Where YOU Stand is Where YOU sit

Dr. George C. Brathwaite

Dr. George C. Brathwaite

One would hope that as Barbados closes in on its 50th year of Independence, this society takes serious stock of where it has come from, its current position, and where it intends to go. This article will boldly claim that Barbados is at a crossroads where it must urgently address the mounting issues that are perilous to obtaining a just society.

Barbados is today challenged to ensure a fairer distribution of wealth, lessen the existing institutional discrimination, increase the pathways to progress and those that lead away from poverty, and to do significantly more by way of delivering social justice to the many in our midst who are seemingly being marginalised daily.

The results of the recent presidential elections in the United States of America (USA) have left numerous lessons that Barbadians can draw on if it is to meticulously review its value system and practices with the intention of bringing about enhanced governance. Of course, very few persons in Barbados appeared to have supported Donald Trump for presidency. One can assume that many more persons reacted dismissively to his inflammatory rhetoric which not only blasted his rivals and the media, but pitched battle directly against the so-called establishment.

Trump’s main and often repeated campaign messages were laced with the toxicity of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and outright resentment against any resemblance of normalcy. Trump used the potency of populism to expose the worst of American way of life and hegemony. Indeed, he successfully managed to rekindle the undercurrents of right-wing conservatism in a style which could easily be mistaken as naked fascism. To leave the conversation at that point would be too simplistic and short-sighted.

The reality is that Donald Trump exposed deeply embedded fears and apathy with those at the periphery and centre respectively. He showed that the USA, although priding itself as a paragon of virtuous democracy, was realistically more exclusionary and may have long abandoned the tenets supporting equality and the rule of law.

The premise that the USA through unbridled capitalism was creating greater economic opportunity for its citizens, proved to be farcically untrue. Instead, it was neglecting the poor and underprivileged and equally socially constructing the ‘deplorables’ at a rate which could not be contained by maintaining the status quo. Trump revealed this façade that was being preached around the world in which the USA saw itself as the unilateral power exporting its version of triumphalism through liberal democratic governance.

The USA’s dishevelled underbelly, as pointed out by Trump when he highlighted the plight being experienced in the inner cities across the USA, clearly demonstrated that today’s insanity may be the last hope for those who no longer see greatness in the normal, but find comfort in the absurd and the apolitical.

Being strict guardians of our heritage and firm craftsmen and craftswomen of our collective fate, it would be a sad day if Barbados ever relinquishes the mandate that was set by our pioneers and nation-builders. National pride and industry must continue to have a central value effect on local society.

While there are some Barbadians – particularly the political elites in our midst – that would want to derail or even silence the popular discourse, it is imperative that the country sees that a badly faltering society is the outcome of a poorly managed and performing economy. Governance overall becomes perilously affected and dislocated, and is seen to work against those for whom it ought to bring benefit and safety – the citizens.

The current administration will welcome the celebratory mood at this juncture of 50 years Independence, and rightly so; but, the nation cannot mistake or forget the imposition of bad governance and economic austerity that was shoved on this country through the back door of political expediency. Accepting Amartya Sen’s determination that “the world in which we live is not only unjust, it is, arguably, extraordinarily unjust,” is to also accept that Barbados’ political class owes it to the population to start doing business through the front door of trust and transparency.

Trust in our democracy, is an exercise involving the sharing of information and removing the veil of secrecy from deals of procurement of goods and services from which the public purse must pay. To be transparent is to have the capacity of information and things being seen without distortion. For information or a process to be transparent, is for it to be open and available for examination and scrutiny. Barbadians are demanding this trust and transparency. The fact is, good governance is not a shield to displace accountability and transparency, but it is a means to develop trust between the governing and the governed.

In 2016, how can right thinking and serious politicians talk about representation in the House of Assembly, either as continuing members or as first-timers, but avoid putting to Barbadians modes of policies that would enhance the trust relationship? Can it be fair that as a country we have not sought and introduced a Freedom of Information Act and other mechanisms for ensuring accountability and transparency? How can Barbadians step into its 51st year as a maturing and sovereign nation, but is being held back by those in the legislature and specifically those forming the besieged executive? Living in an era when the dissemination of knowledge is privileged, is it a matter of political parties wanting to maintain the status quo?

