The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – What Would Barrow Do? [WWBD]?

The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow

My friends spit on the government.

I do not think is just the government.

Suppose all the gods too old,

Suppose they dead and they burning them…The Saddhu of Couva -Derek Walcott

The current public discourse on governance and the economy is nothing if not a cacophonous babel of contesting opinions. To the few casual observers, it must remind so much of a meme I saw on Facebook recently where a bemused gentleman stands looking from one side of a crowd to the other in puzzlement. The caption states “When everyone is arguing over whether the answer was 63 or 75 but your answer was Henry the 8th…” or, to localize it “When everyone is arguing over whether or not the Prime Minister should be forced to advise the Governor General to call elections but your suggestion was that the dollar should not be devalued”.

In recent days we have heard it all. “Go to the IMF while there is still time”, some thinkers urge. “No we shall not”, rejoins the government, while offering no clear alternative as to what should be the optimal recourse in that event. One member of Cabinet suggests the use of a sinking fund facility from the United Arab Emirates; an option seemingly not accepted by his other Cabinet colleagues. At the same time, the parliamentary Opposition, as a shark scenting the blood of a wounded administration in the choppy waters of state, incites the population to show its disgust with the existing state of political and economic affairs, although likewise offering no public disclosure of its strategy for our national salvation and no fewer than four “third” parties raise their several heads above the parapet of electoral engagement.

So far, these last are equally silent as to their individual rescue programmes for the economy. It seems as if their collective strategy is founded upon a popular ennui with the two traditional parties that they expect will somehow translate into popular affection for their candidates, whose main attributes so far appear to be that they are not contesting the elections on behalf of either the Barbados Labour Party or the Democratic Labour Party. Indeed, one of these groupings has even seen it fit to claim a number of candidates without revealing their identities, raising a question not only as to their political courage, but also as to their absurdly supreme level either of confidence or of foolhardiness to imagine that a people who traditionally vote for an individual more on the basis of personality and party than on that of policy in the thirty constituency battles will readily embrace any thitherto unknown candidate with less than a year’s notice. To each his own, I suppose, and I can certainly claim no initiation in these matters.

There is also a veritable Babel locally as to the moral legitimacy of public taxation in these times. There is a popular demand for continued civic entitlements that can only be met by added increments in the dwindling public purse. Yet every official suggestion that taxes should be paid and each attempt to enforce this is met with populist resistance while complaints as to the standards of public service at institutions such as the schools, healthcare facilities and other state departments continue unabated.

It is about time that I explain the title of this essay. It is generally accepted by most, though not all, Barbadians that the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, as he is now titled, was a successful leader of Barbados. The question posed is thus akin to the one that those of the Christian faith sometimes ask themselves, perhaps ungrammatically, to inform a course of action –“What would Jesus do?”

While I categorically deny any charge of intentional blasphemy, it is similarly suggested that those members of the governing administration, who claim his legacy, should ask themselves, to be more grammatically correct, what would Barrow have done if he were faced with this identical economic situation?

I do not expect this to be a popular suggestion or even that those who have the authority to ask and answer the question and to implement the response will do so. Indeed, the honest answer may be uncomfortable at some levels. There may, of course, also be an argument that Mr. Barrow was never faced with such stringent economic circumstances in his time and thus would have been lost as to contemporary solutions. Others may rightly claim that to them have fallen the reins of governance and any solution must be based on their collective intellect and political savoir-faire. I cannot fault this latter claim…it is just that there appears to be a crying need for the creative political solution at this time.

Today’s epigraph is in tribute to the late St Lucian Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott who shuffled off this mortal coil on Friday. It was a joy to read Walcott’s poetry that betrayed the mind of a classicist at heart and also of a keen observer of the human condition.

My favourite Walcott lines, suitably bowdlerized for a family newspaper.

In idle August, while the sea soft,

and leaves of brown islands stick to the rim  

of this Caribbean, I blow out the light  

by the dreamless face of Maria Concepcion  

to ship as a seaman on the schooner Flight.  

Out in the yard turning gray in the dawn,  

I stood like a stone and nothing else move  

but the cold sea rippling like galvanize  

and the nail holes of stars in the sky roof,  

till a wind start to interfere with the trees.  

I pass me dry neighbor sweeping she yard  

as I went downhill, and I nearly said:

“Sweep soft, you witch, ’cause she don’t sleep hard,”  

but the bitch look through me like I was dead.  

A route taxi pull up, park-lights still on.  

The driver size up my bags with a grin:  

“This time, Shabine, like you really gone!”

I ain’t answer the ass, I simply pile in  

the back seat and watch the sky burn  

above Laventille pink as the gown

in which the woman I left was sleeping,

and I look in the rearview and see a man  

exactly like me, and the man was weeping

for the houses, the streets, that whole f…ing island. The Schooner Flight.

Farewell, Sir!

149 thoughts on “The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – What Would Barrow Do? [WWBD]?

