Government Issued Terms of Reference to Modernize Informal Economy and Rationalize Revenue Collection – Outcome?

Dr. Justin Robinson, Chairman of the committee to rationalize SOEs reported that his report was submitted and awaits action by the minister of finance.

In 2017 the government of Barbados issued a Request for Proposal to the market to attract consultancy services. The terms of reference documents were titled :-

Barbadians have become numb to the lack of transparency demonstrated by the government of Barbados. There is a general lack of urgency regarding information sharing. Tenders are issued and contracts discharged with no urgency to update taxpayers to the status and outcomes of the transactions.

This DLP government has promised repeatedly during its tenure to rationalize State Owned Agencies (SOEs), modernize the public sector, improve business facilitation, retool the economy and other approaches to reorient how we must do business to be competitive as a country as a few examples. On the even of a general election are we satisfied this DLP government has made the advances necessary to conclude that there has been significant advancement in the stated objectives mentioned?

Many will not take the time to scan the documents included to inform discussion. The blogmaster hopes there is an exception in the making.

47 comments

  • NorthernObserver

    I think(?) the two referenced documents are identical? (links miscopied?))

    http://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/assessment-of-informal-economy/
    Said workshop was said to be “part of the consultancy”
    And since funding came via the EU, they were numerous ads placed seeking persons as described in the RFP.

    Around the same time, the IADB released a Report covering almost the same topic
    https://publications.iadb.org/bitstream/handle/11319/8477/Estimating-the-size-of-the-informal-economy-in-Caribbean-states.PDF?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

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  • Corruption
    Endemic in USA Barbados Caribbean and Guyana ….

    The Chinese capitalists will corrupt the planet ! Take over where USA left off ! Sad fact !

    RIP to corruption …
    Lord soros

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  • @Northern Observer

    Thanks, link corrected.

    What are you saying though, the government has done enough to broadcast about the TORs?

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  • Wily does not have the time to read more government SHIT propaganda, Garbage in GARBAGE out, south coast is an exception.

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  • Frustrated Businessman: Animal Farm sequel playing out in Bim.

    Documents like these are created by bureaucrats who have no practical management or implementation experience whatsoever.

    They sit around in rooms, each trying to bray more clever than the other, and when they leave, not one fuk has been accomplished. Nor will it ever be by the bureaucrat class.

    What they really need to do is spend some time in the private sector ‘kill or be killed’ world and start to understand that ineptitude has real consequences. That will never happen either.

    The BDS snivel service in unsalvageable. It has been for 25 years.

    Our only hope for progress is to minimise and marginalise it so the encumbrance to progress is reduced, if not eliminated.

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  • William Skinner

    At long last the answer to the sewage crisis: 1. Divert traffic 2. Close business and pay the workers.

    Problem solved !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • William Skinner
    If that’s all you heard/read, it shows that you’re no different to the same politicians and their supporters you often curse–a liar, disingenuous, misleading and dishonest. đźš«â›”

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  • @ Frustrated B
    Amen.

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  • Frustrated Businessman: Animal Farm sequel playing out in Bim.

    Bush Tea March 2, 2018 at 8:11 AM #
    @ Frustrated B
    Amen.

    ……………………………………..

    BT it has never been any different.

    If my family still lived in Speightstown and I had a civil service job, I’d spend my evenings in rumshops with fishermen, talk about the sea, boats and fishing, buy fishermen drinks and accept same, dress like everyone else there and, to all external appearances, be a fisherman.

    Next morning they’d go fishing and feast or starve by their trade. Maybe teach their children to fish or, if ‘successful’, educate their children above their station to get a civil service job and be ‘made for life’. Maybe even look after the old people in their ‘retirement’ which, for the working class, really means debilitation caused by wear-and-tear.

    I’d go to my civil service job with more fishing knowledge than anyone else there and no clue about actually catching a fish. By civil service standards, I’d be a ‘fisheries expert’. Maybe even build a multi-million-dollar fishing complex in Conset Bay or Skeetes Bay for boats and fisherman that don’t exist.

