A Time to Execute With the Fierce Urgency of NOW!

It has been more than ten years the Barbados economy has been performing poorly – a situation triggered by the global financial crisis of 2008. Some of us are old enough to remember the oil crisis of the 70s as well as the fiscal challenges of the 90s which negatively affected the cost of living for Barbadians. There was the global economic boom of the 90s that ended in the early 2000s which coincided with the Owen Arthur administration. Although Arthur is credited with overseeing a reduction in unemployment to 7% and creating an unprecedented number of jobs, it is fair to say he had an easy wicket bat on.

There is a generation of Barbadian who has not had to experience the level of economic hardship currently affecting the country. This is exposed by the national conversations being generated daily in the different fora. We have two arguments we should not conflate in the ongoing debate.

There is casting blame on the political leadership AND Barbadians at large for not influencing and implementing effective economic and social models to navigate exogenous shocks which small open economies are most vulnerable.

Now that we have mired in economic and social stagnation for more than a decade with a contracting economy; high unemployment especially in the youth segment, high debt to GDP, crumbling physical infrastructure, National Insurance Scheme in the cross hairs, judicial system operating under the stress of a heavy backlog to name a few – there is the fierce urgency of now that should give wings to policymaking and the execution of projects by the government and other stakeholders in civil society.

There is who to blame AND there is the urgent need to address the problem, NOW.

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action

Martin Luther King Jr

Let us blame who we want for the problems facing us today if we must, although sensible citizens will admit there is enough blame to go around to explain the current state of affairs in the country. It does not change the fact Barbados finds itself staring down the barrel of economic hardship for years to come. With economic hardship there will be the concomitant social challenges. We have already started to see an increase in violent crime, scant regard for traffic laws, increase in the homeless and vagrancy to list a few.

Against this pessimistic background we have the unions making demands, individual citizens making demands, private sector making demands, all comers making demands. It brings to mind the saying ‘a house divided against itself, cannot cannot stand‘.

Barbadians have been labelled an intelligent people. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate the country is in a pickle which means citizens all are also in the same same pickle. It therefore requires our government, public officials AND the majority of the electorate to sing from the same song sheet to confront an unprecedented challenge. Some will say this it is a naive expectation because it is the state of mind of households feeding the emotions of individuals. How can they be expected to overcome an innate behaviour to survive by willingly feeding in to the macro picture?

A more responsible media will have to play a leadership role to promote awareness of the issues especially of the financial variety. It is regrettable the toxic level of political partisanship that has seeped into how we manage our affairs of late. The death of Patrick Hoyos has expanded the vacuum in traditional media on reporting financial matters. Political parties have not been able to appoint competent players to challenge government’s army of financial actors. Academics from the UWI, Cave Hill expected to interject with independent analysis have been largely ineffective.

There is the reality that even if there is a COVID 19 vaccine found next year the pandemic has hastened the widening of the systemic cracks in the way we have been governing the country. To summarize what the BU intelligentsia has been opining, we have to set realistic objectives, develop smart action plans and EXECUTE with the fierce urgency of now.

223 comments

  • q where is the likes of Robert Lucas when we need them
    a THINK HE IS STAYING AWAY FROM BEING INSULTED FROM BU BETZPAENIC BLOGGERS
    WHY SHOULD HE CAST HIS PEARLS BEFORE THE SWINE?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Olive trees are available, grew wildly and are pulled as weeds. Vincent, you are correct, commonly used for head colds and headache by sweating three or four leaves on the head. River tamarind is useful to feed the pigs,give this to the large white breed ,which has more fat content than lean for a couple months, works wonderfully for better pork with more lean content. I wondered why no research was done to ascertain the benefits to be derived from the plant and the mature seeds.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Curley 16

    The plant you are referencing is the “oil leaf” which is properly called the castor oil plant. This is still around. The olive tree was a woody plant that grew as high as 15 feet and with a berry about a third of an inch in diameter. The leaves were much smaller than the “oil leaf ” plant.

    Like

  • Island Gal could probably update us on the fate of the Olive trees.

    Someone will probably rue the day that Hares entered the island, they reproduce like their rabbit cousins and no farmer’s field will be safe plus they don’t have any natural predators in Barbados; the only saving grace is that they are edible but Bajans may shy away from consuming them.

    Monkeys and Hares a farmer’s worst nightmare.

    Like

  • Read this: https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/09/05/btcolumn-self-employment-saga/

    Then you understand my theory that Barrow installed the Barbados civil service as the most racist institution on the island to sabotage black business.

    Hence, we must defund the Barbados civil service to fight racism.

