National Meeting Hand

Submitted by Tee White

If it’s now going to be ‘national meeting hand’, then obviously the first principle would have to be that it’s voluntary. I have never heard of a meeting hand where you have to be in it even if you don’t want to. If individual public sector workers choose to accept the government bonds on that basis, then that’s their choice. If however, any individual is forced to be part of the ‘national meeting hand’, whether by the union leadership or government, then it’s not a meeting hand at all.

The government is persisting with this idea, claiming that its aim is to “carry as many Barbadians as possible”. But there’s a simpler and much fairer way to “carry as many Barbadians as possible”. That is that those who have benefited the most over the last 6 decades from turning the island from a sugar cane plantation into a one legged tourism economy must put their hands in their pockets and put some money on the table now that the wheels have come off the donkey cart that they, and the politicians they paid for, built to serve their own interests and which has now got the entire country in a predicament. They’ve become multi-millionaires and billionaires by changing agricultural land into residential land and selling it to developers, by signing lucrative contracts with the government to manage government owned hotels, by linking up with foreign tour operators and in a million other ways. They have full their belly for the last 60 years and now the bill has arrived, they want to pass it to the workers to pay. No way!

A special Covid 19 tax on those with deep pockets should provide the government with all the funds it needs. Remember if you tax a billionaire at 99% of their wealth, they would still be a multi-millionaire at the end of it. They still wouldn’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, how to pay their rent or  water or electricity bill.  That’s the way to “carry as many Barbadians as possible”.

401 thoughts on “National Meeting Hand

  1. @HA
    You are correct, I remain confused. While I get the greater certainty, greater to me is still ‘small’. Nor the control you can foresee. Don’t forget I live within an hour’s drive of Greenback border. Everytime they have flatulence we feel a bowel movement coming. And we have in your terms, a currency heavily weighted in commodities, albeit it floats. We are hit just like you for a Bajan holiday.
    You seem to think $US is the only ‘other’ currency in circulation? If you effectively ban (force exchange)
    $US, you have to similarly ban £, € and $Cdn or they will just switch from one hard currency to another?
    We are back to exchange control?
    I prefer to focus on fiscal policy and other policy where the GoB acts as the referee and rule setter, and not the owner of any teams, or even the league. The latter is becoming more popular across the globe. And governments are known to be copy cats, just like other human groups.
    @VC keeps saying, the systems are in place. Some haven’t been used in so long, the developing rust makes me wonder if they are still operable.
    Or if anybody knows they exist.
    Appreciate I share many of your views on pension reform.
    In my simple world an expense is an expense.
    Nor do I object to derivates.

  2. @Northern Observer

    I think it is a question of understanding. I have not given any impression, certainly not intentionally, that the Greenback is the only other currency in circulation, either in Barbados or any other country.
    But, it is the most popular for the simple reason that most commodities are priced in US dollars (60 per cent of global trade) and that there are US70bn Greenbacks in circulation outside the US.
    I will give you an occasional experience of mine. Every time I am in Grenada I offer to pay huskers in Barbadian dollars and every time it is refused.
    I will ask the price of coconut water, for example, and they will say $7, then when I go to pay, they will say US. I will smile and walk away. It is an old Grenadian trick.
    No other currency, whether CARICOM, European or North or South American, is used as legal tender in Barbados the way the Greenback is. I am not talking about travellers cheques. When I say ‘ban’ I mean just that. ALL currencies will have to be exchanged in a legal institution, ie banks, cambios, etc. Make it illegal for traders to accept such currencies.
    Fiscal policy is fine, but for over 50 years we have not had any creative fiscal policies that would improve the life chances of ordinary Barbadians. The latest is BOSS, which is flawed in concept, execution and as economic theory. It is nonsense. Desperation. I find it difficult to understand how intelligent people can associate with selling economic snake oil in this day and age. It is governmental Madoff. Bogus. I will love to debate with Prof Persaud, Dr Greenidge or any of the leaders of this fraudulent policy, on line , in print, or live.
    But we must take back control of our monetary policy from the Fed by decoupling from the Greenback as a matter of urgency.
    As to fiscal policy as a vehicle for change, I have over the years given a long list and will gladly do so again.

  3. @Econodini From what i understand, with the BOSS program giving an option of a bond as part payment to a monthly salary, govt doesn’t have to look for that CASH for that month to pay that employee i.e…the “trick” is to get as much people to not take CASH for that month and for them not to “CASH IN” the bonds for the longest time possible (up to 4 yrs) and to put as much of a worker’s salary (as an individual worker allows) into to bonds. It is managing monthly EXPENDITURE i.e. diverting CASH payment down the road. I.e. in the best case scenario govt would only have to look for that money in 4 years.

    Also if one can read the Protection of Wages Act, it is not illegal. In fact with govt negotiating with workers unions, it reduces the ILLEGALITY of paying part salary as bonds. So, hypothetically, if the unions agree with govt that rock salt can be an acceptable form of legal tender it can be used. It is also OPTIONAL meaning that a public sector worker can opt NOT to accept the bond for that month and get cash instead.

  4. @blogmaster
    If we begin to list the “Barbadian” operations no longer owned by Barbadians, one appreciates FDI. So confidence is a big factor. I think confidence was returning, it is now in abeyance. We can blame covid, but it was waning before covid. Some key areas were being deftly avoided. The broader market tends to interpret silence as negative.

