The Grenville Phillips Column – Slapping and Patting

The public justification for using White Oak, was that the BLP thought that no Barbadian financial consultant was sufficiently competent to negotiate with our external creditors. That was a shockingly unfair criticism of Barbadian financial services professionals. Having read the White Oak contract, the list of services should be within the competence of any accounting firm experienced in liquidation or judicial management.

The BLP administration has now confirmed that White Oak also advised on the local debt. Surely advising on our local debts is well within the competence of our local consultants. If the Government thought that our local consultants lacked some experience, then they should have allowed them to participate in a joint-venture contractual arrangement. However, even that was not allowed.

After the Government disqualified all Barbadian accountants and economists, by publicly questioning their competence, why was there no objection by the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Barbados (ICAB), or the Barbados Economics Society (BES)?

Actually, there was a response. However, instead of defending the reputations of their members, the BES gave a fawning assessment of the BLP’s first year. Why are these professional associations assuming that defaulting on our debt was our only option, when it was not?

Why are they not educating the public on the clear difference between debt restructuring and debt default? No one is objecting to debt restructuring. But for a country to default, when there is money available to pay creditors, is recklessly irresponsible and carelessly damaging to a country’s financial reputation. Why are our local financial professionals unwilling to provide an honest analysis of the current administration’s options?

To find the answers to these types of questions, we need to be reminded of Solutions Barbados’ unique experience. With the economic ruin of Barbados foreseen, Solutions Barbados designed an economic recovery and growth plan that provided approximately $1B in surplus during the first year, without increasing taxes, laying off persons, or requiring external funding.

It was to be done by facilitating the international competitiveness of Barbados. The method included: removing the excessive wastage and inefficiency costs of public services by properly managing them; eliminating the corruption costs; depoliticising the public service by promoting public workers on merit alone; and reducing taxes. Using the actual government expenditures and revenues, the plan gave the predicted surplus. It was also independently favourably reviewed by a Chartered Accountant.

We appealed to the national associations of accountants, economists, bankers, and commerce to honestly evaluate our economic growth plan, and inform the public of their findings, but they would not. The BLP then publicly stated that they would never share their economic plans with any of them, and they cowered, and then renewed their determination not to review ours.

When journalists become politically compromised, then political leaders know that they can say and do anything, and always be guaranteed fawning coverage. When the media fails in this manner, professional associations must assume the role of educating the public. When profession associations become politicised, then the public is left defenceless against the political wolves.

Professionals who mislead the public with politically biased advice, sell their professional integrity cheaply. They may be repaid with invitations to parties for some free food. Those who tell some woppers for their party may get appointed to a board or the Senate, but that is the most that they can ever hope for.

Political leaders know that politically compromised professionals who shield them from scrutiny, can never be trusted to give honest professional advice – ever. They certainly cannot be trusted anywhere near any important contracts where unbiased advice is critical. Tragically, after selling their integrity, those professionals cannot even qualify for a single ordinary crumb from White Oak’s table.

The current administration seems assured that they can publicly question the professional competence of Barbadian consultants, and be assured of their absolute loyalty. Our financial consultants seem to possess a rare internal fortitude that allows them to be publicly slapped about with contempt, and then respond by pitiably grovelling for an affirming pat on the head from their slappers.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

53 comments

  • Dentistry Whisperer (M. Pharm. D) LinkedIN

    Tribal system alive and well on island which inherited British Common Law.  What a shame! Haynes Darlington (M. Pharm.D) 

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  • Some one need to pat a slap in you!

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  • Someone

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  • In response to a query. While I am a leader of Solutions Barbados, I will never sell or compromise my professional integrity for any person or group – not even for Solutions Barbados.

    So where can you find me since the General Election? I can be found on construction sites giving my best professional advice on the design of roads, bridges, sewerage systems, and buildings for the Government and people of Barbados, and the Governments and people of other Caribbean countries.

    Where will you never find me? At political parties among politically compromised professionals, getting a pat on the head for giving politically biased advice. You will also not find me on a board, with an instruction to vote for the party position.

    My advice to fellow professionals is to never sell your professional integrity – your political masters will never sell it back to you. Instead, they will lose all respect for you, slap you around publicly, and force you to mislead the public and attack perceived political opponents in an even greater measure. It is not worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    To make it short. Don’t sell [your professional] Cornwell.

