Adrian Loveridge Column – Suggestion

The current Coronavirus crisis has given ‘us’ a multitude of opportunities, if we choose to seize the moment and use this time to learn and improve conditions for growing our economy, when circumstances return to any form of normality.

As I have mentioned before, especially for the smaller investor on Barbados, this process is close to a nightmare and we can personally articulate that opinion, having been embroiled in the process for the last 31 years and intensely for the last seven.

Clearly, while many of our brightest minds, whether in the private or public sector, have spare time on their hands, we have to be able to develop a better way of doing business and particularly making it easier and more investor-friendly, both for locals and foreigners alike.

In a world of virtual reality, perhaps some sort of forum can be created where all the participating component partners come together with actual investors who have already navigated the hoops and hurdles and just maybe include some of those who simply gave up, defeated by or that succumbed to the seemingly endless obstacles.

Obviously, this should include financial and lending institutions, lawyers, accountants, investment organisations (of which there seem to be several) and representatives of the various ministries involved.

One simple solution, as has been often proffered, is a one-stop-shop investment agency where each applicant is given a unique registration online number with limited password controlled access to all involved.

All the necessary government requirements in terms of proof of payment of statutory obligations could be posted on this portal, ensuring that the potential investors or vendors are not endlessly chasing around the country to ensure this paperwork is valid and currently up-to-date.

There should also be reasonable time limits imposed on all the entities involved, ie: time taken to consider and approve a loan, contractual and property sale closing period by the attorneys on both sides and response time for any Government entity involved.

The suggested website should also serve as a single source complete reference point to enable those thinking of starting or acquiring any form of tourism business can research all available concessions available.

From our personal experience, it’s almost like a game of ‘mission impossible’, notably with Government departments.

Once you have sought out and waited for what you think are all the required documents and clearance certificates, some may then have expired and the lengthy and frustrating process has to start all over again.

If we have learnt anything from the ongoing crisis, it is that we have to fundamentally improve how we use online access to information gathering, to reduce the existing reliance on human dependence, with all its associated delays and physical stumbling blocks.

14 comments

  • “this process is close to a nightmare”

    How accurate. Unfortunately we cannot limit ourselves to the tourism sector.

    There is still the question of what happens to 30,000 overpaid public servants. After all, it is unacceptable that the government continues to pay up to 10,000 BBD per month and person in pensions for civil servants and former cabinet ministers, while we have an unofficial unemployment rate of at least 30 per cent.

    The time has finally come to adjust expectations downwards, for example by a 50 – 75% wage cut and pension in the civil service and for former cabinet ministers.

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  • @TRON

    Spot on…… I agree with you completely …. who else enjoy ‘pension for life’ after two terms? But we will be castigated for such views.

    We need to reduce our FX bill by pushing Agriculture & Fishing to feed ourselves …. Tourism will rebound but it will be a slow recovery as every tourism player in the world will be after few clients.

    We need to remove the numerous roadblocks and multitude of red-tape steps for conducting business, as mentioned by Adrian …. his suggestions above, should be acted on by our government ….. we need ‘doers’ now, not ‘talkers’!

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  • St Lucia Cabinet agree to 75% salary cut in face of economic crisis

    St Lucia (Loopslu.com)- Saint Lucia’s Cabinet of Ministers has agreed to a 75% salary reduction to help tackle the COVID-19 economic crisis, Loop News confirmed Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
    Ahead of last week Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Parliament, Commerce Minister, Bradley Felix, disclosed that discussions regarding pay cuts for parliamentarians were in advanced stages, which would cause the Cabinet of Ministers to take home 25% of their salaries.

    https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2020/04/27/st-lucia-cabinet-agree-to-75-salary-cut-in-face-of-economic-crisis/

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    WE SHALL NOW SEE IF MIA REALLY “CARES”.

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  • Our politicians should be given a six-month resettlement grant on leaving parliament and that is it. No pension for life. That is perverse.

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  • Baje, Hal,

    A salary waiver for politicians would be pure populism because the total cost of these salaries is negligible. It is not enough to cut the salaries of only the top 0.1 percent in the civil service.

    What we need is a pay cut of at least 50 percent for the S grade and at least 25 percent for the Z grade.

    In addition, we need a restriction of pensions to a maximum of 1000 dollars per month. It is perverse that some civil servants receive pensions of up to $9000 per month. A Barbadian who receives such a high pension at state expense commits a social crime at least as great as 200 years of slavery.

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  • @ Tron

    This is perverse. A permanent secretary earns about Bds$150000 a year. If they have a defined benefit pension paying 40/60 of their final salary, that will not be $9000 a year.
    Further, to earn a full salary, it means the PS should put in about 40 years of service; anything less will be daylight robbery. Instead of a final salary pension, government should preferably switch to a life-time average, giving a 40/60 of a lifetime earning. In fact, all civil servants should be put on a defined contribution pension from age 16.
    The politicians and senior civil servants together conspire to rob ordinary tax payers. The trick that makes me smile is when someone is approaching retirement they are temporarily promoted and the final salary pension is boosted unethically.
    They get away with this nonsense because there is no public discussion about these matters and the press does not have a clue.

