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!


  • Bernard Codrington,

    Are economic models decision neutral? Plse remind me where you trained as an economist?


  • @ Jeff,

    my question ” What would Cumberbatch do ? [ WWCD ] was related to my post at Hants March 19, 2017 at 8:46 AM #.


  • Bush Tea, Northern,

    The ratio in the Barbadian budget between paying interest, capital and future investments is completely out of control. Barbados is quietly sliding into bankrupcty – like the frog in the anecdote of the “boiling frog”, like humans after dropping the neutronium bomb.

    It will be hard for those naive locals who receive a pension from NIS – or as I call it: the Bad Bank of Barbados (B3). The NIS should contemplate food stamps then. Alternatively, Chris Sinckler could extend his “Food at Christmas for the impoverished clueless masses” to whole Barbados and to all days of the year.


  • @ Bernard Codrington,

    Whispering death from the northern end.

    G20 finance ministers drop anti-protectionist pledge


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

    And still we fiddle while Rome burns.

    Barbados has layered economic symptoms caused by a single problem.

    The DLP Gov’t has never succeeded in managing the civil service to achieve national goals.

    You could say what you like about Owen Arthur but he understood that our slavery legacy always has been the need for the ‘bossman’ to micro-manage, like an 18th century overseer on a horse with a whip, regardless of ‘his’ colour, race or gender. Arthur offended more than a few civil servants by doing their job for them.

    Our economic stagnation is not caused by gov’t over-spending, an obviously impossible outcome of any spending program.

    Our economic stagnation is a result of the oppressive bureaucratic environment created by a overly-bureaucratic gov’t and civil service which does not facilitate investment or enterprise at any level other than ‘under the radar’. Our problems are mainly the result of under-earning.

    Consider the bureaucratic steps required to open a small rum-shop-type restaurant in a chattle house on the west coast. Then consider the near-zero-bureaucracy ‘food van’ alternative. Then consider which is more likely to employ people, pay taxes and add to the development of this country. Now multiply and magnify that outcome to the highest levels of investment in this country in small hotels, off-shore business etc.

    The people discussing what they think are our problems have no idea what our problems really are; they have never spent a day in the trenches with bayonets fixed, fighting the civil service enemies of progress in daily, mortal, hand-to-hand combat.

    Barbados was not built by our gov’t and snivel service; it was built DESPITE our gov’t and snivel service. Until someone addresses that issue we are going nowhere but down.

    There will be no economic recovery under Fumble’s Fools.


  • @ Jeff
    Pacha is challenging you to think in terms of a HIGHER law than the lotta ineffectual shiite that currently constrains you (@ Fear Trading) from making what you KNOW to be just and righteous decisions in the OVERALL interest of our society.
    As you know (better than most – including Bushie) the ‘elites’ of society craft the ‘Laws’ to protect their OWN interest -usually at the expense of the ‘non-elites’.

    What therefore is ‘wrong’ with thinking of yourself as an ‘elite’, …is that, even if it is not the case, your decisions will be seen as defending the status quo…

    Practically every developmental advance in history has been the result of citizens of high personal morals and ethics CHALLENGING the status quo (the ‘Law’) and bringing a higher moral code to bare in determining right and wrong….often viet armis.

    Normal brass bowl lawyers in Barbados would happily apply the letter of the law and rule that the elites have won their case…. but BU giants are much more likely to either read the intent of the law in a much broader and altruistic context, or to resign the position on the grounds that the law is flawed, anti-developmental and in need of review.

    As to Hants’ question…. they ain’t a thing you (or anyone else) can do for a terminal cancer patient, other than make them comfortable …and perhaps fool them that a cure is at hand….


  • @Frustratedbusinessman

    Didn’t OSA recruit an army of consultants under the Prime Minister’s Office to avoid the civil Service bureaucracy?


  • William Skinner

    @ Hal
    Re: Bernard Codrington’s comment about
    how economic models are policy “neutral”
    Now you see why public discourse has
    reached such a pathetic level.
    Right now we have been following an
    economic model that has lead us to the
    IMG twice. We are apparently on the
    verge of going there a third time and
    we want to claim it is a “political”
    In another breath we have Jeff asking
    what would Errol Barrow do when in fact
    we already know what he did. Barrow is the
    architect of our current economic policy.
    Yet we pretend that he like Arthur are


  • William Skinner

    Obviously I meant IMF not IMG my apologies


  • Frustrated,

    Barbados as a nation copied the whole scope of bureaucratic madness made in England with all its flaws. Instead of getting or preserving a simple, tiny and efficient administration, we face the so-called Parkinson’s law.

    When you enter Barbados at the airport, when you order something abroad, when you would like to use foreign currency, you feel and know, this is no free market, it is a closed shop, highly regulated and limited by ancient laws made for colonial times.

