Private Sector Disengagement Challenging Development

Submitted by William Skinner

Our private sector has never been the engine of growth. It has never indicated any earnest desire to accept such a role. Since independence, it would be very difficult, to identify, a period where our private sector, both traditional and current, drove the growth engine.

Ever since the decline of the plantocracy, successive governments, have been the true engineers of economic development. A glaring example of the private sector’s deviancy was the housing sector boom of the post-independence period, when the traditional private sector refused, to engage in any broad-based effort, in public housing for lower income groups.

Agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and to some degree construction, were systematically underperforming because the sector, was mainly concerned with maintaining low wages and engaging in protracted battles with the powerful Barbados Workers Union (BWU). It can be safely argued that the sector was also very reluctant to employ and or promote, the new generation of university graduates, who could have brought a new thinking to the sector. This colonialist attitude resulted in very talented blacks being denied prominence in the board rooms.

The strident criticism of the last government’s generous concessions to the Sandals group, were fuelled by the same private sector, that could not develop a product such as Sandals. Successive governments have bent over backwards to please the pathetic assortment of whiners, within our private sector, who act as if they have never made a penny in profit and apparently believe that the public must underwrite their investments.

Our corporate power houses were interested in nothing more than retail operations and enjoyed the luxury of exploiting consumers, when natural disasters such as hurricanes occurred, and they could increase the prices of basic items such as sardines, bread and milk! That was the extent of their thinking and approach to national economic development.

Our prime industry tourism fell victim to a lethargic and incompetent private sector, that refused to invest heavily in marketing the country and left the demanding work to successive governments, that in turn populated overseas agencies with party sycophants, who knew little or nothing about promoting the product. There was no symbiosis between agriculture and the tourism industry. This meant that a considerable portion of the foreign exchange earned usually found its way out of the country, to maintain the industry.

This unpatriotic sector executed its final betrayal, when it sold one of our most powerful corporate entities, Barbados Shipping and Trading (BST) to foreign interests. BST was a powerful entity that acted as its own government. At one time it managed several estates and allowed them to become run down, rather than invest in the agro-industry. The true history of this organization will reveal it was steeped in unpatriotic corporate practices and rather than innovate and move toward new investments, that would have utilized emerging technological tools, it opted to engage in the greatest act of corporate cowardice by selling out.

As the new government rides on tremendous goodwill, it would do well to read the riot act to our private sector and inform it, that the same way it cannot be business as usual for the civil servants and the citizens, as we go through tough economic times, it cannot be the same for the private sector. It is time that it be told in no uncertain terms to step up to the plate.

Former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur once told the sector that it represented a pack of whiners; another Prime Minister, Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, once had to remind the sector that he was not elected in a boardroom. Another former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart told them that if they wanted to dictate how the country was managed, they should consider running for office.

In recent times the same sector was in the forefront of marches organized by trade unions against a government. There is an old saying: “He who helps you buy a big guts cow or horse does not always help you feed it.”

A word to the wise.

133 comments

  • @PIT

    “Sometimes those who can and have done have no need to earn any more so they decide to spread the wealth around by helping others.”

    Unemployment is unemployed, social benefactor only works if it’s backed by $$$$, words don’t cut it.
    You may think you have solutions but others think your type is the PROBLEM. Listen and learn.

    Like

  • Ok Enuff maybe u can save that enviromental and healthexcuse for the IMF when the tax revenue does not hit the required amount necessary to pay the debit
    No small nation with a small population can be expected by govt to lower a fiscal deficit on the back of an unproductive populace driven by a one nest basket by using agressive taxation to pay debt
    Never gonna happen the stranglehold of aggressive taxation would make the populace recoiled in disgust resulting in a drop in spending and govt never able to reach its intended target

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @ Wily Coyote, I am gainfully employed working for a non-profit economic development organization. “social benefactor only works if it’s backed by $$$$, words don’t cut it.” I agree entirely… so far this year I’ve raised €400,000 for the work we do; it’s not enough, but it’s more than nothing.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    Parts of the private sector have been engines of economic growth over the past 52 years. The international business sector powered growth during the Arthur regime. High end tourism with its related overpriced luxury real estate development have been important to growth at other times.

