Prosperity May Be Restored, With the Right Policy Mix

Thanks for the assist Amit– David, blogmaster

As we embark on the third decade of the 21st century, Barbadians look to our economic prospects with a mixture of hope and trepidation. Our hopes are grounded in our economy’s inherent strengths: our highly regarded tourism services, good transport and communications, reliable public services, and our resourceful and well educated work force. In order to realise our full potential, there are a number of policies which government might consider.

Barbados’ strength in tourism is the quality and variety of services and activities which our island has to offer. Government incentives for tourism should be biased towards continuing to improve quality and variety. The emphasis should be on food, culture, heritage, sports and other niches. The private sector should be encouraged to embrace Barbados’ high-end reputation, and to focus of giving excellent value for money. High volume, low-cost tourism, including large cruise ships, bring risks of overcrowding and environmental degradation.

Government should consider contracting best international expertise to undertake a 3-year makeover of public services and administration. It would be costly, but it would be money well spent, if it were designed to bring all Government functions and services to an international standard of performance, comparable to Canada or Singapore.

Government should publish a strategy document with a practical time-bound plan for the complete replacement of fossil fuels as a source of energy. Renewable energy has the potential, in time, to provide the economy with a sector of comparable weight to tourism.

Borrowing from the example of the most successful firms in the sector, the future of international business seems to be in providing marketing, promotional, training and other services. Government agencies should aim to attract international companies to set up offices in Barbados to provide these services to their international clients.

Historically, Barbados was a gateway to the Caribbean for two centuries or more. The island could become a gateway into and out of the Caribbean once more. To do that, Government would need to enter strategic partnerships with international firms for the management of the airport and seaport. Government should partner with international companies which have well-established global networks, and the capacity to finance upgrades to the Barbados facilities from their own resources.

Multilingual abilities are highly prized in international commerce.  Barbados could enhance its international competitiveness with a comprehensive programme to provide foreign language skills from primary school level.

In a recent paper which may be consulted on my website, I explain the benefits of permanently retiring the Barbados dollar and using the US dollar for all domestic transactions. Importantly, Government would have no recourse to creating new money to finance excessively large deficits in the absence of a domestic currency.

There is a road to prosperity ahead for Barbados, but major obstacles remain in the path. Once they are addressed we can have confident hope for a better future for our country.


91 thoughts on “Prosperity May Be Restored, With the Right Policy Mix

  1. “Our hopes are grounded in our economy’s inherent strengths: our highly regarded tourism services, good transport and communications, reliable public services, and our resourceful and well educated work force.”

    I never laughed so much in my life after reading the first paragraph. Is the writer of the above living on Mars?.

  2. Same reaction here.

    There is the strange contradiction of praising the reliability of public services and then recommending a costly 3-year makeover of same just two paragraphs later. Perhaps he thinks he’s being tactful like a politician, but he’s just clumsy. Too much brandy after dinner?

    Then there is the dollarization proposal — a very radical and risky remedy for fiscal indiscipline. The type of recommendation that would make more sense if Barbados had a problem with runaway inflation.

  3. When tourist visit Barbados because of the awesome beaches and wonderful weather they are also looking for a great experience. I have seen some improvements in the past year but Barbados still has a way to go.

    1 Customer service in the restaurants and stores still need improvement.
    2 Cleanliness (trash on the streets and beaches) need to be addressed
    3 Public transportation (easy access, reliable service, good web site, & day passes) would help.

    Barbados is not the only island with awesome beaches and wonderful weather. Tourist dollars are digressionary and should not be taken for granted.

  4. Wily has an entirely different view of Dr.Worrell’s dissertation, he’s written a phasisis bit of prose to ascertain the reactions it may or may not generate and use the responses to formulate and appraise the underlying tone and capabilities of the political masters. This man is NO FOOL, although Wily has never been a fan he recognises his intelligence and cunning.

  5. (Quote):
    Government should consider contracting best international expertise to undertake a 3-year makeover of public services and administration. It would be costly, but it would be money well spent, if it were designed to bring all Government functions and services to an international standard of performance, comparable to Canada or Singapore. (Unquote).

    Hasn’t the current administration demonstrated it ‘commitment’ to such a “makeover of public services and administration” by the appointment of senators to the Cabinet and czars as advisors and change-agents to do what you are suggesting?

    Why ‘waste’ more of the country’s already scarce forex borrowed from the IMF which could have been avoided if that $300 million that went missing just after the 2013 general elections could be removed from the ‘suspense’ account and given a proper accounting?

  6. “There is a road to prosperity ahead for Barbados, but major obstacles remain in the path. Once they are addressed we can have confident hope for a better future for our country.”

    High-end tourists, multilingual children and switching to the US Dollar.

    Mr. Worrell wants us to teach our children Chinese and Arabic so they can work in the Casinos for sheiks and chinese multi-millionaires who have a loads greenback and a fetish for large backsides

  7. This is a disappointing intervention by Dr. Worrell. He is trying to reverse in to the future with his eyes firmly affixed to the past.

    Adopting the US dollar at the point in history when the rest of the world is evolving away from it is at best shortsighted, but in my opinion closer to criminal irresponsibility. It makes much more sense to maintain a fixed exchange rate, but tied to a more diverse international basket of currencies. I recommend that the Barbados Dollar should be tied to Special Drawing Rights: a form of international money, created by the International Monetary Fund, and defined as a weighted average of various convertible currencies.

  8. Dr. Worrell’s recommendation that “Government should publish a strategy document with a practical time-bound plan for the complete replacement of fossil fuels as a source of energy.” is out of date. The plan was published long ago and is available to Dr. Worrell and everyone else on the Ministry of Energy’s website.

    What is necessary is implementation, not yet another strategy document.

  9. Dr. Worrell says that “Government incentives for tourism should be biased towards continuing to improve quality and variety.”

    Tourism is a mature industry. Indeed it is a sunset industry. Government incentives should be available only to sunrise industries to speed their development as we evolve away from our over-dependence on tourism. ALL the corporate welfare provided to the tourism sector is simply forcing the Barbados taxpayer to pay extortion to multi-national corporations and local robber-barons.

  10. @PLT

    Not only should the alternative energy plan be pursued, but it should be done as a matter of urgency with the road blocks removed.

    I continue to say a USD saved is one earned. If we move on alternative energy with more than just lip service, it is the same net result on our FX as bringing additional tourist to our island.

  11. Dr. Worrell recommends that “Government should consider contracting best international expertise to undertake a 3-year makeover of public services and administration.”

    He should know better by now, having spent decades in public service.

    Buying “international expertise” is something that even Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, strongly recommends that poor countries to stop using global consultancy firms. They are all neo-colonial rip off gangsters whose lack of moral compass disgusts even the IMF.