    And that is where we are today. Our economic gains over the past 40 years have created a nation of slackers led by the civil service who would starve in the absence of our particularly contorted form of socialism.

    Guess what; starvation time is here.

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  • Bernard Codrington

    @ FB

    I agree with your positions on this particular issue. Everyone who wants to be a success must learn on the job. In any case if they are in the underground or informal economy it means that they do not need help from the bureaucrats. They will evolve in time. There is nothing mechanistic about business or economic development . If it is not mechanistic you cannot teach it.

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  • @Bernard

    On a related matter regarding the underground economy, a budget or two ago didn’t the minister of financial enunciate a policy of identifying entities doing businesses not paying taxes? What is the status on the eve of the General election?

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  • Bernard Codrington

    @ David at 9 :35 AM

    The underground and informal economy pays taxes through the imposition of indirect or expenditure taxes. I am sure that you are aware of the slew of these that were introduced in the previous four budgets.

    The status. ? A good example of a society and an economy that is an adaptive complex system. They are smarter than the technocrats. They find means to evade onerous taxes. No increase in yields. In addition even if the taxes are collected do they reach the Consolidated Fund?

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  • Frustrated Businessman: Animal Farm sequel playing out in Bim.

    Exactly Bernard.

    Paying tax in this country is unavoidable.

    If VAT was 25%, except for purchases made on ForEx, and all other taxes eliminated, we’d be on our way to a future worth working for.

    People who spend would support our socialism, people who save would support a banking system that supported business activity.

    VAT is the only tax that cannot be avoided, our ADMINISTRATION of VAT and other taxes is our nightmare.

    The VAT registration threshold should be US$1m.

    Every cash register in Bim can be programmed to record VAT-free ForEx sales and submit those ForEx deposits with VAT returns.

    Instead we have a complicated, unmanageable system created by bureaucrats who never produced anything in their lives.

    Time to flush the system of idiots and their ideas that have been forced upon us.

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  • Frustrated,

    “Our economic gains over the past 40 years have created a nation of slackers led by the civil service who would starve in the absence of our particularly contorted form of socialism.”

    Correct! No initiative, no individual responsibility. Most Barbadians do not understand that liberty comes with lots of responsibility.

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  • Our form of taxation creates a new category that could quite simply be called “Double taxation”. Is it any wonder that the informal sector has become adept at avoiding the onerous taxes that are otherwise imposed? Survival is the name of the game and be assured that if a way is ever found to entrap them in the tax net (nay, noose), they will just cease to participate. This in itself will create a whole new set of social and societal problems.

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  • If indirect taxes will bring all into the net then it means if VAT is the preferred system it must be made more efficient. We can’t have a VAT system and impose flat taxes because of an inability to manage the VAT. Around the Rh mulberry Bush.

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  • NorthernObserver

    Blogmaster: I haven’t a clue how widely circulated the TOR/RFP’s were.

    It is fairly standard practice these days, to have a central body, like the GIS, which tracks all the RFP’s/Tenders currently available and open. Clicking on each link, gives details. They chart the closing date, anytime extensions, and what new info, if any, has been provided. Once closed, they regularly list the three low bidders, and status usually changed to “under review” until awarded.

    In larger economies, there is frequently a separate body to handle this information. Typically they are very good at listing what is available, but far less transparent in the procedure of award, and project status post award.

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  • NorthernObserver

    You are returning to the oft scoffed SB proposal of a flat tax.

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  • Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right

    @ Those Wiser That De Ole Man

    In short everybody pun BU.

    I cant see too well and I does understand even less.

    The Crux of this TOR scam bout the informal economy is that, this is a government of BuhKhvunts, a set that are incapable of generating forex, and certainly INCAPABLE of enabling this segment of Informal workers, now seeking a method TO COLLECT TO TAXES from this segment of the society.

    TO PROP UP A FAILED ECONOMY!

    Now here is a thing that de ole man would like to suggest about this plan.