    I think what Mr Skinner is getting at is that such growth is skewed in ways that ensure that its primary beneficiaries are White: some are descended from the plantocracy, some had poor White ancestry, and some are expatriates. It is true that some Black people got to hitch a ride on the gravy train through political corruption or by providing professional services, but Black people do not command the heights of the Barbados economy. The growth of the middle class has been the accomplishment of successive governments… educating doctors and lawyers, hiring legions of public servants that include teachers, nurses, policemen, as well as civil servants.

    If you see the private sector as made up of the most visible big businesses on the island: the banks, Massy, Digicel, Chefette, COWilliams, Williams Industries, Sandy Lane, Flow, Oran, Cost You Less, Altman Realtors, Goddard Enterprises, Cave Shepherd, Fortress Fund Management, Sandals, Crane Beach Hotel, etc., it is easy to form a picture of them as unpatriotic because their ethnic makeup does not mirror the ethnic makeup of the wider society, so it seems hard to believe that they have the best interests of the whole society at heart.

    However, I think the question we need to answer is why the Nation Group, A1 Supermarkets, and a small handful of others are the only distinct examples of Black entrepreneurship that have grown to significant scale over the past 52 years.

    Like

  • aGREE WITH THE ABOVE PLT, BUT A1 Supermarkets ALWAYS FROM ITS VERY BEGINNING HAD THE BACKING OF A CERTAIN WHITE COMPANY,

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  • PLT…believe it or not, most of the black entrepreneurs who seem successful, outside of the small business people who are expected by the society to remain small, attribute their own success to someone white helping them instead of saying it is their own, initiative, skills and abilities got them there..

    eg….Bynoe from the same A1 Supermarkets….does not think he got where he is without the help of that bajan white dude , I always forget his name, he is part of the turf club crowd, still has a rum distillery up St. Philip and some People’s Mart out near eagle Hall….David Seale, now remembered

    ….grown black men still feel they have to thank someone white either local or foreign on the island for their success, and they have been passing on that blighted mentality from one generation to the next.

    lowlife Cow still tells his employees they came to work for him out of slavery.

    It is a very complex, self defeating and self demeaning society, don’t let the pretence of being developed fool you…

    ….we can judge from the way previous governments just picked up what belonged to the people, land, money, contracts, tax dollars, pension money and gave it away without even thinking what they were doing something wrong….stealing from their own people, without thinking that it belonged to their own people and not the whites, as if the whites were more entitled to it.

    That mentality is what has the island in 3rd world, banana republic mode and cannot move forward, I blame the mentally weak black men..of which there are still far too many.

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  • ….stealing from their own people, without thinking that it belonged to their own people and not the whites AND other minorities, as if the whites and others were more entitled to it.

    ..for their own people to benefit, they would have to be mindless, useless yardfowls and party supporters…

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  • In other words, they themselves do not carry enough ambition and drive to move forward independently unless someone out of the minority groups rubber-stamps it….they do not have the self confidence in themselves or their own people, so they sure as hell will not allow each other to move forward to progress, not with that still existing crab mentality…again…the examples are right there in the way both governments allowed the stagnation, sloth and corruption to become embedded into the social fabric..and the island to degrade.

    Hopefully this new government can see if left to fester more, it willingly be downhill from here..

    .. black men are a major let down, maybe now with a thinking female at the helm, aided by other thinking females, things will be set right.

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  • RE

    eg….Bynoe from the same A1 Supermarkets….does not think he got where he is without the help of that bajan white dude , .David Seale, BECAUSE HE DID NOT! ITS A FACT AND BYNOE IS HONEST, HE KNOWS WELL AS OTHERS DO WHAT SEALE DID TO GIVE HIM HIS START

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Georgie Porgie June 30, 2018 6:26 PM said “aGREE WITH THE ABOVE PLT”

    Hmmm, I think hell just froze over. I will take it as a complement that I stated my case very objectively and dispassionately for you to agree Georgie Porgie… If you truly understood me you would probably think that I came to burn your house down… which is exactly what I’m here to do; but only metaphorically.

