The Ronnie Yearwood Lecture

The duration of the lecture is over two hours but worth the listen. Many of the views shared my Dr. Ronnie Yearwood last night have been mooted repeatedly on BU. It is important a greater number of Barbadians from the academic class step out of the comfort zone to challenge the establishment. It is evident- even to the ignorant  -that our system needs remodelling. We need our brightest to lead the way.


  • Mr Blogmaster, I appreciate your dismay about populist leaders and thus your recent dismissal of leaders who ‘follow from the front’ but I cannot agree with the essence of your comment that “We have entered an era where populist positions is the lazy approach and exposes the pretenders. Ronnie must not fall into following this well trodden path”.

    This simply DISMISSES the realities of ‘modern’ political history.

    Populism has been the backbone of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Che Guevara and innumerable of their Lat-Am colleagues.

    Quibble about the men as much as one desires but Adolf Hitler, Tito and their Italian ‘brethren’ rode the unruly stallions of populism.

    Surely the modern day Italian Berlusconi with his bigger than life personality as a soccer team owner and media baron was the populism template for the current populist in the White House.

    And what was Syriza’s Tsipras if not a supreme populist.

    I am not a historian nor political scientist but as an ‘opinionated’ layman I must opine that this current BU line of historical revisionism is remarkable.

    How can ‘populism’ which is essentially the sway and will of the people NOT be the force to drive politicians!!!

    And yes @Hal, that book by Brown should be additional required reading for all of us who pontificate on politics and leadership.

    “… The more decisions are taken by one person…that person’s aides find themselves ….taken decisions in the name of the leader. That is just one reason why the allure of strong leadership being exercised by a single person at the top of the political [leadership] should be resisted.”
    – Myth of a Strong Leader

    There is nothing new about populism per se but everything dangerously bad about those who ride its waves to power only to enforce their own forms of debilitating authoritarianism….enter stage right and left examples as Presidents Assisi, Erdogan, Maduro…

    Given half a chance so too would be Pres Trump!

    Fellows like Yearwood are aggressive neophytes. Good on him!

    Let him roil the populist fervor as much as he can…he is certainly doing nothing more than other political wannabees of long past. And certainly he has studied them well.

    So maybe his enthusiastic regurgitation of ‘popular’ palaver will actually inflame the imagination of Bajans to action.


  • @Dee Word

    Dont you have it ass backwards? All the individuals you presented as examples of leaders did they not sway the people by their narrative?


  • de pedantic,

    You are right to warn about the rise of populism, but this is not new and has a long history. Marx warned us about this working class false consciousness, which in time led to alienation from their labour, the products of their labour, and eventually from humanity.
    We saw it when the Marist Revolution collapsed in Germany in 1919, when German workers threw their weight behind the rise of Nazism. We still see the rise, from simple murmurs to louds voices of this populism in the US and Europe.
    Not very long ago in this forum I warned about giving unconditional support to workers’ organisations. Hitler’s storm troopers were once trade unionists; Moseley was once a Labour Party minister and his supporters East End trade unionists. There sis a very thin line between trade union militancy and authoritarianism.
    Again, I have warned those people not particularly knowledgeable about UK politics that the Brexit vote on June 23 had nothing to do with Britain in Europe, but was the British working class revenge for the transformation of the UK in to a multi-racial, multi-cultural society and the rescuing of Enoch Powell from the political graveyard to that of hero. That is now being recognised by some thinkers in the UK.
    Two outstanding Caribbean thinkers on this ideological drift, the late great Jamaica-born Stuart Hall, and our own late Leroy Harewood, a man marginalised by Errol and a local political elite not fit to was his feet. It was Hall who defined Thatcherism.
    If you want to see how historically monopoly capitalism is organised, I suggest Dark Money, by Jane Meyer, on how the super-rich throw their money behind the far right.
    It is not by coincidence that former Golden Sachs billionaires are over-represented in the Trump team. Equally we must debate the similarities in our own local way, of the wealthy throwing their money privately (secretly?) behind new political formations in Barbados. Be careful what you pray for.
    Keeping the people in ignorance by discussing personalities, character assassinations ridicule, rather than sticking to the issues have long-term repercussions.
    The new world order spells the end of the Westphalian nation state, there is no way back. If we mess up this time it is lights out.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @David April 16, 2017 at 11:01 AM re ” Dont you have it ass backwards? All the individuals you presented as examples of leaders did they not sway the people by their narrative?”