    When a poor man starts in the informal sector he does be catching he donkey BEFORE HE MEKS A CENT. This is a statistic all over the world.

    But it is even worse in Bulbados where the environment itself is “contra de informal man” cause fuh he or she to register as a business AND TO BE PROTECTED FROM A LAWSUIT IF DEM SCVUNT FAILS, they have to pay $1700 for incorporation of a company.

    “Doing Business as” is not a reliable, rather useful status to rely on, if AND WHEN THEIR ENTERPRISE FAILS (it is expected that an entrepreneur is going to fail 7-8 times BEFORE THEY START MEKKING MONEY.)

    By the time you start mekking money as a “DBA” most of these entrepreneurs as so battered by the experience that they DONT WANT TO REGISTER ANYWHERE.

    Now we are not speaking of the big feller at the Central Bank of Barbados who does mek $12000 a month but got 6 business where he “INFORMALLY” selling car parts and clothes that he fictitiously re-invoiced so that he does not pay the correct taxes at the Customs.

    No we are talking about fellers many of who are barely making it, and of those who are making it big, refuse to “come on scope” because the enabling environment is not there.

    This is not rocket science.

    Let evey body register as a company. This speaks to promoting a culture that is friendly to the small man.

    De ole man further suggests dat one permits them registration/incorporation at ridiculously low cost, like dem does do in america, using a template for articles of incorporation etc and then lets them do their business for a period of 3 years NOMINALLY FREE OF Taxes

    BUT WITH A FEW CAVEATS.

    For them to be tax free or nominally free of taxes, they must

    (a)Employ at least one person who they must pay NIS etc for and
    (b)They must continue to be enrolled in an online secure accounting system, like a “Wave for Barbados” that virtually monitors their income and expenditure

    Even if a fellow hires Jester Inch, the so called financial cuntsultant, to manufacture dem tax returns, the thing is that YOU HAVE GOTTEN SOME PEOPLE TO REGISTER and you have gotten a fellow to INFORMALLY EMPLOY A NEXT BODY.

    It is better to have some taxes as opposed to NONE

    Then what a serious government does to “sweeten the pie” is that they “give points/credits” to the more successful SMEs in this informal sector.

    CREDITS which these informal players can use to access the resources that Fund Access and EGFL entities, the fellows who love giving way government money to dem friends, or giving to wummens with pretty legs and big botsies.

    A system such as the ole man speaking bout will INCENTIVIZE DEM INFORMAL SMEs and possibly encourage them to enroll and participate in paying taxes BECAUSE DERE IS REAL BENEFITS to be had as opposed to looking at big bubby naked women a la Pornville Inniss.

    Den a feller will use “CBC Reporting Lies” to “big up” said SMEs every evening at 7.20 pm, all these INFORMAL operatives, so that everyone in Bulbados starts to see how these people started small and den get big loans wid FCIB etc.

    I sure that a feller like Frusttrated Businessman and his cadre would nominally underwrite such a programme.

    But de ole man is not too bright so ideas like dese wud only work fuh white people or de Gramameen model and similar tings where de hunkie, or injun or chinee operating successfully

    Like

  • Piece,

    Car parts without correct duties? Do you know one person in Barbados paying the official price?

    Only cabinet ministers, judges and high bureaucrats do so, since the taxpayer, the slave of the 21st century, pays their many bills.

    Like

  • Bernard Codrington

    Northern Observer at 12:04 PM

    VAT is the original flat tax. It was intended to remove a plethora of indirect taxes. Corporate tax and tax on individual incomes were progressively being reduced. It was conceived by Tom Adams ,introduced under Sandiford and implemented under Owen Arthur.
    Tinkering with the original model was the platform on which its effectiveness was derailed.

    Not understanding that Income is the source of expenditure and therefore needs to be sustained led to a default to what one understood or misunderstood.

    Like

  • Frustrated Businessman: Animal Farm sequel playing out in Bim.

    BC, Fumble’s Fools are still yet to realise that the one sure way to decrease tax revenue in a socialist bureaucracy grey-market is to increase taxation.