    Thanks for the snippet of information about the origins of A1. I have no doubt that Mr. Bynoe is telling the truth, Sir David Seale has always been a class traitor to a sleight extent. He was the first businessman to volunteer to pay his employees when they take time off for political protests… there were a lot of cold shoulders at the Turf Club after that happened the first time.

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  • peterlawrencethompson

    @ Well Well, the only Black Bajan entrepreneurs that built large companies (worth more than Bds$100 million) I know much about are Gollop and Hoyte from the Nation Group. They certainly do not credit any White Bajan sugar daddies… they do give credit to help from Ken Gordon in T’dad.

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  • peterlawrencethompson

    The fact is that every successful entrepreneur owes a lot to luck as well as to people who have helped them along the way. The smart ones admit it.

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  • PLT….I still would not give them the satisfaction of taking credit given the islands history, it has always been a concerted and well orchestrated effort on the part of. minorities to keep the majority population always deprived…It still is…

    ……..if Seale in his older days developed a conscience, his problem, I don’t know if Herbert and others have yet, that is still debatable….but there is no way in hell I am allowing people who greedily kept my ancestors in abject poverty and then they suddenly found religion in my generation…believe that I owe them something….I have no such sentimental feelings for anyone…no hatred, but no weaknesses either.

    As I always say, black people’s memories are way too short, it’s not like if the disenfranchisement ever stopped, it never did…it is still happening….maybe it will stop in this era.

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  • BTW…it is known that it is a black man gave Cow his start, do you see him acting as though he owes black people something, he would tief more from them if he could continue, he does not even show gratitude because of what he got over the decades…

    So who is to tell that Seale was not returning a kindness done to him or his family by some black person when he was a boy….besides, did Bynoe not work for Seale for many, many years…

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  • Something happened on the way to heaven and we need a lot of air-conditioning where we are now.

    History is a not a beach party. but if we get into revisionist history we will surely think that all was well with the African descendants in this country.

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  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    It’s the African descendant’s own conditioned mind tripping them up…in this era it’s the embedded and ingrained SELF conditioning that they obviously see nothing wrong with….no one to blame but themselves..

    …..all the information is available everywhere for black men and women to emancipate themselves from mental slavery, none but themselves can free their own minds, but they refuse to……so therefore no one can force them to..

    But we can sure point it out to them when it is overbearing…like it is presently.

    Black people tend to not know when they have been FREED, they therefore try everything in their power to become enslaved again, hence they will always be exploited.

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  • William Skinner

    If an elephant from small is tethered by cotton, it would be conditioned/trained to respect or fear the power/strength of cotton. when that elephant becomes grown , it would never try to break away from the piece of cotton because it would have no understanding of its own strength.
    And so it is with many of us , who are so conditioned and trained to make gods out of ordinary men, that we fear them and cannot see that they are no wiser or powerful, than we are.
    Pick sense from that !!!

    Like

  • One of Jamaica periodical have an article about barbados tourism tax levys
    For Jamaica these taxes are a dream come true since they can leverage their commercials output by pointing to barbados as a high priced destination for tourist
    What Mia has done with these levys on the tourism product has now opened the door for competing islands to use Barbados in their advertising as an example for tourist to avoid because of these taxes
    Also the negative effect of those taxed has now move the ball a little bit closer for these small island driven tourist destinations to reinvigorate their tourism product

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    William…that would make perfect sense if all African descended people were that mentally weak, but we are not, so that in itself is self explanatory. .

    …..those blacks who remain conditioned and mentally weak, particularly black leaders, are the ones who want to remain that way and pass that weakness on to their successive generations…jnstead of making a concerted and collective effort to end that stupidity.

    That should make some sense to you also.

    It is a personal decision to remain programmed and conditioned mentally and should be a crime to pass that on to offspring…….

    There is no excuse with all the information available to open one’s eyes and deprogram oneself.

