Denial Syndrome Killing Barbados

Submitted by William Skinner

The current crisis has ruthlessly exposed the body politic and our socio-economic psyche, in a manner most of us would never have imagined.

The devastating truth is that we as citizens, have become victims of the denial syndrome. For nearly two decades, we have witnessed the social and economic decline next door to us but chose to believe that “dah can’t happen hey”.

As negatives within the socio-economic structure manifested themselves , the denial syndrome became the popular escape route: there was no deterioration of our agricultural base, only farmers who did not know what they were doing; no problem in education, only a lethargic teaching profession;

No gangs because nobody was beaten to pulp as “ they do in America”; no drug problem, only a few undesirables from socially depressed areas who “engaged” in trafficking and finally, no crisis in the foreign reserves only prophets of “doom and gloom”.

This denial syndrome is nothing new. During the 60s and early 70s, those who expressed concern about the way in which the society was being developed were branded communists, racists and socially unstable thugs who were influenced by dangerous and foreign ideologies. They were eventually silenced by the Public Order Act while the dominant political managerial class continued its path of denial.

As we grapple with the International Monetary Fund, we seem bent on denying that we must save ourselves. The Fund cannot save us. The first step in overcoming this crisis is to accept that we the citizens must be the true guardians of our fate.

The populace must demand a higher level of accountability from those in authority. Failure to do so will result in a form of dictatorship which will be present but never seen or believed. It is very evident that even as we head down the path ,the denial syndrome has convinced us that the current situation is not as precarious as all present indicators suggest.

Errol Barrow once said that he wanted the Constitution repatriated from Washington. Are we now going to deny that our fate is in the hands of those in Washington, Europe, and Tokyo? And that it appears Caracas will also be appointed a guardian?

Are we prepared to remain victims of the denial syndrome while our society deteriorates beyond recognition?

This letter/opinion was published in the Week-end Edition of the Nation Newspaper

On Friday, October 11, 1991.


  • Piece the Legend

    Your help Honourable Blogmaster with a


  • @ de pedantic Dribbler May 12, 2020 9:56 AM
    “Ms Mottley has done no more during this crisis than you or I would have expected of ANY of those other Bajan leaders you acclaimed (Stuart WAS NOT among them and is NOT here).. as a result I don’t give her any special marks for doing her job EFFECTIVELY… we expect that.”

    The GoB has handled this pandemic challenge no better or no worse than the other countries in the CARICOM region.

    The only major false step along the way was the disloyal and callous treatment by the government of T&T (with its own national airline) towards its ‘ordinary’ citizens stranded abroad.

    Maybe it’s the relatively clean fresh air off the Atlantic Ocean and its Caribbean sea laden with antioxidant.

    Maybe it’s the slightly deflected but constant flow of ‘beneficial amounts of UV rays from our Star to trigger the natural production of Vitamin D in the geographical region ‘infected’ by the arrival of the European.

    Maybe it’s the relatively good public health infrastructure initiated and left by the former colonial masters on the advice of the Moyne Commission.

    Liked by 1 person

  • fortyacresandamule

    One of the problem we have as a society is to constantly looking to the government to solve all our problems. Along with this handicap mentality, we have become entitled and very spoiled. That would have been expected if our progress and development was built on a solid foundation. The more developed a country becomes, the more the expectations and entitlements of its population. But our development and progress is a facade. Built on a weak foundation.

    Therefore, we should temper our expectations and be more self-reliant rather than looking to politicians/political system to save us or a crutch for support. For all my years on this planet, I have voted only once.


  • fortyacresandamule
    May 11, 2020 6:37 PM

    Compare that with the Latin american countries that have been independent since at least 1830. None have made it to develop status since. Don’t mine Chile and Mexico OECD status. That is pure symbolism and politics.


    Could be the Church is different!!

    America is a product of the Reformation, …. Reformed Church if you like.

    Latin America is not.


  • @ Khaleel

    You are being as disingenuous as you are deceitful

    “…The AG’s comments bode well for our democracy reassuring me that the rule of law is still very much alive and that the citizenry are still able to hold their leaders to account.

    The people are ultimately the ones in whom power is vested and events such as these serve as timely reminds to governments…”

    At one point de ole man was inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt and to say that you are willing to learn BUT YOU ARE EMPLOYING DISHONESTY & DECEIPT HERE

    So since you play that you are a man in a boys body I GINE TREAT YOU LIKE THE MAN-CHILD THAT YOU ARE


  • This is the kind of story that might help, in another year or two, to lead to the resurgence of a hospitality sector.


  • Insightful article. There are other considerations too, especially referring to the comment above re other Latin American countries not reaching ti to developed status.

    Firstly and foremost, the ONE common thread in developmental issues and wealth distribution is corruption. Whether internal or linked with external forces (payment for contracts etc).

    Think also, that any country that bucks the international norm (written with mirth) is ostracised politically and economically, thereby preventing normal trade movement and thus, preventing economic independence.

    Thirdly, consider that any country that manages to operate independently, despite the above, then is targeted, leaders removed and the economy ravaged. We can think of a couple of those in the recent past.

    So, Venezuela for example, while surely corrupt, is also being ravaged by wilful external pressures on its normal operations.

    So, let us be real and stop dancing around the fact, the bare shelves are as much a fault of the external pressures and the corrupt government, all because that government does not meet the political ideology of international ‘norms’.

    Bear in mind that for forty years before that government, while there were ultra wealthy, there were also people literally living in mud huts on the mountainside, but that government met international consensus.

    Cut to the chase, corruption is the first cause of lack of holistic development of a society. But that corruption can be both internal and external.


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