Barbados, OUR Country
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat…
Julius Caesar, Act-IV, Scene-III
This Blogmaster found himself this week casting his eyes to the sky. The motivation for doing so was not because there was an overpowering inclination to lift up my eyes unto the hills, from which comes my help – Psalm 121:1. Although the discomfiting news the Barbadian public has had to suffer in the week would not fault the Barbadian from seeking solace in the divine.
The reason for looking skyward was to observe the wires on the poles which line our dense road network. At every turn one can detect different types of wires strung between the poles satisfying some purpose we presume. There was the high tension electric wire, telecommunications wires from FLOW and Digicel. One suspects if we were inclined to search it out wires that supported Barbados Rediffusion before it became obsolete would have been discovered as well.
The other nugget of news which gave BU reason to ponder was the continuing discussion about if the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) will rubber stamp the transaction to sell the BNTCL to SOL. No disrespect to the FTC Commissioners but we say rubber stamp because the government has already counted the USD100 million in the forex inflows required as a lifeline by the government to escape of the clutches of an IMF loan program.
Barbados is classified as a small island developing state. Barbados use to wear the label as a small country fighting above its weight class. Barbados was regarded in the 80s and early 90s as the model small Black led country. Is it unreasonable to question why our leaders would not have rolled out a plan to eliminate overhead wires by 2030? The reasons for doing so are obvious. The same observation can be made for properly trenching the roads to more efficiently accommodate the services like water and gas and the others. More importantly, why a population which has been the beneficiary of billions invested in education would be reluctant to demand the highest standards from our leadership? Perhaps the more pertinent question is why would we cede the awesome responsibility of leadership to those who are not worthy. It is a reflection on us the people and not the leaders we like to vilify.
Imagine a simple observation of the mass of overhead wires that afflict our eyeline on a daily basis would provoke such an avalanche of thought by the BU Blogmaster. This is one example how we should measure our achievement as a people in the post Independence period.
To reinforce the point where we needed to be as a country in 2017 based on our high per capita investment in education in the last 50 years: last month the Irish parliament voted 90 to 53 to pass the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill. The objective is to enable Ireland to divest its sovereign wealth fund, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), worth €8.5 billion, from coal, gas and oil and would see a ban on any further fossil fuels investment going forward. The question we need to answer honestly is whether government is attempting to divest itself of the BNTCL because of a commitment to the renewable sector or is it a money grab. It is interesting to note the myopic analysis offered by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce (BCCI) to support the sale paints a vivid picture of where we are as a country.
In 2008 the government of which Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was a member commissioned a Special Working Group on the Economy to identify measures to lead Barbados out of the economic crisis it continues to find itself. The document titled Barbados Short and Medium Term Action Plan is available to the public. Go to page 23 of the 28 page document linked in the line above and be the judge of whether we are a people who deserve the government we elect.
You be the judge!