  1. Jethro,

    Now I know. Sinckler has been worshipping at the voodoo God of economics for the last eight years.
    At some point we have to grow up and live in the real world. Don’t be misled by a mentally defective moron who sits in his little bunker and sends out his torpedoes. It is the only thing that gives meaning to his life.

  2. Frustrated,

    Indeed, the IMF sets some numbers to achieve. They do not care how. The IMF has no magic wand. That is why Greece is in trouble. Instead of restructuring the deep state and cutting down bureaucratic expenses, the Greek politicians increased taxes and kept the bureaucracy – exactly the scenario we face in Barbados now under the so-called Sincklernomics. The IMF is helpful, if Godess Barbados helps herself, as Aesop stated “God helps those who help themselves”. It is not the task of the IMF to run a country or to set the legal and administrative framework for economic growth, but to provide some money. If Barbados needs help beyond this, the World Bank would be the better partner.

  3. Growth is not part of the present government’s vocabulary, not if they are the ones have to nurture that economic growth, which takes time and hard work. they dont know how or it would have already been done, they much prefer the short cut, borrow/print money….no hard work needed.

  4. Justice Duke Pollard looks at the Jagdeo attempt to re-enter the Presidential Office in Guyana.The Constitution of Guyana allows for 2 terms only.An ‘unknown’ filed a motion before the courts to determine the constitutionality of that clause.The High Court and the Appeal Court overseen by two actors now retired have sided with the ‘unknown’,whom many believe to be acting on behalf of the PPP/C and more particularly in the interest of Jagdeo returning to that office to once again oversee the destruction of western democracy as known to the Caribbean Community.

  5. @Hants@7:54 AM

    Thanks for the pasted article. I am not too sure we are on all fours with the substance of the journalistic report. But my reading is what I have alluded to in my earlier interventions. Free trade seems to be on its way to the back burner. Every man for himself. The Caribbean countries have to exploit every chink in this new protectionist armour.

  6. @Tron@ 9:52 AM

    I agree with you. The World Bank, IADB and CDB are the institutions which may help Barbados in growing and restructuring the economy. Most BUers will agree that we are already under an austerity program.

  7. A very beautiful nature reserve being built in St. Lucia and even they are intelligent enough to know they need an environmental impact study.

    “We would appreciate the support of our Caribbean neighbours on this. Coming to a town near you too!!! One Caribbean. This is the approved phase 2 of the Desert Star Holdings project in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia. Although still requires approval from the DCA and has to pass an Environmental Impact Assessment. So the DCA or the Environmental Impact Report, can stop this whole project legally, with minimal cost to St Lucia.”


    Bushman…here is the true definition of all the money, status and influence in the world not meaning a thing, all the nasty things they did to others to claim wealth and fame, the thefts from the weak and vulnerable, the architect of the 3 strikes laws to lock up dealers who infringe on their business, getting rid pf the competition. …meant nothing.

    The grim reaper dont play those

  9. Sandford-Johndon is an unrepentant thief, let’s hope she is arrested eventually.

  10. Hants,

    Donnie should join his relatives in Zurich. Maybe the Swiss teach him a lesson how to govern something above a rum shop. Donnie is another Eastwitch, talking against his party but voting for them in the Talking Assembly. You cannot be opposition and minister at the same time.

  11. Pacha, Even the animals have laws and they adhere to them.No society can exist without laws, rules, regulations and punishment for failing to obey the norms of society. Your solution is chaos.

  12. Pacha. …from Bloomberhg news, ah guess ministers will have to start using their brains to manage the economy instead of their lying tongues…the EU is about to cut off the sugarcane imports.

    “End to curbs on EU output threatens centuries-old trading link
    Sugar was a driver for industrial revolution, markets, slavery

    Europeans’ taste for sugar transformed the world.

    West Indies plantations built from the 17th century to feed demand drove a nexus of commerce, capital and manufacturing that fomented the industrial revolution and modern financial markets.

    More than three hundred years later, Europe is set to deliver a crippling blow to a trade that once made up almost a fifth of its entire imports, and has sustained developing-country sugar cane farmers since.

    The European Union’s decision to remove limits on its own beet-sugar output from October means less demand for cane growers from Jamaica in the Caribbean, to the Pacific island of Fiji, and Swaziland in southern Africa.

    “Within a decade or so, I can see the EU market for raw sugar from the Caribbean being all but a matter of history,” said David Jessop, an adviser to companies and governments on trade and investment in the region. “The challenge from the Caribbean perspective is what they can do, if anything, to ensure the future of their industry.”

    Jamaica, Belize and Mauritius were among a group of more than 10 nations that benefited from quota- and duty-free access for 1.6 million metric tons of mostly raw-sugar shipments to the EU in 2015-16. The amount, which can vary year-by-year, represented about half the European bloc’s imports of the commodity.”