  5. @ Hal
    This is the problem. You say that you can’t understand intelligent people supporting BOSS.The question is : Why are we always saying we want change but find ourselves going back to the same models that have failed us.
    You support a basket of currencies, why not lobby for a common Caribbean currency instead. Does the BDS currency have the strength to really float about the market?
    The only problem with BOSS is the bungling the PM introduced. The idea is creative.
    It was the same thing with NSRL. It was not properly explained and stupid politics got in the way. The NSRL was an instrument to ensure the corrupt private sector paid its duties up front.
    So here we have two policies designed for the same exact purpose -to collect money, the Treasury needs now. It’s a creative fix.
    During the elections, it was said and we did match against the NSRL, that once it is removed, prices would fall. It has been removed and prices have still risen dramatically. Far from making the private sector pay money owed to the country, we wrote off their arrears.

  6. @Miller June 3, 2020 7:05 AM
    The BOSS economists should say that they are managing cash flows if that is what they are doing and stop talking about reducing the wage bill. The wage bill is the wage bill paid in cash or any other item of value. (Unquote).

    All bonds issues raise capital and create a liability. I this case the govt is borrowing the money from Barbadians. Why are we trying to make it make complicated when it is that simple.

  7. @ William

    I am not prepared to beat the same drum every day. I am for a United Caribbean, not only of the English-speaking nations, including a central bank, regulation and general standards across borders.
    ^That is not going to happen in my life time. Just look at the lack of cooperation following the 2008 global crisis. I am making proposals that can be introduced in parliament next week. I am not going back to any same model. If you think so, plse explain that model.
    You also say BOSS is ‘creative’. I am sure you are teasing me. What is creative about it? BOSS, as presently structured, is theft, nonsensical, economic lunacy and the act of a government mugging public sector workers.
    Give me one, just one, creative purpose of the BOSS as is. A duration of four years, five per cent interest, the promise of a secondary market, and the dark shadow of a call option by the issuer. Remember this is a government that defaulted just two years ago. I am sure you are familiar with trading in emerging market bonds.
    The problem is that we are in such a desperate state that even economic snake oil salespersons look as if they are our savers.
    I am all for compulsory savings, but not lending money to government in order to paint badly maintained building and patch up pot holes. Sadly, we have a despot as our political leader who has no respect for consultation, for her Cabinet colleagues nor for parliament. She feels entitled to impose ideas, no matter how bad, on the nation.

  8. It is shameful to see trade unions and civil servants sabotaging the government and causing serious damage to the nation. We now have around 40% unemployment. And what do trade unionists like the senator and civil servants do? They whine about a little solidarity contribution to support the unemployed. They are privileged because they have to work almost nothing during the lockdown and still get full pay.

    No, trade unionists like the Senator are not friends of the people.

  9. @ Hal
    You ask for one creative feature, I am saying it’s a very creative way to save especially when banks are offering nothing on savings accounts. Also, I firmly believe that a culture of investment needs to be awaken in our people. My thinking is simple: If a civil servant can afford to contribute to BOSS with the hope of getting better returns on his or her investment rather put it in foreign own banks, I think it lends itself as 1 a personal investment and 2. Helping out our government out of the hole dug by COVID.

  10. @ William

    You are missing my point, with respect. I am a supporter of compulsory savings, the much is legitimate. What I am saying is that BOSS is bogus. I won’t go through its points again, apart from pointing out that a duration of four years is NOT an investment.
    Have a look at the Singaporean central provident fund, for a good idea of a positive compulsory savings fund. What I have said is that we should indeed have a compulsory savings fund, and I have put the percentage at 20 per cent of take home pay.
    You say the banks are not offering anything on savings accounts. There are a number of reasons for that: poor regulations, bullying by the foreign-owned banks, and the global financial ecosystem in which money is cheap and the people who pay for that are the savers. That has been the case sine the 2008 banking crisis.
    The money should be independent of the government and the minister of finance, be established as an investment fund, reporting annually to parliament, with a mandate to invest locally, regionally and globally – with a minimum return of inflation plus three per cent.
    It is indeed creative to slice off public sector workers’ pay in order to carry out infrastructural repairs that should rightly come from the consolidated fund.
    As yo helping the government out of a CoVid hole. It appears to me, with respect, that you are riding two horses. Throughout history we have suffered from pandemics, and will suffer more in future. Poor government, since independence, is what has us in this spot.
    Like you, I want Barbadians to get over this health crisis, but as far as the government is concerned it has no idea what to do. I am still waiting for the CoVid economic council to report.
    The truth is that we have a president that has survived politically on bluff, long, boring and repetitious speeches with flaring hands, and enormous fear of details.
    It is not her fault. She is a lawyer; she is briefed and she goes in to court and talks as if she was an eye witness or an expert on the issue. The court room is theatre with the main actors dressed in superfluous robes.
    There is no substance to her economic policy and, hear consultants/advisers/gurus are economic snake oil salespeople. BOSS in its current structure is simply bad economics. It is daily light robbery.

  11. @ Hal
    Why do we always have to do what Singapore or any other country does? What about creating and developing our own models of economic and fiscal development?
    We ask for creativity and innovation and then we always end up doubting our own ability to solve our problems.
    Neither NSRL or BOSS is perfect but there were both created to solve our problems. That is exactly where the creativity is my brother.