    Liked by 1 person

  • We need professionals here, not local amateurs with behaviour that disturbs foreign creditors. Anyone who is familiar with local behaviour knows what I am talking about.

    White Oak was the right decision.

    Our prime minister must keep her course and not be disturbed by the quacking of the frogs.

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  • Just as we the people will not be disturbed by the hissing of snakes. We, the people whose vote she begged for, whose power she is supposed to wield on our behalf, will exercise our civic duty. We will stay the course and obediently watch her. And we will act when necessary to change her course. After all, the power she wields is the power we vested in her. It is ours to bestow and ours to take back.

    A word to the wise and those who wish to be re-elected.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Grenville 11

    That is what we, the people , want to hear. That is the High Road. Will you keep on course?

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  • VC
    Why you fooling he?
    That may be what YOU want to hear but the people tired hearing this RH over and over and over and over…..
    4 yrs to go until the next election and we have to put up with this?
    Tell the man that the government chose the option that they wanted. the voting public reject him and his option.
    he need to stop griping and look for other avenues to get his “10% fix it all” cost benefit and move on.

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  • Tron:

    “We need professionals here, not local amateurs with behaviour that disturbs foreign creditors. Anyone who is familiar with local behaviour knows what I am talking about.” Tron, 2:14 AM.

    That was the excuse for using White Oak in the first place. Locals were disqualified from the foreign debts. Only White Oak could work with the External Creditors.

    Now, the local professionals have been disqualified from the local debt also. They are not even allowed a single ordinary crumb off of White Oak’s table. Why? Are they that incompetent, or are you concerned about their partisan behaviour?

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ john2 June 5, 2019 11:33 AM

    John 2 2 where do you get off… Why don’t you Run For office and see where you get…Having Failed once at running for office does not make one a Failure…Solutions Barbados will be One to be Reckoned with now the DLP LOST 30 -0… THERE IS A NEW OPPOSITION PARTY WITH A LOT OF UNTESTED NEW COMERS.

    AS FAR AS FREEDOM IS, CONCERNED MR. PHILLIPS HAS AS GOOD A CHANCE AS ANY OR BETTER.

    HE IS NOT ASKING YOU FOR A DONATION AND NO PEOPLE ARE NOT TIRED HEARING A MORAL, SENSIBLE MAN WITH MUCH WISDOM AND INTEREST IN THIS COUNTRY…

    LEARN A LITTLE WISDOM IF YOUR EGO WILL ALLOW IT YOU 2 2!

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  • @Grenville

    Do you know what is required to negotiate a restructure like White Oaks is contracted to do for Barbados? Is this about looking at numbers on a spreadsheet or is there some level of relationship and networking that is required.

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  • “The BLP administration has now confirmed that White Oak also advised on the local debt.”

    Has now? This is made clear in the first line of the Contract and before that in the news: BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados Government says it has appointed the London-based White Oak Advisory Ltd to act as its financial advisor in the context of the debt-restructuring process it announced earlier this month. The financial advisor is in the process of establishing initial contacts with affected creditors, and is expected to soon commence creditor engagement on the basis of the medium-term macroeconomic projections to be finalised by the Government in the coming weeks, the Government said in a statement.”

    Who undertakes a sovereign debt resturcture and use two different firms to deal with the local and external creditors? Jesus take de wheel.

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  • David: The list of services are stated in White Oak’s contract. I have spoken to several local accountants who confirm that it is easily within their competence.

    Enuff: The public reason given for using White Oak is that locals did not have the experience for handling the external creditors. They are two completely separate creditors. The local creditors are us. The external creditors are foreign.

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  • GP
    You got all the answers and like giving advice.
    Here is some advice for you
    Stop the publishing / get some others members of you party to do it!
    Concentrate on getting the things you need to do for you party.
    In two more years and the BLP option is running off the tracks then you and your party can start warming up for the election by pointing out that you had the best option and should be given a chance.
    Because you had an option that the government could have used does not mean that they had to go by your option. There were other options out there beside yours and the one the government used.
    now let see how good you are at taking advice.

    Take a break; Give it a rest; let out in your party come to the front: you work in the back and wait/prepare to come again much closer to election.

    Hearing the samething over and over gets tiring
    iso / 10% !! Your method is not working sir!

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  • SIR, CONTINUE TO TELL YOUR SOLUTIONS IN SPITE OF THOSE WHO OPPOSE YOU!

