A Time for Choosing
The following was submitted to traditional media and Barbados Underground by Khaleel – David, Blogmaster
Like most Barbadians, I have not been tempted to engage with the debacle surrounding the statue of Lord Nelson. Many of us realize that, instead, now is the time to look toward meaningful change for people and address burning problems in this country.
The inequitable distribution of economic power and social privilege is chief among these. We must together discuss how we might solve that. How can government accelerate its manifesto commitment for a Sovereign Wealth Fund, to assist in creating generational wealth for Barbadians? How can this Government can expand and institutionalise its existing policy of reserving a certain portion of work done on behalf of government to small enterprises, such as small contractors, artisans and joiners, to ensure economic opportunity for there persons. How can the credit union movement finally reach its goal of a credit union bank to be able to more fulsomely secure the financial interests of its members, most of whom are “ordinary Bajans”? How can we get another push in housing and land to ensure that the most disadvantaged have the opportunity to own their homes? How can we go about reforming education, beyond engineering a new transition from primary to secondary? How can we build upon recently started programmes in robotics as well as increase focus in technical and vocational areas to maximize the economic and indeed personal potential of our nation’s students? How does Barbados lead the charge regionally as we boldly step into the knowledge-based economy? How can we develop competitive advantage in this respect? Can we combine a renewed push in agriculture through the incentivisation of farming for young people with a drive towards leading the region in AgriTech, and do so in a way which brings on board the marginalized, through the creation of educational opportunity? How do we reconfigure our tourism product to be more nimble in these perilous times while also ensuring that the industry remains a source of wealth creation for “ordinary individuals”? How do we ensure we achieve these and more to create economic opportunity as well as social aggrandizement, and in so doing hopefully lessen the allure of organized criminal activity? How do we go about fixing families and communities to solve the same? How do we set about a comprehensive programme for the reintegration of ex-convicts into society, not only to reduce recidivism but also to ensure we don’t waste the potential of those individuals? How do we ensure that each and every one of us walk the talk of fundamental change in our own private lives, rather than simply clamoring for others or for institutions to change? Most pressingly, how do we move forward in the uncertain post-COVID environment?
These are all questions in desperate need of discussion. All of that is not only about economic survival. It is about the continued viability of the “Idea of Barbados” as posited by Ralph Gonsalves. In concluding his treatise on the subject he wisely counselled, “we must have faith that the idea of Barbados will endure, but faith is made complete or perfect with deeds.” We should use our collective energies to complete that faith and to perfect the Idea of Barbados. Let us not squander this moment by paralyzing the country in needless division. To mix the speeches of two American presidents, now is the time for choosing, for our rendezvous with destiny awaits.