    There is a civil servant for every of the many regulations and another for every official stamp. The only purpose of this civil service is to employ as many lost souls as possible, not to frame and boost economy.

    Unfortunately, the private sector copied most of these bad habits. Look at FCIB, for instance. You could eliminate 50 % of the employees without affecting the business at all.


    1) Other countries reduced the number of secretaries in the age of computers – not so Barbados.

    2) Other countries converted banking business to an online process. Not so Barbados and its archaic banking system. In other countries, it takes you 5 minutes to transfer money to other countries, whereas in Barbados, you have to submit a form to Central Bank and wait for hours in the bank for every single transcation. That is madness.

    3) In other countries you have standing orders for your account. Nobody except the very poor on social welfare benefits issues cheques for water bill or road tax.

    Barbadians lose at least 5 hours per week for ancient business rites made in colonial times. And they lose another 5 hours per week for the silly traffic jam. That reduces productivity by at least 25 %.


  • William,

    I am very keen on informed discussions, but sometimes people speak not from a generalist intelligence, but from a non-existent expertise – and they dig in.
    The other escape clause is the one that “that is not how we do things in Barbados.” And, of course, if you do not agree then some people become abusive. It is the fault of the educational system, learning by rote..


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

    Tron, when OSA created employment for the ‘otherwise unemployables’ 20 years ago, they were placed in relatively harmless roles leaning on hoes on the side of the road and taking four-hour lunches in MTW, CBC, BWA etc.

    What was not anticipated is that those ‘hoe-leaners’ would someday become senior enough in the various civil service and statutory corporation dens to actually stop us from earning an income and paying the taxes needed to support them.

    This is where we are. No-one is addressing the problem. Even if we re-finance our debt through the IMF, we still have to grow the economy. It cannot grow in the current environment; the water, light and carbon dioxide has been cut off by a civil service volcanic cloud.


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Hal AustinMarch 20, 2017 at 4:01 AM
    “There is a difference between astrology and astronomy. Astrology is voodoo, astronomy is science. Google it and see.”

    There you go (again) showing off your imitative’ colonial mind-set of arrant arrogance and crass intellectual handicap to understand anything of esoteric significance.

    How dare you denigrate Voodoo? What is the difference between Voodoo and Christianity or Islam or Hinduism or even Greek religions or Mithraism? Don’t they all worship invisible beings (gods) than live among the stars?

    Astronomy was born out of Astrology; in the same way that Christianity was ‘born’ out of pagan Sun Worship.

    So if you wish to contend that Christianity is more ‘modernly scientific’ than Voodoo, then so be it.

    I would prefer to side with Pachamama on this one.

    It seems that the consciousness of Humanity is coming more and more under the influence of the Water Bearer (Aquarius, carrier of watery knowledge of good and evil) according to the grand cosmic cycle of ‘ephemeral’ things.

    Maybe Information Technology via the Internet the bible of the Aquarian Age in its early form of dissemination is just like the Judeo-Christian book of myths and fables experienced during the Age of Pisces with the fish-head Pontiff of Rome its biggest publisher.

    So Hal, here is a piece of esoteric prose of Judeo-Christian colonial brainwashing you ought to chew on instead of putting down your Voodoo ancestral gods called Nyame and Nommos while ‘bigging-up’ your Jewish idols Yahweh & his only begotten son:

    “And they said unto him, Where will you that we prepare?

    And he said unto them, Behold, when you are entered into the city, there shall a man [to] meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he enters in.”


  • Caswell Franklyn

    Didn’t OSA recruit an army of consultants under the Prime Minister’s Office to avoid the civil Service bureaucracy?

    No David. He recruited those consultants in order to give his political friends jobs and to buy of his opponents.

    Sent from my iPad



  • Miller

    We wish you well

    As you endeavour to disabuse the mind of a deracinated, useless eater.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    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.


  • 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.


  • Bernard Codrington

    @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.


  • Bernard Codrington

    @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.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    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.”


  • Future Prime Minister ??? Donville speaks.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    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


  • No confidence vote against Head of Guyana Bar Association President for ripping off elderly client.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

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


  • Well Well

    ‘unrepentant thief’

    We like the linguistics of that characterization


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    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.”


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    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.


  • 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.


  • …..of the Indian community


  • 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.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    Alvin is getting senile to be posting that nonsense.


  • Chuck Berry

    The creator of ‘rock and roll’

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

    Died this weekend.


  • The great money launderers of the world the U.K.and the USA would put the squeeze on small Caribbean nations struggling to exist in the competitive IBC market.


  • David Rockefeller died age 101.He is said to have used his wealth in a negative light.


  • 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.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    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.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

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


  • 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.


  • 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………..


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