Grenville Phillips Column – No Pride, No Industry

Barbadians were an exceptionally enterprising people.  During slavery, our fore-parents were forced to work without payment.  After slavery, they were paid for their labour.  But the evidence of their labour, both during and after slavery, showed that they produced work to an exceptionally high standard.

By the time of our Independence, most Barbadians had marketable skills by the age of 18 years.  Those skills included: masonry, carpentry, joinery, seam-stressing, weaving, tailoring, barbering, baking, nursing, teaching, book-keeping, farming, fishing, boat-building, machining, and the various trades required on the plantations and businesses where many of them worked.  Barbadians were justifiably proud of their industriousness.

The Barbados public service was one of the most professional and well managed of all nations.  It employed the most qualified Barbadians.  By the time of our Independence, it appeared to exceed the international management standard, ISO 9001.

Rural Barbados was mostly a collection of communities, that were connected to plantations.  Those who worked on the plantations had access to small lots, where they could plant canes and vegetables.  Those in the community supported each other.  They reaped each-others’ canes, built each-others’ houses, and shared each-others’ vegetables.

There were disagreements within families and neighbours.  But no disagreement affected the unspoken, but understood duty to those in the community.  Then something happened after our Independence to divide every community in Barbados, and the duty to share stopped.    Something also infected our public service at this time, and our professional public service came to an end.  What happened?

In 1950, everyone 21 years and over became entitled to vote.  In 1964, this was reduced to 18 years.  So, politicians visited the communities in search for votes.  Our politicians could not promise employment in the public sector, because it was protected.  So, they encouraged Barbadians to hate who they considered to be our common enemy – the white merchants and planters.

Barbados became Independent in 1966.  To prevent Barbados from self-destructing, our Constitution protected our professional public service from political abuse.  It did this by giving the Governor General the sole duty to hire, discipline and fire public workers.

Our politicians cleverly removed this protection by legislating intermediate politically appointed bodies to manage the public service.  They then recommended old-age pensioners to the post of Governor General.  Once the Governor Generals were sufficiently distracted with tiresome ceremonial duties, our professional public service became exposed to political abuse.

As each political administration sent thousands of their unqualified supporters to Government departments, they went from being highly professional to highly politicised.  Engineering is a classic example.

There were about 10 chartered engineers in three government departments in the 1970s.  One decade later, there was not a single chartered engineer to be found in the entire public service of Barbados.  Further, when it was brought to their attention that unqualified persons were occupying Engineering posts, the posts were simply renamed to Technical Officer, which automatically qualified their previously unqualified supporters.  The tragic effect on quality was foreseen.

Whenever the government changed, the winning political party sent home many of the losing party’s supporters, and filled the public service with their own.  Getting work generally did not depend on competence, but on party loyalty.

The unqualified political supporters could be quickly promoted to management positions above more qualified persons.  Since the least competent persons could be the most successful, there was little incentive for individuals to pursue excellence.  Public services quickly became extremely poorly managed, and very low standards became the new normal.

In the communities, people no longer depended on each-other, but on their politicians.  Households proudly declared their political party affiliation, and communities became firmly divided along political party lines.

Approximately 40 years ago, our politicians achieved what two hundred years of slavery never did.  They destroyed our sharing communities, dismantled our professional public service, erased our desire for excellence, and got us to blame each other for their corrupting mismanagement.

To sustain their achievements, they have convinced the current generation of Barbadians that incompetence must be tolerated, because it is the best that descendants of slaves can achieve.  They have also brainwashed their most extreme supporters, to deprive anyone who dares to question their performance.

After our politicians got the merchants to fund their political parties, our politicians had to find a new enemy for us to hate – ourselves.


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


224 thoughts on “Grenville Phillips Column – No Pride, No Industry

  1. @ Enuff aka Beavis

    You now crawl from under your rock after hiding your face in deceit.

    Nothing above is a contradiction as you are too full of sewage for your own good.