  12. @ William

    We do not have to do what Singapore or any other nation does. The point is not to reinvent the wheel, unless you belong to the Barbados is unique school. I simply gave an example of a positive compulsory saving scheme. I could have mentioned the Kiwi-saver scheme, the Australian superannuation and many more.
    The point is that compulsory savings is not itself a bad thing, but BOSS is. No one is doubting Bajans abilities to solve problems; there are Bajans all over the world quietly doing serious jobs. My argument is that the political class in Barbados has failed the nation.
    Why is a matter for psychologists.
    You talk about creativity, but you have not given any details. Why is BOSS so creative, as you would put it. @William, don’t try to ride two horses or to sell ordinary Bajans snake oil as some elixir.
    BOSS is economic rubbish; it is robbing the people. Has it got an investment mandate? I say again: a four-year duration is too short to be an investment; a five percent coupon is far too low compared with other emerging market bonds; it is a call bond, so could be called in at anytime by the issuer without honouring the coupon.
    And this government, two years ago, defaulted on its debt. It is a dishonest government. Further, what will inflation look like in 2024? I am sure it will rise by leaps and bounds, give the world economy is going in to recession, and four per cent will not be worth four per cent in real terms.
    Or let us put it another way. A compulsory deduction from take home pay will reduce the discretionary spend for ordinary public sector workers. In the meantime, supermarkets such as Massy’s and Emerald City will keep on putting up prices every time they re-pack shelves. So, ordinary public sector works will be worse off, poorer. BOSS is a weapon to impoverish these people.
    Only a couple days ago this incompetent government had to go to the IMF begging again for Bds$280m. This money has to be paid back sometime. Its incompetence is beginning to make Stuart look like a saver.
    Creativity is when you come up with new, workable ideas that will fix our social and economic fractured society and inspire the nation. .

  13. @ Hal Austin June 4, 2020 4:42 PM

    The problem is that due to currency controls and the lack of currency reserves, citizens and NIS invest locally and thus incur losses instead of investing internationally. If the NIS had laid out its money like other funds (Norway, Singapore), the contributors to the NIS would be filthy rich. Instead, they have received worthless claims against the Apes Hill Plantation.

    Thank you, Professor Robinson, for helping to impoverish the population! (of course only meant ironically)

  14. Some comments just make my head hurt. The fact that govt can even BORROW from the IMF is success because the last govt couldn’t even borrow ANYWHERE because of the dropping credit ratings. They had to resort to high interest loans in a shrinking economy. $US49 million was part of the usual BERT disbursement $US90 million was ALLOWED as additional support (a war chest) to get through COVID-19. Foreign reserves allows us to import items to help “grow” the economy, a growing economy helps us pay our bills and puts less pressure on gov’t. Once we get through COVID19 and resume on to the regular BERT program path the face value of those BONDS can be easily returned. The BERT program is projected to end in 3 years and hopefully then we wont have to borrow anymore from the IMF. For what it is worth the IMF will only lend once a govt has a program practicing good economics, good financial planning, proper spending not allowing for costly excesses in gov’t.

  15. @ Tron June 4, 2020 5:38 PM

    It seems that the SOEs (which have escaped the clutches of BERT) are the Achilles heel in your well thought-out ‘BOSS’ programme.

    How would you close this gaping wound especially those not so heavily reliant on quarterly transfers and subsidies from the Treasury?

    Just get the unions (including your friend Caswell) to sign on the dotted payroll deduction line?

  16. @ Disgusting Lies and Propaganda TV June 4, 2020 6:35 PM

    As you know, I am playing the anti-tank dog here, testing for the government what the people can bear psychologically. Therefore I submit radical proposals for wage cuts and privatisation. Let’s leave that role aside and talk about what we’ve achieved

    You are absolutely right that going to the IMF was the right way. Let me just remind you of the numerous idiotic alternatives from 2008 onwards, such as the Credit Suisse loan with around 10 percent interest (!!!), or the even more insane proposal of a loan from Arabia or China in exchange for concessions for potential oil fields.

    I also agree with you that all this talk of diversification is more wishful thinking than reality.

    After all this we should pray together that Mia Mottley will rule for many more years – the island will definitely not survive a new DLP terror regime.

    Nevertheless, we still have to work hard on the topic called SOE. As a neutral voice, I don’t say this to you as a destructive critique on the side of the diabolical opposition, but rather as an incentive to continue to do good government work and courageously break up encrusted structures – if necessary even against the rebellious senator and union leader.

  17. @ Miller June 4, 2020 6:49 PM

    Mergers save SOE a lot of money because we need fewer expensive managers. I would also go for privatization (for example, by selling SOE to the Williams brothers) and autonomous financing of SOE through user fees.
    Jobs will not necessarily be lost, but the state budget will be noticeably relieved.

    My proposals for the civil service are along the same lines. I am only arguing here for compulsory retirement and a stop to new recruitment. Existing jobs for people of resilient age will not be jeopardized.

  18. “What ails the Barbados economy has been an open secret for many years. It is a public sector that our taxes cannot support, and one that does not deliver administrative services efficiently,” the former Central Bank Governor has underlined.” (Delisle Worrell)

    The statement is correct, even if he did not implement it under the not so grandiose MoF called Sinckler. Under OSA, the public service has mutated into a bloated catchment basin for the “deplorables”, for all those who are not good enough for the private sector or do not want to work. Chris Sinckler is the prime example of this failed policy.

    We need to downsize the public sector by 30 to 50 percent. Otherwise we will NEVER get back the economic growth. In such a small government sector we will then have only tough service providers, such as our hard-working garbage men, nurses and the like, but much less useless government advisors, lazy ministry staff, ambassadors with ego trips in private jets and everyone else who cools their butts in front of the air conditioning in the ministry or embassy.

