The Grenville Phillips Column – Keep Your Head Down

Grenville Phillips II, leader of Solutions Barbados

The slavery experience of our foreparents has left a legacy that we still struggle with today.  It is a legacy that everyone who has tried to improve a situation has felt.  Over the past quarter-century, I have talked with many persons who saw something being done incorrectly, whether on a construction site, or at a social function, or in a business, and they said nothing.

Why are we so reluctant to identify a problem, or stop an injustice, or stand up to a bully?  Why do so few Barbadians speak or write or act when we see something that ought not to done?  The typical reason that people give is that they did not want to draw attention to themselves by getting involved.

Challenging unfairness or recommending improvements will get you noticed.  During slavery, being noticed could mean getting raped if you were a girl, or being beaten if you were a man.  So everyone learnt to keep their heads down and just try to finish their work without being noticed.  This attitude has persisted, and I have found that it requires a conscientious effort to change.

In my youth, I used to enjoy watching kung-fu movies at the cinemas.  There would typically be some unmannerly adults in the audience who would put their feet on the chair in front of them and shout obscenities and insults across the room, but no-one ever said anything to them.  I learnt to keep my head down in order not to attract their attention, and just enjoy the movie.  By this time in my life, I had seen numerous instances of injustices, and wondered why responsible adults were never around during those times.

In my late teen years, while waiting for a kung-fu movie to start, and listening to the familiar string of obscenities and insults, I remember making myself a promise.  I told myself that when I reached 30 years of age, I would be the adult that I was hoping for during my youth.  When I was 30, I kept that promise and continued to keep it for the next 2 decades to this day.

Over the past 51 years of our independence, Barbados has had no shortage of competent persons with high integrity.  However, we were starved of persons who were willing to actually do something meaningful to bring about the much needed change to the benefit of all Barbadians.  We have had political columnists, moderators, commentators and calypsonians who would entertain us by giving voice to what we felt, but were too intimidated to say.  However, their efforts rarely resulted in national improvements.

There are two likely methods of solving national problems.  The first is to convince a ruling political administration to pursue effective and economical solutions.  The second method is to form a political party, assemble a set of highly competent persons of high integrity, and provide the electorate with a competent alternative.

I have tried the first method for almost 2 decades.  It is akin to sitting up and being noticed, much like the columnists and calypsonians, and like them, I was tolerated to a certain extent.  However, like them, I have seen no national improvement from my efforts.  Had our arrogant politicians not brought us to the brink of economic ruin, I would likely have continued to simply sit up and lobby for change.

I am now back in the Plaza cinema, the unruly fellows have their feet on the back of the chairs and are shouting their now familiar string of obscenities and insults at their targets.  Most of the audience have their heads down, not wanting to attract their attention.  The bullies are arrogant because they have intimidated the crowd for the past 51 years and the audience’s fear has sustained them.  However, this time, I stand up, and turn around, and face them, and whatever will happen will happen.  Barbados, you decide whether I face them alone.

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


  • Neither Mia, Stephens, Froon, Stinkliar or Artax have the answers to the problem we now face.
    These are all like sounding brass (bowls) making loud noise in the hope that some kinda music will be the result.

    Shiite man!!! even angela Skeete is beginning to sound coherent in their company.

    The sooner we all come to the realisation that what we have is a STARK situation of the blind leading the blind (- or of brass bowls preaching to brass bowls), the sooner we may undertake a strategic re-evaluation of our situation, and (hopefully) come up with new options and solutions that actually make sense…..


  • …and DEFINITELY not enuff

    ha ha ha
    He is still banking on CSME….


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    The electorate really gotta get rid of this clown Lashley.., Arawak offered to concrete the roads, which lasts approximately 2 decades, who knows more about concreting roads than Mexicans, they build thousand ft tunnels straight into US…

    But no, Lashley don’t want that…the local scams must continue, every 5 year election cycle… steal taxpayer’s money….and he believes all that pretty explanation is fooling anyone, except yardfowls…

    “Four companies will embark on a rehabilitation programme to fix Barbados’ road network.

    Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley, speaking to moderator David Ellis on Starcom Network’s call-in programme Down To Brass Tacks, on Friday named the private sector companies as Rayside, C. O. Williams, Brathwaite Construction and Infra Inc. and said that work would start as soon as the contracts were signed.

    The minister was speaking against a background of complaints by motorists and Barbadians in general about the poor state of the roads, which has been made worse by the recent rains.”


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Lashley is lying through his teeth…..he is still talking about 5 and 10 year contracts, concrete roads got 2 decades worth of road life, these days they are even adding discarded plastics in road building for longer road life.

    Anyway, Simmons is giving us a peak into the sam that is election campaign financing on the island….that I personally did not know befire and naturally….it’s a sham.


    Fri, 10/27/2017 – 12:00am Barbados1
    THERE is a need for separate legislation to deal specifically with campaign financing in Barbados.
    This is the view of Sir David Simmons, former Chief Justice of Barbados who says the current four paragraphs in the Prevention of Corruption Bill, which has not yet been proclaimed, is a “joke”.
    Sir David, Chairman of the Integrity Commission in Turks & Caicos (TCI) was one of the featured speakers at a discussion hosted by the Integrity Group Barbados on Wednesday night, entitled: Corruption, Cost, Consequences & Remedies. Also on hand was Kenneth Gordon who gave his experience as the former chairman of the Integrity Commission of Trinidad & Tobago and social commentator Adrian Green.

    The former Chief Justice of Barbados, while conceding that TCI with a population of approximately 40 000 is considerably smaller than Barbados, said comprehensive legislation to tackle the contentious issue of campaign financing was created with quantifiable success.
    He explained that under Barbados’ legislation which is less than a whole page, the secretary of a political party can file a declaration stating the name and address of every financial contributor of the party, two years prior to and six months after the general elections.

    “They don’t ask how much – they tell you to give your name and address two years before. We are concerned about regulating the flow of money during the campaign to try and put everybody on a level playing field. This is a joke!” he told the audience in the St. Gabriel’s school auditorium.
    “We need separate campaign financing legislation. You cannot incorporate four sub-sections, half of a page and tell me that is good enough,” Sir David argued.

    The former Attorney General also drew reference to the Political Activities Ordinance (PAO) in the TCI created to provide for the registration of political parties and for the regulation of the conduct of political parties in relation to political activity.

    The main features of the PAO include the imposition of statutory limits in respect of donations which a registered party or candidate can receive and what they can spend in an election period. “For example, a party or candidate can receive up to $30 000 from an individual or corporate donor, and not more than $30 000 should be spent in an electoral district. Party leaders are allowed a maximum of $100 000 and no party should spend more than $600 000 on an election campaign.”
    Sir David noted that millions were found to be filtered through the main political party’s account in 2010. After the 2012 elections, the Commission published donation and campaign expenditure reports.

    These showed an unprecedented reduction in total donations and campaign expenditure by the parties and candidates. The three Parties that contested those elections spent $578 303. Advertising and publicity materials accounted for $236 952 or approximately 41 per cent of total expenditure. Total donations received by the Parties amounted to $501 850.92.

    “This was unprecedented. What was especially heartening was that some private sector donors voluntarily wrote to the Commission informing us of the quantum of donations made to a particular Party,” Sir David stated. (JH)”


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Lashley is lying through his teeth…..he is still talking about 5 and 10 year contracts, concrete roads got 2 decades worth of road life, these days they are even adding discarded plastics in road building for longer road life….besides…Arawak got the equipmentto do the roads the correct way.

    “cheap ting no good, good ting no cheap.

    Anyway, Simmons is giving us a peak into the SCAM that is election campaign financing on the island….that I personally did not know before and naturally….it’s a sham.


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