    Morons, to the last man and woman among them.

    Only one tax can work in the grey market economy; VAT. It cannot be escaped.

    Even the suitcase traders with friends working at the airport and the fatherless unemployable small-time dope-dealers have to eat, buy clothes, pay rent, travel etc. and all of that attracts VAT.

    There was never any chance of economic recovery under Fumble’s Fools.

    Like

  • Bernard Codrington

    FB at 1 :11 PM

    I agree. But to some persons it is not intuitive. Learning is seldom common sense. In fact too many of us park our common sense at the school doors.

    Like

  • Let's Not Remember the FAILED DLP

    Barbados’ Foreign Reserves Drain Worsened in 2017
    The accelerating loss of foreign reserves in 2017 is evidence of the failure of Government’s adjustment policies. Reserves, which fell $246 million in 2016, declined by $274 million in 2017. Since December 2012 the Central Bank has lost over $1 billion of foreign exchange.
    The May 2017 Budget was intended to arrest the decline in foreign reserves, which had driven the level below the critical minimum of twelve weeks of imports at December 2016. The main adjustment tool was the NSRL, which was expected to provide $218 million in tax receipts. In fact, between April and December last year the NSRL yielded $97 million.
    The NSRL has had an adverse effect on economic growth. In the absence of the tax, the Barbados economy might have achieved another 0.5 percent on top of the one percent growth rate actually attained. That represents a loss of about $50 million of national income.
    The foreign exchange fee was introduced in the May Budget to complement the NSRL by slowing the outflow of foreign exchange. However, shortages of foreign exchange persisted, mainly because Government was obliged to repay $137 million of foreign debt. Foreign lenders were unwilling to roll over this debt because of Government’s poor credit rating.
    The third element of adjustment in the May 2017 Budget was an across-the-board reduction of $82 million in Government expenditure. Actually, total expenditure increased by $57 million between April and December. The largest items of expenditure are wages, subsidies to state enterprises and interest on money Government borrowed to fund previous years’ deficits.
    The Central Bank’s foreign reserves continue to be in free fall, with the failure of Government’s corrective strategy. The current costs of Government operations exceeded revenues by $288 million between April and December last year, and Central Bank’s lending to the public sector increased by $372 million during the year. Unless this gap is closed foreign reserves will be exhausted, and Government will lose control of the exchange rate. The Barbados Sustainable Recovery Plan 2018 does not address this issue.
    All is not yet lost. The first order of business must be to remove the emergency taxes that are strangling private business, and to cut public sector spending to eliminate the current account deficit. In my paper The Road to Prosperity I have calculated that an immediate cut of 10 percent in subsidies, and redundancy of 1,500 public workers would suffice. That will halt the foreign reserves slide, and open the way for discussions with the IMF on a programme of financial support for a practical, well-designed strategy for public sector renewal. The full implementation of the 7-point strategy recommended in The Road to Prosperity will cure our economy of the twin illnesses of Government overspending and public sector ineptitude, and release the pent-up enterprise of our dynamic private sector. Barbadians must insist that our Government preserve our country’s reputation for taking tough short-term measures in the interest of future prosperity.
    Note: Data used in this letter are from the Central Bank of Barbados Press Release, Jan 30, 2018.

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  • Let's Not Remember the FAILED DLP

    All of this happened because one of them when to the Foundation School and the other was educated at the Garrison School. Therefore please forgive them, its not their fault!!

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  • Pride at Combermere increased year on year in tandem with Rihanna’s international success. Foundation now, not so sure how prideful they are with The Right Honorable Retard.

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  • Remember,

    “immediate cut of 10 percent in subsidies, and redundancy of 1,500 public workers would suffice”

    NOT enough. At least 10,000 civil servants must go, including many appointed officer. All allowances must be abolished for the remaining servants and the pensions cut down, especially the high pensions of all the judges. The productivity of the public sector is zero or even below zero. I assume, the net working time is 20 hours per week or less. We also need to close or privatize as many statutory corporations as possible.