    I made contact with a National company funded by Central Government when first entering UK and was informed of their requirements and what I would need to obtain to be contracted.

    I pursued and after obtaining what was suggested, I was contracted very shortly thereafter.

    I am not interested with either you or Simple Simon friends or family.

    I spoke to a single UK company funded by Central Government, I didn’t speak for the whole of the UK.

    However in your rush to show your appalling ignorance and deflect from your own deceptions on Barbados Underground you have showed your ass.

    You are a true example of a small minded Bajan who I believe hands are in the crooked cookie jar of the BLP.

  2. @ Hal Austin

    @ Baje,

    We must not allow Junior to set the agenda. We want to hear other voices coming from Solutions, if not it is a one-man band. The argument that people are scared of being victimisation in their jobs and businesses does not hold water.




  3. Redguard:

    You continue to display your utter lack of experience. You are writing as a child who is being taken advantage of by a clever consultant – either from ignorance, or with consent. Yet, you are pretending to be an expert. Amazing. That is fraud – of the worst kind since it can harm others.

    For your information, there are always at least two ways of completing consultancies. One, is to drag out an assignment for years before the Client gets any benefit, to maximise fees. The other is to work efficiently, and give the Client as much benefit as possible, as early as possible.

    The Board’s approach to the procurement process normally determines whether the public will be taken advantage of, or not. A service can be procured honestly, or through corrupt deceitful dishonestly. Which method did the Port board select?

    You have admitted that no Barbadian won. I explained to you that there could be no other result, because through either sheer incompetence, corruption, or both, the tender was written to exclude all Barbadians.

    Based on what you have revealed, it seems as if the Port wanted a specific consultant. So they got the consultant’s CV, and built a procurement notice around it that would exclude all Barbadian consultants except the preferred one. That is corruption. If you have not yet heard, I hate corruption – with a passion.

  4. @BajeSeptember 24, 2019 6:25 PM “I am not interested with either you or Simple Simon friends or family. You are a true example of a small minded Bajan who I believe hands are in the crooked cookie jar of the BLP.”

    Please note that my hands are not in anybody’s cookie jar, and have never been. I live modestly but happily on my hard earned pension.

    Simple Simon

    Neither “B” nor “D”
    That means that I don’t get any cookies regardless of who is in or out.

  5. And at least one of my UWI graduate nephews. But I can’t call no names, lest people think that i showing off.

    The British would have been overjoyed to keep him. Overjoyed. But he has a profound and sincere commitment to the PEOPLE of Barbados, so he works in Barbados for significantly less money than he could in the U.K. (non-political, non-partisan work by the way) money is not everything, and tobesides sufficient is sufficient.

    There is a reason why you are a Simpleton.

  6. @ Baje,

    About 50 per cent of UK school leavers go on to university. Post-graduate qualifications are now the new currency. A first degree from a foreign country would not cut it in the UK.
    Take doctors: foreign doctors have to pass the General Medical Council exams to practice in the UK, but that alone would not get them jobs. What most of them now do is UK post-graduate studies and use that as the passport to jobs.
    We are also getting the same with Middle Eastern refugees with STEM degrees; they now anglicise their qualifications (in many cases getting very high marks) to enter the jobs market. We have lots of mini-cab drivers with degrees in STEM subjects.
    When I was a kid if people got GCEs some people thought they were exceptionally bright. Exaggerated claims about qualifications are very third world. We even have a regular blogger on BU who boasts about his PGCE. Small world.

  7. “You continue to display your utter lack of experience. You are writing as a child who is being taken advantage of by a clever consultant – either from ignorance, or with consent. Yet, you are pretending to be an expert. Amazing. That is fraud – of the worst kind since it can harm others.”

    You have a problem Grenville, you din’t like to be challenged. My arguments are sound and anyone can follow them and see I am not a partisan.