    Like

  • I SEE ALL THE SHITE YOU GUYS TALKING DAILY BARBADOS IS BACK ON TRACK WITH CRIMINAL MAYHEM AND MURDERS.

    THE MORE THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAMR.

    A BLP PROMISE IS A COMFORT TO A FOOL.

    Like

  • @Vincent Codrington September 4, 2020 10:24 AM “I may be wrong,but the Neem tree was introduced into Barbados about two decades ago. ”

    In my rural village more than 60 years ago there was a neem tree in the backyard of the Francis family. But that was the only one I knew of until some were planted by the post office in Bridgetown

    Like

  • @Sargeant September 4, 2020 8:50 AM ” lately I discovered through a Nation video that there are “Hares” in Barbados.”

    I’ve seen hares twice in Barbados, once early in the morning walking in Apes Hill with Colin Hudson; and once again early morning walking at Gibbes with my sister

    I was very surprised both times.

    My brother who is in his 80’s tells me that there used to be raccoons, but I don’t know whether or not to believe him. Big brother always loved to kid li’l sister.

    Like

  • Ex-Central Bank governor responds to latest review
    Cox: IMF right on target

    By Tony Best Former

    Central Bank Governor Winston Cox has endorsed the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest assessment of Barbados’ economic performance since COVID-19 struck and triggered an economic recession, and caused a collapse of the global tourism market that has sent the Caribbean reeling.
    The IMF’s economic review that involved Bert van Selm, the fund’s mission chief in Barbados, led to a forecast that recovery of the tourism industry through next year was a possibility.
    As both saw it, the pace of implementation of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme was important because it remained “strong” despite the COVID-19 shock, which so far has taken the lives of at least 500 000 people in almost every corner of the world.
    “I concur with the assessment of the fund,” said Cox. “I think the fund’s statement on Barbados so far in 2020 and what may be ahead for the rest of the year and beyond, was a reasonable assessment.” After all, he added, it was in step with the economic picture painted by Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes a few weeks earlier.
    Economic decline
    In the report card on the aftermath of the worldwide health crisis, the IMF and Selm said: ‘Yes, COVID-19 had a major impact on Barbados’ and that hard fact was seen in the “doubledigit decline in economic activity”.
    For instance, the tourism industry came to a virtual standstill; there was a precipitous decline of airlift to and from the Caribbean and elsewhere; many hotels were closed, and those properties which kept their doors opened suffered from tumbling occupancy rates, all because of the coronavirus.
    But not everything was doom and gloom. On the positive side of the ledger, Barbados’ foreign reserves, which had tumbled to US$220 million at the end of May 2018, were now in excess of US$1 billion.
    There was more. Barbados had made “good progress with” its structural economic reform programme.
    Reached at his home in Quebec, Canada, Cox, who at different times sat on the executive boards of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC, said Barbados’ structural reform under the Extended Fund Facility was “very important” because it was related to “things like the efficiency of revenue collection, reimbursement, and the whole matter of policy administration and implementation”.
    Near bankruptcy
    Those factors were crucial because they were designed, among other things, to lift Barbados out of its state of near financial bankruptcy into which it had sunk in 2018.
    “Quite frankly,” said Cox, “they are the things you can make quite a lot of headway on in the prevailing economic circumstances” spawned by COVID-19 as Barbados moved to put itself “in a better position to recover when tourism begins to pick up”.
    The IMF said it expected a gradual recovery of the tourism industry beginning next year, but did not indicate how strong the recovery would be at the outset. Cox wasn’t sure when it would start.
    “Most of the economists are hoping that next year would be better than this year,” he said. “Everybody is hoping it will be (strong), but nobody is looking at it with a lot of certainty.”
    Another thing. The signals being sent at home and abroad were not good for a vital sector of the economy: small businesses which generate considerable employment.
    “I hear every day in Canada about small businesses which are collapsing. I would not be surprised if the same thing happens in Barbados,” and many other countries in and out of the Caribbean, Cox warned.
    One thing which was certain about the COVID-19 crisis was that good public health and economic growth went hand in hand. Indeed, Sir George Alleyne, a former director of the Pan American Health Organisation, who later became chancellor of the University of the West Indies, made that point recently to the Sunday Sun.
    Cox said he believed Sir George’s bit of wisdom was right on the money.
    Weeks after Barbados began to consider reopening its economic and social doors after successfully limiting the spread of the highly infectious and deadly virus, Sir George said a good public health foundation was vital to economic revitalisation.
    “The IMF has a reputation for careful economic analysis and very often people express contrary opinions, but I think the economic analysts at the fund tend to be extremely careful. They recognise the fundamental link between public health and a strong economy, by referencing that despite the COVID shock, things are going okay,” Cox added.
    “Sir George has said that the pandemic has clearly demonstrated there is a link between public health and economic growth and development. Sir George is spot on.”
    He was quick to insist that “a population with high mortality and morbidity rates is not going to be as productive as a population with low morbidity and mortality rates”.