    Certainly we need to revolutionize our public sector, but it is no mystery how we need to achieve this. We can even begin with implementing ISO 9001 standards across the public service and all state owned companies. Just because this is Grenville Philips idea does not mean that it is wrong. It is not even the only very good suggestion in the Solutions Barbados policy arsenal.

  12. Dr. Worrell says “Historically, Barbados was a gateway to the Caribbean for two centuries or more.”

    So What!!! That was then, this is now.

    It is shallow to talk of being a gateway, without providing specifics about what we are a gateway for, who we are providing value to, and what they will pay us for that value.

  13. @ Redguard

    You are right. The focus of government should be on prosperity, improving the standard of living of ordinary Barbadians, and not the fantasy and comic illiteracy of economic growth. There is a limit to growth, which even Dr Worrell should realise.
    Ordinary people are concerned about jobs, housing, health, crime, education, the environment and the quality of public transport, not with an island 166 sq miles being world class, or the stupidity of punching above our weight.
    Now that Dr Worrell has been freed from the shackles of the central bank, his economic recommendations are no better. There is clearly also a limit to analytical skills.
    Dr Worrell has very little to add to the continuing economic debate. His repeated call to abandon the Barbados dollar for the Greenback (Why not the Canadian dollar?) and an unsubstantiated confidence in the Canadian and Singaporean financial systems are not supported.
    And it is not the first time he has praised the Canadian system, including the quality of their regulation. (I should mention that Dr Worrell did his post-graduate work in Canada)
    In no case does he put forward a cohesive argument as to why Canada or Singapore. Nor, indeed, the pros and cons of abandoning the Bajan for the Greenback. We will apparently learn the reasons by osmosis.
    Apart from this article of faith in two different financial systems which produce two different outcomes, Dr Worrell also has a number of fallacious beliefs about Barbados’ so-called inherent strengths, such as highly regarded tourism services. What are these services and who holds them in high regard?
    He also suggests the island has good transport and communication, he obviously does not mean the reckless driving on the narrow roads that are congested all through the working day and a backward and exploitative communication system? We are now in a 5G world.
    Then he suggests Barbados has reliable public services, but I can only suggest he lives in a parallel world. Which public services are reliable? Then he adds, as if making a joke, that the island has a “..resourceful and well-educated work force.”
    At the time Dr Worrell was writing, the court system was clogged up with about 84 murders cases, some of which have been on the books for up to ten years. Is remanding an innocent person for ten years a mark of public service competence in Dr Worrell’s eyes?
    Where is this well-educated work force? A nation that is drifting further and further behind the rest of the world, both regionally and globally, Dr Worrell is willing to perpetuate the myth of a well educated.
    Is this why he sees the need to contract the best international “expertise” to undertake a three-year make-over (the length of an undergraduate degree)?
    What Dr Worrell really means, consciously or sub-consciously, is that the best “expertise” is white “expertise”, a primitive form of intellectual colonialism. It is political and managerial illiteracy, crass nonsense.
    Dr Worrell also contradicts himself, as has been pointed out. On the one hand celebrating our reliable public services, while on the other hand suggesting a “makeover” to bring those services up to an acceptable global standard.
    Dr Worrell has also suggested a bit of economic double speak: that there was a road to prosperity ahead for the island once major obstacles are removed. What are these obstacles and how can they be addressed to bring them up to the international standard of performance , comparable to Canada or Singapore?
    However, it is Dr Worrell’s repeated call to abandon the Bajan for the Greenback as legal tender that is the strangest recommendation of all. On the contrary, government should ban the Greenback from being used as an effective legal currency in Barbados.
    To abandon its sovereign currency also means letting go of the key macro-economic lever for the control of monetary policy from out of the hands of the central bank, with policy being made in Washington DC.
    Further, and this is crucial, apart from a few light-touch regulatory mechanisms, the central bank would in effect make itself redundant. Maybe this is Dr Worrell’s ultimate intention.
    We urgently need a abetter discussion on economic policy and the vision for Barbados.


  14. There is indeed a road to prosperity ahead for Barbados, but Dr. Worrell is hopelessly lost. He is on the wrong road, facing the wrong direction, has run out of gas, and his license has expired.

    Future prosperity has to be built on ascendant global industries, not by pouring scarce resources into rich people’s pockets in the hope that they will resuscitate a tourism industry that is past its high growth phase.

    Yes we need to educate our young people in Arabic and Chinese… but neither of these is as important as teaching them to program in Python, Java, C/C++, JavaScript, etc.

  15. @PLT: “…but neither of these is as important as teaching them to program in Python, Java, C/C++, JavaScript, etc.


    And, also, Linux System and Database Administration skills. These kinds of skillsets are highly sought after, and can be marketed worldwide while living and working in Barbados. With Open Source Software now dominating most compute spaces, all of the needed software is available for free.

    I’ve been trying to reach out to the Ministry of Education to discuss the opportunities of introducing this kind of thing into the curriculum, but the response has been silence…

  16. BU is awash with crackpot ideas. None more so than that tourism is a “sunset” industry.

    PLT is the loudest environmental extremist on BU, a man drunk on the wild predictions of climate science forecasters. Problem is, these forecasters are part of a well-established tradition of intellectual error at European and North American universities.

    The first thing I was taught in the classroom when I was learning forecasting methods many years ago is that EVERY FORECAST IS WRONG. THE ONLY QUESTION IS, BY HOW MUCH.

    PLT will find out in due course that climate scientists have overstated the environmental impacts of climate change. By a mile. Just as previous forecasters exaggerated the problems of food and energy scarcity.

    Tourism is THE most important industry in Barbados. And it will be for generations to come if we ignore the Crazies.

  17. @Ewart Archer
    “… forecasters are part of a well-established tradition of intellectual error at European and North American universities.”
    Of course Ewart is much smarter than the climate experts at European and North American Universities. Since the experts at Chinese, Japanese, Australian, South American and African overwhelmingly agree with their European and North American colleagues, it goes without saying that Ewart is much smarter than these poor misguided PhDs as well. 😉

  18. @Ewart Archer
    “Tourism is THE most important industry in Barbados. And it will be for generations to come…” This will absolutely be true if we follow the unimaginative thinking of Dr. Worrell and Ewart, because we will have FAILED to develop anything to join it and eventually replace it.

    It will still be the most important industry, and it will still FAIL to deliver prosperity by any measure that includes people other than multi-national corporations and local robber-barons.

    Ewart seems to like that future. I’d prefer to choose a different one.

