Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) – New Years Message 2019


Eng. Trevor T Browne, Lt. Col. (Ret), President. Dec 29, 2018

The Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) has been excited and impressed by the focus of our government on reversing the trends that have led to our ongoing downgrades and economic losses. We also admire the general approach taken towards addressing the serious challenges faced by much of our national infrastructure incurred over the past two decades. It is clear that the general intent is to produce positive results for Barbados.

However BAPE continues to question some of the underlying strategic imperatives that are being used to underpin the needed turnaround and we reiterate the need for a complete reevaluation of the way in which complex national technical issues have been handled in Barbados. This issue will therefore continue to be a matter of urgent focus for the Association during 2019.

Albert Einstein, one of the most famous scientists who ever lived, reasoned that it is not possible to solve longstanding problems by using the same thinking which created those problems in the first place. There are a number of fundamental problems in Barbados that have been at the root of our difficulties. While some of these problems have been rooted in economics and in international trade challenges, at least one even more fundamental problem has been the clear weakness of our management and administrative systems in responding to a fast changing world.

We now live in an incredibly intricate and interdependent modern world where advanced technological systems are increasingly being deployed in even the most basic and routine of everyday devices. This presents a deceptively complex dilemma because the consequences of mistakes and even of miscalculations can be devastating to a country.

The recent history of our South Coast Sewerage System (SCSS) easily demonstrates this harsh reality. The overall cost to the country, of the decisions that have been made in this national project since its inception, are unimaginable – not only direct costs and disruptions, but also in terms of lost business, damage to our international reputation, impacts on health costs, and even in lost political capital.

This situation, while arguably extreme in the example of the SCSS, is actually replicated in many other areas of our complex technical operations, among which are:

  • The state of public transportation and particularly of potholes on our roads

  • The ZR indiscipline

  • The Barbados sugar and rum Industries

  • The solid waste management challenges and issue of garbage collection

  • The water management and distribution challenges

  • The situation we face with sick buildings

  • The challenges faced by those seeking justice in the courts

Using Einstein’s logic, a completely new strategic focus will be required if we are to reverse these performances. BAPE is calling for such a fundamental rethinking of our national strategies

Our New Year wish is for PM Mottley and her government to institute a new commitment to the development of a culture of world class professionalism in all areas of national operations.

By this, we mean that all those who lead or administer national institutions will be held to international standards of professional qualifications, performance, and ethical behaviours. These standards are best established and monitored by the various professional bodies in the different disciplines.

The ongoing ZR quagmire is an excellent example of how such an approach can be used to proactively improve operations. It requires that all ZR operators must meet certain basic qualifications; be members of the National Association; that they all agree and conform to an established code of ethics; and that an Ethics Committee be tasked with the responsibility of investigating and responding to all charges of ethics violations.

The identical arrangement should also exist within the legal system, where the Bar Association should be held accountable for all ethical issues brought against members, and also within the engineers, architects, accounting and all other associations of special expertise.

The most important benefit of such a new approach is that the review, assessment and adjudication of ethical issues will be done by experts in the various fields – rather than by courts and judges who, while expert in the Law, often may not be sufficiently versed in the fundamental technical issues being raised in the various disciplines.

Another benefit is that it provides the avenue through which all sectors of society can be elevated to professional status, based on the ethical and performance standards that they are able to reach and maintain.

To make this work, we would need to make a number of new provisions:

  1. We will need to encourage and support the concept of professional registration in all disciplines. This system could extend from Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Nurses, Firemen, Soldiers, Hair-dressers, Undertakers, Gardeners etc. It represents a natural final step in our free education system, that practically everyone evolves into a true, registered professional in their chosen field.

  2. Wherever applicable, qualification for membership of these professional bodies must conform to, or exceed, those of reputable international professional bodies and of similar international / regional organisations.

  3. Professional registration fees should therefore be set at such a rate as to encourage (and even ensure) that all eligible candidates become registered. It makes little sense to provide free education at great expense, only to place large financial barriers in the way of the final goal of professionalisation.

  4. All professional bodies must be established in Law (as is the case with current professional bodies) and must be held responsible for the ethical administration of their profession.

