The Grenville Phillips Column – Let Sleeping Dogs Sleep

We should celebrate good news, and the recent upgrades by international rating agencies is good news, especially after a decade of consistent downgrades. So, well done BLP.

Despite their partisan behaviour during the last general election, the national watch dogs are whispering a word of caution. However, before we review their caution, let us put Barbados’ economic situation in context.

The only economic plan that the BLP had before the last general election was to seek funding from the IMF. To secure those funds as soon as possible, the BLP took the risk of defaulting on our foreign loans. That gamble worked for them, but we must endure a severe austerity plan.

Our foreign reserves appear healthy mainly because we are borrowing foreign currency to repay foreign creditors, but we are refusing to pay them. The BLP is hoping that the foreign creditors will be as compliant as the managers of our pension and retirement savings plans, who voted to allow the Government not to pay us all of what we are owed.

Eventually we will be forced to repay our foreign creditors. In the meantime, the accumulated foreign reserves have given the BLP sufficient time to improve the management of public services, which can facilitate economic growth. This time should allow the Government to repay our foreign creditors from revenues accumulated from a larger economy.

So far, the BERT plan of raising taxes and laying off persons is not growing the economy, but hindering growth. The BERT spokespersons keep reminding us that their austerity plan has no other option but to work. That is because they placed all our eggs in the IMF basket, and have stated that they will not consider any other economic solution.

Once the IMF money is exhausted and there is still no economic growth, then there are no good options for us. Our national watch dogs, who overdosed on partisan political pills before the general election, are finally waking up to the foreseen economic ruin that lies before us if BERT fails.

In 2002, Lynette Eastmond was director of International Business when Barbados was negotiating international trade agreements. To her credit, she invited private sector representatives to help prepare Barbados to compete internationally. My assigned responsibility was to prepare the professional services sector of the economy to be internationally competitive.

I chaired a committee comprising leaders of 25 professional associations in Barbados. For the next three months, we collectively donated $0.5M of our time, and prepared a comprehensive report detailing the strategies and actions that each private sector stakeholder should pursue to be internationally competitive. It also included the critical actions that the Government needed to complete in the immediate, medium and long terms to facilitate this economic growth. The principles are relevant to all sectors of the Barbados economy.

The plan worked exactly as designed for those who chose to implement it. I led from the front by becoming the first person to qualify as a Chartered Structural Engineer in 15 years in Barbados. I then trained others, including my competitors, to successfully achieve the same international qualification.

Our firm became the first service company in the Caribbean to attain the ISO 9001 quality management standard, for which we won the BIDC’s Exceptional Quality award. I subsequently worked on projects worth over $500,000,000 over the next 5 years, and earned foreign currency in 10 Caribbean countries.

I continue to benefit from following that plan. For several years, over 80% of my earnings were in foreign currency. It was principally due to that plan that I was the 2014 winner of the National Innovation Competition, and president of Walbrent College.

When the economic ruin of Barbados was foreseen, I prepared an economic growth plan and tried to share it with the last DLP administration, but they would not listen. That growth plan became the backbone of Solutions Barbados’ economic plan, where we could repay all of our local and foreign creditors in full, by growing the national economy for the benefit of all, not just the few. The plan’s only vulnerability was political corruption; hence the reason for a contract against corruption for Solutions Barbados candidates.

We appealed to the national watch dogs to honestly evaluate all plans, including ours, but they would not. The BCCI responded by passing a new regulation to exclude everyone except members of Parliament from talking to their members about the economy. (Are they not the least capable to do so?).  ICAB, BES and BBA followed BCCI’s lead by refusing to allow us anywhere near their members, and the established media essentially shut us out.

I write 52 articles every year, but only a handful ever make it past their editors. So, we post our articles on Facebook to this limited audience, and appreciate everyone who reads, comments or shares.

