Rise of the Uneducated Class

Many issues of the day continue to question our ability to govern. One of them is the health of the National Insurance Fund (NIF). If you listen to the politician while in Opposition, it is a fund under stress. If you listen to the same politician on attaining the office of government, the NIF is described in more positive terms.

For the sober in the crowd there are the actuarial reviews to consider. Successive governments have been unresponsiveness to public inquiry about  releasing the reviews for public consumption in a timely manner. Of equal concern has been the inability of successive governments to ensure the timely release of audited financials to parliament.

Generations of Barbadians have contributed to the NIF to give currency to the tagline – it is our lifeline.  Auditor General report after report detail bad investment decisions taken by successive governments of  National Insurance Scheme (NIS) motivated by pampering and pandering the old boy network. The “investment” of USD60 millions in Clearwater Bay referred to loosely by Barbadians as Four Seasons is one example.

The NIS is one of a handful of state owned entities that should be ring-fenced to protect against the incompetence of the political class.  Judging from all reputable sources of economic data, the inability to adequately govern a 166 square mile, less than three hundred thousand people located in an idyllic geography should be evidence enough.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw have signaled in recent weeks that major reform is coming for the education  system. The issue of revamping the  system has been discussed for decades by the more progressive minds. The inability of our leading lights to manage the NIS and the other entities that combine to ensure well functioning organs in the society is an indictment on the current system of edcuation.

Successive NIS Boards, NIS Investment Committees and the ancillary services have been managed by “educated” Barbadians.  The performance of the NIS like the judiciary, like the BWA, like the transportation system, like the waste management system, like the PSV sector etc etc all point to the inability to convert significant investment in education in the post Independence period.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) since wining office in May 2018 has aggressively pursued economic strategies to address an economy in free fall.  Interestingly, we have not observed the same urgency to address challenges with the NIS. In fact Prime Minister Mia Mottley hinted that the hesitation to address the NIS problem is rooted in the enormity of the solution required given the future obligations of the fund.

This week it was reported that millions of  Brazilians protested against President Jair Bolsonaro’s plan to privatize the pension plan. The story attracted the attention of this blogmaster because one senses that Barbados will have to implement draconian measures to protect the NIS for the many sooner rather than later. Already President hBolsonaro as suspended several benefits to Brazil’s low income, disabled and senior citizens. Only a few years ago Brazil was considered the emerging economy from the Latam region.

Related links:

Brazil: Bolsonaro to Suspend Senior, Disabled Benefits Programs

Brazil: Millions Protest Bolsonaro’s Neoliberal Pension Reform

The message to Barbadians is that we cannot continue to do the same thing all the time and expect a different result.

BB = P+G (E*SOEs +NG-S)



232 thoughts on “Rise of the Uneducated Class




    Orlando never seen anything like it!! TIS TRUE

    Seems like there are more people lined up to go to the rally than normally go to Disneyworld on a daily basis!! ALSO TRUE

  2. @TLSN at 2:16 a.m. “Mia has granted visa free access to eight countries in Africa…the dangers of an open door immigration policy.”

    Citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and many other countries have long enjoyed visa free access to Barbados and I did not hear any complaints.

    And why should visa free access for holidays etc. be seen as an open door immigration policy? It is not.

    For example I have visa free access to the U.K. and i’ve visited many. many times, but never over stayed the period granted to me at the border. Never wanted to over stay either.

  3. @Miller and others “Housing?”

    Barbados actually has a surplus of rental housing. In my short gap alone two, three bedroom, 2 bathroom houses have stood empty for more than a year, and we are located on multiple bus routes. I am sure that those house owners would be happy to house 3 nurses each, or one nurse each and her family.

    I have 2 relatives as well with vacant units. A very, very nice 1 bedroom. And an even better 2 bedroom, two bathroom, with air conditioning. Both fully furnished.

    And a nurse who is willing to share accommodation may only have to pay $400 to $500 BDS per month.

  4. @ TLSN

    We also have Ukrainians, people from the Balkans, and the rest of the Soviet Empire. You do not need one million Poles to be fascists, just three or four from every Eastern European nation. Also look at their ages.
    By the way, have you noticed no one refers to Dominic Rabb as an immigrant? But Diane Abbott and other are always referred to as second generation immigrants. We are always foreigners in the UK.
    Once the President gets her way with adding tens of thousands to the Bajan population (hoping many of them will vote BLP) people at the bottom will feel the squeeze. Just look at Brexit and how working class Brits have protested. All those people up North voting to leave. It is their way of protesting. We face serous social problems which the army and police will not be able to control.

  5. @ Hal

    Regarding what you wrote i dont think the BLP has a care or a clue about what it is doing

    Mia shots from the hip. Mind you she sounds good but has no follow thru.

    one thing that rankles Bajans is talk about bringing in people seemingly to replace them

    they see it as a ploy to suppress wages and ensure votes for a particular party

  6. Integrity, honesty, decency, self-reliance, self-discipline, frugality, competence and personal restraint are aspirational values.

    Few people have these qualities, although in the Caribbean we expect our political and business elites to be blessed with most or all of them.

    Except for the UK, Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan, where many middle and upper middle class families live more or less in accordance with an honour code, the world is a swamp of corruption, kept in check only by aggressive law enforcement in a few “exceptional” countries like the United States.

    Barbados will never find its way out of the swamp as long as our leaders are elected by popular vote. When most voters are personally lacking in integrity and decency, the leaders they choose will almost always be “corrupt”.

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