  5. All persons holding positions of responsibility in any national institution (whether government or private sector) should normally be members in good standing in the relevant professional organisation, but in any case, such persons will be subject to the established professional ethical standards for that profession.

The time has long passed when we should limit the concept of ‘professional’ to any particular ‘class’ of citizen. All persons who operate in the public sphere owe the country a responsibility to perform at the highest international level. Such persons are also owed the respect of being treated in a professional and dignified manner – provided they perform and behave accordingly.

Such an approach on a national level would have immediate positive implications for Barbados and for the kind of results that our government seeks to achieve in turning things around:

1 – It ensures that persons in responsible positions are qualified to hold those positions and to perform competently – and that they are subjected to responsible peer scrutiny in doing so.

2 – It ensures that decisions are subject to peer review on an ongoing basis so that many qualified, responsible professional heads can collectively make things work.

3 – It ensures that persons making appointments to critical positions are constrained to identify and select competent appointees who are in a position to appreciate the complexities of modern technologies, and to properly address issues that arise.

4 – This approach will also relieve the court system of multiple technical issues which clog the system awaiting adjudication by judges and juries with little knowledge or understanding of the technical issues.

BAPE strongly encourages government to take a serious look at such a change in national strategy as we seek to turn a difficult situation around for Barbados. We are willing to play any needed role in facilitating what would be a total quality revolution in the country’s strategic imperatives, as Barbados seeks to reverse weak performance results going forward in 2019.

BAPE wishes a prosperous and successful 2019 for all Barbadians everywhere. We wish especially for a year of outstanding engineering in Barbados.

41 thoughts on “Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) – New Years Message 2019

  1. People like trevor brown and the executive do more damage to civil society than the proverbial huricane. What’s next, should we now expect a frontal attack on the emerging enemies of this guvmen, the one party statism?

  2. @ Pacha
    Should not be the remit of any professional body to be so engaged in politics
    Who then do you suggest should offer public opinions on political management ?
    The press?

    It looks refreshing to the Bushman.

    Bushie would be more than interested in the position of the Bar association on the topics presented, given their much closer association with our political life.
    What if they actually wish to establish strong ethical standards from a professional standpoint?
    What if the problem is a general lack of control of those who find themselves with the authority of power?

    The very best thing about the cooperative is that those are given ‘power’ ALWAYS know that they are being watched by others who have greater power to bring them to order.

  3. David

    I do not know if those who have destroyed the country realized what position we held in this region and how we were regarded by the people in the region?

    I suddenly, realized how blessed I was to be called Bajan in America, when I was told by several West Indians around my own age that they went to school without shoes in the 70s and 80s.

    And to make matters worse, there were no such thing as free biscuit, milk and lunch provided for these people… because they had bring their own lunch or walked home for lunch because in 70s and 80s people were schooled in close proximity to their homes.

    David, do you know that Jamaicans to this day have to pay to going primary and secondary public school?

  4. Bushie, ya does mek I larf!
    Let me tell you the position of the Bar Association – it is….SHOW ME THE MONEY.
    Ethical standards to Barbadian lawyers simply means “have we squeezed sufficient blood from our marks, sorry, clients”.
    Nothing will change until some of them get free accommodation at government expense, and since the whole so-called justice racket is in the hands of the filth who shame it, we are f’ed. Perhaps a little direct action from some of the dispossessed is needed.
    Happy New Year 🤡

  5. Akentenl

    It is sad state of affairs when we have political leaders who think that it is more important to launch rockets into space, and at the taxpayers expense rather than to provided the means whereby willing people can make an honest living to take care of themselves and their families.

    And some religious leaders who do just enough to appeased their conscience, but who are otherwise cognizant of fact that some young child out there could have gone to bed with full stomach hadn’t the majority of tithes and offerings gone to the building fun.

  6. Akentenl

    This is my very last point for the New Year: but one has to wonder and wonder most fervently, as to what has happened to utilitarian principle which guided the political leaders of old.

  7. Bushie

    Certainly something is wrong with a picture where the ‘professional’ body for engineers, at least some engineers, is venturing to make public comment on economic management. This seems to violate the very professional standards espoused.