    Please tell me you are joking!

    They led well and they spoke superbly on the poplar themes of the day. Surely some of them also were integral in developing that narrative but to divorce the entire process from the populism of an era and place an individual leader completely ahead of the fray is incomprehensible.

    So Fidel ORIGINATED and totally directed his nation absent a ground swell of populist dismay, anger and disgust by the fed-up masses…..So too Bussa was the ORIGINAL catalyst or EWB the ORIGINAL VOICE of leadership circa 1960s whether it was Independence or free education… Fah real!

    Great men all. But to offer that they led and developed the narrative of their people sans any groundswell of populism is …. a jest with great zest, surely!!!

    I am a cynic, as I fully embrace Nicco Machiavelli’s eternally relevant ‘The Prince’ as my political guide, particularly the statement: “The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present”.

    So surely I am not as impressed as you appear of the wondrous originality of these leaders….applause definitely to their leadership acumen!

    Yes, @Hal…there is absolutely nothing new about populism as a political theme and certainly nothing new where young aspirants embrace such to gain traction and to have their voices heard politically.

    I would add to your statement vis “It is not by coincidence that former Golden Sachs billionaires are over-represented in the Trump team” to say it’s really not a right wing cabal thing…but a monied sect model.

    As you know Obama and before him Clinton also had Wall St millionaires as part of their apparatus. Off the top of my head I can recall Clinton had Rubin (former Goldman CEO) as Sec of Treasurer.

    There also was Lew who came in late to Obama’s cabinet who worked at Citigroup at the heart of the debacle on the housing market.

    So yes, Trump has gone to the n’th level with his millionaire cabinet of financial market leaders but the Dems play well in that arena also.


  • fortyacresandamule

    @Dribbler. Same here. I am the quintessential cynic and sceptic all roll -up in one. The Prince, and the Art of War are among the top of my reading list.


  • fortyacresandamule

    The mass live in eternal hope and optimism. Constantly looking for political messiahs for inspirations or to improve their material welfare is their greatest weakness. And the end result is always the same…dissapointment. With a short memory span, no sooner the cycle continues.


  • @fortyacresanamule

    How are you able to condition change based on humans eradicating the thought of hope from our minds.


  • fortyacresandamule April 16, 2017 at 4:42 PM #

    Well put……the reason why, being in need of a crutch as they lack belief in self and always need a validater who they construe as an image of themselves.

    It all started with the original crutch…..religion…..from that creation with its own supreme leader man continued forming governance systems akin to his original creation who in turn validated it…..the endles gyre..


  • I think Yearwood has whet the appetite of the discerning Barbadian.It appears questions from the floor had to be guillotined owing to a late start.Both parties but in particular the DLP must be crapping bricks.This meeting and the participative element sends a message……we have had enough of the nastiness from Stuart and his minions of clueless pothounds who are all after a food and money.When one adds the success of the BLP marches now being copied by this non performing DLP cabinet,Stuart must know the writing is on the wall and it’s all over bar the shouting.The main thrust is to get the 40% of the electorate who withheld their vote last time out,to encourage them to go to the polls next year and rout these liars and thieves called the DLP. One has only to read today’s Sun and the comments of Don Marshall based on non existent figures to recognize the guess work of the Dems.


  • It was not lack of community service that stop him that is how the establishment works. Pick who they want by enrolling persons to vote before the required time limit to be a member. He is a young man and the DLP has now nominated three young men. Why could they not get together and challenge the two existing parties?
    Gabriel Why are you in a hurry to put back into parliament people who had fourteen years and did nothing significant for the society for example George Payne who did not speak for most of those fourteen tears, Glyne Clarke who had more scandals than you remember. I cannot remember which blog had this house posted that was for public housing but end up as a private home. We can do better


  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ Curious

    “we can do better”

    Four words that speak to the crux of this matter that encapsulate the whole forty yards and the mire that besieges us bajans.

    We seem to be enveigled by our “collective vomit” of the 50 years of successive administrations read DLP and BLP.

    And, like some ruminating mammal, we “bring back up” that which DID NOT WORK IN ITS HEYDAY and chew on it anew.