After their shameful politically partisan behaviour, our national watchdogs are timidly suggesting to the BLP that in the midst of their celebrations, they should perhaps consider thinking about strategies to grow the national economy. They should either tell us something that we do not already know – or go back to sleep.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at

46 thoughts on “The Grenville Phillips Column – Let Sleeping Dogs Sleep

  1. What de badword?

    De ole man admits dat, AFTER READING THE TITLE OF THIS ACCUSTOMED INGRUNCE, I said to meself, “meself do you remember the meaning of that idiom from all those years ago?”

    So de ole man went to search for its meaning

    And found this

    “…Let sleeping dogs lie definition is – to ignore a problem because trying to deal with it could cause an even more difficult situation…”

    “…How to use let sleeping dogs lie in a sentence:

    to ignore a problem because trying to deal with it could cause an even more difficult situation…”


    Having read that definition WTF is this article about?

    The author starts by commending the Mugabe Regime (in his customary style of sucking the BLP’s pooch for more contracts I guess)

    But den de ole man is lost.

    Is he saying that he the author should “let his sleeping dog” suggestions of I SO Foolish “lie” dormant and not be revisited?

    Which poses the question as to if he considers that he is the administration, or part thereof.

    Or that he is a “sleeping dog” and should remain quiet and not speak out

    I am really lost so de ole man gine left dis article for wunna brainiacs

    But dis is Mr Jeff Cumberbatch ‘s fault though cause if he were to have taken up de ole man’s suggestions, and started writing articles for Grenville, we would not be subjected to this incoherent badword EVERY WEEK FOR THE NEXT 48 WEEKS


  2. Greenville

    “There is little to celebrate when a man does not know where his next meal is coming from”

    Sir, can we really celebrate if Barbadians are void of the adequate employment which enables them to puts the much needed food on their tables?

    And what does those small gains do for the man and woman who is still on the unemployment line? You probably don’t have to worry about having a roof over your head, food on your table, and the available cash in the bank?

    But until the most vulnerable among us are clothed, housed, and fed, or celebration is somewhat premature wouldn’t you say?

  3. Greenville

    I remember quite vividly the hope and optimism I felt leaving school in 1983, and going right into the Skills Training Program at the Polytechnic Institution, and acquiring a skill which provided me with gainful employment … a hope and optimism that is yet to be realized for this present generation of young people leaving school in Barbados today.

    And I can say without much ambiguity that every young person in my generation who did not have the academic background to go to the Community College or the UWI, could have gotten into the Skills Training Program and acquire a skill … where is that hope and optimism for the young today? It is no wonder why the young people are killing each other in the streets of Barbados today ..

    • Why are you making a relationship between lack of an academic acumen and a pursuing a trade as they referred to it back in the day?

  4. David

    I think you are missing point David … because it had little to do with the lack of the intellectual- resources, and more to do with the available opportunity for every young man and woman in my generation.

    Because let us face it: back in 1983 you could have left one job and found one the next day …because work was everywhere in Barbados…

    Haywards Hotel in St. Peter was under construction …Uncle Wilbert Chicken Factory in St. Thomas was a source of employment for young people from as far as St. Lucy and all over Barbados … I worked briefly … work was everywhere down town Bridgtown …Home Center Limited, Hill Supper Market, Cave Shepherd, Glass Esco, and during Cane Season … and lastly teachers offer their time and assistance after school to teach night classes at St. Leonard’s for those persons who wanted to further their education …. hope and optimism was everywhere brother ..

  5. Your take away point for me and one which I have been lamenting too is that these partisan hacks you refer to like (ICAB of which former BLP politician Reginald Farley is head,Chamber of Commerce,Bdos Economic Society,Banking Assoc etc) before and during election – refused to honestly assess the plan or lack of a realistic plan than Mia was pushing.

    Their agenda was regime change at any cost – and now what we have staring in our face is borrowed money being frittered away by the hiring of consultants,and unqualified friends being given big jobs as Deputy Permanent Secretary,or head of organisations – while there seems to be a deer in the headlight look when this gov is questioned about economic growth.

  6. David

    I cannot speak for all of the young people in my generation, but this I do know: a lot of young people of generation left school with the hope of making something of their lives because the opportunity was there….