    What of the Economic Society? And what will BAPE have to say if outcomes are not what they expect? Will they then take responsibility?

    Something is also wrong when people like David would think that that is a ‘demonstration of leadership.’

    To us it smacks of political yard-fowlism of the worst kind. And plays into a kind of one-party statism to which Barbados has always had general tendencies.

    If BAPE is going to congratulate this government, we should also seek to find out whether they also congratulated the last government for doing such a good job at destroying the country.

    How come BAPE has not the opposite of congratulations for government’s misfiring on the south coast sewage system, a matter in which their members would have an obvious interest.

    You get our drift.

    Once ‘professional’ associations get involved in obsequious seeming relationships with any administration it cannot properly serve public interests and leads to internal turmoil, within that association, once the political winds change. Have we not experienced this?

    The proper role of BAPE should include the representation of their members, not all could be expected to be supportive of this regime. Also to be an unimpeachable source for scientific information on which all parties, no pun intended, could reliably depend.

    We would expect BAPE to maintain a reputation, across administrations, to advocate for issues like the inability of 90% of the housing stock to withstand a category 5 hurricane. That would be a true demonstration of leadership. Not the political glad-handing, on matters in which they have no institutional expertise, like we see here.

    In the name of Amon-Ra!

    • Pacha the blogmaster reread BAPE’s press release and what is clear is that the leadership of the body seized the opportunity to highlight a systemic issue that continues to affect Barbados at a critical juncture.

      Cast your eyes everywhere in Barbados and all that is espoused in the press release becomes real. Who cares if it is BAPE, BAMP or the Boys Scout Movement.

      It appears the engineers want to lead the way. Let us remember Grenville the engineer, the disruptor!

      Let the voice of leadership ring out!

  8. Perhaps we are reading different articles then Pacha.
    …cause Bushie agrees with your premise that professional association are not there to play partisan roles.
    However the message seems to be critical of the management systems that have been employed – both now and previously, but rather than just criticise, they appear to offer solutions in terms of a new approach.

    Boss, if the identified problem is political management, how can ANY professional organisation arrive at any other conclusion?
    Wuh if anyone were to seriously critique the country’s performance (as we do everyday on BU) there is only one conclusion that could be drawn….
    What seems new here is a sort of a ‘solution’ on the table.

    re the Hawaii solar plant…
    Don’t we have a very similar solar plant in Barbados David?

    • Bushie it seems Pacha is selective in his call to slash and burn the establishment. He retreats when a respected association highlights the lack of vision that his causing the country to falter on every front. BAPE and others should toe the line whilst Nero fiddles. Pacha appears to be getting long in the tooth!


      Credit Unions: Ready to play a greater role in re-shaping the financial system to meet global standards

      As we look to the New Year 2019 with hope, peace and joy, let us continue to work towards achieving excellence in the operations of each and every credit union ensuring that our members remain central to our decision-making process.

      There is no doubt that last year has been challenging for families especially with the implementation of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme. In this regard, Credit Unions remain committed to supporting our members in keeping with our philosophy “people helping people”. The Barbados Cooperative League has embarked on a programme designed especially those who lost their jobs as a result of the Government retrenchment programme.

      Notwithstanding the challenges confronting our country, we have seen a renewed interest in the co-operative business model with bank depositors moving their accounts to Credit Unions either for better deposit rates, better customer services and from increase and excessive bank charges.

      In fact, members have been further demanding credit unions to meet their needs through the provision of foreign exchange and credit and debit card services. In response to this request, the Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League Limited and CAPITA Financial Services Inc which is owned by the Barbados Public Workers Co-operative Credit Union Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deliver the aforementioned services to our credit union members. CAPITA Financial Services Inc is currently awaiting approval from the Central Bank with respect to the application which was filed in 2017 to facilitate the foreign exchange and credit and debit card services to our members.

      While we understand the conservatism in approving such applications, the needs of our members must remain paramount especially with the developments that have been occurring in our banking sector. The approval of this application will also position us among international credit unions such as those in Canada and the United States who already have this facility. We will continue our work on this matter in the new year as we look forward to the approval of Central Bank on this application.