  19. @ Hal
    Whose problems are these Bajans in these critical or important jobs solving?
    My position remains. We always scampering to some document about Singapore or being the off shore business sector of the Western Hemisphere etc. We inherited a corrupt colonial form of governance that remains corrupt because we are constantly using thieves to catch thieves. You often claim that we need innovation and creativity.
    All I am saying is civil servants who look like me,have a chance to earn more on their hard earn monies if they invest it in BOSS.
    As you have often stated ,all investment carry risks. I am no investment strategist and I long ago abandoned Eurocentric economics philosophies. I simply don’t have time to pontificate on slave models of development.
    Now if the BOSS effort fails or turns out to be corrupt or thievery , we would deal with it then but to pour cold water on it ,simply because it does not image what Singapore or New Zealand does is not on for me.
    So we will have to respectfully agree to disagree as far as BOSS is concerned.

  20. @ William

    You are saying that black civil servants now have a chance of earning money on their savings. I am saying if you think BOSS is the vehicle you are wrong. In fact, you are wrong, wrong, wrong.
    I repeat: the vehicle was aimed at civil servants only, it was only after there was resistance that the idea of extending it to private sector employees was raised. That, I suggest, is populist dishonesty.
    Let us look at the product itself for the umpteenth time: it is of a four-year duration, which is not long enough for any ‘investment’; that is why bond dealers usually talk about ten-year bonds. Anything shorter is aimed at corporate investors (ie pension funds, insurance companies, etc) not small retailers.
    It is a call bond, which means the issuer can call in the bond at any time and renege on the coupon, which is five per cent. You have previously said the five per cent is better than what the banks are offering, and I agree.
    But you have to factor in inflation; will the investment in 2020 be worth the same in real terms in 2024, the maturity date? Even the nominal value will be devalued when you consider the exploitation of consumers, an effective internal devaluation. Then we have the administrative charges. Is government going to absorb those charges, or will that be deducted from the five per cent coupon?
    Then there are other unintended consequences. The payroll deduction will have an impact on people’s savings, thereby removing money from the banks that could be lent to small businesses. Then we have the idea of the central bank creating a secondary market for the bonds. Who are the likely buyers of these bonds?
    I say again, @William this is not only selling snake oil to the public, it is doing so explicitly dishonestly. You have now gone off talking about colonialism, which is a bit of tautology since by definition colonialism is exploitative; slave models, which ended 182 years ago; colonialism ended 54 years ago.
    Then you end by saying if BOSS becomes the victim of thievery or corruption ‘we’ will deal with it. But that is disingenuous. Who is dealing with Donville Inniss? Who is dealing with the bad investments made by NIS in to local corporations? Who is dealing with Clico?
    And you seem to be deliberately interpreting my reference to Singapore and New Zealand as an attempt to impose a foreign model on Barbados.
    I am saying again, and have said on numerous occasions, that our big problem is incompetence – not only political, but through the entire policy process. Those reference were simply to illustrate people who got it right.
    I will end with this allegory: there are two mothers with toddlers, both of whom are screaming for attention. One mother, A, decides the best way to keep little John quiet is to offer him a regular supply of chocolate; in the meantime Mother B, just as fed up with the screaming toddler, offers hers fruit, but the toddler is still not happy because she wants chocolates also.
    Which mother do you think is taking the long-term health of her child and which is taking a short-term decision at the risk of the child’s long-term health?
    BOSS may give people who are not familiar with investments a short-term high, immediate satisfaction, while a well-thought out investment vehicle will give them greater long-term security.
    BOSS is a political scam. It is governmental Madoff-ism. It should be rejected. You are not the only one fooled by the three card trick. Trade union officials have also fallen for it.
    I know your politics are usually on the right side, for some reason you have made a mistake on this clear bogus offer.

  21. @ Hal Austin June 5, 2020 8:41 AM

    The Barbados Dollar is already a currency without any value. In Barbados you pay 1.50 USD for gas, in other parts of the West Indies as low as 0.60 USD.

    The 50 Barbados Dollar note is good enough as toilet paper. Not more.

    • You pay a lower price in the US because of volumes purchased and storage capacity. Please avoid posting nonsense to the blog.

  22. @ Tr on

    You are right. There are a number of myths that Bajans hold on to, including that we are very clever and well-educate; that we are head and shoulders above the other Caribbean islands; that our currency is worth more than the other CARICOM currencies; and the supremacy of our institutions.

  23. @Hal,
    That it is a call bond is the least of worries. That assumes that the principal will actually be paid back.

    How about inflation. The purchasing value of each dollar now will probably decline by a total of twenty percent or more in total over the coming four years. Especially how the distributors and retailers like to ramp up prices every three months.

    It is a pig with lipstick. However, the pig is needed, so they should just call it a pig and cut the nonsense.

    Wasting valuable time on semantics.

  24. @ David June 5, 2020 9:30 AM

    Check your facts. I talked about Great Guyana. One litre of petrol currently costs GYD 135 per litre there. That’s 1.31 BBD.

    Reference: (price 145 GYD, outdated).

    I think we should look beyond the Barbadian horizon and compare ourselves with other CARICOM member states. Then you would find that in Barbados many goods and services are twice and three times as expensive. The Barbados dollar is simply worth nothing.

    • @Tron

      Besides the ability to benefit from forwards/hedging because of small purchases all countries apply taxes based on how they manage the P&L. In the case of Barbados we cannot pretend to support a per capita income and lifestyle we boast and not find the money to pay for it.

  25. Dear David,

    Exactloy, exactly.

    Guyana has no currency peg, so taxes and customs duties are much lower because no currency needs to be “defended”. Nevertheless, the exchange rate to USD, GBP and EUR has been stable for many years since productivity and value of currency are in an equillibrium.