Surely, there are too many thousands of Barbadians that are distraught from prolonged underemployment or outright unemployment. They have been suffering from the pangs of hunger and are observed to be discriminated against in many more ways than one. The recent promise of means-testing in areas of education and health for example, would only go to further imperil the livelihoods of those facing hard times in Barbados.

So, at 50 years, to express rising concerns on one or more issues of survival should not be condemned as complaining, as incumbent Cabinet Ministers have been prone to claim on several occasions. It is not in the interest of Barbadians that we experience the executive clamouring around the morality bush. This present administration has become tainted with cries that they are uncaring, stealthy (not necessarily equating to corruption) in their dealings, and mostly unresponsive to the citizens facing water and garbage collection crises among others.

Now there can be no curse on a flailing Prime Minister whose stewardship will one day be best remembered for political rhetoric instead of political will. Coming across as almost obsequious to the internal squalls within the Cabinet he leads, PM Stuart’s display has been one of failing to implement practical, creative, solutions to the problems challenging Barbados. Mr. Stuart has not adequately delivered.

The Leader of the Opposition, while seemingly better connected to the communication median with those that have been pushed into situations of pauperisation or are jobless and often are marginalised by the bad policies and discriminating system of governance, must be reminded that where you stand is where you sit. Many Barbadians need a strong voice in which political correctness is not the key to their future prosperity.

Populism has the tendency to mobilise those individuals and groups that have been neglected and pushed aside; it positions the ‘common sense’ of ‘common people’ against the corruption and abuse of the elite as stated by Anton Derks, Professor at the University of Brussels. Emerging in the popular discursive spaces of Barbados are voices screaming at the politicians for empathy, so that the suffering voiceless can be heard and given presence of mind.

The population is demanding that the popular will shows by implementation that civic and political leaders are listening. Barbadians on the eve of this 50th anniversary are requesting that the means for empowering those previously disenfranchised happen sooner rather than later. Any form of populism that emerges in the context of the next general election, and more broadly, in Barbados going forward must bring at its core an ethics of people-oriented development posited in the national interest.

(Dr. George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer in Political Science at the UWI-Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant. Email: brathwaitegc@gmail.com)


  • Bernard Codrington.

    Where you stand need not be where you sit. Instead you must ask your self why am I standing here while the world has moved on? Do I have no audience because what I say and what I do have no relevance? If we learn anything from the recent apparent upsets in geopolitics it is this : that we are standing on shifting ground. There is no connect between our concerns and the concerns of the electorate. Instead of talking to ourselves we need to actively listen. It is not about us. It is not being right or wrong . It is about relevance.


  • This is what I want clarified and explained as to whether we are sitting,standing or bending down!!!

    Time to sell
    A regional financial solutions firm is predicting that Barbados may soon be forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout, and has urged investors to dispose of their investments in Barbados “now rather than later”. Jamaica Money…
    Barbados Today|By Marlon Madden



  • Well Well & Consequences

    It appears the other Caribbean islands are closely monitoring this situation, because they know they must…..let’s hope the clowns in parliament are aware and not listening to the jackass slave George Payne of BLP….why are the local news people not carrying this article.

    Jessop: Consequences For The Caribbean From The Trump Election Victory
    Written by Ken Richards
    Category: Local
    Published: 14 November 2016
    Hits: 435

    St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): There are likely consequences for the Caribbean from the election of Republican Donald Trump as president of the United States, according to David Jessop of the London-based Caribbean Council.

    In his latest opinion piece Jessop says if true to his word, within days of taking office, Donald Trump will by executive action attempt to tear up the recently ratified global agreement on climate change, a text of existential importance to the Caribbean.

    According to Jessop, it will be a decision that will require the region to react.

    The Caribbean should also be concerned about the new president’s stated intention to abandon existing trade deals, Jessop warns.