    Mr.Phillips this Article was well written, well-Articulated, Well-Reasoned a and showed a Competent Grasp of the Subject Including the some of SELL OUT PROFESSIONALS.

    WHAT WAS WRITTEN HERE NEEDS INVESTIGATING AS TO ITS IMPLEMENTATION AND EFFECTIVENESS? But a Convincing case has been made. WE BARBADIANS SHOULD PAY HEED. Any Solution that enthrones Merit and Productivity and Efficiency has a Mighty Chance of Succeeding than the Hodge Podge Band Aid that is Bandied about.

    ARE WE SO STUPID THAT WE NO LONGER RECOGNISE SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY IN FAVOUR OF BAND AID SOLUTIONS THAT DO NOT FIX THE UNDERLYING SOAR?

    Did we not have enough Band Aid Solutions with the Previous Administration and Unless PM MIA looks at Real Solutions like this that was Proposed she is just applying a Bigger Band Aid and leaving the wound to fester even more?

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  • GP

    You are confused. Carry on. I don’t have time to waste.

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  • On the contrary, it appears you have plenty of time to waste defending EVERY MOVE this government makes.

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  • Freedom Crier

    You are correct.
    1. Losing one time does not makes one a failure but then again, who accused anyone of being a failure?
    2. GP has as good a chance as anyone – but if he keep on with the warmed over soup for the next few years he will severely reduce his chances.

    We both shall see in the next poll how far solution Barbados has progressed(in the negative direction)

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  • Locals as negotiators with foreign lenders? I laugh my ass off! The foreign lenders had to endure 10 years from 2008 to 2018 the freak show of semi-educated DLP ministers who can’t even eat with fork and knife. They had to listen to tales of blue ministers bragging about their half-education.

    We must not leave these negotiations to children. That is what adults have to do. That is why I support our Prime Minister on this issue. She is the red adult in a crowd of blue naughty children.

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  • William Skinner

    There is nobody in Barbados or the region capable of dealing and understanding these problems.
    Pray tell what planet Dr. Delisle Worrell is from . Last I heard he was employed to advise these people.
    No need to answer – just heard he is from Mars!!!!!

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  • @ William

    good point

    furthermore, even if you agree that there is no one in Bim experience enuff to mitigate or litigate for the Govt with its creditors, which i will have to rubbish, why did the Govt no insist that WO take on a bajan to get some experience in such matters?

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  • @ William,

    We have had local people who negotiated with the UK for our independence, and some participated in negotiations on the formation of the federation. Are we now saying locals are incapable of negotiating with anyone from outside the Caribbean? Are we saying that local bankers are incapable of negotiating with foreign bankers? Are we saying we are incapable of negotiating with the Chinese?
    Barbados is a failed state. This generation of leaders is the worst in our entire history.

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  • Delisle Worrell is an advisor to the external creditor, selling out his country for a few million dollars, after he sat in CB as Sinckler associate in running the country to ruins, for which he also got paid handsomely.

    He is a mercenary

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  • Tron June 6, 2019 4:12 AM

    Locals as negotiators with foreign lenders? I laugh my ass off! The foreign lenders had to endure 10 years from 2008 to 2018 the freak show of semi-educated DLP ministers who can’t even eat with fork and knife. They had to listen to tales of blue ministers bragging about their half-education.

    We must not leave these negotiations to children. That is what adults have to do. That is why I support our Prime Minister on this issue. She is the red adult in a crowd of blue naughty children.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Are you a local?

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  • That was me the bruiser of snake heads.

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  • @John2

    so why didnt the Govt get a local bajan to blunt whatever Worrell may bring to the table?

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  • john 2 2 June 6, 2019 8:07 AM “We both shall see in the next poll how far solution Barbados has progressed(in the negative direction)”

    john 2 2 THE FIRST MEME DESCRIBES WHAT WILL BEFALL FAKE WELL WISHERS LIKE YOU WHOSE REAL INTENT IS TO SEEK THE DEMISE OF OTHERS… SO YOU KEEP ON BEING A # 2 IT SUITS YOUR PERSONA!

    MR. PHILLIPS ALWAYS REMEMBER THE SECOND MEME ON YOUR WAY FORWARD.

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  • @ Greene

    Who would that be?
    How would they be able to blunt whatever Worrell? Do you understand what he really provides for the creditors?

