Grenville Phillips Column – Miracle Workers

A miracle is when something happens that we think is impossible, even after it has happened.  People travel across the world to see such impossible things, and to experience the thrill of astonishment for themselves.  The BTI should use that as an attraction to draw such thrill-seekers to Barbados, the land of miracles.

It was generally agreed that the DLP managed public services extremely poorly.  So extreme that their quality of incompetence was perfect.  So perfect, that many people could not bear to watch Barbados fail and do nothing.  So, several new political parties were formed, bringing the total number to 11.

The BLP won all 30 seats and started governing with a lot of public goodwill.  Many offered them very good advice.  However, like the DLP before them, the BLP seemed to reject good advice and accept only the worst kind.

The Bridgetown Port, BWA, SSA, QEH, BAMC, BRA, Licensing Authority, Transport Board, and Education were all perfectly managed under the DLP.  Managing them any worse was impossible.  The DLP had reached rock bottom, and there was nowhere else to go but up.  Yet, the boards and authorities managing these entities are today achieving the impossible.

At first, the BLP rightly blamed all of Barbados’ problems on the incompetence of the DLP.  Since the DLP were the last administration, they should take all the blame – but only for the first three months of a new administration.  After three months, any poor management is only a reflection of the current managers’ incompetence.

Why are our public services always being so badly managed?  The simple answer is that extreme supporters, who behave more extreme with every election, must be rewarded for their extreme behaviour.  Normal supporters do not qualify for such rewards, since they are unwilling to do the things against their fellow Barbadians that the extremes may do.

The typical reward for extremes is to allow them to play with our public services.  Letting such highly unqualified persons have fun with our public services, has never worked well for us in Barbados.  The perfect mismanagement of our public services during the last DLP administration, led to every DLP candidate losing in the last general election.

The current boards have achieved things that defy explanation.  They have fouled-up public services so much that the former DLP Ministers now appear capable by comparison.  How is that even possible?  These boards have now put the lucrative lifetime pensions of the new BLP Ministers at risk.

Our Ministers have a problem.  Their extremes believe that their partisan behaviour entitles them to play with our public services.   However, if they keep abusing our public services, they will only frustrate the public, and bring down the Ministers.  If they are fired, as their appalling performance justifies, then they may not be as extreme during the next general election.  So what can our Ministers do?

One effective solution is for every Minister to appoint two advisory boards.  A technical board for the benefit of the public, and a political board for the benefit of their party.

The members of the technical advisory board should be experts in the relevant field.  These should be volunteer (unpaid) positions.  Monthly advisory meetings should be held with the Minister and the CEO of the statutory corporation, with the only agenda being the improvement of the public service.

The political advisory board is to reward the extremes.  They should be paid the same salaries as they are currently receiving, by the political party.  They should meet with the Minister as frequently as the Minister wishes, but they should have no contact whatsoever with the public service.

This is a win-win-win solution.  The Ministers win by receiving credit for dramatically improving public services, which improves their chances of being re-elected and achieving their lifetime pension goal.  The extreme political supporters win because they get to maintain contact with their Minister, and keep receiving spillage.  The public wins through much improved public services.

Our Ministers know the harm that unhappy extremes can do, and now seem intimidated by those whom they have appointed.  They have allowed the tail to wag the dog for so long, that the tail believes itself to be the dog.  Our Ministers need to muster the courage to get their politically appointed boards to stop working miracles.

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


  • We were not aware that the political was based on something called, maybe euphemistically, a ‘miracle’.

    What BS is this?

    Instead of dealing with current and pressing existential realties the fairytale of a ‘miracle’ is posited but not even explained to the ones who could barely take a skim.

    Wait, these political pretenses about some Christian, moralism, ethic, serving as sword and shield, still in ‘bogue’!



  • It will take a “miracle” for any of SB candidates to get back their deposit next election.