  19. PLT

    In the 1970s, many of the best and brightest economists, geographers, and demographers were confidently predicting that by the beginning of the 21st century, the world would have run out of oil and gas, and that millions of people would be starving.

    In my lifetime, we have survived the Population Bomb hoax, the Energy Crisis hoax, and the Y2K hoax.

    Stay tuned.

  20. @Ewart Archer

    It is amusing to be labeled an “environmental extremist” simply because I seek to learn about the subject from the vast majority of those who know the most about the subject.

    Ewart’s anti-intellectualism is not rare in Barbados, but is is still a huge drag on our social and economic development.

    In any case I am reminded of the anarchist Karl Hess’s words “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

  21. What i would like to see is that 10% of what we spend on tourism is spent developing USD saving industries.

    These can be alternative energy, food import substitution what ever will result in a reduced demand for FX. If then we continued to gain from tourism that’s fine, as we would be a double winner. If however tourism faulters what is our plan B? What have we got in place say as a 5 year plan that can reduce the need for FX, if say tourism receipts slipped by 20% for example?

    After nearly 2 years in office what exactly is this governments plan B?

  22. @Ewart Archer
    “… many of the best and brightest economists, geographers, and demographers were confidently predicting that by the beginning of the 21st century, the world would have run out of oil and gas, and that millions of people would be starving.’

    You may be able to peddle these lies and half truths to young folks, but I lived through the 70s and read those economists, geographers, and demographers. At no point did they constitute anything but a small minority of their disciplines. Furthermore, their predictions were well fenced of by conditionalities such as “if the rate of discovery of new oil reserves follows past trends.”

    By the way, estimates of the number of people currently starving (those who do not have enough food to lead a healthy life and suffer from both undernourishment and malnutrition) is estimated in various places as 795 million people, or 815 million people, or 821 million people. If you check carefully you will find that that is actually “millions of people.”

  23. @ PLT at 11:20 AM

    Ewart is smart. So are you. Because both of you are smart you are unlikely to agree on all matters.

  24. @John A

    It’s not a matter of “if tourism falters,” it is simply coherent planning for WHEN tourism falters.

    Do I know when that will be? of course I don’t; and neither does Dr. Worrell or Ewart. Will it be triggered by sea level rise, oil price spikes if some Iranian mullah retaliates for Suleimani assassination and we’re in a full scale war… I don’t know that either, but that is no reason to close my eyes and hide from evidence.

    They say we stick our heads in the sand… I say we start to look for alternative ways to make our living as a Nation BEFORE the crisis has devastated our communities.

  25. @PLT
    @John A

    The earliest test of our tourism brand, as the chairman would call it, will be the coronavirus. Watch out.

  26. Climate forecasts are bound to be wrong because the forecasters are trying to predict the future based on quantitative models that are developed from less than 100 years of climate data.

    Remember, our plant is very old, at least on a human time scale, and world climates are ALWAYS changing.

    As for the limited economic benefits from Barbados tourism. Why is that? Because most Barbadians dont have the knowledge, skills, or attitudes essential to taking full advantage of the opportunities that are potentially available.

    Most tourists and visiting businessmen and bankers are open to all kinds of relationships with their Caribbean hosts, but only if we can be more like them. If we talk and live like Rastas, or like black nationalists, or like resentful Marxists, our opportunities will severely limited.

  27. @ PLT

    I like you don’t like the idea of a one cylinder economy, no more than I would like to fly from here to the UK on a one engined plane.

    There is much we can do here to make ourselves less dependant on tourism and the foreign dollar. We are blessed with a near perfect year round climate, which along with tanning tourist, is also ideal for agriculture and solar energy. Unfortunately these industries are not as glamorous as a hotel corridor from hither to thither, so they are not as politically desirable to talk about as tourism one must assume.

    I can understand say an island like Aruba with little rainfall and nearly desert conditions banking heavily on Tourism, but that is not our case here. Why we don’t capitalise on this advantage I fail to understand.

  28. @Ewart Archer
    “Most tourists and visiting businessmen and bankers are open to all kinds of relationships with their Caribbean hosts, but only if we can be more like them.”

    This is a fascinating statement Ewart. I don’t intend to dispute its truth.

    However, it is a clear headed exposition of the way tourism functions as an extension of colonialism. You have unambiguously stated that tourists will only like us if we can act White.

  29. @ Hal

    Yes That is something we need to watch carefully. Any major health scare or foreign “scuffle” has the potential to disrupt our ability to earn FX. That is why it is so important to insure against it by investing in FX saving ventures. The electric buses are a good move as long as they are charging on retained solar power at charging stations. A reduction in duties on electric powered vehicles would be another, as would the removal of barriers to the alternative energy sector.

  30. PLT

    It is absolutely FALSE to say that only a minority of social scientists were predicting a dire future for the planet back in the 1970s.

    These predictions were a key part of the undergraduate coursework AT EVERY UNIVERSITY IN THE ENGLISH SPEAKING WORLD THAT I KNOW ABOUT. And I spent 25 years of my adult life as an academic.

  31. @John A
    “Why we don’t capitalise on this advantage I fail to understand.”

    You are on the right track in noting that other “… industries are not as glamorous as a hotel corridor from hither to thither…”

    To be fair to the current administration, it is hard to pour political effort into projects that do not show results before the next election. This short-termism is a major hurdle to rational economic planning.

    The less charitable explanation is that other industries do not have as many opportunities for corruption, payoffs, and robber-baron profiteering from pouring concrete as mega projects in the tourism industry promise.

  32. @Ewart
    Of course predictions from studies like The Club of Rome were part of every undergraduate coursework. This does NOT mean that they were majority opinion. Any academic of the era who presented these theories as a consensus opinion of the field was simply lying. I read the stuff. I was taught by professors whose own research predicted harsh outcomes. At no point did any of them pretend that this was a majority consensus. On the contrary they complained bitterly about how the vast majority of their colleagues just didn’t get it.

  33. @ John A,

    In plenty…..Tourism

    In need…… agriculture and solar energy.

    I hope it doesn’t take a catastrophic event for Bajans to change.

  34. @ John A

    Has the minister of health, or international business or the micro-managing president made a statement about coronavirus yet? Is there a picture opportunity in any such warning?

  35. @ Hants

    The politicians might be banking on the old bajan belief that ” God is a bajan.” In case he isn’t though i would take out a little insurance just to be safe!

  36. PLT, Hal Austin

    You are 100% wrong.

    John A

    Barbados is not like a plane operating on one engine. There is a modestly successful financial services sector with clients from North America and Europe; and there is a small manufacturing sector (admittedly struggling and in need of resuscitation, but with privileged trade access the the Almighty USA).