    He says too that if President-elect Trump is genuinely intent on doing this, it is not hard to see his administration making demands for access for US goods and services on the basis of reciprocity.

    The region is being told that it is also possible that tax penalties would be levied on those US manufacturers who have offshored their manufacturing or assembly plants into locations like the Caribbean to take advantage of a more favourable tax environment.

    Another expressed worry, that a Trump administration might be concerned about China’s growing and central role in investment to access the US market in manufacturing and services in the Caribbean region.

    David Jessop explains that translated into Caribbean terms, other aspects of Trump’s professed approach may mean his administration will require the Caribbean to fully meet the costs of its own security; for example, guaranteeing the safety of US visitors.

    Meanwhile noted economist, Professor Avinash Persaud, says the region and the rest of the global community should monitor closely, what happens in Washington from January when Donald Trump officially becomes President of the United States.

    Professor Persaud told Winn FM’s The Bigger Picture that the warning signs were evident during the election campaign.

    “His statement that 90% of all criminals were illegal immigrants was designed to fan a mood that helped to push him to win the election but its plainly false, and so the rest of the world is fearful because what policies will emanate from someone who does not live in reality and is only concerned about riding emotional waves. Governing is very different from getting elected, and I think that very quickly he will discover that and how he responds to the fact that you can’t double America’s growth, you can’t build a wall, you can’t change all the trade negotiations in your favor, how he responds to that is something of great uncertainty.”

    WINN FM asked the professor how easy it will be for Donald Trump to transition from campaigning to governing.

    “It’s never easy for anyone, many of us in the region know that sometimes our governments takes a year to switch from being out of campaigning mode to governing mode. They’re still looking for someone to blame until they realize that after 12 months that they’re the ones responsible. So I think it’s gonna be hard for him in particular because he will soon discover that the reason why things are the way they are is not because of lack of men of his brilliance but because changing things are very difficult , that there are many, many interests, many stakeholders and you have to bring them all along in a conciliatory and that has not been his style.”

    WINN FM also asked how easy it would be for his administration to treat with the rest of the global community. Do you think that Russia for example will have better relations with the United States because Trump is now President?”

    “I think what many of us worried about during the election campaign is that not only did he peddle falsehoods but he didn’t seem to understand the depth of issues, so yes it would be fantastic to have good relationships with Russia and he talked about improving those relationships, but the reason why we have a bad relationship with Russia today, is because they invaded Crimea, and unless we show that there is some consequence from that behavior he wouldn’t stop with Crimea and so all along the borders of Russia are countries that are very fearful that Donald Trump in restoring a relationship with Russia will embolden Russia and Donald Trump will not suffer the consequences of that, those other countries would.”

    The professor was also asked what does the election and the result say about America in his view.

    “It seems easy to say that it makes me worry about public education in America because we have had the most unreal debate that was not grounded and centered in facts and realty but it does tell us we have a very polarized America where people are living in their own realities, in their own bubbles and this is not good for the development of consensus and good policy, so I worry deeply about America. America is fast becoming a developing country.”

    US based attorney Gabriel Christians says he is fearful of the path the United States might take under a President Trump.

    He explains what kind of advice he would offer to the new president if given the opportunity to do so.

    “I’d tell Trump to go to the inner cities, I’ll tell Trump to go to Hispanic communities, I’d tell Trump to have an ecumenical service. This is a nation that is rooted in spirituality, America is a secular nation but it is based in Christianity. It was Jesus Christ I think who said that which you do unto the least of my brothers, you do unto me and so if he could evolve from the divisive politician to someone who can evolve to a better place and shed that cancer of hate and prejudice that surrounds him, that compelled so many of these voters then he can indeed surprise all of us. America has always been a place that was attractive because it was able to come out of segregation, out of slavery, out of Jim Crow and attract many people. Abraham Lincoln gave his life in 1865 at the conclusion of the civil war to make a more united nation possible, to make a more lesser country a reality, but he gave his life. Trump also if he is brave enough, and if he’s noble enough, as all of us and tell us not only is all things possible, but good can still come from what many of us perceive as bad, and that we can be surprised, pleasantly so, by the things that he can do to bind the wounds of a bleeding nation.”