      Comrades, in relation to the Deposit Insurance Scheme for Credit Unions, which we lobbied for more than ten (10) years, the Parliament of Barbados passed legislation in 2012 to give effect for the Scheme to be available to credit union depositors. Please note that we met with the Financial Services Commission (FSC) as well as the Barbados Deposit Insurance Corporation (BDIC) to facilitate the implementation of this programme. We were hoping to launch the Deposit Insurance Scheme for credit union members during the last quarter of the calendar year 2018, however this did not materialise. We are therefore appealing to the Government of Barbados to facilitate the implementation of the Deposit Insurance Scheme for credit union members before the end of the 2018-2019 Financial Year.

      It is important that credit union members are afforded the same protection that is offered to depositors in the banking sector. We are confident that this initiative will enhance the credit union movement and will result in greater remittances from the Diaspora.

      The Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League Limited look forward to playing a greater role in the socio-economic development of our country and look forward to being part of the Social Partnership in our own right as we represent a large majority of citizens.

      We are confident and optimistic, that throughout this coming year we will continue to increase the added-value of the Credit Union Movement to its members, the wider financial sector and society as a whole.

      In closing, let me on the behalf of the Board of Directors, the Executives and Staff of the Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League Limited and the entire Co-operative family extend best wishes to you and your family as we look forward to a prosperous 2019. May Almighty God continue to bless us all.

      Happy New Year.

      As we look back over 2018 and look forward to the New Year, I am reminded of the C.S. Lewis quote: “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
      Our region’s rich tourism past and our many successes have served us well, providing a sound foundation for the future.
      Looking ahead, I have a real sense of optimism about our opportunities if we learn from the past, stay clearly focused on the future and appreciate the critical importance of reinventing and improving our businesses, our processes and our people. We must be nimble, adaptable and innovative in this era of constant change.
      This past year reminded us of how resilient our people and our industry are, as a number of the region’s destinations and hotels bounced back from unparalleled destruction in 2017, rebuilding smarter, better and sometimes bigger. We got a peek into the future as over 5,000 new hotels rooms came online regionally in 2018 with over 25,000 more in the construction and planning stages. Existing hotels continue to invest in refurbishments and introducing new services and amenities. We witnessed an unprecedented surge in new airlift into the region, presenting more opportunities to entice travelers to our shores. Investor and government confidence in Caribbean tourism’s future was further buoyed as hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on upgraded and expanded airport facilities.
      Our glass is half full. Are we pouring or drinking? How do we continually adapt in an era of accelerated change when technology, competition, consumer expectations, economic and political uncertainty and climate change challenge us? These are all external factors over which we have little sway. Or do we?
      The ‘abundance of opportunity’ lies within ourselves. Through our companies, destination DMOs, National Hotel and Tourism Associations, and regional stakeholder groups like CHTA and the Caribbean Tourism Organization, owners, operators, government partners, and individuals have an even greater capacity to positively and collectively impact tourism’s future and our bottom lines. How willing are we to ‘give back’ in order to ‘get back’? Are we as individuals and companies taking ‘ownership’ in our industry by being engaged and supportive beyond the day-to-day challenges of operating our businesses?
      It is amazing what can be achieved through a commitment to cooperation, collaboration, open communication and mutual respect – we have all of the necessary elements in our communities, businesses, governments and destinations to excel and to lead as the world’s most desirable tourism region.
      Let us in 2019 commit to recognizing and developing talent wherever we see it; to critically assessing our processes in both the public and private sectors to make sure that they facilitate more than restrict; to using all means possible to inform and educate our people about the value and importance of tourism to our region and the critical role that they play in its success; and most importantly, to doing whatever we can to engender a greater sense of pride and care in our people, our environment and our region as a whole. There is great power in the collective. As tourism stakeholders, let’s work to better harness this.
      I’m so grateful to be surrounded by a corps of volunteers regionally and locally in Barbados who lead by example, contributing their time, expertise and financial resources to address the many challenges which our industry faces. You’ve taken ‘ownership’ and indeed, you’ve exemplified through your actions that CHTA and your local NHTA are ‘My CHTA’ and ‘My NHTA’. Thank you to all of our great volunteers and supporters!
      It’s this spirit of giving that helps to remove barriers to business development; advocates for policies which stimulate rather than suppress our industry’s growth and development; supports investments in our people through groups like the CHTA Education Foundation (please make your room donation now to The New York Times Travel Show auction fundraiser if you haven’t already); and supports local and regional marketing and public relations efforts to protect and enhance the local and Caribbean brands. These are matters which affect each of us and to which we have a moral and business responsibility to support.
      I can only imagine what the present and future would be like if not for the work of our industry’s institutions like CHTA. This is what gives me confidence in knowing that indeed there are ‘far, far better things ahead’.
      I look forward to seeing everyone at Caribbean Travel Marketplace and related events later this January in Montego Bay. I encourage you to register for Marketplace today if you’ve not already done so.
      Best wishes for a fun and prosperous 2019!