    Like

  • William Skinner

    Well Well & Cut N’ Paste At Your Service

    in our case, I believe it is the political mental shackles that is just as responsible for our inability to see beyond the boundary. For sixty three years , we have been ruled by two political parties, that seem bare of any deep ideological or philosophical positions.
    We are satisfied to blame civil servants and the working class for a lack of productivity. We are very reluctant to have a real discussion about such things as race relations and the effect on corporate management; we avoid any national debate on land reform and we seem determined to keep the current education system in place.
    We are ignoring that this is the third time that the IMF has been called in since we became independent. The IMF has been called upon by both major political parties. Even the current discussion on the blog regarding the laziness of corporate Barbados , is being reduced to a shouting match about the Bees and Dees because like the elephant some see the strength of cotton as greater than their own.
    Where have all the thinkers gone…………..

    Liked by 1 person

  • Yeah…the leaders remain very much a part of the problem, it is very plain to see, they can take much of the blame for the physical degradation of the island and the generational mental degradation of the people…

    …..many of these leaders claim to be scholars, but I have repeatedly in the last months questioned that level of scholarship that produces nothing even minutely productive or progressive…to benefit present or future generations…the antiquated miseducation/colonial brainwash will choke them all.

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  • peterlawrencethompson

    @William Skinner, now we are getting to the meat of the matter. We can never remove the political and mental shackles to which you refer until we make them visible. They operate on a community level as well as on individual psychologies, so they are deeply embedded in Bajan culture, but in ways that make them invisible to most Bajans. One mental shackle that hampers business development is the fear of failure that most Bajans don’t even realise that they have.

    It takes a village to raise a child, and a community to build a business, but the Black community here will not facilitate the creation of entrepreneurial excellence so long as there is so much fear buried deep within us.

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  • de pedantic Dribbler

    Mr Skinner, I would ask you to provide some details on how “[w]e are satisfied to blame civil servants…for a lack of productivity” as that being inaccurate or a bad thing.

    I have never worked in a govt department and thoughout the years in private enterprise I have won or lost business due to the company’s excellent productivity or lack thereof. I always knew that my business lived and or died on the efforts of the staff…which govt dept do you know ceases to exist due to a lack of productive action!

    Blaming the working class is a bit of a conundrum frankly simply because that is construed in the strict economic way as those who work in industry, construction and similar ‘blue collar’ employment.

    If all those who WORK receiving weekly wages or a monthly salary are contrasted with those who earn their living via investment or interest income is the definition of ‘working class’ then surely lack of productivity is a valid factor in a nation’s growth…not so….as 99% of us then are working class stiffs!

    I would also ask you to clarify how we “are very reluctant to have a real discussion about such things as race relations and the effect on corporate management;”. I have seen, read and taken part in discussions of the type only too often. Over the years Dr Don Blackman and Eric Sealy to name two have made this a very public issue.

    Of course we cannot deny it’s a very touchous subject on our lil island but it’s also misleading to suggest that in 2018 we have not confronted the issue with all its warts many times.

    Have we not examined why there are no longer Caucasian police officers in Bim, nor any such workers at the Transport Board nor Post Office nor Fire Service but yet despite the relatively small percentage (underv3%) of Whites in Bdos they yet over populate our corporate landscape, executives roles and professions!

    I believe we have over the years aggressively addressed those and a lot, lot more, like whether Mark Sealy a talented White batman could properly make the Bdos team back in the 80s …that of course was the diametrically opposite discourse to what prevailed in his father’s and grandfathers’s generations prior ….thus I can’t share your suggestion that there is still an almost impolitic reluctance to air those issues….they are vented.

    And alas there is plenty of “national debate on land reform and …the current education system” but of course the problem is that there is no meaningful change towards improvement.

    Liked by 1 person

  • First and foremost, deprogram from the steady diet of lies fed to you and your children, this is a prime example of what they have done for decades using the Cannabis plant.

    Like

  • A mere 7 minutes into this video with Dr. Amos Wilson tells black people in Barbados all they need to know to start the process of opening their eyes wide.

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Well, Well July 1, 2018 3:03 PM
    “First and foremost, deprogram from the steady diet of lies fed to you and your children, this is a prime example of what they have done for decades using the Cannabis plant.”

    That plant has been so dastardly demonized in the eyes of stupid brainwashed blacks that Satan is now rechristened ‘Herb’.

    Black people will always remain stupid and brainwashed as long as they continue to worship the white man’s gods. The same book of myths and legends- which the white man used (and still uses) to control their simple minds- even advises them to use the plants and herbs for the healing of the nation.

