Grenville Phillips Speaks : Difficult Conversations – Barbados’ Minimum Wage

G4S has agreed to pay a minimum wage of $8.79 per hour, with a minimum of 40 hours per week. As part of the agreement, it seems that the Government must force their competitors to adopt a similar standard. It is important when setting government policies, that all perspectives be examined.

It is normal for large businesses to want to maintain their dominant market position. This is done in two ways; namely, offer better service, or damage competitors.

Those who choose the method of offering a better service, tend to view obstacles to their growth as challenges to overcome. They tend not to concern themselves with their competition. Instead, they focus on continually improving their quality of their service, by improving the management of: competent staff, quality input materials, and quality and low-maintenance equipment.


One common method that dominant players use to harm their competitors, is to adopt an artificial standard, that has little to do with the quality of the service. Then they influence the government to make that standard mandatory for their competitors.

A minimum wage is an artificial standard. It has nothing to do with the quality of service. Paying someone a higher salary does not magically improve that person’s competence or productivity.

Established companies who compete on quality, normally reward their productive employees with higher salaries. Therefore, a minimum wage is not an issue for them. A minimum wage is an important issue for many newer companies, who have to compete on cost.

A dominant company can harm newer companies, if they can entice them to match the salaries of the dominant company. But new companies are not normally that stupid. They would never agree to such madness that would immediately make their companies uncompetitive.

Uncompetitive businesses normally accumulate high debts. This then leads to the closure of the business, and the dismissal of all employees – who then earn no wages whatsoever.

When the government meddles unnecessarily in the commercial market, the results are normally disastrous for everyone – employees, employers and the Government. A high minimum wage is a win for the dominant business, and the unions who represent entry level employees. It can be political abuse for everyone else.


Entry level positions are not designed to be permanent for an employee. They are designed to give all employees an opportunity to demonstrate their competence and productivity, so that they can earn a higher salary.

Employees who have qualified for a higher salary, but are underpaid, are being robbed by bad employers. Unlike our physically enslaved fore-parents, we have options. Good employees can leave bad employers and offer their services to a competitor, or they can start a rival business.

Employees demonstrate their mental enslavement, when they stop trying to be better. In my opinion, one of the most tragic sights, is to see a person comfortable in an entry-level position for their entire careers – and being lauded as a loyal employee.

High minimum wages allow bad employers, to keep employees in entry level positions for longer periods. It can also make employees comfortably mentally enslaved. So what is the solution?


Government may mandate a minimum wage with the following attributes:

a) it it high enough to prevent mentally enslaved workers from being exploited;

b) it is low enough to allow new businesses to be competitive;

c) it is low enough to give entry level workers an incentive to qualify for higher-paying positions.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at

179 thoughts on “Grenville Phillips Speaks : Difficult Conversations – Barbados’ Minimum Wage

  1. Tron

    I know you are here to promote the interest of and enhance the GRIP of WHITE Barbados. Nothing you say is of any value or interest to BLACK PEOPLE. WHITE BARBADOS IS OF PRIMARY MERIT TO YOU. Your only concern is to maintain the stranglehold of WHITE BAJANS AND INDIANS ON BLACK PEOPLE.

    I only the other hand am interested in uplifting BLACK BARBADOS.

  2. “I only the other hand am interested in uplifting BLACK BARBADOS.”

    You wrote you’re “interested in uplifting Black Barbados,” because white Bajans and Indians have maintained a stranglehold on Black people.

    What puzzles me is the fact that for the past few months, no matter what topic is posted to BU for discussion, all your contributions concentrates specifically on what you call ‘3% white Bajans and Indian population’ having a controlling interest in Barbados for a number of years.

    Bear in mind, this “stranglehold” would have been facilitated by successive BLP and DLP administrations.

    If you’re so interested in “uplifting Black Barbados,” why did you REMAINED SILENT on the issue, from January 15, 2008 to May 24, 2018, only to SUDDENLY RESURFACE on BU shouting ‘Black power’ and showing false concern for Black Barbadians?

    What were you interested in UPLIFTING during that 10 year, 4 month period?

    Or, is it that you become CONCERNED about this so called “stranglehold” you referred to, ONLY when the BLP is ‘in power?’

    My friend, are you a FRAUD and a HYPOCRITE, whose interest in Black people wanes and resurfaces according to which political party is ‘in office?’

  3. You’ve been WASTING even much more time of your life posting NONSENSE to BU all day long.

    But, yuh got to admit the drivel is TRUE.

  4. Artax,

    I was specifically speaking about those who are claiming exploitation. I believe I said that if one is satified then there is no worry. I also said that one can also supplement one’s income or use one’s talents to set up a business.

    But one cannot expect to raise five children from birth to adulthood single-handedly on entry level wages.

  5. WOW!! I guess your life must be pathetic, because you wasted 2 MORE seconds of it reading my response.

    You were NOTICEABLY ABSENT from BU for over 10 years and suddenly RESURFACED showing some sort of concern for Black Barbadians.

    Therefore, in the interest of clarity, all I did was to ask you a few simple questions.

    If you’re so INTERESTED in “uplifting Black Barbados,” why did you GO INTO HIDING and REMAINED SILENT on the issue between January 15, 2008 and May 24, 2018?

    Didn’t Black Barbados need uplifting during that 10 year, 4 month period?

