The year 2020 was my year for playing shots – using Clyde Mascoll’s recent cricket analogy. This was to be the year of making significant investments, all of which would have benefited Barbados and Barbadians. Then Clyde got in the way.
Like so many other Barbadians, I have a mortgage. The only benefit of a mortgage is that it allows you to occupy your house about 10 years earlier. For that privilege, you get to pay the bank a lot of interest.
The amount that you borrow is called the principal. The amount that you repay is about 2.5 times the amount that you borrow. Therefore, if you borrowed $500,000, you get to repay the bank about $1.25M over 30 years.
The amount that you repay the bank, over what you borrowed, is called interest. The interest is about 1.5 times what you borrowed. So, if you borrowed $500,000, then you must repay the bank the $500,000 you borrowed, plus 1.5 times that amount, or an additional $750,000 in interest.
The amount paid to the bank during the first 10 years is almost the same as the amount you borrowed. While most of the amount you pay during the first 10 years goes towards the interest payments, some goes towards the principal.
If you had a responsible employer, then you likely have a retirement savings plan with an insurance company, or a bank. When you reach 55 years of age, the retirement funds must be paid to you. I encouraged persons to use those funds to pay the remaining principal, rather than paying interest for the next decade or two.
Over 5 years ago, I started warning people that the DLP would try to tax our retirement savings. By that time, they had taxed everything that could be taxed, and retirement savings was perhaps the only thing left. So, I tried offering economic growth proposals that did not require additional taxes.
Trying to get anyone to listen to economic growth plans 5 years ago appeared to be impossible. The national: accounting, economics, banking, and business organisations seemed to have only one aim – to get the DLP out of office, and the BLP in. The Chamber of Commerce actually passed a regulation to prevent me from sharing our economic growth plan with their members. That regulation is still in place – but only for me.
Even the DLP would not listen – they seemed to have the same agenda. So, one year later, our economic growth plan was published for public scrutiny, and Solutions Barbados was formed to contest the general election, and implement the plan for the benefit of the public.
If families could pay off their mortgages early, then everybody wins. Families would have significantly more disposable income to ‘play shots’, the government would reap the tax benefits of that additional spending, and banks would need to compete for short-term business growth loans – or go under.
During the general elections, I was on a panel with Clyde, where he told the audience that our plan was ‘voodoo economics’. So, we provided our anti-corruption, quality management, low-tax economic growth plan to individual economists and accountants, and received a very favourable report.
The independent expert confirmed that we could achieve $1B in surplus during our first year, without borrowing, laying off a single public worker, or reducing salaries. He further noted that all political parties pushing high-tax austerity needed to review our plan.
After the general elections, Prime Minister Mottley, to her credit, acknowledged that the BLP did not have all the answers, and instructed her party that all ideas must contend. But Clyde would not. The BERT leadership publicly admitted that they never looked at our economic growth plan, and dismissively noted that they would never look at it.
Last week, BERT signalled that they had failed miserably to grow the economy. All they had to show for the past 20 months is: severe austerity, high taxes, zero economic growth, and arrogant public relations to hide their gross incompetence.
Last year I reached 55 years – but it was too late for me. The clown car had rolled up the year before, and Clyde and company tumbled out – and started performing tricks. They did what I was warning that Sinckler would do – but wisely chose not to. They confiscated much of my retirement savings, and passed a lunatic law to make that theft legal.
Mercifully, they left me with just enough that I could still pay off the mortgage, and start playing shots this year. But that was too much voodoo for Clyde. So, they decided not to release all my money until 2033. They have now entered the comedy phase of their routine – telling us to ‘play shots’. With what Clyde, with what?
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com