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  • @ Tron April 27, 2020 1:15 PM

    What are you implying here? That the political class should keep their existing salaries and perks because they represent a “negligible” figure in the overall expenditure budget? LOL!!

    The call for a national sacrifice needed to overcome Covid is based on the principle of leadership by example.
    We are not dealing with those ministers of the cloth who preach one thing but do the complete moral opposite.

    Do you now agree with an earlier call for all public sector emoluments and State-funded pensions should be cut by 30% across the board with all public sector employees foregoing their entertainment and travel allowances until the economy gets back to a position of affordability?

    With a 30-0 unanimous decision to amend the Constitution there will be no ‘selfish’ opposition- even within the trade unions- to such sine qua non action needed to stop the fiscal bleeding of the Bajan economy before it goes into full cardiac arrest and long-term brain damage.

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  • William Skinner

    @ Hal
    The same scrutiny we apply to the public servants; we should apply to the private sector that paying people that look you and me $250BDS per week.
    We can’t talk about reforms and only look to impoverish one group. But then again Bajans like to say how the white folks live so frugally. I guess all the yachts and marinas are owned by blacks. And golf courses.
    Then we have other ethnic groups that treat the workers very badly. Two wrongs don’t make a right. This constant almost embarrassing retreat from speaking the truth is appalling. I guess that we have untouchables.
    Furthermore, I would like to see the evidence of retiring public servants getting 10 000 per month in pensions because I used to see many people work all their lives in the private sector ; never got promoted; NIS contributions stolen . Maybe the writer of this column could write about that once in a while because the chief offenders were hoteliers.
    Let us have a real discussion and stop this one sided assault on mainly black people.
    Now everybody can go ahead and call me a racist; tell me go and live in Cuba or Africa and that I lazy and want something for nothing.
    I have been told that for the past 53 years .
    If we choose to carry these useless anti black anti worker into the post COVID- 19 approach and public discourse , we may as well keep our damn mouths shut , bend over and get kick in the backside and hope for milk and honey.
    Yes cuss the black political managerial class; cuss the public servants if we feel it needs reform but don’t stop there .
    Now go ahead and lock me up under the Barrow Public Order Act of 1974.

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  • Vincent Codrington

    Wuh Loss!!

    Talk cheap as @#$%$#’. Unfortunately there is no market for it ,neither during COVID nor after.

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  • @ William

    The private sector in Barbados is running a racket and what legitimises it is the nonsense of the Social Partnership. But there is a danger of repeating ourselves every time we raise these issues.
    I have already this week mentioned the need for a new Companies and Taxation Acts, which will reform the scandal of the higher up the food chain you are the more taxpayers pay your domestic bills.
    I am also in favour of taxing companies on revenue, rather than on profits and make it a personal criminal offence for directors of a company to with hold national insurance or VAT. Cut out the 1920s nonsense of companies being corporate bodies.
    We have got to cut loose from the so-called Social Partnership and our trade unions must realise there is more to trade unionism than just pay rises.

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  • @ Miller April 27, 2020 2:06 PM

    I’ll let your conclusion stand… 😉 As advocatus diaboli et diabolus you must even be able to portray Mao as a humanist.

    Your cutback proposals read more like cosmetic surgery. I’m thinking more of the chainsaw to rapid limb amputation.

    Liked by 1 person

  • It is obvious that local politicians shy away like the devil from the discussion about the privileges of public service.

    There’s a reason why David isn´t allowed to start a blog about this.

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  • Alas Adrian the real point is not about creating more bureaucracy – it is a simple one of ensuring that Barbados can make itself into a good place to do business and make money. At the moment it appears that government does not understand or value business and intends to place yet more hurdles in the way of business. It has taken little account of the tourist industry in the recent crisis and one instinctively feels that they just expect it to magically re-appear the day they clap their hands. They seem to have no grasp of reality and the outcome will not be anything to do with attracting new business – it will be in looking at the wreckage of busineses that have collapsed, with government then adopting the usual role of attacking business if it dares to question the state’s malign role in the process.

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  • The US economy shrank in the first quarter by its fastest rate since the 2008 financial crisis, ending the longest expansion on record as lockdowns aimed at curbing the coronavirus pandemic choked off economic activity.
    Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced by the economy, shrank at an 4.8 per cent annualised rate in the first three months of the year, according to the preliminary estimate from the US Department of Commerce. That marked the first quarterly contraction in six years and compared with economists’ forecasts for a 4 per cent decline in output. (Quote)

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