    Basseterre intends monitoring closely, American developments under the Trump administration, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Mark Brantley.

    “We will again wait and see I think the jury is out, many are going to watch the first few months to see what President-elect Trump treats as priority. Whether or not his rhetoric , much of it inflammatory in the election, was just that, whether he genuinely intends to build a wall, he intends to deport so many people, he intends to ban Muslims, whether or not those matters will come to pass, I think we’ll see because I think all of us understand that one goes through a transition from politicking and campaigning to governance.”


  • In politics, public affairs, and managerial sciences, the term where you stand is where you sit, or more correctly, where you stand depends on where you sit points to a principled position in relation to what you actually do. Much has been written on the phrase and indeed it is often referred to as Mises Law after a Princeton professor.
    Vincent, more pertinent is that in Barbados it is needless to hang everything on the superficial and visible, but as a maturing nation we must dig deeper and respond appropriately.


  • @ Bernard.
    This comment was intended first for your query and secondly to inform the BU readers. I repeat.
    In politics, public affairs, and managerial sciences, the term where you stand is where you sit, or more correctly, where you stand depends on where you sit points to a principled position in relation to what you actually do. Much has been written on the phrase and indeed it is often referred to as Mises Law after a Princeton professor.


  • George

    My point is that we have a real issue to deal with in this threat to our economy and we need to know how it can be dealt with.


  • What is interesting and scary is the fact US citizens engage in 24/7 advocacy, in Barbados we do not engage in strident citizen advocacy. Despite the effort to celebrate 50 years of independence – which is commendable -we have a long way to go to practice our ‘guaranteed’ freedoms.


  • Well Well & Consequences

    “The U.S, Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS advises U.S. citizens that the Barbados government issued a notice on November 10, 2016, regarding sporadic outbreaks of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Barbados.

    For more information on HFMD, please see the information on the disease posted on the Centers for Disease Control website: CDC Information on HFMD.”

    Bajans tend to lose interest in their ow civil rights too fast, they lose interest in their own safety and security, protection and best interest too fast…these things are ongoing battles worldwide, you cannot be complacent, as one dude poibted out….”tattoo it on your backside as a reminder”.

    Bajans would allow someone else’s bedroom business to let their attention slip from these life altering civil rights, they are too easily distracted by the unimportant. ..by crap.


  • David

    We are a matureing society not yet matured to the point 24/7 advocacy.


  • Bernard Codrington.

    @ Vincent at 10 : 35 AM

    Precisely. I think that this is the concern of the majority of the citizens in this country. If the economy is growing, the societal threats are reduced, with a time lag. The economic goal posts are shifting and we need to recognize this and make the necessary adjustments.
    The financial markets may or may not respond to the opinions of self serving commentators . Not to panic is the key word. Not everyone that says he has the interest of Barbados actually cares for Barbados.

    Do your own thinking. Even if someone else thinks you are are wrong. That is the profoundest manifestation of independence and maturity.


  • Well Well & Consequences

    Peter “panama leaks” Boos…has the solution for Barbados..



  • Be careful of what you asked right now the underbelly of americas past riddle with far right extremism is about to take over the country. DT ascension ti be the President of the free world is not a good example for other democracies to follow especially when the sheets are removed from the movers and shakers of the Take America Back again and reveals who the real faces are.
    Barbados a developing nation strictly depends on americas economy in its development if the wheels are removed barbados development remains stalled and stagnant
    Those who belives that there are positive lessons to be learned from americas election results need to think again as barbadians cannot afford the luxury of having to tow a wagon when all of its wheels are removed


  • Bernard
    Do your own thinking. Even if someone else thinks you are are wrong. That is the profoundest manifestation of independence and maturity.

    We are yet to see the above displayed by our recent leadership proving our immaturity and then we have the fanfare about 50 years of independence…….


  • Bernard Codrington.

    @ WW&C at 12:02 PM

    Quot homines ; Tot sententiae. Just as many persons there are in the world ; so are the opinions. Opinions are free they cost little.