    I also forgot to mention that the young people who didn’t chose to go to the Polytechnic, Community, or the UWI opted for RBPF or BDF …

    And David … Aaron Truss and Leroy Trotman found work in the Sanitation Department for those elements that had a predilation for criminality, and some of these guys ended up with a good pension now..

  7. De ole man NEVER THOUGHT that I would ever have to endorse a Donkey Statement

    Imagine that the substantive blogger Grenville talks a beriffle of shy$e but Donkey AFTER TALKING NUFF SHY$E TOO, got cornered into expressing so much wisdom

    Which simply put is that Mugabe s BERT PLAN is without any substance

    She has provided no options for people or sheeple and in fact more people are unemployed than ever NOTWITHSTANDING HAVING BORROWED ALL THE IMF MONEY

    If donkey can make such an utterance of such profound wisdom ABOUT WHY ALL THE KILLINGS AND MURDERS PROCEEDING APACE, whuloss

    Mugabe should fire Eddie the Muff Diver of Whores and hire Leximoron


    • Solving crime is not to be found within the political class and government alone. The fact that this government and others continue to prop up this false expectation in the people is disingenuous at best.


  8. Slow down a little and try to understand what Donkey is saying.

    Not all criminals are hardened criminals.

    There is a cadre of person out there FOR WHOM CRIME IS THE ONLY OPTION in their estimation.


    1,000’s of people are being sent home

    From government AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR.


    The pertinent thing about the country that we always sending BIDC staff and other ministerial pooch suckers to tour is, VISION.

    Ask your Mugabe contacts to provide a breakdown of $$$ spent on Singapore Shopping Sprees.

    De ole man will hazard $25 million over the course of all the years we have been travelling there

    Yet, we ent vot one viable product to show for that shy$e

    But you can have the last word about it being disingenuous to connect the lack of employment options to the pandemic of crime in Barbados

  9. @ David BU

    There has been a high level of tension in the Barbados Society for some years now. Government’s primary role is to establish law and order so that commerce may prosper and the level of social well-being of the citizens be raised.It is therefore natural for citizens to have high expectations of the GoB.

    High levels of unemployment and inflation are influenced by GoB policies or lack thereof. GoB has to take the lead in solving these issues.

    • @Vincent

      The government must play its role who will deny. The supporting point however is that other players make up civil society and they must play their role as well.

  10. “It was principally due to that plan that I was the 2014 winner of the National Innovation Competition, and president of Walbrent College”

    Would like to hear that 2 or 3 deserving kids a year from Barbados benefits from some type of philanthropy…

  11. Piece,

    I have long expressed the theory here that there are some people who will never commit crime no matter what their circumstances; there are some who will always commit crime no matter what their circumstances and the majority of people will commit crime according to their circumstances. This last group of people we can save by providing opportunities or training for gainful employment or self-employment. And so though it is impossible to eliminate crime, it is indeed possible to minimize it. We can limit it to those who are intent on committing crime no matter what their circumstances. And that group would be manageable for law enforcement and the judicial system.

  12. I will repeat a story I told here some time ago. One day I entered a shoe store on Broad Street to purchase school shoes for my son. It is common practice there that you are greeted at the door by persons offering to purchase the shoes for you duty free. A young man approached me and offered his services. I declined and he berated me for being a hypocritical Christian. He told me that if he did not make money there he would get a gun and rob somebody because he had to have money for survival. This young man was the most willing “sale clerk” I have seen in a long time. He was willing to go back several times for different shoes and happy to fit them, while on his knees, without any annoyance. In short, he was not unwilling to work.

    Neither are most drug pushers. Drug pushing is work.

  13. @ Donna

    On morning before I could properly enter Thani’s Shoe Shop at the corner of Bridge Street, I was approached by a young lady with a Jamaican accent asking if I wanted “duty free.” As I got further into the store, a young Barbadian male asked me a similar question, to which I also declined.

    Believing I was a policeman, the young man responded: “we trying to mek a dollar…….why wunnah doan go look fuh de people dat robbing and shooting people and breking in people houses?