    Already this year the purchasing power in Guyana has reached the level of Barbados and will exceed it by far in the coming years. This will turn the pardigm around: Barbados is the new poorhouse with a bleak future, Greater Guyana the new El Dorado. Therefore, emigration is not a disgrace, but an urgent necessity for many Barbadians. The island is totally overpopulated, we suffer from resource poverty. In Guyana there is space and resources in abundance.

    Fortunately, we have a Prime Minister who is aware of these facts and reacts accordingly. May I point out that our Prime Minister has facilitated the entry of the Guyanese into Barbados. This is also urgently needed so that the Indian masters of the Caribbean can invest their money with us. Only the rest of the island’s population has apparently not yet understood that Barbados now has to take a back seat. Just like Guyana from 1975 to 2019.

  26. @ Tron
    You said:
    “The island is totally overpopulated, we suffer from resource poverty.”
    Yet, you are lavish in your praise of PM Mottley , who along with Dr. Mascoll, say it is underpopulated.
    Which is it Tron ?

    @ Hal
    At least you are prepared to say that I am correct when I say the BOSS investment is better than what the banks are now offering on savings and other accounts.
    That has been the central part of my argument. You said that this time I am on the “wrong side” side of politics. Mine is not a political position. It remains purely one of investment with a little serving of nationalism.
    The only thing wrong with this plan is Mottley’s bungling of it before Friday Dr. Greenidge settled the waters.

  27. @ William

    Plse re-read my explanation for this difference. It is not only to do with local foreign-owned banks, although these crooks are part of the problem. It is fundamentally a global low interest environment in which money is cheap. The people who pay for that are the savers. The real disgrace is that through its reckless defaulting on its debt this government cannot take advantage of this cheap money.
    I say again, BOSS is not an investment. And the real coupon is no more than the banks are paying. I will try to explain again: five per cent interest over four years (it is not clear if the loan is indexed linked), which is not long enough for an investment. BOSS would not stimulate aggregate demand, which is what the economy badly needs post-CoVid, all it does is crowds out money that could be used by small businesses to create new jobs.
    In the meantime these workers, most of whom live pay cheque to pay cheque, face almost weekly increases in their essential consumer goods, like food. The end result is an effective internal devaluation of the currency.
    You say your position is not political, but one of investment. It is a political position, see your references to your Bajan nationalism again. It is true Mottley knows nothing about economics and should keep out of the fight, but Dr Greenidge has not settled any waters, you are swimming in a pond. You are falling for a smooth snake oil salesman. Explain in simple terms the investment thinking behind the policy, apart from taking a shot at the banks.
    I have said on numerous occasions I am a big supporter of compulsory savings, but not this nonsense. Further, if the government really wants to re-distribute wealth, why not an inheritance tax? Has wealth inequality ever formed art of the manifesto of any of the main Barbadian political parties, at any time since 1951?
    The top five per cent in most developed economies earn about 20 per cent of all the nation’s income, 60 per cent of wealth and 72 per cent of financial wealth (excluding property). In other words, the bulk of the wealth held by the rich and powerful is not earned, but inherited over generations. It is this intergenerational transfer that is stifling Barbados.
    I am sure that in a tiny economy such as Barbados, most of the wealth is warehoused on the West Coast and Cattle Wash. If the president is genuinely keen to re-distribute local wealth, she can do worse than start there.
    Finally, there is no dominant model of fiscal policy that would accommodate the bogus idea incorporated in BOSS.
    I am not trying to get you to change your mind. I simply want to explain the reality of the bogus bond and leave it for you and ordinary Barbadians to decide. My intention is simply to inform people so that they make the right decisions.
    By the way, if anyone opts out of the saving plan will that mean job insecurity?

  28. @ William Skinner June 5, 2020 4:27 PM

    Yes and no.

    We must read the statements of our leader Mia Mottley like the Bible. Just as the Christian God once spoke to the Israelites, so our Goddess Bim speaks to us through her messenger, our leader Mia Mottley. What is decisive is not the grammatical wording, but the purpose of her statement, of her vision.

    Our leader does not want to settle additional have-nots and freeloaders on the island. We have enough of those. They would only exacerbate the problem of resource depletion. Instead, our leader wants to bring rich foreigners into the country, who will add their own capital, increase our productivity and provide an influx of foreign currency. In this interpretation, it is a good plan.

    50,000 additional rich expats would solve our financial problems. We would only need a mass resettlement of the impoverished natives on the platinum coast into the interior of the country. I’m thinking here of the native settlements south of Sandy Lane to Wanstead. The poor cannot enjoy the Caribbean flair anyway.


    CDB director sees it as win-win for Govt and workers

    By Colville Mounsey

    Director of Economics at the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr Justin Ram, has given Government’s proposed Barbados Optional Savings Scheme (BOSS) his stamp of approval.

    He said it comes at a time when the region should be moving towards giving their citizens a greater stake in the respective economies.

    Speaking yesterday at a webinar organised by the UWI Cave Hill Campus School of Business, Ram said BOSS which was a win-win situation for the Government, which needed the fiscal space, as well as for public workers who have been presented with a viable investment instrument.

    “It is a good start because it gives public sector workers an opportunity to save and earn a higher rate of return, while at the same time, the Government can utilise those additional resources to invest back into major capital works. The goodthing about it is that it allows the secondary trading of those bonds. So, even if a private

    citizen or even an institution, wants to buy these bonds off of the public sector worker, they can do that.”

