The Grenville Phillips Column – Who Needs to Take Bitter Medicine

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II is the founder of Solutions Barbados

Grenville Phillips II, founder of Solutions Barbados

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has reportedly noted that we need to prepare for some bitter medicine. The Barbados Workers Union has signalled its intention not send its workers to the front of the queue to receive this medication.

Fortunately for us, the only group that needs to receive any bitter medicine is our politicians. They have resisted taking it for the past 40 years to the foreseen detriment of Barbados’ economic health.

The Social Partnership has been reconvened, and is expected to, once again, try to force the bitter medicine on us while keeping our politicians medicine-free. Mr Arthur has reportedly been invited to the National Economic Council, and given his past “bitter medicine” comments, the Council is expected to ensure the same result.

Those of us who are old enough have seen this movie many times before.  Politicians tend to prefer a degraded national economy to taking their medicine. Even after the national economy has been devastated, they still tend to resist taking their medicine to correct the root cause of an ailing national economy. It reminds me of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart to wisdom, which resulted in the utter destruction of the Egyptian economy.

Barbadian politicians have resisted taking their medicine for the past 40 years. The current economic challenges provide an opportunity to once again encourage our politicians to take their medicine, which will not only avoid the planned austerity for the rest of us, but can facilitate prosperity for all of us.

This can be done in four simple steps – none of which includes laying-off civil servants, reducing their wages, or incurring additional Government spending. It just requires our politicians to be responsible and take their medicine.

Step 1 is to increase local currency revenues. This can be done by reducing taxes on personal and corporate income to 10 per cent of gross income – with no deductions.  Mr Arthur knows that the Government received increased revenues when he reduced taxes – an act that we recommend that he receive a knighthood.

Step 2 is to increase foreign currency revenues.  This can be done by reducing taxes on all foreign currency earnings that are eventually deposited at the Central Bank, to zero.

Step 3 is to increase productivity in both the public and private sectors, and reduce wastage and unnecessary costs in the public sector.  This can be done by managing all public services within the ISO 9001 Quality Management System.

Step 4 is the most crucially important step, and if it is not done, the benefits from the other steps will likely be frustrated by civil servants.  To explain, the first 10 years of our Independence was our golden age with a highly professional civil service.  Public service employees were selected and promoted on merit alone and not on whether they were highly favoured by the political party in power.

In 1974, the Democratic Labour Party changed the Barbados Constitution to essentially politicize public services.  Our public servants currently operate in a toxic environment of being fully aware that they can be managed, at any time, by an incompetent political appointee, and that they cannot be promoted to senior positions unless they are highly favoured by the political party in power.

The politicization of our civil service is the root cause of most of the wastage, inefficiencies and unproductivity in Barbados.   Our politicians know this, and the Barbados Labour Party promised us on their honour, that they would revert to a professional civil service if we elected them in 1976. They tricked us. Then they tricked us again in 1981, 1994, 1999, and 2003.  It is precisely because I do not believe that they will ever keep this promise that we formed Solutions Barbados to contest the next general election.

The 1974 Constitutional amendment that intentionally politicized our public service needs to be abolished immediately. This is the only bitter medicine that is required and Mr Arthur should have kept the BLP’s first sacred promise and dispensed it to his BLP colleagues when he was Prime Minister. It must now be taken by responsible politicians if Barbados is to prosper.

Since none of our politicians have made any effort to abolish the damaging amendment for over 40 years, despite repeated similar pleadings, I do not expect them to suddenly awake to their primary responsibility of meaningfully caring for Barbados now. Therefore, the BWU, NUPW, CTUSAB and all other union organizations should prepare their members, and their members’ families, to assemble at the front of the queue and prepare to swallow Mr Arthur’s bitter medicine.

(Grenville Phillips II is the founder of Solutions Barbados and can be reached at

144 thoughts on “The Grenville Phillips Column – Who Needs to Take Bitter Medicine

  1. @Piece Uh De Rock Yeah RIght – INRI March 10, 2017 at 2:55 PM “With the corporation of Apple and Whatsapp.”

    CORRECTION: Cooperation

  2. The ISO 9001 system may be perceived as another useless reform in the public sector that will not translate into a good customer service. I think Solutions Barbados should set out “SMART” performance targets for the public sector – if it wishes to distinguish itself from the other political parties, e.g. achieve a 90% punctuality target for the bus service by 2022.

    • The question for Grenville if f he was able to meet with the trade unions to solicit their input.

  3. “ammmmmm you dun know that de cuntry had four attorneys general Adriel Slit Eyes Nitwit, Fumbles Stuart, Dale Teets Marshall and Mugabe Mottley in descending order (as in descending to the bowels of hell)”

    Piece….ya forgot the most deceitful, disrespectful, crooked, if that’s possible, attorney general and former chief justice Davud Simmons, whose son is a known druggie for decades, but never arrested and nephew who was reportedly shot recently when another druggie got killed.

    The dirty secrets on the island that just keeps on giving more dirty secrets.

  4. Bushie

    I keep telling you that CSME is a topic that’s too high for you and to keep quiet. If the Secretariat functioned as it ought to be with the requisite supranational powers, Butch would not be able to get a mob-a-thon of concessions from Grenada, Barbados and looking to do likewise in Tobago.