    That vomit comes in the form of incompetent ministers who, 14 years ago were younger yet at the height of their incompetencies and now, 14 years later, are even less wise and infinitely slower.

    Molasses and Syrup.

    We Have to Do Better Curious.

    We bajans now see what both of these groups of people are doing, have done AND WILL DO and what we have to do is to SAY NOW TO THEM BOTH AND CHART A NEW PATH that DOES NOT INCLUDE THEM


  • @ PUDRYR
    That would be an error.

    They should be ‘included’ for educational purposes – to ensure that our brass bowl grandchildren do not make the same mistake all over again.

    ..They should be prosecuted and persecuted.
    ..They should be audited – and made to pay for all the shiite they did…
    ..They should be written about – in deep detail – all the sordid facts and bribes…
    ..History should record them as the dastardly scamps and traitors that they have been…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Curious
    As I said…both parties but in particular the DLP must be crapping bricks….we want serious change in the governance of this country.Nothing less than a paradigm shift in the way things are done.I won’t like to see the arrogance of a Barney Lynch or Lowe et al ever again in a Barbados parliament.Our conditions of service must call for sacrifice and humility not the pompous assholes that are on both sides of the fence,so when I hear that JA Sanka Price talking about a minister should be paid more because he has the power of life and death over the citizenry,I say eff off scumbag it is the other way around.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    Eye opening oredictions fir future economies.

    “By 2050, the world is likely to have changed drastically from what we know now, and the planet’s economic and financial landscape will be no exception.

    A report from professional services giant PwC looks at which economies around the world will be the biggest and most powerful in 33 years time.

    The report, titled “The long view: how will the global economic order change by 2050?” ranked 32 countries by their projected global gross domestic product by purchasing power parity.

    PPP is used by macroeconomists to determine the economic productivity and standards of living among countries across a certain time period.

    With the exception of the USA, many of the world’s current powerhouse economies like Japan and Germany will have slipped down global rankings, replaced by countries such as India and Indonesia, which are currently emerging markets.

    Check out the ranking below (All numbers cited in the slides are in US dollars and at constant values (for reference, the US’s current PPP is $18.562 trillion):

    Netherlands — $1.496 trillion.
    Colombia — $2.074 trillion.
    Poland — $2.103 trillion.
    Argentina — $2.365 trillion.
    Australia — $2.564 trillion.
    South Africa — $2.570 trillion.
    Spain — $2.732 trillion.
    Thailand — $2.782 trillion.
    Malaysia — $2.815 trillion.
    Bangladesh — $3.064 trillion.
    Canada — $3.1 trillion.
    Italy — $3.115 trillion.
    Vietnam — $3.176 trillion.
    Philippines — $3.334 trillion.
    South Korea — $3.539 trillion.
    Iran — $3.900 trillion.
    Pakistan — $4.236 trillion.
    Egypt — $4.333 trillion.
    Nigeria — $4.348 trillion.
    Saudi Arabia — $4.694 trillion.
    France — $4.705 trillion.
    Turkey — $5.184 trillion.
    United Kingdom — $5.369 trillion.
    Germany — $6.138 trillion.
    Japan — $6.779 trillion.
    Mexico — $6.863 trillion.
    Russia — $7.131 trillion.
    Brazil — $7.540 trillion.
    Indonesia — $10.502 trillion.
    United States — $34.102 trillion.
    India — $44.128 trillion.
    China — $58.499 trillion.

    Read more:

    • This chart is easy to interpret: It says we’re screwed
    • How Uber became the world’s most valuable startup
    • These 4 things could trigger the next crisis in Europe

    Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.”


  • We bajans now see what both of these groups of people are doing, have done AND WILL DO and what we have to do is to SAY NOW TO THEM BOTH AND CHART A NEW PATH that DOES NOT INCLUDE THEM.

    May not include them but will surely have their cousins,nephews,nieces,daughters,sons,etc,etc

    Sigh…..when will we learn that we have to make a total change…..forget the political class….lets concentrate on educating the sheeple away from the wukkup mentality……lets deal with community pressure groups that will form alliances and exert pressure on whoever is in parliament.


  • WWC,

    “With the exception of the USA, many of the world’s current powerhouse economies like Japan and Germany will have slipped down global rankings, replaced by countries such as India and Indonesia, which are currently emerging markets.”