    The fired persons might get a container shipment and a few dollars to emigrate with their families to work on banana plantations in Costa Rica or in gold mines in Guyana. We also do not need all these grand government buildings. The Supreme Court for example, should be converted into a hotel. The rest of the judges can work in their old building.

    We need drastic steps. We need a purge. Only a shock will change the rotten attitude towards hard work and discipline under the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Tron
    Necessity will be the mother of your invention.

    It is always amazing how pliant brass bowls can become, when heated to the right temperature…. Judges should be paid per case completed …and have 90% deducted from the case pay for every case overturned by a higher court. Out legal system would sort itself out overnight….

    Productivity can be managed …. but not by crooked bosses who are even lazier than the workers.

    Like

  • Am I missing something here?

    CV1894/2017 BNTCL Holdings Limited v. The Fair Trading Commission

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  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    “Judges should be paid per case completed.”

    Again…why does it take judges who are well educated and well qualified, two years or more or never to make a decision in a case, you should get decisions in months, not years.

    Like

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    M BushTea, were it so simple that “…. Judges should be paid per case completed …and have 90% deducted from the case pay for every case overturned by a higher court.”

    With that 90% line of reasoning then we could reduce the need for an appellate court significantly as decisions would either be right or not appealed because if judges suffer a withholding claw back then so should the lawyers for the loser!

    But the payment for completion sounds good. Tweak it a bit and it would be workable: Low starting pay and then incentive salary payment for each case completed.

    Clearly you are not a lawyer or have any judges in de family! 🙂

    Like

  • Many years ago while on jury duty I saw the judges writing the evidence in a large lined register,in other words,long hand.If this continues to this day,we are still in medieval times not only in ‘legalise’ language but in practice on the bench.Whatever became of the upgrading to evidence using electronic aids which would free the judge of the need to write long hand.

    Like

  • @ Dribbler
    Don’t disappoint Bushie now …PLEASE!

    Obviously that is an off-the-cuff exaggerated statement intended to drive home the point that productivity-based payment systems MAKE SENSE in terms of achieving the results that we want to achieve.
    As it is now, we pay judges to drive around in big rides and frequent the cocktail circuits. The actual RESULT that we all want (a working, efficient court system) is of no concern to them.

    If their pay DEPENDED on making that system work, then you can rest assured that they will not only complete cases post haste, but – using the EXISTING powers at their disposal – they would also light fires under the asses of any useless lawyers who stopped them from getting their pay and enjoying their benzes.
    The obvious drawback is that in their haste, they may be tempted to take shortcuts and compromise the QUALITY of the decisions that they make.
    ….THUS the large penalty imposed for any overturned cases. How often do you think an intelligent judge would make the kind of mistakes that cause them to lose significant pay?

    …and how long do you think an incompetent idiot would last as a judge at that rate of penalty?

    What you have is a self-regulating system that:
    1 – produces the actual RESULTS that we all want
    2 – weeds out the competent from the idiots
    3 – self polices itself in terms of productivity
    4 – rewards competent, effective judges even BOYOND what they now receive
    5 – removes the partisan, political idiocy that currently prevails in appointments
    6 – automatically drives performance management all the way down to the court marshals
    7 – gets Bushie a monthly stipend for the use of his guaranteed solution.

    If you doubt Bushie ….ask Jeff….
    ….and if you think that you will be dragging any more ‘free consultancies’ out of the Bushman before BBE’s sensible system is implemented on this earth ….think again Boss 🙂

    Like

  • 10,000 lay-offs would be a disaster.

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  • The main reason for Barbadian downfall is the lack of work ethic (besides a lack of transparency and good public governance). Somebody claimed my position on hard work was a “massa´s” position. Wrong. My position is based on a comparative and globalist view.

    Well, let me tell you: The public servants in developed countries worked 25 years ago 35-37 hours per week. Now 40-42 hours. The public sector needed reforms and got it. In Switzerland, private workers have to work up to 45 hours per weeks. Why? To adjust for the very strong CHF. And by the way, these working hours are NET working hours, not like Barbados, where work includes singing, chatting and gossipping all day long.