    Source: Nation Newspaper

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  • SOLID ‘STAMP’
    Spin-off revenue outside tourism seen from Govt’s plan
    By Shawn Cumberbatch
    shawncumberbatch@nationnews.com

    Government’s special visa for expatriates who want to spend a year working in Barbados is already having positive spin-offs outside of tourism.
    One of Barbados’ leading insurers, Sagicor Life Inc., is receiving enquiries to provide medical coverage for foreign workers, whose companies are interested in relocating them from the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US) under the 12-month Welcome Stamp.
    Paul Inniss, Sagicor Life Inc.’s new executive vice-president and general manager, called the remote work programme “a significant opportunity for Barbados”, the kind which his company and others would have to pursue as they looked to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Immigration Department officials recently reported that 12 of the 1 079 applicants for the Welcome Stamp were approved and already living here.
    Inniss said the remote work visa was a plus for the country.
    “We are already seeing enquiries. We have already engaged with some of our business partners where there are companies that are looking to move staff from the UK and from the US, and they are enquiring about insurance from local carriers.”
    Real estate firms
    Inniss added he had already spoken to several real estate firms and they were seeing opportunities for companies and individuals enquiring about moving to Barbados.
    “My understanding is that even if they have . . . medical insurance from their home country, there are limitations when they actually leave their country and live outside in a place like Barbados, and that is where we pick up the opportunity,” he told the Sunday Sun. “So we are discussing and looking to see how we can actually facilitate those needs.”
    The Sagicor executive said he saw the Welcome Stamp benefiting beyond tourism, noting it could lead to people relocating their companies here and buying homes.
    “They are living here so they are going to have to spend money, they are going to need a house cleaner, they might need a gardener, they might move from a hotel to buy an apartment or build a house,” he noted.
    Ripple effect
    “Then they might encourage their family to come down, so it then becomes a ripple effect that not only the tourism sector benefits, but all of Barbados benefits.”
    Poulin, the new chairman of ICBL, said he had “grown a fondness for Barbados” and believed it would be attractive for other people who wanted to move here from overseas.
    “I was in the high-end
    vacation rental business, which obviously is well known in Barbados, and built up a company called Luxury Retreats and sold that to Airbnb three years ago. So I have grown a fondness for Barbados back since 1999, even moving here in 2010,” he said.
    The Welcome Stamp is also being pushed by advisory service firms that interface with international firms.
    On Thursday, KPMG published a “flash alert” informing potential customers about the programme.
    “Companies and their employees are taking steps to establish remote working situations, in light of moves away from traditional ‘in office’ work arrangements. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this opportunity offered by Barbados can be an attractive option for remote working,” said KPMG.

    Source: Nation Newspaper

    Like

  • I SEE ALL THE SHITE YOU GUYS TALKING DAILY BARBADOS IS BACK ON TRACK WITH CRIMINAL MAYHEM AND MURDERS.

    THE MORE THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAMR.

    A BLP PROMISE IS A COMFORT TO A FOOL. (Quote)

    Wuh, skipper, duh ain’t got nobody that does talk more shyte than you.

    I hope you know that talking shyte bout buying an illegal item from anybody, even a policeman, and giving it to yuh lawyer, is still ENCOURAGING AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE SAME CRIMINAL MAYHEM YOU TALKING BOUT.

    And you is even a BIGGER FOOL if you believe any promise that the DLP or BLP could stop crime.

    Like

  • Cuhdear,

    Barbados did have racoons. There was one taxidermy mounted specimen in the Barbados museum.

    Like

  • Persaud speaks on govt policy

    Like

  • I have been reading through these contributions, and it seems we are afraid to deal with the real issues. One issue has been governments that have failed to sort out the problems in government offices, departments, and other organizations funded by the government. We have problems with a lack of proper goals and ideas. We have HR systems that fail to hire and promote the best employees. We have no idea of what we want from our spending of taxpayers’ money. We have a tourism industry that we fail to ask the hard questions of. Questions like: Why are we as a country into tourism? Do we have a country plan for the positive outcomes of tourism for the country? Are we as a country profiting from tourism? What are the economic, social, infrastructural, financial, and other results of tourism for the country? Are we losing money as a country by having tourism as an industry? Is there a direct correlation with the decline of other industries and our declining economic results?
    Have we allowed our formerly high credit rating to blind us from discovering that we were mostly an import society? Have we a plan for other industries and sources of economic activity? Is there a plan to increase our earnings from our invisible exports? Is there a plan to increase our earnings from our visible exports? I have my ideas and thoughts on the way forward but I ask these questions to truly find out where we are at as a country.

