The Grenville Phillips Column – Support our National Champion
The Hon Christopher Sinckler is Barbados’ Minister of Finance. He has a most challenging responsibility. He must consider competing interests and prioritize the spending of limited funds. He must also be careful to respect the concerns of sovereign rating agencies, creditors, and the International Monetary Fund. Concurrently, he must defend his decisions in Parliament.
Mr Sinckler can be likened to a national boxer. The main difference in this analogy is that whenever Mr Sinckler makes a bad decision, we suffer. When he spends more than Barbados earns, we suffer. When he increases our national debt, we suffer. When he manages another downgrade, we suffer. When he lays off productive public workers, we suffer. When he will have no other option but to devalue Barbados’ dollar, we will certainly suffer.
At the end of each round, our beaten champion stumbles to his corner where he expects to find succour and strategic advice. He finds us, all of us. Our job is to fan him, to give him something to drink, to encourage him, to pray that God will grant him wisdom and understanding and keep him in good health. Why? Because he is the only champion that we have, and when he gets hit, we get hit. We need him to succeed. We need him to win. So go Chris go.
The question that begs an answer is, why is he taking such a beating? The answer is simple. He is getting bad advice from his corner. While I and others are encouraging him to keep his guard up to prevent getting hurt, and to make strategic jabs to advance Barbados’ economy, he is given the lunatic advice to simply go out there, put his hands by his side and take the blows.
The advice assumes that his opponent will either have pity on him, stop fighting and award him some climate change funds, or that his opponent will get exhausted from throwing so many unanswered blows, and award him reparations.
Why did he allow the European Union to beat him senselessly? What sense is there in accepting perhaps the worst trade deal that Barbados has ever accepted, in the form of the Economic Partnership Agreement? This deal will essentially give the Caribbean to Europe and return us to servitude.
Why allow Sandals to simply strike him at will? Does Sandals automatically receive concessions that its competitors do not automatically receive? If so, then they are permitted to legally and unfairly compete in Barbados’ market. When he went up against Moody’s, and Standard and Poors rating agencies, it was a merciless slaughter, and they are still not finished with him.
Why won’t he defend himself, and us? Why won’t he put up his guard? Why won’t he even feign a jab if he has a conscientious objection to fighting back? Why simply stand still and allow our opponents to knock him senseless in every round. What are his trusted advisors hoping to achieve?
They seem to be hoping that the opponent will see that our champion has turned the other cheek and in response, will stop fighting. So far, they have not shown any inclination that they will respect our supposed moral high ground. They seem only intent on taking full advantage of our misplaced civility.
There is a time for Chris to turn his other cheek – but that time is not when he is fighting on our behalf. Perhaps he needs to be aware of all of the harm that his passivity is causing Barbados.
We are currently in the 9th round of a 10 round match. Our champion’s legs are wobbly from the constant unanswered barrage. As he makes it back to our corner for one last round, we need him to fight back. However, our Champion seems to trust the partisan bad advice that has not worked for us in the previous 9 rounds.
They are advocating a type of Muhammed Ali rope-a-dope strategy, where the opponent exhausts himself by punching a non-responsive target during the early rounds. However, that will only work if our champion protects himself from the opponent’s relentless barrage. It does not work if his hands were at his sides during the slaughter.
Right now our champion is reeling, he is hurt, he cannot think straight, and our opponents know this. He needs to start protecting himself, and then fighting back. But his trusted advisors are giving him contrary advice.
When I listen to the advice of boxing coaches during late rounds, they seem to understand that the time for niceties has ended when they are trying to get through to an exhausted boxer. They tend to speak harshly in order to shock the pugilist into listening to his advice for one last round. This is instructive.
Chris is our champion. If he loses, then we all lose. His trusted partisan advisors continue to whisper the same bad advice into his ear. We need him to win. Someone needs to shock him into the reality of what his continual losing means for us. “Chris, put up your damn hands and fight!”