    Then there is the Citizenship-by-Investment program, which could support Barbados all by itself if it were developed by the right people in the right way — because it could bring in a new class of residents and some of their business activities.

  37. @ Hal

    Not a word here on the virus. Our plan is simple we will ignore it and hope it doesn’t reach our shores.

    I noticed on CNN yesterday the amount of reported cases are rising though. That sadly is one of the downsides to tourism and global travel.

  38. @Ewart
    I have comprehensively demonstrated your errors and you seem to have no substantive rejoinder.

    Ah well. You can lead a horse to data, but you cannot make them think.

  39. @ Ewart

    Would the statement a plane with one engine and a desk top fan be better then?

    The industries other than tourism generate such a small amount of FX in relation to what we burn through that it could not even help Air Barbados glide farless stay in the air if tourism was removed.

    We have lost millions in the offshore sector as laws and regulations continue to change. Trade agreements too are fragile things as Trump has shown us. As for selling passports I would be very careful going that road as several before us have learnt.

    What however is not fragile is what we can do for ourselves independent of all and on our own land mass. Alternative energy and food security are 2 things no one can take from us once established, not even Trump!

  40. Regarding the new Corona virus.

    My understanding is that the most forward-looking countries have thermal scanning at international airports.

    A cheaper alternative is a kiosk questionnaire to encourage self-identification.

    Of course, the QEH should be practicing the way it would handle cases.

  41. “but neither of these is as important as teaching them to program in Python, Java, C/C++, JavaScript, etc”

    A developed math student (BSc level) can pickup any of those languages quite easily and quickly and apply it to real world problem solving (I’ve seen it for myself). But try to teach those languages to the undeveloped Math mind of a child and it becomes and exercise in memory an retention. They might be able to function as debuggers but outside of that they won’t be much use.

    We don’t need debuggers, they are thousands in India who work on the cheap. We need to train more engineers and mathematicians and have a state funded program to teach them computer programming as an ongoing requirement of their professional development.

  42. PLT

    You are an excellent salesman and propagandist. When outgunned and outmaneuvered, you loudly declare victory and pat yourself on the back.

    A bit like Donald Trump, who you claim to despise.

  43. @Redguard

    We are getting very good results with kids between 7 and 15 using introductory JavaScript, Python, and HTML in our Kids Who Code after school programme.

  44. @ Redguard

    How about free maths to CXC level for everyone over the age of 16? We have enough retired teachers and graduates to take on such classes, and schools are empty after 4pm and at weekends.

  45. @PLT… VERY cool!

    However, some constructive criticism… The web-site should “gracefully” collapse if Javascript is not enabled. Without allowing a bunch of Javascript to be download and run on MY machine (some from sites I don’t trust, such as WIX; lots of tracking and fingerprinting going on with them) the pictures are low-res and the horizontal menu at the top of the page doesn’t appear.

    Separately, have you considered expanding this to older students, covering Linux SysAdmin? Please contact me if you’d like to discuss further; I’m having no luck gaining traction with “The powers that be, but shouldn’t be…”

  46. Thank you Peter

    Very interesting, building their skills in problem solving and logic with games is great stuff. This approach could make math and science more interesting, thus encouraging more of them to go into those fields.

    I was still thinking in terms of subjects within or education system and which ones build these skills. I never thought about it from the perspective of building the skills needed for programming outside of subject teaching

    Is this similar to what the Scandinavian’s are doing, less focus on subjects, more on skills?

  47. @Chris Halsall
    Thanks for the heads up about the website. It IS built on the WIX platform, that’s why it sucks in that particular way. I’m not the CEO or the marketing guy, so I’ve made my preference clear about changing that, but it’s not a hill I’m going to die on.

    We do operate the Source Code Developer Academy for adults: but the curriculum is licensed from a successful school in Seattle (Code Fellows) and it does not include being a Linux SysAdmin unfortunately.

  48. @Redguard

    We didn’t invent any of the curriculum ourselves. We do adapt from international examples that prove themselves successful, then adapt them to our local context. Our focus is on building skills in problem solving and logic as well as teamwork and communication while having fun. This is because, of course, the specific coding languages that they use will likely be obsolete long before they are through college.

  49. @Hal

    Look we ain t got time with you Virus, we health bosses got more buildings to condemn first so take a number and wait!

  50. @ John A

    What is sick building syndrome? We have buildings that are hunderds of yrs old and they do not seem to get sick. How old was the NIS building?

  51. @ Hants

    I know someone who is a health analyst with Public Health England and thy just asked me what is going on in Barbados. The UK is geared up. We have a lot of Chinese traffic. Are we checking passengers?
    An epidemic is all we need to kill off the tourism trade for the rest of the year. Where is the micro-managing president? There are lots of photo opportunities in issuing a warning.

  52. What however is not fragile is what we can do for ourselves independent of all and on our own land mass. Alternative energy and food security are 2 things no one can take from us once established, not even Trump!


    Seems elementary, doesn’t it?

  53. Halsall

    You said and I quote

    “…I’ve been trying to reach out to the Ministry of Education to discuss the opportunities of introducing this kind of thing into the curriculum, but the response has been silence…”

    It is admirable that Peter Lawrence Thompson is leading (rather, is part of) a coding thrust.

    It is also good that you, in a style that you are less known for, seem to be interested in promoting the Coding & More Germane IT training which is the backbone of world industry.

    A thing that you have shared AND WHICH ALL THE SHEEPLE HERE & THE PEOPLE may have missed is that even you, a white man, are encountering the wall of silence!

    My eternal conspiracy mode would say that their silence lies in the fact that the Minister is now cutting deals to see which of her private sector friends can compose a LinuxSysAdmin course AND TEIF YOURS!

    But de ole man also states dat dem effers ent got a clue about your proposal AND YOU ENT GETTING NO RESPONSE NO TIME SOON!

  54. Barbadians have been told that the new strain of coronavirus – which is responsible for around 20 deaths in Wuhan, China, and resulted ina quarantine of the entire city – is no immediate threat to the island.

    The virus has now spread to Japan, Korea, Thailand and a case has also been identified in Washington,United States.
    In a media briefing yesterday, both Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic and Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George urged the public to remain calm.
    “The ministry has been following this issue since December last year. We’ve been watching the news and utilising the experience of the officers here, trying to see exactly where we think this thing is going. Having done so and recognising the virus has crossed continents, we think the time is right to deal with it more seriously,” Bostic said at the Ministry of Health’s Culloden Road,St Michael office. (Quote)

    Have we banned travelling between China and Barbados? Why doesn’t it pose a threat to the island? Why are our leaders so dumb? Incompetence is our great handicap. Where is the president, she micro-manages everything, has she anything to say?