  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    Don’t mind so much that the political class play with our public services, but I hate it that they also play with our money.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Seems to me that Grenville is saying the medicine is not working but we can increase the dosage. How else can he possibly explain two advisory bodies, one technocrat and the other political reporting to the minister. This line of thinking escapes my limited intellect . To cover such an obviously confused suggestion by implying that the political advisory body could be paid by the political party is a pathetic attempt to obscure the fact that largesse ,whether paid for from the treasury or the coffers of the political party is still largesse. It’s like drinking rum from a cup or glass-it’s still rum.
    However even more amazing things are happening on BU. I read where a very erudite contributor , who abhors the current economic world order is defending policies of one of the major institutions of the said economic order the contributor despises.
    Confusion of ideas seems rampant these days. This should be expected because at this time we have a powerful foreign economic occupation by a deadly force. As the reality of our present economic struggle takes shape, we could expect massive intellectual confusion. There will not be enough rocks to hide under.
    One of the obvious strategies will be to go into the archives and produce old articles to refute current reality. We can expect further abuse of statistics. Propaganda will find itself more pronounced on BU. The Duopoly will continue to wear down those who disappear when the going gets rough. Expect offerings to be less volatile. Expect some to appoint themselves as BU’s police determining what should and should not be written.
    Piece be on to you.

    The Duopoly Rules

    Liked by 1 person

  • Wily thinks Grenville is now into SATIRE, only logical explanation for the rambling article.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Grenville

    Why not name the boards? It would have anchored your submission. You should know truth is the defense against defamation.


  • When all is said and done the country continues on a downward spiral into a rats hole
    Garbage is not picked up
    Schools remain unopened
    Water is all but nonexistence in many parishes
    The big guts politicians and advisors continue to eat off the public purses
    Expect another Jesus moment coming from the mouth of govt


  • Waiting to see how in the coming months having no growth plan what words would govt utter to the people with an urgent need for the country debt paid
    In mean while households are being strangled to death by heavy fees and taxation.
    Govt collects and nothing is being done in an efficient manner

    Liked by 1 person

  • An excellent piece of work.
    Orwellian in nature.
    You would divide us into two groups the non-productive Napolean and his supporters and the productive Boxer and the rest of the animals.

    You wish to separate these two groups. This will never happen as the yard fowls know their limits. Unfortunately, they will always seek to ‘hide’ in the productive group and try their best to be “productive” and thus create problems for the nation.

    Like you I agree that we will not be able to separate the politician from his/her party faithful. It is a symbiotic relationship . Consequently, we will always have the fitting of square pegs (party hacks) into round holes (important government positions).

    It appears that you have a few whose sole purpose is to rubbish anything that you write. They would like to stop you or pronounce you dead even before you leave the gate. Soldier on.

    Very masterful essay. I believe you have written The Barbadian version of Animal farm. Great job


  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @William, you are too astute a reader to perceive that “…Grenville is saying the medicine is not working but we can increase the dosage. How else can he possibly explain two advisory bodies, one technocrat and the other political reporting to the minister. “.

    The $3 word is ‘satire’ as @Willy said…and there is nothing rambling about the piece either…it’s actually quite focused from opening to end…just too high brow really!

    In very regular terms and language Mr Phillips is saying in his quite educated fashion WTF..ingRH is still going on!

    The man would NEVER speak like that but considering that several boards were so “… perfectly managed under the DLP” that the ‘impressed’ electorate turned out to ‘reward’ them with a perfect thrashing 0-30 defeat and according to him he sees similar signs of perfect mismanagement now by the new political masters despite THOSE chastening results…then you get his satire or bathos or pathos or any of that literary $3 wordsmithing.

    The brother is too ‘Heights and Gardens’ to bluntly shout WTeffingRH is going on !

    In short he tells us these folk are running us further into a *’sh**hole*’country but whereas that man or Johnson with their salty language will season their public mouthings like that and have the everybody talking…we have our satire star causing major viral attraction over here 😂 !

    Frankly, his style is also PERFECT exciting marketing…I can definitely see perfectly better results next time around from this continued perfect management messaging ploy….oh Lordie…wait…that’s called irony, right! 😂🤣


  • The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) is not about to back down from its decision that the financially struggling Barbados Water Authority (BWA) should not compensate customers for interruption of service although there is a standard of service in place.

    This means that if the utility company breaches any of the guaranteed standards under the mandatory guaranteed and overall service metrics implemented in January last year, customers should not expect financial compensation.

    Director of Utility Regulation Dr Marsha Atherley-Ikechi was responding to concerns raised by residents regarding the FTC’s suspension of the required compensatory payments under the guaranteed standards of service policy.

    Atherley-Ikechi said after several rounds of discussions with the utility company the FTC had determined that based on its financial circumstance the BWA was in no position to pay.

    “The regulation is such that it is dependent on and conditional on circumstances. I want to make that abundantly clear,” she said


    Liked by 1 person

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @Mariposa, I am impressed. Finally after these many years of mindlessly serving your DLP mal-governance you openly lambasted your peeps. What brought that on!