    Step further

    However, he said Government should go a step further by giving bond holders the option of converting their investment instruments into equity stake in lucrative state enterprises such as the ports of entry.

    “These types of bonds should go a step further and perhaps have a conversion clause whereby over time you can convert the bond into an equity stake. So, let’s say, for example, the resources were used to improve the port or the airport in Barbados, then maybe that average individual could have a small equity stake in the airport and profits of the airport are now feeding back to the citizens of Barbados. I think this is something that we have to consider going forward,” he said.

    Ram said should the Government follow his suggestion, it would have the fiscal space for financing without having to repay the principle, as it would be converted to equity in moneymaking state assets.

    Added benefit

    He pointed out that this had the added benefit of ensuring that citizens were equally vested in the success of the state assets, as they were part-owners of the entities.

    Ram noted that the latter was critical to survival in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as citizens must play a major role in the thrust to diversify the economy.

    “This does two good things. It gives people a larger equity stake in their economy and at the same time because it is no longer debt since it has been converted from debt into equity, it is wiped from the Government’s books. So, you allow people to utilise their resources in investment, Government gets to do what it needs to do but it does not have to pay that money back because that person has an equity stake in an asset.

    “If you have an equity stake in an asset, you are going to ensure that it performs well. So, again, I say that it is a real win-win, and this is the next step Government needs to take with these bonds, good for individuals and good for the Government as well.”

    Source: Nation newspaper

  30. @ Hal
    @ David
    It’s amazing that in one breath we talk about a “ new norm” and then we see nothing positive when one is attempted. I not at all surprised that BOSS will be found to be attractive by some. We are into political pepper pot , where we dash everything into one pot and spice it up with a whole lot of unconnected argument.
    Pray tell me what does Donville zinnias’ predicament and or dishonesty , has to do with BOSS.
    I respect Hal’s tenacity and his obvious nationalism ( I don’t call his fervent nationalism politics. I know of him better than that) but mine apparently , in his view is political.
    I will repeat : It is PM Mottley who caused the bungling of BOSS. I have never thought that coming up with acronyms constitutes public policy. We gone from a PM who talked too little to one who talks too much. Simple as that!
    We may say that the PM has good communication skills but like any other skill it should be used wisely and in proper timing. No need to “ hog” the show.

  31. @ William

    What I called nationalism is your rejection of non Caribbean idea (ie Singapore and New Zealand). That is to my mind nationalism. The mention of Donville Inniss is because you stated that if BOSS became the victim of thievery it will be sorted out then, I asked if like Donville Inniss. We do not have a history of sorting out illegal or alleged illegal acts by well-connected people ie Clico.
    I have said on numerous occasions that the president is not as bright as her fans say, has no time for details, and substitutes long, repetitious, hand-flaring talking as policy. In our political environment, this works; but in some societies she would be ran out of town. But, as one BU regular would say, to be fair to her, she did not confuse BOSS; the very idea is rubbish. You fell for the snake oil sales patter.
    I am still waiting for you to tell me why it is so good, including your suggestion it is a good investment. I ask again, if she cares, why not an inheritance tax? If she cares about the future of the nation, why does Barbados spend less than 5 per cent of GDP on education, a subject you care about? If she and her Cabinet really care, why then don’t they give up their salaries for the duration of CoVid?
    We need new ideas and new policies, but not BOSS.

  32. (Quote):
    However, he said Government should go a step further by giving bond holders the option of converting their investment instruments into equity stake in lucrative state enterprises such as the ports of entry.(Unquote).

    There is absolutely nothing novel about that “proposal”!

    Wasn’t such a proposal made under the previous administration to offer workers at the GAIA and Port ownership stakes in those entities?

    Weren’t CBC and the TB along with other commercially-operated State-owned entities under active consideration for similar ‘divestment’ treatment with workers given priority to claim a ‘Privatized’ interest?

    The current administration is quite au fait with the IMF-designed ‘proposal’ to privatize both the BWA and SSA. So why not let the ‘BOSS’ be key to unlocking some of the resources for the workers to ‘invest’ in these commercially-viable entities?

    Both these administrations are just full of political hot air laced with the filth of sheer incompetence.

    Getting rid of those political pig troughs of corruption at the statutory bodies would be like the political class shooting itself in the foot.

    Would there then be any justification for such large Cabinets and the inexhaustible list of consultants, advisers, tsars and other hangers-on aka political pimps and flies?

  33. @William Skinner June 6, 2020 9:13 AM

    “It is PM Mottley who caused the bungling of BOSS. I have never thought that coming up with acronyms constitutes public policy. We gone from a PM who talked too little to one who talks too much. Simple as that!”

    I was not aware that the definition of bungling included receiving high praise from the CDB as well as wholesale buy-in from the unions.

  34. Mr Kothdiwala
    I admire you from a very safe distance. You may not be aware but everybody on BU knows my position.

    I also said:

    “We may say that the PM has good communication skills but like any other skill it should be used wisely and in proper timing. No need to “ hog” the show.“

    I was the very first on BU to endorse BOSS.

    Find another tree to bark up.

    Have a very nice weekend , Sir.

  35. @ William Skinner June 6, 2020 12:54 PM

    So you have received a nip to your ankles from the red whippersnapper called Jack Russell the Koochie Kid?

    From the outset you have been rather supportive of the BOSS programme; even if surprisingly so because of its Duopoly deodorant.

    But just utter a word that is perceived as even constructively critical of his Majesty the MAM and you can bet your last Bajan dollar the Queen Bee corgi called Koochie Kid would be chomping at the bit to cut your political throat.