  55. UK health secretary is making a statement to the House of Commons today. What are we doing in tiny Barbados – apart from being world class and punching above our weight?
    We have a president that is stupidly putting the health of the nation at risk because of her stubborn ego. What is the doctors’ association saying? What are the nurses saying?

  56. I think that this submission by the former Central Bank Governor IS POORLY WARMED OVER SOUP!

    He has said nothing that is different from any examination of the Barbados Economy 30 years ago.

    As usual he speaks to the quality of plant and services which is Economics 101 BUT, GIVEN HIS OWN LACK OF VISION, he is unable to give the critical insight on how Diversification of the Economy MUST PROCEED

    People will be surprised to learn that there is a US$35 MILLION facility at the central bank for what amounts to an enhanced Central Bank Guarantee Scheme.

    And de ole man finds it telling that NOWHERE IN HIS VOMIT does he give an iota of information as to how this money SHOULD BE USED!

    But then again, such is the legacy of this Kadooment Clown and frankly these are the things he should “stick” to

  57. @ Piece

    You must familiarise yourself with the Bajan Condition – you do not debate, you make statements then remain silent. Th former governor will not debate his challengers, he will retreat behind a bar of silence. That is the Bajan way. Make a statement then hide.

  58. @Piece: “My eternal conspiracy mode would say that their silence lies in the fact that the Minister is now cutting deals to see which of her private sector friends can compose a LinuxSysAdmin course AND TEIF YOURS!

    Frankly, I would be happy if that happened. I only have so much time; there need to be many teachers delivering this type of corse material. To many, many students.

    To put on the table, I have taken it on as a personal mission to encourage the wider use of and education about Open Source Software (OSS) here in Barbados. Everything from Linux, LibreOffice, Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), Blender, et al. Many people don’t realize you can recommission an old workstation or laptop with a modern Linux distribution, and have a fully functional machine.

    The software space has evolved such that almost anything anyone wants to do with a computer can now be done using only OSS, which is not only “free as in beer”, but also “free as in freedom”. The user owns the software in perpetuity — none of this stupid “either rent the software from us, or else pay us for a forced upgrade every few years…” scam.

    Stay tuned… I have plans which do not rely on Government… 😎

  59. Good reading for Dr Worrell.

    SINGAPORE — From around 10 p.m. until the early hours of the morning, Aziz drives a private hire car through the streetlit hinterlands of Singapore. On weekdays, he shuttles from the airport to downtown condos and back; on weekends he patrols around Tanjong Pagar where the upscale bars kick out late, picking up drinkers, bar staff and other nocturnal tradespeople. On an average night, he can book upward of 150 Singaporean dollars ($111). His situation, he said, is “jialat.”
    Jialat, a Singlish word taken from Hokkien, literally means “drained.” In his early 50s, Aziz — not his real name — was retrenched from his job in a professional services company two years ago, and turned to the gig economy to make ends meet, joining hundreds of other former white-collar workers in a nocturnal demimonde of midrange saloons and weary discontent. “Cannot retire. Cannot take my [pension],” Aziz said. “As soon as they let me take it, I’ll buy a house in Indonesia and retire there. If I stay here, what am I going to do?”
    Midlevel jobs in manufacturing and multinational companies are disappearing, and being replaced by technology and financial services roles, which are easier to fill with younger, more affordable migrants. Singaporeans like Aziz struggle to get back into the workforce. Only half of retrenched over-50s are reemployed full time within six months. Nearly three-quarters of people laid off in Singapore last quarter were what the country classifies as professionals, managers, executives and technicians, or PMETs.

    A quarter of a million people are in functional poverty. The bottom 20% of Singaporean households have an average monthly shortfall of S$335 between their incomes and outgoings, according to the government’s latest economic survey. Living costs have risen. Water bills are up 30% since 2017; medical costs have increased 10% in just over five years, an acute problem in a population that is aging rapidly. Technological disruption is breaking the link between economic growth and earnings. Growth has slowed to its lowest level since the 2009 financial crisis tipped the island into recession.

    Singapore has long relied on migrant labor to drive economic growth. (Photo by Peter Guest)
    Together, these have massed into an unprecedented challenge for the People’s Action Party, which has held power in Singapore for more than half a century by delivering growth and prosperity. An election is looming, and there are no easy answers.
    “I think the social compact is fraying”
    Donald Low, associate partner at consultancy Centennial Asia Advisors
    “The PAP’s legitimacy has depended not primarily on electoral performance or democratic accountability. Its primary source of legitimacy has come from economic performance,” says Donald Low, who spent 15 years in senior government roles and is now an associate partner at consultancy Centennial Asia Advisors. “I think the social compact is fraying. The PAP’s capability to ensure upward social mobility as long as you work hard and get an education, that ability has been seriously eroded.”
    Glamour and grit
    For outsiders, Singapore’s progress is often measured by the way that it accessorized its strides forward. Its infrastructure is near-seamless, its airport among the best in the world.
    Its network of subterranean malls is populated with high-end homogenized, globalized retail and leisure outlets — designer clothing, luxury luggage, franchised restaurants from celebrity chefs — of the kind found in wealthy emirates and airport departure lounges.
    After separating from Malaysia in 1965, the country opened its economy to international trade and capital, rising from a middling post-colonial port city — albeit one at the nexus of global shipping — to the ninth wealthiest nation in the world per capita. The PAP used that growth to dramatically raise the living standards of Singaporeans through education and a radical public housing policy.
    Starting in 1966, the Singapore government bought land from private owners — who were legally obliged to sell — to build massive public housing developments. Today, the state owns 90% of Singapore island, and 80% of Singaporeans live in “HDBs,” Housing & Development Board apartments, which they own on long leases from the government.

    After separating from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore opened its economy to international trade and capital, achieving rapid growth. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)
    Free public education helped to encourage social mobility, supporting a doctrine of self-reliance and meritocracy that was the cornerstone philosophy of the PAP’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew.
    “Because I hailed from a poor family, my school fees were waived, and I could apply to borrow free, but used, textbooks,” says Tan Ern Ser, associate professor in sociology at the National University of Singapore. “[The government] believes in investing in people through education, housing and health care. It believes that people should be given the opportunity to be educated, to acquire skills and qualifications and be rewarded on the basis of merit, and in turn do well for themselves and be self-reliant.”
    Through homeownership, education and almost full employment, Singapore leapt forward not just in absolute wealth, but in quality of life and aspirational potential. “Singapore has … become a middle class society,” Tan says.
    The depth and pace of economic progress established the political legitimacy of the PAP for generations. The party has never been out of power. Lee Kuan Yew’s son, Lee Hsien Loong, is the current prime minister.
    The economic model, which began as a mixture of socialist nationalism and paternalistic authoritarianism, before veering toward Thatcherite shareholder capitalism in the 1990s, has been much mythologized by free marketeers and aspiring autocrats worldwide. Prosperous, crime-free, technologically advanced and just about free enough for comfort, the tiny city-state appeared to have found a formula to inoculate itself against the decline and division that seem to characterize other developed economies in the late stages of capitalism.