  9. Bushie

    We are not certain that the root problem is merely political, or even economic.

    We want BAPE to concentrate on stopping infrastructures from collapsing, like the sewage project, members interests etc.

    If we want economic advice, BAPE is not to be a source.

    And if they want to be a political party they should so declare.

    But to pretend a certain professionalism and then engage in activities outside that area is at least an ethical abuse.

    Of course, any member of BAPE could support whoever they like but the institution should never be so stained.

    • That is gracious of you Pacha. Understand we are operating in a a failing system. The 3S project for example exposed BAPE for being a toothless agency.

      By any means necessary!

  10. BAPE, strong opponents of the flyovers but silent once one of their own got to do the Wildey confusion under similar circumstamces. I get where Pacha is coming from–stay in their lane.

  11. They need to stop talking shit & press on like the guys in the video. (i.e. setting up solar panel arrays).

    They also need to figure out and explain where and how we will safely dispose of the solar panels and the pollutants they contain when their useful life (currently approx 20yrs) is over or when a large amount of them are broken up and destroyed at once in a natural disaster. They can be recycled, but apparently as of today it still costs more to recycle the units than is contained in the economic value of the recovered materials. This is all the more important for us in light of the less than stellar record and the “flying by the seat of our pants” approach we have for handling waste disposal matters.

    E.g see this article from Forbes:
    If Solar Panels Are So Clean, Why Do They Produce So Much Toxic Waste?

    Promoters and sellers of technological solutions to our problems tend to forget or ignore the drawbacks and hidden costs of the technology they promote, as they obviously want to concentrate mainly on its positive aspects in their sales pitches. A prominent example is how pro-nuclear scientists and nuclear engineers in the early stages of the civilian nuclear power industry post WWII were making pie-in-the-sky promises that nuclear power plants would produce electricity at a cost that would be “too cheap to meter.” Now we know with the benefit of hindsight that nuclear power is one of the most expensive (and potentially dangerous) means of producing electricity available, and regulators still haven’t settled on a permanent solution to the treatment and disposal of the spent nuclear fuel rods. Seventy years on much of the nuclear wastes are still being stored and stockpiled in “temporary” holding facilities as seemingly never ending debates continue in the search for a safe, permanent solution.

  12. LOL @ Enuff
    Trust you to see it in terms of who gets what and when…
    Did BAPE oppose flyovers..?
    Bushie seems to recall them questioning the PROCESS that allowed a multimillion dollar contract to be awarded to an inexperienced and unknown company …WITHOUT any kind of plan…..
    But these details only seem to bother you when Maripoka is in office.

    It looks like the call for ethical leadership is targeted at those of your ilk yuh….
    ha ha ha

    @ Pacha
    Bushie normally is able to follow your reasoning, but must be missing something here.
    How can a professional body address specific technical issues in an environment of top management chaos?

    Check the recent performance of Manchester United’s Pogba since their new management direction….
    Everything has a cause Boss… and you will only solve a problem when you address the root.
    You mind Enuff’s foolish talk about ‘staying in your lane….’

    Bushie is out of this too….
    In any event…Grass will be in our future….
    ..cause a people ALWAYS get exactly what they deserve….
    and too much shiite going on bout here….in fact, more than Enuff.