    I mentioned this activity on BU some time ago, where Guyanese, Jamaicans and few Barbadians are taking up locations in shoe stores owned by Thani…… buy shoes at duty free prices for local customers for a fee.

    It is interesting to note that these people are NOT employees of the stores.

    The sales clerks usually deal with the customer and would refer him/her to the people who are offering “duty free services.”

  14. This young man was a Bajan and not an employee of the store. My point though is that he was a willing worker. If there is opportunity he will work If there is none he will rob.

  15. I am feeling grumpy
    Think my meds are not working…
    These stories are depressing me
    🙂 Got me wishing Lexicon was here 🙂
    Cut it out

  16. lol. To think my son and I have been giving our duty free services for free. Last time I was home, I was in Thani’s with a friend and a man came up to me and asked if I would like him to get me my shoes duty free. I told him no that I can also do duty free. He stared at me from head to toe asked ‘wait you from away?’. I always dress down in Bim, and rarely comb the hair because of the harassment you get, so I never look like I ‘cum from away’.

  17. @ Artaxerxes the Superlative Archiver

    you said and I quote

    “…The sales clerks usually deal with the customer and would refer him/her to the people who are offering “duty free services…”

    Earlier you had said …

    “I mentioned this activity on BU some time ago, where Guyanese, Jamaicans and few Barbadians are taking up locations in shoe stores owned by Thani…… buy shoes at duty free prices for local customers for a fee.

    It is interesting to note that these people are NOT employees of the stores.

    The sales clerks usually deal with the customer and would refer him/her to the people who are offering “duty free services…”

    Quite simply put these non nationals ARE BREAKING THE LAW.


    Thani’s owners should be prosecuted because they fill out the Duty Free form for each of these buyers of shoes knowing that the shoes DO NOT BELONG TO THE PRIMARY PARTY being offered the shoes.

    If I carry a party, friend or family member and buy shoes for them and secure the duty free status, one can argue that this is a gift to my family etc.

    but if I do such on a daily basis and staff then owners knowingly fill out DF forms for said individual, they need to be charged FOR BREAKING THE LAW.

    We want to lock up a man for 12 months for a $6.99 bail clips BUT PERMIT THIS CUSTOMARY ROBBERY and not a fellow ent saying a pang


  18. Everyone seems to be making the right noises in the news today……hope it does not remain just noise…Mia, Marshall, Atherley everyone is baying…

  19. Marshall asserts that …:

    “Barbados have Jurists that are among the best in the world”

    Name one Barbadian jurist of national acclaim?

  20. Don’t get me wrong, I actually see some effort being made regarding how judges are selected going forward, it is just that better can be done and decades of corruption in the judiciary cannot be erased by mostly empty platitudes……time to really shit …to get rid of the corruption in every area of the judiciary and government ……or get off the pot…

  21. The same way Mia rushed and changed the constitution to bring in Rawdone of Bitt Inc…she could have amended the constitution to give these judges less lazy powers…..he should be ashamed to say that a judge cannot be removed from the bench for not doing their jobs…the people’s work that they are being paid by the people to do…they have too much goddamn protections 90% of which needs got be taken away.

    Judges should be …ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE….not selected by corrupt government ministers.

  22. Marshall asserts that …:
    “Barbados have Jurists that are among the best in the world” (Quote)

    This is the sort of appalling self-delusion that makes one angry.

  23. The judges have too much goddamn protections under the constitution, 90% of which needs TO BE TAKEN AWAY via constitutional amendments……many of them, all they have ever done is abuse that power and those protections…..hence the shitshow that is the Supreme Court..

  24. “Quite simply put these non nationals ARE BREAKING THE LAW.”


    Not only the non-nationals and those Barbadians involved in the “duty-free scam”……but the owners of Thani’s shoe stores as well.

    That’s why when I reminded the young gentleman that he was breaking the law, he thought I was a police officer.

    But, PUDRYR……. this illegal activity has been going on for years…… so, I don’t believe the police or Customs are unaware of the situation.