    “Everybody thinks it’s a perfect economy,” says Yeoh Lam Keong, the former chief economist of Singapore’s state investment fund GIC. “On the surface, it looks as though people must be looked after.” (Photo by Peter Guest)
    “On the surface of it, [the Singapore economy] looks astonishingly miraculous,” says Yeoh Lam Keong, the former chief economist of Singapore’s state fund GIC. “Everybody thinks it’s a perfect economy. On the surface, it looks as though people must be looked after. But that’s on the surface.”
    Yeoh is perhaps an unlikely critic of Singapore’s political elite, having spent the majority of his professional life close to the heart of the establishment, stepping down from the GIC in 2011.
    In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, Yeoh, dressed on a Saturday afternoon in a polo shirt and shorts, a faded Make Poverty History wristband dangling on one arm, sought to portray Singapore’s challenges — in his words, “the bogeyman” — as part of decadal struggles being fought across the globe. Economic malaise and social tensions are engulfing Western democracies, he warns. Democratic socialism is facing off against nationalism, winner-takes-all shareholder capitalism against a more progressive “stakeholder” capitalism, he says, and Singapore, he warns, is far from insulated.
    “If you stand back and study this, it’s a global phenomenon,” he says.

    The roots of Singapore’s current problems, Yeoh believes, were planted in the 1990s, when its politics lurched rightward. In line with the prevailing neoliberal thinking, the government moved toward a more market-based approach to the pricing and ownership of HDB flats. Many citizens bought houses, taking advantage of a government scheme that allows citizens to use the savings in their Central Provident Fund — a compulsory pension scheme — to do so. Property prices were booming, so in theory this meant that they would have a valuable asset in retirement, which they could sell or borrow against.
    However, HDB houses are sold as leaseholds, and the leases are ticking down. The value of many older homes has peaked, and their owners face a retirement with a depreciating asset and a diminished pension pot. That means the signature social policy has gone from one of the most successful public housing initiatives of the 20th century, to a liability for some elderly citizens, Yeoh said. “It’s a time bomb.”
    Perhaps a more consequential policy decision was made in the belief — and up to that point, the experience — that growth would continue to drive social mobility and job creation.
    “They thought that they wanted to maximize welfare by maximizing growth. They had one huge policy lever, which was immigration,” Yeoh says.

    A state scheme to set up Singaporeans with housing assets is backfiring; thanks to a stagnant market in HDB sales, many elderly homeowners are now, in fact, saddled with liabilities. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)
    Between 2000 and 2010, Singapore’s immigrant population nearly doubled from 755,000 to 1.3 million, not counting foreign-born citizens given permanent residence status. As of June 2019, Singapore’s population was composed of 3.5 million citizens, 530,000 permanent residents and 1.7 million foreign workers, students and dependents.
    “Relative to the base population, you haven’t seen that anywhere else. It’s unimaginable. It depressed permanently the wages of all those at the bottom,” Yeoh says.
    Singapore has no statutory minimum wages, and labor unions have little power, so there was nothing to cushion the blow. A generation whose incomes had loosely tracked the country’s growth suddenly found it accelerating away from them.
    “You’re earning your adult life in a middle-income country, and you end up having to retire … in one of the richest developed countries in the world,” Yeoh says. “It’s like working in the Philippines and retiring in London.”
    Inevitably, this led to social tensions, which have simmered close to the surface for years.
    Late last year, they boiled over.
    Rising nativism
    In October, an Indian-born Singaporean citizen, Ramesh Erramalli, was videoed verbally abusing a security guard at his upscale condo block. Stories of foreigners behaving badly are red meat for Singapore’s tabloids, but this clip, in which Erramalli is heard to shout: “I bought your f—— property for S$1.5 million, you know?” went viral.
    Erramalli’s salary, address and phone number were circulated online. A petition was started urging his employer, the investment bank JPMorgan Chase, to fire him, as he became an avatar for Singaporeans’ worst view of immigrants — entitled, overpaid, unwilling to integrate. A few days later, several hundred people gathered in Hong Lim Park, the country’s only designated protest spot, to demonstrate against the government’s labor policy. It was hardly a mass protest, but in a country that tightly regulates public shows of dissent, it was significant.
    “People are struggling. They see the foreigners living in a posh condo, while I’m struggling in an HDB, driving Grab,” says Gilbert Goh, the protest’s organizer.
    Goh is a fringe political figure, but has built a following on social media, and through his blogs, where, like his analogues in other countries, he purports to speak for the squeezed middle-aged, middle-class and mostly male workers displaced by social change. On stage, he is not a firebrand orator; his delivery style is more reminiscent of a corporate presentation than a political rally. What he mostly talks about is immigration, which he insists is compounding the economic problems faced by average Singaporeans.
    “It was already tough for people in their 40s and 50s to find a job, but with the influx of foreigners it has made it harder,” he says.

    In an interview with Nikkei he denied being “anti-foreigner” and sought to portray the debate as a purely economic one. However, he drifted unbidden into questions of identity, and raised the specter of unrest.
    “People like Ramesh [Erramalli] don’t help. … He has citizenship, but we don’t view him as one of us,” he said. “The sentiment will get worse, I can assure you. … There’s not much collaboration, there’s not much integration. I think that will blow up one day. There will be fights.”
    “Call me xenophobic if you like,” he said in parting, his tone more melancholy than angry. “I’m used to it.”
    Yeoh interprets this kind of nativism and nationalism, which is on the rise around the world, as a demand for social protection that is not being met within the current political system.
    “When people hurt … they go back to their animal way of looking at things, which is totally irrational, primitive, which is what you have in the U.S. and U.K. right now,” he says.
    Yeoh insists that the inevitable impacts of globalization and technological shifts on average people need to be mitigated by governments through social safety nets. Time is running out, and the threats are mounting.
    “These forces of the gig economy, [artificial intelligence,] technological unemployment, competition from China and India, the breakdown of the global trading system, the disintermediation of manufacturing chains around the world … the aging of our population — are going to gradually immiserate the average voter. It’s a slow fuse time bomb,” he says. “We’ve got to think: Social protection is the key.”
    Welfare is a hard sell in Singapore, where meritocracy is still a mantra. The country has no unemployment insurance, very limited unemployment benefits or in-work benefits for low wage earners, little state support for pensions. This is partly a function of its early success. As it moved rapidly through the stages of development, people’s livelihoods improved enough that welfare was not a consideration.
    “Singapore, for the first 40 years, never needed robust social safety nets,” Donald Low says. “Now that society is a lot more mature, and all the low-hanging fruit in terms of progress up the socioeconomic ladder … have been harvested. With or without growth, social mobility is going to slow.”
    The government has made some concessions, with support packages for some elderly and poorer Singaporeans, and tighter migration controls. Critics like Low and Keong argue that these are still inadequate, and that the government could afford a lot more. Singapore runs a structural fiscal surplus — S$2.1 billion in fiscal 2018. Almost uniquely among developed economies, Singapore has the financial firepower to tackle its problems.
    “We are so parsimonious. We save everything for a rainy day,” Yeoh said. “But we need to use that surplus to stave off the bogeyman. … It’s raining like hell.”