  • Bernard Codrington.

    @ Vincent at 12:23 PM

    Vincent are we celebrating 50 years of Independence or only the last 8 years ?
    In my humble opinion we should stop obsessing about the current administration and prepare strategies to become the next administration .
    More importantly, we should prepare the policies to achieve what ever outcomes we think will solve our perceived ills.
    But be aware that things may be better or worse than is envisaged at this distance. So one must have a plan A ,a plan B and a plan C.


  • Bernard Codrington. November 15, 2016 at 12:41 PM #

    I share your view point about thinking to the future and as far as Independence celebrations are concerned the point was made yesterday on Brasstacks by its Chairperson that it is to earn forex from all the returning nationals.

    We keep talking about plans……this country’s ministries have a load of studies on virtualy every conceivable thing as to the direction and options this island could take……we have to decide what we want to be,where we want to go and take the vehicle to take us there……we lack the ability to decide and then to implement.


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Vincent Haynes November 15, 2016 at 10:11 AM
    “A regional financial solutions firm is predicting that Barbados may soon be forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout, and has urged investors to dispose of their investments in Barbados “now rather than later”. Jamaica Money…”

    What Jermaine Burrell is saying is nothing that has not been discussed to its fullest here on BU.

    It is blatantly obvious that Barbados is just a step away (a few months in terms of time) from the doorstep of the banker of last resort.

    The country’s foreign reserves are plummeting as a rate that would soon result in the need to draw down on its SDRs. But the MoF and his sidekick Worrell have already found a scapegoat to justify this inevitable turn of pending events.

    The persistent international recession stretching back to 2008 is now old hat. So in true magician style why not pull the rabbit out of the new hat.

    Eureka, we present you Brexit & Trump! Yes blame it on Brexit and Trump for any shortfalls in spending by the tourists. Hence the necessity to visit the IMF. 1992 here you come again!

    What we would like to read is Bernard Codrington the BU resident economist’s views on Mr. Burrell’s ‘critique’ of the Bajan economic position and his gloomy prognosis of an inevitable full-blown IMF programme.

    Now please Mr. B C, if you are going to be that gracious to respond, please do not do it in any jingoistic fashion by attacking the man’s nationality and about Jamaica under a IMF programme.

    The man has a keen and ‘prescriptive’ insight into the fiscal and economic problems facing Barbados. Play the ball and not the man Burrell. Sight!


  • The Japanese are well known for their graft, can-do-mentality, creativity, industry, intelligence and their patriotism. A country can only be as strong as as its people; and this is why Barbados will fail to arrest her decline.

    Our local population will always lack the graft and the virtues that i have mentioned above. Let us reflect on our fifthtieth year of independence with clarity and honesty.

    Our country needs an injection of new blood.

    Read the story below:



  • @Exclaimer

    The one quality the Japanese and Singaporean have over us is that discipline to which you refer. To compete successfully one quality you cannot compromise on is discipline. How will Barbados and the other Caribbean countries compensate is the question, or can we.


  • We are a young tribe of Pelaus,one of the youngestin the world and should notbe compared to older ones.



    All life matters
    You can’t say that!
    Why not?
    It’s not politically correct
    But isn’t it morally correct?
    Well, well! blah blah!
    But you can say black lives matter!
    There’s sorrow there’s death
    All life matters
    The pang of a farewell indefinite
    What about white lives
    There’s peace and joy
    What about brown lives
    And the stars keep smiling
    What about yellow lives
    From the pull of my song you can’t stay far
    What about green lives
    My song sprawls down like a bird in a stormy night
    What about blue lives
    The temple bells will be chiming
    What about pink lives
    The stars will light up one by one
    What about lives of sharks
    For my worship with pain is not over
    What about lives of whales
    Let your touch be there all through my life
    What about lives of animals
    Aching for your embrace all else is forsworn
    What about lives of refugees
    My mind has lost its rack
    What about lives of the homeless
    Always sign of want
    What about lives of the poor
    There’s no decay, there is no ending
    What about lives of the down trodden
    Let my eyes’ light drown in thy beauty forever
    What about lives of criminals
    My mind has lost its track
    What about lives of babies
    When pain pulls my strings, my notes shiver
    What about lives of the unborn
    Its a global necklace, tolerable
    What about the lives of women
    The waves vanishing and rising


  • We are neither sitting or standing but are in mid air jumping to the tune of a select few.