    And knowing the type of society we have here, there isn’t any doubt in my mind that police and customs officers have also benefitted from the “generosity” of those people offering to buy items at duty free prices.

  25. @ Artaxerxes

    De ole man is a very simple man bereft of oratorical skills and just a Brumley school education.

    But here is what de ole man would suggest by way of a solution for this crime against the Tax Coffers of Barbados

    Realistically this problem can be solved overnight by implementing a sub module of the Advanced Passenger Information System that the United States Government gave to the Government of Barbados by Eddie the Muncher.

    But dem doan want transparency because places like Thanis and Cave Shepherd are benefiting from the illegal trade AND THE MERCHANT CANT HAVE THAT

    But de ole man would suggest the use of *** to record some videos of the offending law breakers

    This would include videos of the people buying the shoes, the staff encouraging the sale and the actual transfer of travel documents and cash to the cashier.

    Create a Facebook page called “How Bajan Businesses Defraud the Duty Free System” AND PUBLISH THE VIDEOS.

    pay the posters in Digicel or Lime Credits.


  26. @ the Honourable Blogmaster your assistance please with an item here for Artaxerxes thanking you kindly

  27. @ Artax February 6, 2019 7:07 AM
    Not only the non-nationals and those Barbadians involved in the “duty-free scam”……but the owners of Thani’s shoe stores as well.

    That’s why when I reminded the young gentleman that he was breaking the law, he thought I was a police officer.

    But, PUDRYR……. this illegal activity has been going on for years…… so, I don’t believe the police or Customs are unaware of the situation.

    And knowing the type of society we have here, there isn’t any doubt in my mind that police and customs officers have also benefitted from the “generosity” of those people offering to buy items at duty free prices.

    This duty free scam could be stopped by legislatively making that all payments for duty-free goods (except at the air and seaports) must be made in foreign currencies preferably debit/credit cards; just like on-line shopping.

    This blatant fraud of depriving the Treasury of much needed revenues is low-hanging fruit which should been picked long time ago.

    As you correctly ‘implied, such a scam could be perpetrated for so long only through the active collusion between the touts, the store owners (in order to boost sales) and the customs officials involved in the processing of the documents for the duty-free drawbacks expecting some kickbacks.

    Why can’t the blindingly stupid MoF see the BU light shinning on this obvious leakage and immediately implement the long-promised duty-free shopping zone where foreign money is the only currency in town with the Central Bank the only trader?

    Are they waiting for some consultant from overseas who has to be paid in foreign currency to tell them the same thing that the local “BERT” on BU can easily do?

    But we live in hope since these small-fry entrepreneurs aka Treasury swindlers are doing no better a job of corruption- duly aided and abetted by the same tax authorities- than those done in high places like buying a duty-free Mercedes for a ghost called Sales Director working at an imaginary hotel called the Baloney erection.

  28. Maybe Mia should will not end as she thinks..people are sick and tired of self-serving, selfish idiot governments..

    “The term ‘crony capitalism’ is used to describe an economic system in which government officials and business leaders dole out jobs, finance and gives unfair advantages to relatives and friends. ‘State capture’ is a form of political corruption in which private business interests hold undue sway on political decision-making for their own benefit.”

  29. Ah so love to see politicians communicating with each other…and still tying to fool the public as usual, just could not resist this

    “Democratic Labour Party president Verla De Peiza has thrown their party’s full support behind Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s plans….”

    After reading the above, this writer had to look outside to see if the Lord was coming back for His world. Verla supporting anything that PM Mottley doing is just shocking and unbelievable so I had to read further. It was then, right there in the latter paragraphs, it was revealed that the DLP leader was not truly sincere with her “support”.

    She proceeded to not only take political jabs at the Administration and the Supreme Court building, but cleverly tried to cover up her inept DLP government grinding the wheels of justice almost to a halt from 2008 to 2018,

    Looking forward to former AG Adriel Brathwaite weighing in with his “two cents” on this development, since it appears that the return of retired COP Darwin Dottin has rattled him and brought him out from hiding. Since then he has been mouthing off on the return of Dottin and supporting Caswell Franklyn’s call transferring soldiers into the Police Force.