    In the coming election, the fragmented opposition has a new figure to rally around: Tan Cheng Bock, a former 26-year veteran of the ruling People’s Action Party. (Photo by Peter Guest)
    Nikkei contacted several government departments seeking comment. None agreed to be interviewed. However, in his New Year’s speech, Lee said that the government would look for “practical measures” to deal with households that are struggling.
    The resistance to deeper change, insiders say, is ideological. Speaking privately to Nikkei, current and former PAP members as well as government employees used the terms “ossified” and “calcified,” as they lamented that a system once known for its flexibility and willingness to debate internally has hardened, and is no longer willing to challenge its core ideologies. Reformists have been sidelined, in favor of a more conservative, nostalgic core.
    “I do think you see signs of atrophy and decay in what has been a highly successful, highly competent, professional, technocratic regime,” one said.
    Another argued that the combination of a state-controlled media and nervous academia, both prone to self-censorship, lead to an illusion of consensus that leaves policymakers “drinking their Kool-Aid” and blind to the concerns of people on the ground. Several pointed with varying degrees of exasperation to a sudden ban on the use of electric scooters on pavements — commonly used by delivery riders — in November, which led to protests and accusations that the government was out of touch with working class voters, and no longer listening to them.
    “To a large extent, Singapore’s ability to continue succeeding will be determined by the party’s ability to respond and adapt to these demands from dissenting and oppositional voices, which are growing,” Low says.

    The ruling PAP has always made the case that Singapore’s economic prosperity and stability are dependent on near-total political control. (Photo by Peter Guest)
    The PAP has always made the case that economic prosperity and stability are intertwined with the near-total control that it wields politically and socially. The economic model comes with an implicit contract — that Singaporeans give up a substantial amount of personal liberty in exchange for prosperity and security.
    While elections are held, the PAP has always cannily used the levers of government to retain power, suppressing political opposition and civil society and using its financial resources to give itself an insurmountable advantage.
    An election is coming, although when is still not clear. In September 2019, the government formed its Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, which draws up the constituency lines on which the polls will be run. Historically, that has meant an election within six months.
    The poll has to be held by April 2021. Lee Hsien Loong has said that he will step down before he turns 70 in February 2022, and hand over power to a successor, likely to be Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
    This time, the fragmented opposition has a new figure to rally around. Tan Cheng Bock, a 26-year veteran of the PAP and former member of its executive committee, has formed a new party, the Progress Singapore Party, to contest the election. Having spent so long inside the system, he is realistic about his chances. The PAP will win the next election; the question is by how much. If the opposition can dent the ruling party’s lead, it can force a change of course.
    “It is difficult for us to make really deep inroads into government. But we are content if we can get a sizable number [of votes].” Tan says. “Once we get a foothold, I hope … we can point out where things can get better.”

    Limited change at the ballot box has happened before. In 2011, in the aftermath of the 2009 recession and with mounting discontent over the PAP’s population policy, there was an unprecedented swing away from the ruling party, which won 60% of the votes — although that still translated to 93% of the available seats in parliament. The result led to a degree of introspection inside the government. Unpopular policies, including immigration policy, were revised. Activists said that civic space for public conversations opened slightly.
    “There was a kind of flourishing of dissenting views,” says Jolovan Wham, a prominent social activist. “That was very short-lived.”
    In recent months, independent news outlets, opposition politicians and activists, including Wham, have been hit with a variety of criminal and civil charges.
    In 2019, the government gave itself sweeping new powers to limit “fake news” with the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act, which allows ministers to demand corrections or takedowns of stories that they deem to be “false or misleading.”
    The act has now been used a handful of times, mainly against social media posts by opposition figures, and mainly on areas identified as vulnerabilities: migration, education, and the running of the state-owned funds. The prime minister’s wife, Ho Ching, is the CEO and executive director of state investment fund Temasek Holdings. Her compensation is not disclosed.
    In one case, which is currently going through an appeal in the courts, the Singapore Democratic Party was accused of misrepresenting statistics on PMET unemployment.
    This closing of the political space is concerning for those advocating for a rethink of the government’s role in the economy.
    “There’s a lot of self-affirmation,” Yeoh Lam Keong says. “And because [the government] mistake criticism for dissent, they muzzle it. That’s why it took them 20 years to change their immigration policy. If you’re improving at that rate, it’s not fast enough for the bogeyman. The bogeyman is coming.”

  60. @ Hal Austin

    Too long; but I get the drift.
    Is this what you spent your sabbatical away from BU researching? Thanks for confirming our position on the Singapore Model. Its shelf life like many others before has expired.
    I hope more commenters will take the evolutionary approach to Social, Political and Economic developments.

  61. @ Vincent

    Take time to read it, given the nonsense we hear about Singapore (and Canada) every so often. I spent my sabbatical trying to become world class, punching above my considerable weight.

  62. Dr. Yuen Kwok Yung, a highly respected doctor during the previous SARS period gave the following advice in a speech yesterday.
    1. He suggests Hong Kong people should try to avoid going to China during this period of time.
    2. If going on a flight, make sure you wear a mask.
    3. Always have antiseptic cleanser or towel readily available.
    4. The virus “Coronavirus” is similar type of virus like the previous SARS or MERS. This time it is OC43. There is still no known method of tackling this virus.
    5. If you have to go to the market, make sure you wear a mask. Be very vigilant.
    6. Health Authority announced that this virus is very serious. However, as the virus is found to be able to enter your body if your throat or throat mucous is dry, the one precaution they suggest which can be taken is to ensure your throat or throat mucous is always in a moist condition. In fact, they suggest not to allow your throat to become dry, as in 10 minutes of being dry, the virus will find ways to enter into your body. So do not refrain from drinking water, always have a bottle handy.
    For adults, they suggest drinking 50-80cc of warm water; for children 30-50cc. Just drink if you feel your throat is dry. Do not hesitate. However drinking more than the amount recommended is not necessary, as it will just want to pass through your system. The idea is to “Keep your Throat Constantly Moist”
    7. Before end of March, try not to enter crowded places, MTR or public Transport, and wear a mask if necessary.
    8. Avoid eating too much deep fried food and take plenty of Vitamin C.
    9. Control Centre advice on symptoms of this virus:
    – fast and high fever, hard to lower, but if successful, the fever will return very soon.
    – next stage is coughing, in long duration, people affected are mainly children.
    – Adults has mainly throat symptoms, together with headaches and physical discomforts.
    – the virus is “highly” contagious.
    – elderly and young children are most susceptible, so take super precaution.

