribution to the development of their nation.

    Well thought. Well said. I cannot add anything else.


  • @Well Well & Consequences November 8, 2016 at 2:28 PM “Singapore’s population with a country yeah bigger than Barbados in square mileage, grew a population of nearly 6 million people.’

    It seems clear to me then that the Singaporeans were NOT living like monks.

    As it is NOT possible to live like a monk and at the same time have a rapid increase in population.

    it seems to me that the Singaporeans were/are as busy as bunnies.

    Somebody was fooling wunna.


  • @Dompey November 8, 2016 at 4:55 PM “why would Sir Arthur Lewis wished to returned to the Caribbean to work for chump change, when he was offered a professorship at Stanford University working for big bucks?”

    I doubt that he was attracted to Stanford primarily for the big bucks. he probably went there for the opportunities to teach and for the opportunities to conduct to research…that said, he did work for many years in Barbados heading up the Caribbean Development Bank, and he was for all his life a man of modest tastes, notwithstanding his stellar achievements.


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