  13. BushTea
    They didn’t? You better do your research.

    BAPE and all the professional associations need to start talking more about their respective disciplines and how to make Bdos better. The BES seems the best at doing this….but then again the optics always take precedence. Does BAPE, or any of the professional bodies, produce a monthly, quarterly or mid-year newsletter commenting on good or bad projects in Bdos, best practices etc? In the age of the internet this does not require a hard copy. Is BAPE even on Facebook?

  14. Bushie

    We have surrendered the last word and can therefore not respond. Apologies!

    This should have been here, not there!

    • @enuff

      The bodies will not engage more if their paychecks depend on government contracts. BAPE is probably vocal now because it is headed by a retired person who does not have to worry about the mortgage. There was Grenville that preceded who has been always an advocate. This is our dilemma, the political class holds the professional class hostage.

  15. @ David BU at 2 :54 PM

    You wrote “this is our dilemma”.

    Dilemma? This is the reality . Every economic sector in Barbados depends on the public purse. The so called dichotomy of Public Sector / Private sector is a mirage. The economy is Public Sector driven. Therefore when GoB gets its act together the other sectors breathe a sigh of relief.
    But at least you have recognized the symbiosis.

    • There is a symbiosis as you suggest Vincent but there is also an equilibrium that we must fight to maintain. Presently the government holds all the cards.

  16. @ David BU at 3:23 PM

    The GoB holds all the cards because the other players refuse to play intelligently the hands that they have been dealt.

  17. David
    That brings me back to my point on the other blog about proximity, optics and political immaturity. #butiamatardfowl

    • @enuff

      Let us agree to disagree. Awarding Elliott Mottley at this time is wrong for many reasons and it has nothing to do with whether he ‘deserves’ the knighthood.

  18. Posted to T&T social media:
    “……the political system should not rely on individual virtue and self-control by the statocrats…”
    That’s why you have procurement regulations, laws/rules/policies, conflict of interest regulations and policies, and
    checks & balances in the Public Sector. Spending billions to build resorts to give away to someone who you met while in Opposition is not the proper way ….

    A New Year’s Resolution for Statocrats
    (…and all of us)

    “Statocrats” is an old French word (statocrate) recycled by Bertrand de Jouvenel and meaning “a man who derives his authority only from the position he holds and the office he performs in the service of the state” (On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth, 1945 for the original French edition). I extend the term to encompass the Prince’s academic or quasi-academic advisors who partly or totally depend on the state for their incomes. (I am not implying that all academic advisors or even all government employees are the Prince’s minions.) I have a New Year’s resolution to recommend to statocrats.

    In general, a New Year’s resolution is a commitment device: it helps one keep one’s promise to oneself by publicizing or at least clearly expressing a goal to be reached. If you want to quit smoking or stop drinking wine (or stop whining–pardon the New Year’s pun), a New Year’s resolution can help. But such a resolution won’t have much effect if self-control only works at the time the (reasonable) resolution is made…..

    …….Self-control is even more important for the controllers than for the controlled. Controllers and their advisers should improve their self-control and resist the elitist temptation to dictate to the “Deplorables” how to live their lives: this is the New Year’s resolution I would recommend to statocrats.

    Even if they follow my advice and adopt this resolution, the more difficult will be to implement it. Self-control is necessary to improve self-control. They might not have enough self-control to keep their commitment. They may lack full information about tyranny and its danger. They may be addicted to government power. Their cognitive biases may lead them astray. In brief, they might be as subject to information and cognitive problems as the ordinary people they claim to save from those problems.

    A good New Year’s resolution by statocrats would not be sufficient. In the classical-liberal tradition, the political system should not rely on individual virtue and self-control by the statocrats. It should be, to all extent possible, impervious to tyrannical actions. Its powers should be severely limited. Let’s wish that, at the minimum, these powers won’t be expanded in 2019.

    The post A New Year’s Resolution for Statocrats appeared first on Econlib

    “Statocrats” is an old French word (statocrate) recycled by Bertrand de Jouvenel and meaning “a man who derives …

  19. Well said, David. It has NOTHING to do with whether or not he deserves the award. The fact that they did this shows what they think is important. If they can’t see that, they are not as intelligent as they think they are. If they just don’t care what we think then that is another problem. Not good in either case.

    Very crass and classless move to say the least. It’s like clapping for one’s self.

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