Barbados Must Stop and BREATHE
Many of us look to Singapore as the benchmark that represents the near perfect society on earth. Some key characteristics driving the behaviour of the average Singaporean identify hard working, competitive, afraid to fail, self centred all encapsulated by the word kiasu __ a Hokkien word that captures the uniquely Singaporean trait of being afraid to lose out. What is starkly obvious is that the leadership of Singapore is always occupied with executing tactics to develop and support a national identity for its people that feeds the society it wants to sustain.
What is the national identity of Barbados?
Is there a strategy by our political and NGO leaders to create an identity that syncs with who we are as a people?
There is nothing wrong with benchmarking to Singapore but we know a wholesale comparison is not realistic. The cultural diversity between the two countries is too wide.
The other characteristic one discerns from reading the literature about Singapore is the discipline the government in this instance supports. Especially as it relates to enforcing the laws and customs of the country.
As the public prosecutor, the AGC enforces all laws “without fear or favour”. Whether it is charging a high-profile individual for corruption or serving as Singapore’s international lawyer, the AGC has a critical role, Mr Lee said.
“As public prosecutors, you ensure that everyone is accountable for their actions. You enforce all our laws, whether it is against drug abuse, organised crime, unauthorised money lending or terrorism,” he said. “Because our laws are enforced, Singaporeans and foreigners know that here in Singapore, they are safe and secure.”
Have a walk along most streets in Barbados and there is litter everywhere. We have many who have no fear about tossing an empty snack box out a car or bus window. Have a walk through our gullies or off trails to be reminded of the scourge of illegal dumping.
Stand by any junction controlled by traffic lights and observe motorists running red lights. Not to forget the motor cyclists who hog highways to perform wheelies and other stunts in ‘broad’ daylight.
Everyday the blogmaster wonders if the ban on the use of mobile phones while driving was repealed.
Not too long ago an executive (Leroy Parris) of a leading insurance company (CLICO Insurance) refused to adhere to a stop sell order issued by the regulator.
Every year almost ALL state owned agencies break the law by not laying current financials in parliament to be accessible to the public. No where is the financial indiscipline best seen than at the National Insurance Scheme, arguable the most important state owned agency setup to pay social security benefits to citizens.
Have a read of a decade of Auditor General’s reports or the pages of Barbados Underground if you have been living under a moon rock in recent years to confirm the sorry tale of a country gripped by indiscipline. How often have we heard some leader or the other utter the empty words, “we are a nation of laws’. Barbadians have become numb to the meaning.
The rampant flouting of the laws and rules by officers of the court has become folklore. The Barbados Bar Association and Disciplinary Committee have not served the country well.
The ills are not exhaustive.
Mr Lee said emphasising the rule of law is a “vital national interest” for a small country like Singapore, and helped Singapore to distinguish itself from other developing countries and move from third world to first.
Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/upholding-rule-of-law-key-to-singapore-s-survival-pm-lee-8709316
There is a heavy focus by the government of Barbados to rebuild the economy. However, we need an equal or greater focus on enforcing our laws in every sphere of life. We (not just the government) have to start holding every citizen accountable from top to bottom; in the private and public sectors. We must exercise a zero tolerance to illegal and unauthorized behaviour starting right now. If we do not arrest the current situation, borrowing billions to develop the physical infrastructure will be for nothing if the social fabric is not addressed.