    On Edutech, you’re still no closer to proving failure or responsibility. No wonder Thompson tricked wunna in 2008, Freundel in 2013 and some new ones about to do the same next election.

  5. Look Enuff

    You come to the party late and I would have to go back to all de piffle bout Edutech and the abysmal failure that the $236 million american dollars that it was.

    THe fact is dat even with your puerile remonstrations you nor MUGABE CANNOT GIVE ONE OUTCOME about the Edutech scam other than what is purported namely that it enriched the No#1 man in the #2 business and supporter of said Mugabe.

    Here is someting dat you need to ask Mugabe youself since you so close and ting.

    Ask Mugabe to give you de excel spreadsheet dat clearly allocates the way that the $$ was spread out among all of the collusion agents.

    It was the file on the computer at the MoE.

    De ole man doan fucking play, you tek what is mine and i tek what is yours.

    You fvuck wid me and as sure as day follows night Lupe going find your scvunt late one night and …

    But doan leh we go dere doah….

    Leh we keep this very simple.

    There were $236 million US dollare wasted on this self enriching shy*e

    Divide that number by 10 and list here for all and sundry to see 24 reasons why your believe that Edutech was not a failure or shut to muck up with your pooch sucking piffle.

    Let me help you with this construct

    Here is a link to the UN version of the effed up project to use your words

    The Programme aims to:

    • prepare students who are creative, numerate, literate, well-trained and readily retrainable
    at any point in their development;
    • ensure that all students understand the necessity of being able to live and work
    harmoniously with other persons in their environment;
    • increase the efficacy of the teaching/learning process by encouraging teachers to
    shift to child-centred and more collaborative forms of learning in their
    classrooms; and
    • ensure that all children leave school with the basic skills and abilities that are
    required to participate productively in the skill and information-intensive job

    The specific objectives of the Programme are to:

    • repair and upgrade the existing school plant;
    • integrate all available information and communications technologies within the
    school system;
    • provide teacher training to enhance pedagogical skills;
    • achieve the desired balance between teacher-centred and child-centred
    approaches; and
    • strengthen the capacity of the Ministry to effectively manage the education

    Barring “…repair and upgrade the existing school plant…” which de ole man ask you to refer to that excel spreadsheet about heheheheheheh what de muck else was achieved?


    Why you doan go and get ready for de march doah nuh? and carry long you raincoat and ting you hear?

    And a bullet proof vest cause WeJonesing waiting fuh wunna scvunt cause he and Pigrim going cause a scuffle in de crowd and start a riot and den disperse wunna with the riot gear and compound 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile cannisters.

    Carry long T-Shirts and bottle water to wet and put to wunna noses to breathe through AND PLEASE do not rub wunna eyes, it does burn like sh*t!

  6. Piece

    Chuckle…..Mawnin….yuh mussee do like muh….git an urly bed ,sleep good,urly rise ,walk round git a paper,hae u brekfast…burp….read de paper…..ablute…den looka wuh alt-facts been posted pun BU….mek fuh long.healthy life with malice tuh nun.

    In response to your question to me…..all I can say is to read Hansard where OSA took responsibility for all the rights and wrongs of his tenure……note the difference this PM leaves everything to his ministers whereas your boy practised the height micromanagement well into the wee hours of the morning making it impossible for any minister to be their own boss especially a woman……a bit like you…..I note the two of you have a lot in common…….he payin yuh or yuh ez famly?

  7. LOL @ Enuff
    If the Secretariat functioned as it ought to be with the requisite supranational powers
    …and IF shit had wings…..

    CSME is a lotta shiite… always was!!. …PERIOD!!!
    Only Barbados seemed not to have noticed.

    On Edutech, what the hell is ‘failure???”
    Wunna spend 1/2 BILLION Dollars …with not a shiite to show
    …and you want proof of ‘failure’…?

  8. Lawson,
    As AG when there was a riot at the prison, and it get burn down, the AG should have resigned or been forced to resign, or, since the boss know bout firing; he even fire Liz twice, she should have been fired, instead of being allowed to put the country in a whole lot of debt,; conspiring with a shady character, to build a new prison, and condemning the country to have to pay off that debt, in instalments, every first month of the year. Then she was in charge when the Supervisor of Insurance allowed the CLICO mess to affect all those people; especially those buying FPAs and EFPAs.and it goes further, so far she has brought four or five no confidence motions, which have all failed. She going bring more? How many marches has she held? When the government tried to introduce the needed austerity measures by trying to enforce the early retirement clauses of the contracts of people at the BIDC, she and the unions threatened to shut down the island; when the tourist season was just beginning to pick up, when the foreign reserves were just beginning to improve, and the negative growth in GDP was beginning to improve. What the hell she planning a march for? She expect that the P.M. going get frighten and call an election? She ent as powerful as the Duke of York when he marched. Elections not coming before July next year, so ten it easy pun wanna bodies.