    Seen in todays Nation. I wonder if the Department of Immigration would accept the description of “Artisan” as a valid trade or calling. One cannot in any way advertise for just an Artisan, without an additional qualifying trade description. An Artisan is a person who is skilled with his /her hands,and covers a wide range of trades. First it was the Chinese, who wanted, or have brought in a Mechanic, as none suitable was available here. Now it is the Trinis.
    How long are we going to tolerate this blatant piece of jiggery pokery.


  • Frustrated Businessman aka 'Nation of Laws' my ass.

    “Barbadians on the eve of this 50th anniversary are requesting that the means for empowering those previously disenfranchised happen sooner rather than later.”

    This sentence, and those that precede it, implies that the disenfranchised are from the traditionally disadvantaged working class.

    For the past eight years I have been trying to make the point on BU that this is NOT the case. Probably for the first time in the history of this country this DLP cabinet has disconnected ALL Bajan people from input into governance; and the results have been catastrophic.

    Accountants, lawyers, business people, economists, unionists and everyone else with valuable contributions to make, formally or informally, and who have assisted past governments in running this country (either through the front or back doors by way of formal input or whispered advice) have been ‘disenfranchised’.

    Fumble’s legacy will not only be one of total inaction sugar-coated with unfathomable rhetoric, he will also be remembered as leading a cabinet whose only outside guidance has been the weight of coin: the most corrupt gov’t in the history of this country has also been the least effective for the vast majority of us who don’t take or pay bribes and brought us to the almshouse door.


  • Why is the immigration department giving permits for low skilled jobs? Something is going on. I know a woman, a Barbadian-born, UK-trained woman who applied for an advertised job. She did not even get the courtesy of a reply. The job went to an overseas non-Caribbean person.
    I wrote to the then chief immigration officer about it and, typically, received no reply. We are being treated as a nation of fools. Where are the militant trade unions?


  • What nation? There is no nation!

    All notions of the nation state, long ended

    Fools? Yes

    You are the prime example. LOL


  • Fools hide behind anonymity in order to try and bully people. They think muscle makes up for lack of intelligence. But that is par for the course. There is nothing better than forcing people to identify themselves in order to temper thuggish behaviour.


  • There is nothing as pathetic as someone coming on an anonymous blog and snivelling about ‘anonymity’.

    Shiite man!!
    If you can’t stand the heat, get your donkey out of the damn kitchen…. but to turn up at a masquerade party and complain about not being able to see faces is probably the ultimate in idiocy…

    What are you trying to do Hal?
    …confirm Pacha’s analysis of your intellect…?


  • Hal Austin November 17, 2016 at 11:38 AM #
    It goes further than the Immigration Department and the trade unions. The Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education , should have long ago look into this practice, which is working against the betterment of our people. When jobs are advertised they should be very specific, and not advertised using a PO Box , “like fools hiding behind anonymity”. Both the Ministry of Labour and that of Education, should by now have conducted a general job evaluation exercise , as some entities in the private sector has done, whereby they have a database indicating the minimum qualifications and experience required to do a particular job satisfactorily. As it stands many of these jobs are advertised using the qualifications of the persons who have been earmarked to fill these posts. even though some of the qualification are surplus-to-requirement.


  • Bush Tea November 17, 2016 at 12:46 PM #

    but to turn up at a masquerade party

    Skippah…..Dis is ah cum as yuh please one hear.


  • Is management now science?


  • Colonel, over qualifications are as much a disqualification as under qualification. More important, for every position that someone from overseas is hired, a local person should be taken on to shadow that person. Work permits should be renewable very six months and the person should not be eligible for a permanent residency permit.


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