    Or look at Singapore. A country full of discipline, tidiness and order. Singapore was on the same low level as the Caribbean islands in the 1960s. Hopeless, clueless, full of poverty. However, Lee Kuan Yew drew the right conclusions when he visited the West Indies. No gain without pain.

    The local politicians should be more honest and tell their voters, that low work ethic translates into declining wealth and productivity. Why should an international investor hand over many millions to Barbados when he can profit from by far higher productivity in other places, on other island?

    To sum up: We should not mix up the historical experience and the competitive conditions of modern work in the early 21st century. The wealth of a nation is based on productivity or natural resources. And I do not see any oil, diamonds or gold in the many caves of Barbados. So productivity is the only solution to fix the unfortunate situation the island is in.

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    “Whatever became of the upgrading to evidence using electronic aids which would free the judge of the need to write long hand.”

    Seen it myself and it’s unfair to judges, lawyers are allowed to have their laptops and other electronic aids during cases, why can’t judges use laptops instead of having to write down every word uttered, which is time consuming and self defeating and is so 18th century in 2018..

    That should be among the first upgrades to the supreme court.

    Doing so should speed up decisions by judges..hopefully.

    Like

  • The NUPW the standing trade union responsible for representing public sector workers is unable to declare the work force strength of the government. This is the the incoherence of all things prevailing in a 2018 Barbados.

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  • The next gov and IMF must figure out before any reform:

    The true status of national debt consisting of gov bonds, NIS, loans, statutory corps, outstanding payments like VAT.
    The true status of employment and costs in the public sector: numbers, allowances, acting positions.
    The productivity of the public sector: 20 or 25 hours net per week?
    How public property like the silver Mercedes of the cabinet ministers, judges and DDP is used: Only for public purpose or also for very private purpose? How many civil servants and judges got a public car at taxpayer´s expense?
    How much do judges really work beside “live and family” (quote Marson Gibson) to fulfil their duty?
    What happened to the golden coins in the glass cabinet at Central Bank?
    How many public pensions are paid despite the minister, judge etc pp is already dead?

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  • The QEH used to have people on the par roll who did not work for the hospital. When asked for a list of employees they refused to hand it over.

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  • pay roll

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  • The public sector must be organized in a way that the Prime can figure out the numbers with one click in his SAP system or whatever they use.

    “Trust is good but control is better” (Lenin)

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  • First of all, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Civil Service Alyson Forte must be removed from office. He said “there were those [civil servants] who work hard and are dedicated to developing Barbados.”

    Fake News! You need an electron microscope to find any.

    Payment for Forte for 38 years – for stories like this. How sad.

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  • If you chat with PS Pretty eye Forte offline he will tell you some of the other colleagues are responsible for the slothful culture that exist in the public service.

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  • What’s this about judges taking notes. I thought someone was dedicated to making notes of the proceedings. Forgive me, I stay out of the courts.

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  • &Tron
    Is it the people or is it our leadership. Are stories of men like Adams, Barrow, Williams merely fables? Is it that our people are lacking in character? Choose one.

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  • Gazer,

    Barbadians are as good as everybody. There is no Caribbean or black DNA preventing people from success or making them inferior. Only the supremacists tell us that people have specific unchangeable attributes like animals It is all about the free will the creator gave to us.

    Yes, the lack of work ethic is a result of a lack of leadership under the present conditions. As soon as there is a strong leader like Barrow or Adams again who leads by example, the work ethic might change. The leader might convince them or make them run through naked fear.

    Imagine a Prime, a Chief Justice or Cabinet Minister asking his staff: What would we do if we were 100 times bolder and stronger?

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    The Judges clerks still takes notes by hand despite having computer, but so do Judges, particularly witness statements.

    Judges should have access to laptops in the courtrooms, the Supreme Court is still too backward, an ongoing recipe for it’s present continuing misuse.

    Like

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