    I will say again, ISO is wonderful in a manufacturing setting, that was what it was originally conceptualised for. Realising how much money could be made they then expanded it to other areas. I think it is a waste of money and time when intangible goods are the product and my reason continues to be the subjective nature of quality for such products.

    I am writing from a quality assurance perspective not an ISO salesman. I have never claimed to be an expert like you, I provided an objective critique of your proposal based on my knowledge of quality management systems.
    I am not trying to sell anyone anything, you are. This is what you fail to understand. When you talk about ISO, those who have never heard of it, do a search and what do they find, someone trying to sell them something (John and Theo were spot on with their joke). You just don’t get it, ISO 9001 is a business first and a standard second.

  8. Redguard:

    Wrong, as you consistently are in your comments about me. I appreciate being challenged, because that is how we can all improve.

    You did not challenge me. You attacked with your stupid insults of being a bluffer. I am tired of stupid political operatives with their stupid insults. As I have written you before – stop being a yardfowl. There are too many in Barbados. We do not need anymore.

    I also hate corruption. Using a preferred person’s CV to craft a tender is corruption. Will you condemn that wicked practice? Further, what should happen to those who do that type of corruption?

  9. “I appreciate being challenged, because that is how we can all improve”.
    LOL that is not how you improve. Improvement comes about from first acknowledging a problem, finding the root cause and applying corrective actions and then confirming the corrective actions have indeed improved performance. Basic ISO 9001 principle of continual improvement. The problem with solutions is your are the root cause.

    BTW. The gentleman was not a preferred person, no one on the board knew him or of him, they never saw his CV until he submitted it, with his detailed breakdown. This was on merit. If you doubt do some research. The team has no connection with anyone on the board.

    I am not political operative. I called you a bluffer because you made statements that you are unable to support or prove, hence the word bluff. You are asking people to believe you because of what: professional integrity, christian faith? I call that a bluff.

    Artax asked for details of how you would achieve such amazing results in such a short time and your answer was some nonsense about El Salvador did it. Are you serious?. That’s the same argument thrown around by politicians about Singapore and how if we followed them we would be where they are. Poppycock. Using an example of another country with totally differently culture, management systems and work ethic among other variables to support your claim is ridiculous.

    So no I am not going to apologise for calling you a bluffer, I stand by it and I have evidence or your lack of evidence to support it.

  10. @ nextparty246 September 25, 2019 10:01 PM

    Forget for the moment your cure-for-all ISO 9001 solution to the public sector service problems.

    What about commandeering the human and material resources of the Defence Force in order to ‘fight’ the common enemy of garbage collection and disposal?

    What have you got to say about, Sunshine Grenville?

    Aren’t the Defence Force management systems already ISO 9001 compliant enough to deploy up to 10,000 hands idle ready?

    Or is the handling of garbage not on your list of emergencies will the call number ‘900 No’?

  11. Redguard:

    I do not expect political operatives to apologise for anything. They are simply in too deep.

    You are correct on the ISO 9001 method of continuous improvement. However, I was referring to personal improvement.

    People normally believe whatever they are taught first, whether by parents, teachers, colleagues, friends, publications, or the Internet. It could be correct or false, and people could believe it until they die.

    Something can cause a person to question what they believe, perhaps about eating habits, management systems, relationships, religion, etc – any subject. That something is being challenged.

    Those who want to know the truth normally respond to challenges by quality research. That research can either reinforce their belief, or cause a person to modify or reject it. My point was that the catalyst for this improvement was being challenged.

    The challenge could be delivered politely or rudely. I am happy for the challenge however it is delivered. You did not challenge, you simply insulted. That is the way of the stupid yardfowl. I am challenging you to improve.

  12. ” The majority of the workers, who are from St Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana, said this was not what they signed up for.”

    THE BARBADOS WORKERS’ UNION (BWU) is referring the dispute involving workers and management of Jada Builders to the Employment Rights Review Committee

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