    I am afraid this is best I know how in translating for my dear friends and family’s benefits. Good health to everyone.

  63. @Hal Austin
    The article about Singapore from the Nikkei Asian Review that you posted is absolutely first rate.
    Thank you.

  64. @PLT

    Thanks. Plse draw it to Dr Worrell’s attention.


    What are the authorities in Barbados saying?

  65. The “Year of the Pig” has gone from bad to worse for the Chinese Communist party and China’s President Xi Jinping. Months of vituperative protests in Hong Kong and a democratic landslide in Taiwan have been followed by the scourge of a deadly Sars-like virus. So far, there is little cause to expect the Year of the Rat, which starts on Saturday, will turn out any better. The outbreak of viral pneumonia, which has spread from mainland China to Japan, Macau, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the US, might seem like mere bad luck. But allegations of official incompetence and cover-ups are threatening to besmirch the Communist party’s image.Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, a city of more than 10m people at the centre of the outbreak, told China’s state-owned television that “there was not enough warning” to local residents in a district called Baibuting who attended a huge banquet involving over 40,000 families on Sunday. This was in spite of scores of pneumonia cases already reported in the city.“The reason why the Baibuting community continued to host the Banquet this year was based on the previous judgment that the spread of the epidemic was limited between humans, so there was not enough warning,” he said. Hundreds of commentators on Chinese social media castigated the mayor for his response to the crisis. Many of the cases of pneumonia reported have been traced back to people travelling from Wuhan as hundreds of millions of Chinese go home to celebrate the lunar new year. The virus has already killed 17 people and infected more than 600 in mainland China. Two cases have been reported in Hong Kong, with authorities confirming on Thursday that the second victim is a 56-year-old man who travelled to Wuhan earlier this month.On Thursday, Chinese authorities placed severe travel restrictions on Wuhan, suspending rail and air links out of the city as huge crowds tried to embark on the journey home for the lunar year. China’s Communist party has warned that anyone who covers up details about infections will be “forever nailed to history’s pillar of shame”, partly because of the Sars epidemic in 2003 which flared up in China before spreading around the world, infecting 8,098 people and killing 774.Months of systematic under-reporting of the Sars epidemic dragged China’s reputation into the mire, prompting the World Health Organization to issue stinging criticism of Beijing. But although the authorities’ actions this time appear to have been quicker, echoes of the Sars crisis persist.As China’s National Health Commission confirmed the first cases of people-to-people transmission of the disease on Monday, the Wuhan Nightly News ran a headline on its front page: “No need to wear a N95 mask in public places”, a reference to the type of mask that respiratory experts recommend.The viral outbreak is potentially damaging to the Communist party’s prestige because it cannot be blamed on others, a contrast to Hong Kong’s protests that Beijing has attributed to “foreign forces” intent on destabilising the territory and sowing chaos. The landslide election victory by Taiwan’s pro-independence leader Tsai Ing-wen this month was similarly blamed on a range of factors, such as “dirty tactics”, “dark forces” as well as allegations that Tsai “wantonly hyped up” the threat from China to influence the election.This time it will be more difficult to shift responsibility.

    • Why would you post about China or Coronavirus here when there is a top blog dealing with the matter?

      Are you illiterate?

  66. Simmering social discontent in Chile, the most successful country in Latin America, and growing discontent in Singapore, the most successful country in Asia, point to the fact that human nature must always be mistrusted.

    Whatever you do for people is never enough. Expectations always rise faster than economic growth can deliver improvements in the standard of living.

    We see the problem in the Caribbean, where trade union leaders and political activists seeking support from the masses scream and holler because our single mothers can’t fund as many trips to London, or New York, or Miami as they would like. Never mind they now have washing machines and TVs at home, which their parents could only dream about.

  67. @ Hants

    The US is losing the war and is now panicking. Caricom is walking in to a minefield, led by our arrogant, self-absorbed president. It is the beginning of the end of Caricom. They must split. Jamaica is already half in and half out. I know that because Holness told me that he was not keen on Caricom.

  68. Some context please., Hal. Do not do a hit-and-run.

    Holness is a chameleon when it comes to CARICOM. He says different things to different people at different times. My guess is he is preparing for an election — by distancing himself from CARICOM officials.

    Many Jamaicans resent the greater prosperity of Trinidad, its ability to outperform Jamaica in many lines of manufacturing, the unscrupulous practices of some Trinidadian businessmen in relabelling imported goods for sale in the region (which hurts Jamaican exporters), the alleged poor treatment of Jamaicans seeking work in Trinidad, etc, etc.

    But the Jamaican political establishment is probably not ready to walk away from a regional grouping that will offer new economic opportunities now that Guyana has hit the jackpot.

  69. “When people hurt … they go back to their animal way of looking at things, which is totally irrational, primitive, which is what you have in the U.S. and U.K. right now,” he says.


  70. Ewart

    I sat next to him at a breakfast meeting in London when he was Opposition leader and he said that. I had made the silly mistake of promoting Caricom. He hardly said anything else.

  71. @ Hal January 23, 2020 1:49 PM

    ” But allegations of official incompetence and cover-ups are threatening to besmirch the Communist party’s image.”

    It was the same situation with SARS. The need to save face and to hide things.

  72. @RL: “It was the same situation with SARS. The need to save face and to hide things.

    Actually, China is being commended by many, including the WHO, for being quick to react and being very open about the situation.

  73. Delisle obviously banged too much at the carnival, as the picture clearly demonstrates. We don’t need a castle in the clouds. We need a realistic analysis.

    It’s hopeless to expect a better work ethic in this heat and with the high taxes. Diversification will not work either, because in the tropics every machine will rust under your a** within 5 minutes.

    Tourism and a little bit the offshore financial industry will remain our only industries. The lazy civil servants, on the other hand, are a huge burden for the island, a parasitism with no right to exist. We can only hope that the new wealth of Guyana will somehow spill over to Barbados through investments.

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