  9. Alvin Cummins March 11, 2017 at 10:38 AM #

    Chuckle…..the prison was overcrowded with no funds available to build a new one,it was an accident waiting to happen…….and it did….so why should the the then AG resign,she was not in charge of the coffers……your new buddy was.

  10. Piece

    Wuh appen……yuh call me out…..ah cyan hare yuh tall

    Sorry I forgot that you are getting ready to march with your buddy BT who said he was….no more posts this afternoon then.

  11. Piece

    Glad to hear yuh praying for the march to be succesful and that MAM will take over the govt……good on you…..keep it up.

  12. oh Vincent

    de grandson do dis likkle ting for you

    So that you doan feel lonely

    It is dedicated to the so called politician Mugabe who should be called “the Minister of Meaningless Marches”

    Mugabe Mottley has spent 30 plus years in the House of Assembly and has in that time done nothing but waste US $236 Million dollars on an ineffectual project which, after purchasing Millions in obsolete computers had to throw them away after 5 years.

    But she like a march and a music outing and Bajans like to Wuk up every chance they get.

    Mugabe Marches in March with another Meaningless March

  13. Piece

    Chuckle…..Hants like he suggesting that the praying was to the pitchfork on the garrison…… caussen yuh turnin bewitch like your buddy BT who can be seen at midnight pun de garsun muttering….yuh dout muh go ask de ladies den…..hehehehe….yuh duz noah wichen tuh axe.

  14. @ Vincent Haynes,

    do not cast aspersions on the characters of Piece and Bushie based on a comment emanating from me.

    I will retract the word “obsessed” and replace it with “worried”.

    In the meantime I will continue listening to the sweet music of sultry sirens and share in the Diaspora corner so as not to interfere with the “Depressing Discussions of the Demise of Barbados and my investments therein”.

  15. Hants

    Muh humblest apologies fuh misconstewin yuh ting bout Piece.


    Yuh see you…..yuh dun gone pun de walk dah you seh yuh en gine pun……..causen ah ain seh nuffen frum yuh fuh long………….ah betcha yuh and BT wid MAM.

  16. Vincent,
    I think I remember another estimates or budget debate, between David Thompson, and Owen Arthur, during which the issue of the new prison was discussed. If I am not mistaken, (but according to Bushie et al, I usually am, so, sue me)it was said that Owen was away when the decision was made in Cabinet, to award the contract for the Prison was made, and he was only aware of it when he came back. Correct me if I am wrong Miller, or Artax. In any case she was Arrorney General and it was her portfolio. In any case there had been rumblings a while before. Reverend Matthews had even written in the newspapers about what was going on up there, so she should have been prepared for it. Does anyone remember?

  17. Alvin

    What yuh changing the goal posts on me for…..the reason you gave for her firing was that she was somehow responsible for the fire,which I debunked.

    Now you have shifted the goal posts to the contract for construction…….you know as well as I do that OSA ruled with an iron fist being physicaly present was immaterial to his knowledge and agreement.

  18. Vincent,
    I am not changing any goal posts. Liz Thompson was fired, twice. MIA was attorney general when the riot and fire occurred at the prison. I said that she should have resigned or been fired, because of what happened. The decision to get the prison and award the contract to SSS was made by her, and obviously with the concurrence of Cabinet, but OSA ducked responsibility for involvement in that decision. Have to go back to the archives to be absolutely sure.

  19. Bushie yuh hear stop? The same Singapore wunna duz get in here and big up, moving in a similar direction with its partners in ASEAN. Stop talking about matters, which you lack the acuity to conceptualise! Go focus on BBE.

  20. Grenville,
    You posted: “…Our public servants currently operate in a toxic environment of being fully aware that they can be managed, at any time, by an incompetent political appointee, and that they cannot be promoted to senior positions unless they are highly favoured by the political party in power.”
    This is incorrect. Civil Servants are appointed, promoted and Transferred under the aegis of the Public Service Commission.A Minister has no control over this process and the procedures governing them.

  21. Alvin…bith you and your sister and it appears most of the politicians are clueless to the DLP AMENDMENTS to the constitution.

    “3. (1): Subject to sections 95 and 97 of the Constitution, the powers vested in the Governor-General by sections 94 and 96 thereof and specified in column 1 of Part I of the Schedule in respect of the posts so specified shall, without prejudice to the exercise of such powers by the Governor-General, be exercisable by the persons specified in column 2 immediately opposite to such posts.”

    “(2): Notwithstanding sub-paragraph (1) and subject to the conditions specified in that sub-paragraph, the power conferred on the Governor-General by section 94 of the Constitution to make appointments to the posts mentioned in Part II of the Schedule shall be exercisable by the Chairman, Public Service Commission after consultation with the relevant Permanent Secretaries or the Chief Technical or Professional Officers, as the case may be.”

  22. And here I am quoting Grenville, who needs to post the article to BU as well, since Jeff will be able to confirm this because the politicians who were government lawmakers, obviously cant.

    “Without the independent restraining power of the Governor General, the public service predictably became politicised, and this, in our opinion, is the root cause of all of our national problems. That a former attorney general and a former minister were unaware of this critical issue shows why Barbados is unlikely to improve under a DLP, BLP and now UPP administration.”

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