    But cuddear, Verla. Yuh mean wunna had 10 years and 90 days in Office and refused to add a few more courts and appoint new judges to speed up the administration of justice. Yuh mean wunna didn’t have the foresight to convert the excess space inside the Supreme Court to productive use.

    A welcomed addition would have been a commercial and small claims court, in particular, to deal with matters that can be arbitrated before a judge or magistrate, without having to acquire an attorney. But we knew how the system is designed in Barbados to line the pockets of lawyers for every legal requirement.

    Anyway, Verla, this Administration will clean up the mess left behind by your DLP government and take the criticism for making the tough decisions for the good of country. But one must ask, however, wha wunna do wid de $15 billion (debt) because there is absolutely nutten to show for it?”

  30. @ WARU

    That the DLP will NOT BE ABE TO RESURRECT ITSELF in 2023 is a no brainer

    The Problem that Verla Depeiza faces is an institutional one.

    The old guard of the DLP its stalwarts (70 – 80 years old) , YET LIVE and therefore UNTIL THEY DIE IN 10 years time, they still wield power in that DLP anachronism.

    Then, there are the recently “HAS-BEEN-POLITICIANS” in that $15 Billion spree WHO DO NOT WANT TO GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT!!

    They are in the “45 to 65 year old age spread” and they themselves NORMALLY WOULD HAVE A SHELF LIFE OF 20-25 years, BUT THEIR CURRENCY IS PERMANENTLY TAINTED as being the people who were responsible for 23 devaluations.


    They will never get back in.

    So let us move to the next lot in the available candidates spectrum.

    The BLP Dictators led by Mugabe Mottley


    Bajans are truly afraid of this situation DE SCARED SHYTELESS

    So there can be no DLP reinstatement and the BLP 30 ZERO is frightening SO what we have is either a situation where the DLP fields a whole new DLP set of candidates WHICH WILL NOT HAPPEN WITH DEM FELLERS or a THIRD PARTY EMERGES.

    And by third party de ole man means a grouping whether it be Reverend Bishop Pastor Atherley or a completley new group.

    May the good Lord spare us from Grenville Phillips being in that lot.

    And this is where it gets interesting cause Bajans ARE NOT GOING TO EVEN CONSIDER PUTTING AN ‘X” next to the UNTESTED!!

    So that group HAS TO BRING A PORTFOLIO or they would have wasted their deposits!!

    De ole man IS NOT GOING TO DEBATE THIS TOPIC with anyone who cannot bring meaningful discourse about how a new contending party CAN CREATE A PORTFOLIO that will move bajans.

    Anything else is blowing air up one’s own pooch which is pretty much impossible

  31. “Does crony capitalism and state capture include Rawdon Adams and his cryptocurrency operation?”

    only in as much as the constitution was changed for the bitt inc, bitcoin, mMoney scam and only as far as it’s success…which looks…NOT..

  32. Wuhloss……lookee..

    ‘Supreme Court Registrar, Attorney General, Bar Association & Disciplinary Committee has irrefutable written certification from Bar Association of Scotland & Edinburgh, Bar Association of England & Wales and London Middle Temple making it abundantly clear Mr. Hamish Greig McClurg is not a qualified Solicitor on their Roll of Solicitors and, neither is George Walton Payne who received $18.000.00 “Retainer Fee” in 2016 from my relatives on other matters.”

  33. Enuff in am just asking a question, not judging, but is any of this true, ah know ya close to the table and know the goings on…am not that lucky…ah promised to ask the question.

    “please find out for us why Mia Mottley waived the import duties on a BMW X5 ($100,000.00 our economy could have used) for Hartley Henry? Also, he is not a diplomat but yet she’s given him a diplomatic passport.”

  34. I might also add that Barrow’s barber …whom am sure is still alive and was never any diplomat, just a traveling partner…also had a diplomatic passport…he also held many, many of his secrets.

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