    Impressed I was to read you speak of : ” When all is said and done the country continues on a downward spiral into a rats hole…Garbage is not picked up […] Water is all but nonexistence in many parishes…The big guts politicians and advisors continue to eat off the public purses…”

    Was that just one months long segment or was it the last five years of your admin of which you speak …was it that period from 2016 or whenever until early this year when effluence was flowing daily into the streets???

    And what happened after you were “[w]aiting to see how in the coming months having no growth plan what words would govt utter to the people with an urgent need for the country debt paid”

    What a critique of your team for the terrible financial managent of our debt… “while households [were] being strangled to death by heavy fees and taxation” and as your boss Mr Stuart’s admin collected the taxes but “nothing [was] being done in an efficient manner”.

    What caused this epiphany for you?…Wow…there is hope yet for you guys to resurrect the once dynamic party.

    So, keep up that careful critical review of your party…that was the most corrupt, incompetent group of govt administrators in Barbados during my lifetime so your level of confession is always good for the soul, yah think!


  • De pandantic
    Nice to see how you have compiled your twisted version of my comments to support your version of the comical blp govt clowns

    Lest you forget this govt has given away millions of dillars of taxpayers money to business friends and associates while the poor eat salt
    BTW can anyone tell if Mia Mottley law firm paid their back taxes or were they gjven a huge tax break by waivers cuts and a whole sleuth of giveaways shielded without transparency


  • @ de pedantic dribbler

    I understood the satire. That’s the problem here. He went from the satirical to the confused. Two different things. Guess he tried a miracle. Then again , I am easily confused and amused. The toxicity of the foreign economic force occupation is having its effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  • GEORGIE PORGIE with EARNED paper trophies

    RE In very regular terms and language Mr Phillips is saying in his quite educated fashion WTF..ingRH is still going on!



  • The wannabe Prime …….. wrote” Many offered them very good advice. However, like the DLP before them, the BLP seemed to reject good advice and accept only the worst kind.”

    “The DLP had reached rock bottom, and there was nowhere else to go but up. Yet, the boards and authorities managing these entities are today achieving the impossible ” ( UNDER THE NEW BLP GOVERNMENT ).

    ” After three months, any poor management is only a reflection of the current managers’ incompetence.” ( BLP ).

    For those of you who complain that I copy and paste too much without giving an opinion here it is.

    This article is just beyond my comprehension or imagination. I will leave it to the intellectual maguffees to explain the meaning of ” impossible ” , ” rock bottom ” “miracle “.

    My interpretation is that the DLP was the worst but the BLP wussa dan dat.

    buh doan mine me. i din spen enough time in school to onstan tings.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ nextparty246:
    “One effective solution is for every Minister to appoint two advisory boards. A technical board for the benefit of the public, and a political board for the benefit of their party.”

    Here is an alternative solution to bring about a real miracle.

    How about fast-tracking a comprehensive programme of privatization and outsourcing of the functions currently undertaken by your potential twin-headed Boards of double incompetence?

    Such a programme should have been started and by now almost completed since 2014 as promised by the previous de facto PM the MoF Sinckler.

    The current administration has promised similar surgery under its BERT regime.

    What’s the achievement to date other than to continue to provide comfort for public sector fools called statutory board workers while the financial and operational cannibalization of the SOE carries on apace.

    But not to worry. Barbados is in dire need of another fix to appease its forex drug habit and the IMF is the drug pusher hiding behind the door of the loan-shark.

    But before further doses of the forex-dependent drug can be released this administration must meet the privatization/outsourcing demands of its lender of last resort.

    Get rid of them by hook or crook even if the IMF has to put back on the table the currently ‘deferred devaluation” sword of Damocles.

    Shouldn’t the cooperative credit union movement be waiting in the wings and fielding at first slip for this inevitable ‘drop’ of bounty from IMF-induced rainfall of investment opportunities for its various memberships?

    Then you, Grenville, can peddle your ISO 9001 management solution to a virgin group of business novices untainted by political interference and its curse of yard-fowlism.

    “Tron”, wherever you are, the miller is speaking on your behalf; with your ‘licensed’ approval, of course.


  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @William…indeed I knew you understood what he was doing…as i said yiu are too astute! In turn, my little piece was to make the point of the awesome irony of his thrust and comment of a “perfect mismanagement”.

    As far as I am concerned Mr Phillips has been twisting a confusing narrative from day one of his Solutions with some incomprehensible and impractical proposals BUT when it comes to his writing STYLE I find him to be actually quite masterful at times…as he was here!