  13. Or….the ministers may just sit on their lazy asses and wait until the EU gets their youngest and brightest to create another slave system for the Caribbean people….while the jackasses for ministers degrade their youngest and brightest by relegating them to picking up bottles.

  14. Jagdeo continues to preach racism in Guyana.Sat Maharaj continues to preach racsim in Trinidad.Kamla,whom Basdeo referred to as an alcoholic, defends Sat Maharaj in defence of child rape under the guise of hindu(they worship the cow)culture.These are the indian community of Trinidad and Guyana.
    Barbados on the other hand has acculturated a young muslim who shows an understanding of the current situation in Barbados that escapes even the old duffers in parliament.He will not be liked by the hangers on like King Dyal who when his ass is turfed out next year will have to wait until another DLP wins an election to get a job.Young Kothdiwala couldn’t be more blunt in his assessment of Politics Barbados and when the next election is called it will be a kothdiwala election.I think we will hear more from this youngster who besides his political outlook shows some of the idiots in parliament how to speak good English.The boy showed nuff respect for his English teachers.Pride in the spoken word.Wheat separated from chaff.There is no point in telling Donville and Dennis…’it’s what comes out of your mouth that defiles you’.This youngster proves the point.

  15. Alvin Cummins March 20, 2017 at 3:26 PM #

    A bit of a quantum leap….animals having laws……perceived wisdom was that they operated by instinct and that they lacked the mental capacity to think like humans.

    Could you point me to the relevant links showing when and where that it was discovered that animals are sentient beings.

  16. Chuck Berry

    The creator of ‘rock and roll’

    The first member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame

    Died this weekend.

  17. I think that Barrow would charge rent for the use of the Ministry’s property (the schools) by teachers that provide lessons for fees on the Ministry’s property and use the rent to pay the teachers to correct the SBAs.

  18. That is Dumbville being Dumbville, desperate to become PM, forgetting how insulting, disdainful, arrogant, neglectful, incompetent and uppity they have all been to the majority people whose votes they all now need, but the people should never forget and punish them all next year.

  19. Gabriel….Rockefeller was pure, undiluted evil from a long line of pure, undiluted evil, the last in that family line to die out, all that’s left are cousins…, all the paper in the world and him and his family cannot extend their evil forever, they had to die out, he spent the last 20 years trying to rid the world of the internet, he was worth 3 billion, but tge internet dudes are niw worth 50 and 60 billion, so he lost his power to the internet he wanted gone, he did not want people educated, he wanted to keep 7 billion sheep to control and do his will, cull whom he did not want on the earth, but he ran out of time….he too has now been culled.

    No amount of money or thievery or race hatred can help ya when it’s time to die.

    I watched a video a couple years ago when they had confronted and chased him out of Chile, he was an evil demon who did not realize his time had passed being a demon.

  20. Well Well and Vincent;
    Simple answer.1. I don’t have to give links. Humans are the only animals that fight to the death. Animals fight but seldom fight to the death; the one who is losing will adopt submissive poses and the winner will let it go at that point. Snakes fight ,ut do not use their fangs and their poisons, the force the losing one to submit, and that is the end of the battle. What is instinct? Animals can show empathy, they can understand situations, they can show respect for each others territory, and they can provide companionship. Whether you call it instinct( a rose by any name…) or whatever, they observe these things. Man, who has sense, breaks all the laws they put in place.

  21. Bernard Codrington,
    “…Wisely meaning in the public’s interest.”
    Who is the “Public”? and what is “the public interest? The “public” is not a single entity. It is a diverse collection of individuals, with diverse thoughts, diverse interests, needs, wants and requirements, requiring equally diverse results, solutions and methodologies to solve the myriad problems created by this diversity. Those elected, have to use the tools at their command to provide what results that can possibly satisfy the majority of those needs wants and requirements, of the majority of the electorate.. So they make mistakes, but whatever they do, there will always be those who are not satisfied.
    The debacle that marks the Trump Presidency, so far, is a perfect example of what I am talking. the attempt, so far, to repeal Obamacare, shows this.

  22. Alvin

    Chuckle……you have left Bim too long it would appear to remember the illegal cockfights and dog fights where they kill each other…….google some of BBCs nature programs and look at territorial fights by lions….just two examples and I would agree that all do not end in death proving that the exception proves the rule.

  23. Alvin…you obviously never watched National Geographic, am sure ya can find that channel in Canada.

  24. Vincent;
    “…the illegal cockfights and dog fights where they kill each other…”
    These contest are not the norm in nature. these are trained to do that, it is only man who takes pleasure in killing. I have never watched dog, and cock fights, although I have seen photos of these events, but the beaten animal is not killed, normally, by the victor.

  25. So Alvin…
    How do you think Lions/tigers/birds/fish etc live…?
    Getting their meat from a nature supermarket?

    Clearly you do not watch NatGeo or the BBC nature shows Vincent suggests…
    Either that or. (as Bushie suggests)… you are an Id………..

Leave a comment, join the discussion.