    If only the little fella with the girly red cheeks knew the ‘real’ history of the BDLP duopoly he would turn ‘black’ in the face.

    Someone ought to put the inexperienced Lilliputian back in his wind-up box marked: For political ‘red’ ass-licking purposes only.

    BTW, your backing of the BOSS has some merit to it. But it ought to extend to areas of further economic enfranchisement of the workers.

    How about considering the investment opportunities to take over part-ownership of the BWA?

    At least we wouldn’t have to endure in the future any Duopoly-backed wholesale financial raping of that vital utility which was once a profitable and well-managed jewel of a gem in the Bajan Crown of national assets.

  36. @ David June 6, 2020 1:38 PM

    To defer liabilities!

    Instead of crediting cash why not credit BOSS bonds payable?

    A simple cash flow management technique for any large entity whose cash inflows have been severely affected!

    Similar to what Sinckler did with the printing of money under the advice of the now estranged Guv of the CB.

    A strategy the same ex-Guv now finds totally abhorrent and now recommends the ‘restructuring’ and eventual downsizing of the public sector to deal with its unaffordable payroll burden.

    Isn’t the fallout from the strategy the reason for the IMF intervention?

    Let the future take care of itself!

  37. BTW, Blogmaster, just to put a little salt in the wound of the long-in-thetooth promise of good and efficient governance.

    What has become of the millions of the US$ in loans secured from both the IADB and CDB last year which were earmarked for improving the policy framework towards the restructuring of the same public sector?

    Besides topping up the country’s foreign reserves what has taken place in terms of deliverables?

    Barbados cannot compete in a post-Covid environment- both regionally and globally- unless it gets rid of the deadweight which both the Robinson report and the Delisle Worrell musings have identified and highlighted as the major stumbling block to doing business in Bim.

    How else to make the resources-poor country fit for the extremely competitive tourism future unless the public sector is reconfigured to make it fit for purpose and affordability?

  38. @ Khaleel Kothdiwala June 6, 2020 10:41 AM

    The truth is that the outspoken senator, the unions and the rest of the opposition have used blackmail tactics to put pressure on the government.

    Of course, the government also knows that the state sector would have to be massively downsized. But it is not doing so because it fears a violent revolt by the opposition and criminal acts of sabotage.

  39. @ Miller
    I , from a distance , welcome the new voice . We must always encourage our young citizens, to be involved.
    Yes there are some possibilities to extend such innovations as BOSS to other dimensions ; we have to wait and see.
    As always , I suggest you keep on punching because you know that the old talk about patriotism and so on would come once you don’t humbly and quickly eat all that is put before you.
    Just ignore them. They will never move from their parties’ positions. I have elected to just let them climb higher and higher and most Bajans know what happens when that is done.
    Think about Barbados not them.

  40. BOSS is least painful option for Govt

    [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="274"] Former Governor of the Central Bank, Winston Cox, weighing in[/caption]

    By Tony Best After COVID-19 and the economic nightmare the pandemic has unleashed, BOSS (Barbados Optional Savings Scheme) is the “least painful option” in Mia Mottley’s fiscal toolbox.

    That’s how Winston Cox, a former Governor of the Central Bank, described the BOSS, a plan designed by the Administration to cut its monthly wages bill, reduce the widening fiscal deficit and help finance its capital spending plans.

    “Broadly speaking, I think BOSS is a good idea and it is the least painful option available to the Government at this time,” said Cox. “But the challenge for the administration if it is going to market its initiative successfully is to secure the support of public servants who only recently had to accept a haircut,” meaning a reduction in the amount of money the Government owed them as investors but was unable to repay them as investors after it inherited a country that was in dire financial straight with a mountain of debt to service.

    “The difficulty for the Administration is going to be its marketing campaign to secure support for BOSS,” said Cox, who later became a member of the executive board of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington D.C.


    “The Government will be asked by its employees: “look, you asked us a few months ago to take (an investment) haircut, now you are requesting support for a new (financial) instrument which you are putting on the market? Effectively, though, what the administration is trying to do is to convince investors (public workers) that what happened in the recent past when people purchased Government paper would not happen in the case of this new instrument.”

    In other words, the Mottley team of financial advisers must assure public workers that they would not “lose any part of their investment” this time around.

    The Government may have already moved in that direction by recently issuing a statement which explained that “the objectives of BOSS are to create approximately $100 million fiscal spacefor capital spending, protect public sector employment and adhere to the principle of burden sharing, being our brother or sister’s keeper by allowing investment to facilitate the creation of more jobs”.

    As explained by the

    Government Information Service,BOSS “is a four-year bond with a five per cent interest rate per annum, payable semi-annually, with the principal being paid four years from the date of the bond. There will be no withholding tax on the interest earned and the bond is fully tradeable”.

    Investment option

    Cox, a University of the West Indies and European-trained economist, who was a member of the World Bank’s executive board, took issue with Verla De Peiza, leader of the Democratic Labour Party, when she characterised the BOSS plan as a public service pay cut disguised by a cute phrase.

    “It’s not a pay cut. It is an investment option” that pays interest on its employees’ money.

    “That’s what it is. It is better than borrowing from the Central Bank through the printing of money. Barbadians know what that policy (by the previousgovernment) got us. I hope BOSS would be supported by the civil servants, by the community. But the challenge for the Government is going to be to convince individuals that they would not suffer any loss. There are some mechanisms the current Government can and must put in place to reinforce its guarantee” toinvestors that they wouldn’t suffer any losses, principal or interest.