    Liked by 1 person

  • RoverpSeptember 6, 2020 2:26 PM My answers are in brackets.

    I have been reading through these contributions, and it seems we are afraid to deal with the real issues. One issue has been governments that have failed to sort out the problems in government offices, departments, and other organizations funded by the government. (digitization is only now being implemented under the Most Excellent Leadership, after being ignored for twenty years or more) We have problems with a lack of proper goals and ideas. (because the culture is to keep things on the plantation as they are. Some like it so) We have HR systems that fail to hire and promote the best employees. (ditto, plus nepotism and ignorance). We have no idea of what we want from our spending of taxpayers’ money. (we do. For the plantation owners to make money, the rest of us to work like dogs) We have a tourism industry that we fail to ask the hard questions of. Questions like: Why are we as a country into tourism? (to make money) Do we have a country plan for the positive outcomes of tourism for the country? Are we as a country profiting from tourism? (the country is sort of, but individuals more) What are the economic, social, infrastructural, financial, and other results of tourism for the country? (that is a short question requiring a long answer. Put simply, there are benefits, but these need to be clearly qualified and quantified) Are we losing money as a country by having tourism as an industry? (no, but individuals are making millions) Is there a direct correlation with the decline of other industries and our declining economic results? (of course. We used to have furniture manufacturing, clothing, Intel, etc etc. The offshore is under attack from the Organisation of Economic Colonialisation and Destruction. The open economy that applied to all small island states but not to large ones has screwed with balance of imports and exports. A lot needs correcting.)
    Have we allowed our formerly high credit rating to blind us from discovering that we were mostly an import society? (yes) Have we a plan for other industries and sources of economic activity? (that is doubtful, if the most that the consultants can come up with is to put public funds into the hotel sector to provide jobs that are temporarily not needed) Is there a plan to increase our earnings from our invisible exports? (I would not touch this one with a barge pole). Is there a plan to increase our earnings from our visible exports? (doubtful, I have not heard of one. Refer to answer from two questions ago). I have my ideas and thoughts on the way forward but I ask these questions to truly find out where we are at as a country. (that should be obvious. We are in a canoe, without an oar, coming to the rapids. Thankfully someone with a brain is finally up front, but the hurdles are huge and with the major countries in the West facing their own political, moral and economic questions caused by fringe leadership, cannot look for help from them right now).

    Like

  • https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/09/06/atherley-mia-never-wanted-me/

    In a broadside against his former party colleague and Cabinet member under the Owen Arthur-led administration, Atherley told listeners to the programme, after the 2018 election win, he was not prepared to just sit on the back bench and “sing in the choir”.
    the decision to reject him for a position in Mottley’s 26-member Cabinet confirmed what he knew all along, that due to his previous conflicts with Mottley, when she was opposition leader, that it was unlikely that he would ever be included.

    Like

  • @Hants,

    Who cares? He had his chance under the Arthur admin.

    Like

  • https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/09/09/pm-says-population-hasnt-grown-enough-in-last-40-years/

    “To that extent, we are probably 80,000 less than we should be. It means that we are going to have to have a fairly liberal approach to immigration, while at the same time having a very strong framework for managing migration to the island.

    “Obviously, persons who are Barbadian descendants have a particular natural right. But then we start to look at skills, we start to look at where the . . . population gap can be filled in a way that adds value to our development trajectory,” she explained.

    Like

  • PROBLEM!

    ” there is a growing concern that the proportion of the population lacking functional reading and writing skills is far too high in spite of the fact that we have universal access to education.

    https://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/247584/slipping-literacy-rate-concern

    Like

  • Destroys the myth of how literate we are as a society. How can people leave school without functional skills? Why is there no proper provision for adult education, apart from the academically focussed community college? How do we expect to compete with a world in which there is a high demand for STEM knowledge?

    Like

  • Wuh ah tell yuh! There is a whole lotta illiteracy in Barbados.

    I became aware of it in 1981.

    Like

  • One of the planks in punching above our weight is our claim to a very high literacy rate.

    Remove this plank and our claim to being super:punchers will be questioned. Obviously, we are misreading the numbers on the scale.

    Like

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