    The creditors bringing in Worrell was a brilliant move on their part.
    It is like the deflection of a top spy to the enemy.

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  • With Worrell in the creditors camp then government needs the best help it can get. If that is WO then ok . I think what most disagree with is the cost of the contract.

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  • how about the Governor prior to Worrell for starters?

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  • and no we dont agree that cost was the only issue. even if you say that WO could have been used for the overseas creditors what about the local creditors, why couldnt a bajan being included on the WO team? how will we get experience in these matters?

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  • Tell us how a local person or team could have been included once the government decided to go with WO. Are you advocating the government should have asked WO to contract a local person?

    Tel us.

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  • @ John 2

    Why is he a mercenary?

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  • yes David. in negotiating with WO the GOVT could have insisted a bajan be part of the team. even one of the many ministers of finance or a consultant

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  • @ David June 6, 2019 10:44 AM

    Why not also ask if the same “WO” has sub-contracted the services of any ‘local’ consultant (or corporate vehicles under his control) currently advising the same ‘government’, locally?

    Why not contract-out this responsibility to the most experienced and currently unemployed investigative journalist Hal Austin your ‘friendly’ BU man on the ground in UK?

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  • @Miller

    The government went with a private entity who by their customer list is a niche player in the restructuring space. It is interesting that WO canvassed the DLP government. Governments will make unpopular decisions. For this blogmaster if there is a rationale that makes sense let us judge them by the results.

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  • is there some point in that drivel?

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  • I have long accepted that regardless of how qualified I am as an Engineer, there are certain parts of Barbados that will never be my Clients. I have foreign Clients of varying colours and nationalities who simply want my best advice, but Barbados is a ‘special’ place.

    Tron’s comments are highly offensive. But I am grateful that he has exposed how the BLP actually views us. It is thinking from 100 years ago – 1919. We will never be good enough, regardless of our professional qualifications and experience.

    That is the garbage that foreign consultants typically feed to ignorant political administrations around the Caribbean. Tragically, those administrations normally believe them and pay them stupid money – very far in excess of the value of the services provided.

    To have agreed to pay a fee of US$27M, for one year of advice, is whatever realm lies beyond extreme incompetence and utter stupidity. The tragic comedy is that taxes will have to be increased to pay this amount. Is that why we are being forced to pay increased land tax sooner than it is normally due?

    Of course, our politically compromised professionals are expected to cluck that they are incompetent buffoons, totally incapable of doing any aspect of what the great White Oak can do. The stupid yardfowls are damaging the professional marketplace for our children – so that they cannot compete.

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  • @ NEXTPARTY

    You may not be begging for a donation but you are begging for the votes of the STUPID YARDFOWLS, THEY FAMILY AND THEIR FRIENDS!

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  • @ GREENE.

    You are asking me some questions I cannot answer for you. I am just a small fish at the end of the food chain, even here on BU.

    The former governor before Worrell? I don’t even remember who that is and who told you that that person wasn’t approached and is not interested?

    I NEVER said we agreed on anything!
    Its still my opinion that MOST disagree with the size of the contract. This include some of us that both disagree/agree that WO was the best choice.

    Putting a local minister/consultant on WO team.
    I would assume that the ministers and consultants in the ministry of finance would be working with WO where necessary.

    Now why do you think someone in Barbados want to learn how to negotiate debt restructuring?
    Do you really think that Barbados will be back to this stage again? Why would you want to gain experience in something that you will never use again, unless you plan to go into the same business as WO and do it for other countries?

    The only other person I can think of that may have some clot on the world stage is the former PM Arthur.
    I will put it to you that if the government could have come up with a team of “your” former CB governor and former PM OA and had only paid them two million dollars, those from outside the BLP would be singing about how the bees are taking care of their friends.

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  • *clout on the world stage

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  • @ David June 6, 2019 11:10 AM

    Which administration engaged the services of the high-flying consultant to find a solution to the Four Seasons fiasco?

    Who recommended his highly touted services?

    What have been the deliverables to date?

    Willie Skinner is bang on with his duopoly thesis when it comes to the BDLP incestuous class.

    Is this a way of channeling political party funding always at taxpayers’ expense?

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  • @Miller

    We agree there is a duopoly. What we struggle with is how do we disrupt said duopoly.

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  • @GP
    Excellent!