    Japan and Germany are like roaches. You can harm some, but they will come back … The climate in the South (eg India, Indonesia) is simply too hot for maximum efficiency and best work ethic. Read Montesquieu, De l’esprit des loix. Climate and geography explain a lot.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    Yeah Tron.


  • @Vincent Haynes April 16, 2017 at 4:56 PM “It all started with the original crutch…religion”

    Since every society everywhere has some kind of religion, maybe religion is a necessity and not a crutch?


  • @Hal Austin April 16, 2017 at 9:06 AM “how about getting each and every secondary school to publish the full unredacted results of its CXC results? Let parents know which schools are underperforming and which, if any, are over-performing; let parents and taxpayers know if we are getting a decent return on the investment we out in the educational system.”

    There is no such thing as over performing.

    And even while I agree with you that the Ministry of Education and or CXC should long since have published each school’s CXC results, we must still be mindful that exam results, only measure exams. Students enter schools with different abilities, some children come from nurturing homes, some children come from deeply conflicted homes. Some parents have enough money to purchase enriching books, games, and activities fro their children, some do not. Some children live a calm 5 minute walk from their school, some spend an hour or more standing at a hot bus-stop and travelling in an overheated bus, while some children are driven right into the school yard in an air conditioned vehicle. And some children always have enough good quality food, some children’s brains are starved even while they are in the womb.

    All of these complexities must be taken into account when assessing an individual child, or assessing a particular school.

    A child who was hungry from within the womb and who has had a difficult life and yet who still manages to gain 3 CXC passes has probably worked harder and better that a more fortunate child who has gained 5 passes.


  • Simple Simon April 17, 2017 at 4:32 PM #

    We will agree to disagree……..just because you see a stream of lemmings jumping off the cliff edge to certain death year after year……why would you not have the urge to join them?

    We all have a brain,some of us have it in its unadulterated state which allows us to comprehend and think through things and arrive at conclusions…..note the conclusion maybe to not conclude due to lack of enough knowledge/solid foundation to construct your edifice on.


  • Simple Simon,
    School officials predicted exam outcomes. That is why Oxford and Cambridge can offer kids places even before they take the exams. If you do better than predicted then you have over-performed (or out-performed the expectation).
    At St Giles JO Morris was a past master at predicting the 11+ exam. I agree that the value a schools adds is important, but the key metric is exam results. We want the results for every secondary school published, and the unions should be demanding this. I was told by a CXC official that the ministry gets broken down results.
    Why don’t the press call for these results to be made public? The reality is that after 11 years in the public education system lots of people – too many – leave just about able to read and write. It is a pitiable system.


  • Thoughts?

    Patrick Cozierto Social Accountability and Education in Barbados

    5 hrs ·

    As promised I now offer a set of recommendations/ suggestions on improving governance and transparency. Edition 1.

    1) the Executive decision making is in the hands of politicians. At times the political imperatives that drive such executive decision making may collide with the national interest. To mitigate this, perhaps the time has come to separate Executive and Legislature. MPs will constitute the legislature and the PM will pick his/her Cabinet from amongst the rest of the population, based on best suitability.

    2) presently, a very small group selects the PM. I suggest that the PM should run nationwide and be elected on the basis of majority of popular vote, and thus would have a genuine national mandate.

    3) the Public Accounts Committee should be replaced by a Public Accountability Committee reporting to the GG. It would be 9-11 members strong, 2 of whom will represent the 2 parties in Parliament (1 each), while the remaining membership will represent sectoral interests, e.g Labour, business, etc, and the sectors will determine their representative to sit on this committee.

    4) Election campaigns should be financed by the state.

    5) Election date should be specified, e.g. First Tuesday in September, every 5 years. If circumstances occasion the collapse of the Government, the GG can determine that a new election be held within 90 days of such collapse.

    6) Establish a Contractor General’s office with responsibility for all public sector tenders, contract awards and delivery compliance. Such tenders and awards should be published as public information and transparency.

    7) Pass the Freedom of Information Act as soon as possible.

    I will leave these 7 initial points on the table for discussion or critique. Edition 2 coming shortly, will further address the issue of governance and transparency. Look forward to your comments and further thoughts.


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