    Tougher options

    Should BOSS fail to secure civil servants’ approval, he warned Barbados would face even tougher options, such as layoffs in the public sector; borrowing money from the Central Bank; and reductions in social services.

    Obviously, “there are no pleasant alternatives available” as it suffers a dramatic fall in revenue, said Cox.

    The former bank governor said the plan could be viewed as “distributing the burden” on Barbadians as a result of the pandemic.

    If confronted with a similar problem, Cox said he was sure the private sector would deal with it in a direct and painful way, that is, laying off workers.

    “If asked by civil servants at home which option the Government should pursue,my advice would be to take the most pleasant of the unpleasant options. That would be to accept BOSS. We are dealing with tough choices,” he added.

    Muddying the waters

    Muddying the economic waters, he said, was the absence of a quick turn-around in the fortunes of the tourism industry and the lack of bright and early prospects for an upsurge in foreign direct investment.

    “I have not heard anyone talking about an early rebound of international tourism. The same thing applies to foreign direct investment (FDI). Even here in Canada, I have not heard any indication of increases in FDI,” he lamented.

    The economist added: “When you aren’t responsible for making decisions about a country’s opportunities and when you do not have responsibility for the consequences of your decisions, you can make decision in a loud voice”.

    “But my position is that you have a 50 per cent chance of being right when you make a decision but you have a 100 per cent chance of being wrong when you don’t’ make any decisions.” “If I were a civil servant in Barbados at this time, I would ask if I would like to see either myself or my colleague unemployed or should I participate in the BOSS. It would be BOSS. That’s how I see it.”

    on the Barbados Optional Savings Scheme (BOSS). (FP)

    ‘It is better than borrowing from the Central Bank through the printing of money. Barbadians know what that policy (by the previous government) got us.’

    Source: Nation newspaper

  41. In other words: BOSS will not solve the main problem, namely the overburdening of public finances and the economy with human overhead in the public sector.

    Barbados is totally overpopulated. That is why OSA has doubled the civil service and crammed it with people, many of whom can barely read and write and only want pay instead of hard work.

    We therefore need a population exchange: emigration of lazy indigenous civil servants and immigration of rich foreigners who are willing to work.

    • In other words BOSS is a short term measure to bridge the time period between now and when (if) the economy recovers to some reasonable level. If it does not other measures will have to be taken. Economic planning and forecasting in a covid period is risky business.

  42. Now we already have two former heads of the Central Bank who are addressing the problem very clearly. So the fact remains that the civil service is the nation’s biggest problem because it is strangling all economic growth.

    Of course, nothing will happen, because the civil servants as a group of voters are far too powerful. That is the logic of the ballot box. I do not, however, want to keep on hearing the mendacious whining that Barbados, as the new poorhouse of the Caribbean, is falling further and further behind in financial terms.

    Just look at the outspoken Senator’s hypocrisy. On the one hand he plays the man of honour who saves Barbados from an alleged Mottley dictatorship. On the other hand, he sabotages every reasonable cut in civil servants’ salaries through his criticism, even though he knows full well that this is absolutely necessary for survival.

  43. @ David June 7, 2020 10:30 AM

    Are you implying that the long promised restructuring of the public sector to make ‘performance-ready’ for the 21st century digitized world of business has been taken off the table for the time being, at least?

    So what is happening to the proceeds from the loans taken out in 2018/2019 to ‘recalibrate’ the public sector to make it fit for the future with or without Covid?

    • @Miller

      In the current covid climate the government will leverage the Stuart policy of keeping public workers employed. It is a large bloc of votes. We must hope and prayer it does not end with the same devastating result.

  44. In need of clarification:

    BOSS has received:
    Near unanimous support from the NUPW’s General Council
    92% support of rank and file in attendance at the BSTU’s meeting on the matter
    High praise from an independent CDB economist
    Commendation from a well-respected and internationally-renowned economist and our own former Governor of the CB

    That represents the facts thus far?

  45. @David

    Indeed, as well as an internationally-respected economist, with both academic pre-eminence and consultancy experience with the ILO, UN and WBG. Clearly eminently qualified to speak to the matter.

  46. @ Miller June 7, 2020 10:51 AM

    The civil service cannot be reformed. We have there 1 percent top-performers, 9 percent good people, 20 percent hangers-on, 50 percent lazy sleepers, 10 percent saboteurs and 10 percent brain-dead.

  47. The only solution is a population exchange of indigenous civil servants and financially strong expats who are willing to perform. There are enough banana plantations in Costa Rica and enough gold mines in Guyana. They always need manpower. Our prime minister could loan her officers there.

  48. Tron
    June 8, 2020 3:05 AM

    That is a joke, apart from being totally colonial minded. Expats can do a better job? No, most come to Barbados for a sit down, lunch chat and golf course job, while their people do all the work. Not to mention, some do not know their xxs from their elbow.

    But I agree on the migration point, Any Barbadians with a modicum of brain and willing to work need run, not walk, overseas to do better for themselves. US may be out now, with the white supremacists in power, but Canada, UK and the EU are good opportunities.

  49. David
    June 7, 2020 10:54 AM

    David, Until the economy is reformed to produce more, import less and focus on current developing industries, there is an employment issue. One thing that is obvious is the importation of prefab furniture for offices, which can all be done here. Maybe not in the same design, but effective nonetheless. Way too much is spent on furniture importation and prefab importation, while craftsmen and potential craftsmen sit idle.

    The other is technology. Barbados needs to focus on getting more young people into software writing and tech work.

    Software is where the real money is, without extensive capital outlay, compared to some other areas. But it is brain work.

The blogmaster dares you to join the discussion.