    But blacks are so stupid they even cannot find the key to knowledge and understanding of life stored therein.

    Who else can be their Father who is in the Sky other than the Light that gave them their black skin in the first instance?
    One is left to wonder what blacks understand when the ‘blindly’ read the following passage:

    “The LORD bless you and keep you;
    The LORD make His face shine upon you,
    And be gracious to you;
    The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
    And give you peace.”

    Even King James knew what Yahweh really is!

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  • Miller..first they gotta learn that you do not let your enemies indoctrinate or teach you and your children…..how could demons who have been your oppressors, enslavers and hated you for 500 years until today where the only use they have for you is to rob you, criminalize and imprison you , while they run around committing the most heinous crime against other people, including you, free from consequences be the same demons you look up to, depend on and respect….

    …apparently that only makes sense to black people who are too far gone in brainwash.

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  • @millertheanunnaki July 1, 2018 3:45 PM “to use the plants and herbs for the healing of the nation.”

    So how do we know to which herb the King James Bible refers?

    how do you know that the herb referenced is marijuana?

    How do you know that the herb is not marjoram or thyme, or cerasee, of gully root?

    Liked by 1 person

  • William Skinner

    @ de pedantic Dribbler
    “Mr Skinner, I would ask you to provide some details on how “[w]e are satisfied to blame civil servants…for a lack of productivity” as that being inaccurate or a bad thing.”

    Certainly you note that the civil service is usually referred to as bloated and non-productive. Top economists are still calling for the civil service to be slaughtered on the altar of saving the economy. In the mean time the private sector is given a pass.

    “I would also ask you to clarify how we “are very reluctant to have a real discussion about such things as race relations and the effect on corporate management;”. I have seen, read and taken part in discussions of the type only too often. Over the years Dr Don Blackman and Eric Sealy to name two have made this a very public issue.

    Of course we cannot deny it’s a very touchous subject on our lil island but it’s also misleading to suggest that in 2018 we have not confronted the issue with all its warts many times.”

    The mere fact that you described the subject (s) as “touchous” bears out my point. It is not touchous to cuss; Barrow, the Adamses, Mottley, Stuart Arthur but we simply dont touch the massa class. Kindly direct me to where I can find the discussion about land reform. I dont know that Eric Sealy ever addressed such topics. Dr. Blackman got out the kitchen when it got too hot !!

    As for education, you know that once we children passing for Harrison and Queens College, the current system would not be seriously touched.

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    “As for education, you know that once we children passing for Harrison and Queens College, the current system would not be seriously touched.”

    Shamefully, that is the extent and limits to their intellect….black bajans will never get any further or understand their lack of consciousness, unless they dismantle that vehicle of limited intellect and self stagnation..

    Like

  • Georgie Porgie

    i must be honest…..I wish that some of the so called college students in my online classes in the USA HAD ATTENDED Harrison and Queens College

    I HAVE A COUSIN WHO HAS TAUGHT IN THE USA FOR OVER 30 YEARS WHO THINKS THE SAME

    HOW WE LOVE TO DISCREDIT OUR INSTITUTIONS AND OUR PEOPLE

    Liked by 1 person

  • Georgie Porgie

    @Simple Simon July 1, 2018 8:13 PM

    How do you know that the herb is not ……………………………….cerasee, ?
    DONT YOU KNOW THAT PROF BRASS AT UWI IN THE FIFTIES DEMONSTRATED THAT CERASSE WAS THE CAUSE OF VENO-OCCLUSIVE DISEASE OF THE LIVER?

    Like

  • Can someone explain how the application of VAT on online purchases is going to work. Will the purchase of say airline tickets and hotel accommodation which are usually done online with a credit card now going to attract 17.5 % tax? What about food and items purchased with a credit card outside of Barbados (but not online)? How will these be distinguished from “online” purchases. Will say university fees which may have been paid online again with the use of a credit card now attract 17.5% VAT? When the VAT on online purchases was announced, I thought about Amazon type purchases i.e on consumer items but many services and products are now routinely or only paid for online.

    Liked by 1 person

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