    So in THAT regard of style I see nothing CONFUSING about his comments….where in ur view did he go from “the satirical to the confused.”

    What was confusing?


  • de pedantic Dribbler

    And to you MrHants…I have never met one…not one .. guy or gal who went to the same secondary school you attended who is not an * “intellectual maguffee”* in their own way!

    The basic ability to learn, understand and ‘regurgitate’ never leaves us …we may get lazy, fuelled with bad chemicals, side tracked by “hirsute” pursuits or some such which can impede that ‘maguffiness’ but otherwise it generally stays and grows!

    So please stop playing “blond” (even if that’s ur natural hair colour)! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ de pedantic Dribbler

    Understood. I think he stretched it by the suggestion of the technocrat and political boards. If that portion was attempted satire it was poor. That’s is when for me his satire became the victim of confusion.
    BTW I do respect Grenville and I have already here on BU , offered him some ideas. His efforts are commendable.


  • Foes anyone else in Solutions have a voice? When a political leader is convinced he alone is right that is the road to authoritarianism – or worse.


  • Vincent Codrington

    Miller at 9 :23 AM

    Tron shoes too big for you. And they do not suit you. You don’t see that he got shunnuh feet. Steupseeeee!


  • Does anyone have an idea of how many refuse trucks we could purchase per year if the PM reduced the cabinet to fifteen Ministries? Would any less get done around here?

    Liked by 1 person

  • She said the extra ministers and consultants compared to the previous government is costing 1 million to the salary bill. This equates to two trucks per year.


  • Garbage truck, buses and parts will cost FX. You have to be aware for when the external debt agreement is reached.
    Ministers are paid in mickey mouse currency (Bdos $s).


  • It would be better if that money was going to pay the sanitation workers OT


  • Mia Mottley is showing Barbados wannabe politicos how to lead from the front.The move to return to a local national bank is a first class move.
    In addition her desire to make Caricom more meaningful and expanding its role is a move in the right direction.I hope we are all learning the lesson of what happened to the Bahamas which practically alienated itself especially from its Eastern Caribbean brothers by not embracing Caricom to its fullest extent.Mia is about uniting the former English speaking colonies to make the Union a force to reckon with.
    I am still of the view that we can work with 8 ministers and a form of local government.


  • Harry Russell “ Wild Coot “Nation newspaper columnist has been saying we need a national bank for years. He was the first citizen to say publicly that selling the national bank was a colossal mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    William Skinner at 6 :17 PM

    Yes! HR did. GoB has in the past taken some very short term, bad advice.
    I do not think that it would be wise to retrieve that mistake. Times have changed and that particular policy lever is no longer relevant and available. It is a completely new ball game.


  • @ Vincent Codrington

    Amazingly , when Arthur sold the bank they all agreed it was in the national interest. There is a whole lot of political amnesia going around.

    The Duopoly Rules


  • Vincent Codrington

    @ William Skinner at 7:06 PM

    Lots of political decisions are made in the national interest. It is a matter of definition as to what the national interests are.. In addition we all have cognitive biases,even those of us who are trained to identify them.
    The politicians believe the citizens are amnesic but from my experience they are not.


  • The Unbanked Bank #MiaCares
    Just for @Hal, all branches located within Post Offices.
    Opening savings rates at 2%.


  • Mia needs to keep airy-fairy long term ideas like inter-island ferries and a new national bank in her head and the discussion rooms until they are fleshed out and sources of financing are identified. What she needs to do is call in ministers Prescod and Duguid and find out what short and medium term plans they have for garbage collection and transportation respectively.


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


  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    @Bajan in NYSeptember 26, 2019 12:00 AM “Mia needs to keep airy-fairy long term ideas like inter-island ferries…”

    According to Wikipedia “Boats have served as transportation since the earliest times. Circumstantial evidence, such as the early settlement of Australia over 40,000 years ago, findings in Crete dated 130,000 years ago, and in Flores dated to 900,000 years ago, suggest that boats have been used since prehistoric times.”

    If this Wikipedia report is correct, then human beings have been using boats for nearly 1 million years, far, far longer than we have been using wheels, so I don’t see inter-island ferries as difficult or airy fairy. My grandmother who was an adult before airplanes were even invented used to go to Bridgetown by boat, her elder sister went from Bridgeown to Brazil and back by boat in the late 19th century, and her brothers to Cuba and Panama, mine to the U.K. in the mid-20th century.

    So boating, that old, old, old technology can’t be that difficult.


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