    Every time you begin to make headway, there is someone nipping at your heels. Please choose your words very carefully as you respond to various bloggers, as the certified yardfowls do not like the use of the term “yardfowl”

    Consider the following phrases.. “limited range chickens”, “range restricted chicken”, “geographically challenged chickens”……

    Choose your word carefully.

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  • It is the advise of GP big brain supporters that will help keep him and his party and what he is trying to do down.
    Most don’t have a problem with the term “yardfowl” which is used in all on these blogs on a daily basis.

    What this “yardfowl” was trying to point out to GP is, a man of his status and what he is trying to achieve shout leave that sort of stuff to myself and piece. Not only is he calling his fellow bajans and potential voters yardfowls but he is calling them
    STUPID (NOTE I am leaving out the political compromised ).

    Take that coming from a man who not only would like to lead his party to victory/become PM but is also trained engineer with 90 phd and the rest of the alphabet behind his name. Now if he can think of and call he fellow educated/trained professional STUPED, what would he be thinking about uneducated/untrained yardfowl like me and the majority of the electorate.

    Yes, not only when he is responding to bloggers but always, he should be chosing his words very carefully!

    He can leave “stupid yardfowl” calling to “educated yardfowl” bloggers to do

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  • @ nextparty246 June 6, 2019 11:20 AM

    Attack seems to be the best defense for you. But we also know all the rhetorical tricks. LOL. The art of deliberate misunderstanding. Someone accusing the government of corruption wonders if neutral commentators like Tron are now shooting uranium ammunition.

    White Oak isn’t about the locals not being able to bank or account. It’s that the locals don’t have the necessary relationships and experience to conduct international negotiations with angry creditors over billions of dollars.

    However, we should not deny the mentality of the South, which drove Barbados into the abyss from 2008 to 2018.
    What do you think will happen when creditors hear from a light-footed local that Barbados is so great, the highest literacy rate, we are something special … blah, blah, blah.

    Focus on your engineering art. You don’t want any economist or lawyer to tell you how best to build roads. Or do you???

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  • *He can leave “stupid yardfowl” calling to HIS “educated yardfowl” bloggers to do

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  • @John2
    There is a flaw in your argument.
    For both parties, there is a small hardcore group for which their party can do no wrong. You can be nice and refer to them by various names, but we know their nature.

    What you have done is to extend this label to all voters instead of your small hardcore group. Your sleight of hand will not work here.
    You cannot cloak yourself with the vast majority of Barbadians who wish well for the country.
    Stay in your yard.

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  • @Tron
    You are very disrepectful to us “light footed” Bajans whatever the hell that means.

    “It’s that the locals don’t have the necessary relationships and experience to conduct international negotiations with angry creditors over billions of dollars.”

    Locals were persuasive enough to conduct international negotiations with creditors and secure billions of dollars.

    @John2

    I will put it to you that if the government could have come up with a of “your” former CB governor and former PM OA and had only paid them two million dollars, those from outside the BLP would be singing about how the bees are taking care of their friends.”

    And so to avoid hearing that charge and spending $2M, they went and spent $54M BDS.
    The logic amazes me.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Theo

    1.We shall see at the next polls.
    Doesn’t SB have any yardsfowls?

    And so to avoid hearing that charge and spending $2M, they went and spent $54M BDS.
    The logic amazes me.

    NO!

    But that whatever they did or what ever the charges were, they would still be complaining.

    In other words, if WO fees was the same as the bajan group fees ($2 mils) and the contract was given to the locals then those outside the bees would be complaining that they looking after their friends when WO has the most experience in the matter.

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  • I had put the bajan fees lower to show that it would have been a great saving to the country.

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  • @ TheOgazerts June 6, 2019 9:34 PM

    You mix up IMF etc and private creditors. Barbados is an IMF member. There is therefore no hard confrontation with the IMF in the negotiations on a credit line. The IMF assists Barbados, is not a lender in the traditional sense. It was therefore right and wise to turn to the IMF with confidence. The situation is quite different with private creditors.

    When I talk about local mentality, I mean the mentality of the last gov and their very many blue supporters. Surely not the professional attitude of the present government under the leadership of Mia Mottley. The red ministers don’t even talk half as much nonsense as their blue predecessors. And we now have an official government press officer. This all helps to restore the trust lost between 2008 and 2018. Provided that the population no longer votes for DLP in the next 30 years.

    Tron
    – neutral, fair and balanced –

    Like

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