    Would it be unreasonable for anyone to assume you were an OREO during the time you remained silent?

    How comes your CONCERN for Black Barbadians WANES and RESURFACES according to which political party is ‘in power?’

  6. Do only Indians do these things?????


    I get the sense that something is not quite right with this individual.

    But don’t worry! Everybody who reads newspapers knows Triple C and where he is coming from. They will take his posts with a bucket of salt.

    He is famous!

  7. While you’re PRETENDING to be interesting in “uplifting Black Barbados” and focusing on what’s happening in India, here’s what’s been happening in Nigeria.

    “Some 337 students are still unaccounted for after gunmen attacked a school in northern Nigeria over the weekend, a government official told CNN on Monday.”

    “Boko Haram kidnaps 330 boys: ‘No child should have to choose between their education and their life’.”

    And, not one word from you on those developments.

    How about discussing the “Rwanda genocide: 100 days of slaughter?”

  8. @ Donna

    I hate hypocrisy. We have this character who was noticeably absent from BU for over 10 years, only to now resurface to ‘talk’ about “uplifting Black Barbados,” since the BLP is the ruling political administration.

    Perhaps Black Barbadians were not a PRIORITY for him during the tenure of the former DLP administration.

    I posted three (3) articles for his perusal. Unfortunately, they are “awaiting moderation.”

    @ David BU

    Your assistance with a contribution, please.

  9. Christmas is just 7 days away. Up till now the displaced WORKERS OF BARBADOS have not been PAID their monies that they are legally entitled to.

    But their former employers are spending money so that themselves and their families can enjoy A WHITE AND MERRY CHRISTMAS.

  10. @ Carson

    Are you a fraud. Is fraudulence a criminal offence in Barbados? Bullying is an addiction, the perpetrator must find a victim.

  11. What is bullying exactly? Pointing out hypocrisy?

    This Triple C may have left BU for ten years but he was all over the Nation and BT online comments and ALWAYS in defence of the DLP.

    Now he resurfaces on BU to spend his days whining about poor black people as though they did not exist before May 25th, 2019.

    Neither the DLP nor the BLP has done enough to move things along with respect to social justice.

    But people like CCC have no credibility and therefore can not advance the cause. The average person will not trust what he says even when he has a point.

  12. Oh my!!!!!!

    The worst thing one can do is to speak on the behalf on BLACK PEOPLE. Other BLACK PEOPLE WILL HATE YOU. For them BLACK PEOPLE must always be at the bottom of the social, financial, and societal ladder as long as they live. They must not seek to better their position in life. They must always be hewers of wood and drawers of water.

    That is why so many of them are in the unfortunate position the they find themselves today. Unfortunate indeed where thy are penniless while they watch in desperation at others while they are jobless, with children to feed, bills to pay, some have lost their homes. Their former employers with MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS they have made over the yeas refuses to pay them. Thus breaking the law, but not enough is being done. Tghe Barbados Trade Union movement who they have put their trust in, has badly let them down. They have to take the the side of the road to vent their frustrations. Not that you all care.

    That is why the other races treat them like something they scrapped off their shoes. They can do that because they know that the other BLACK PEPEOLE don’t give a damn. They will soon forget about this and carry on with their sorry lives.

    We are 7 days from Christmas and they have not been paid monies legally theirs, but who cares, no one ,they are dispensable.

  13. Is the Govt going to make the returns from the Treasury that was promised to be made before Christmas????? Or is this another fair promise?????

  14. There is a problem with chickens here in Barbados. but chickens are being sold by the thousands.

    Should not production be halted in the face of an unknown ailment????

    Or just carry smartly???

  15. CCC

    The white look after the whites
    The Indians look after the Indians

    Can’t we look after one of our brother/sister for the season?

  16. Why you don’t tell BU about the constituency council you were part of, the credit union and the unfinished building in six roads?

  17. I read today where Caswell chastise govt for handing out awards but not paying enough attention to creating an environment for people to get jobs

  18. Have our birds been spinning around in circles and bleeding from the nostrils like the swans in the UK? Did we not halt the importation of broilers etc. and poultry from the UK?

    Is this not what we always do when there are outbreaks of diseases in livestock in other countries?

    Nothing has changed in this respect since May 24th, 2018.

    You are beginning to sound like a damn looney!

  19. CCC

    I not saying that the employees are not to pay the ex workers what is due to them

    But as you can see it don’t seem like they get anything before Xmas

    It up to us to be our brothers keeper

    Your words without deed …………

  20. O white or Indians ain’t to set to example to no blacks

    Yes they have to pay them what is due to then

    It is us to look after one another

    Try and go and give someone a hamper

  21. Donna December 19, 2020 5:20 PM #: “What is bullying exactly? Pointing out hypocrisy?”

    @ Donna

    Could you please explain?

    RE: “But people like CCC have no credibility and therefore can not advance the cause. The average person will not trust what he says even when he has a point.”

    I agree with you 100%.

    I’m sure you remember when employees of Beautify Barbados were retrenched in 2014 and had to wait over three (3) years before being paid their severance payments that was “legally theirs.”

    During that period CCC was not interested in how many days it was before Christmas and that they were “not paid monies legally theirs.” He did not care, because “they were dispensable.”

    This same CCC did not utter one word in defense of those former NCC employees who, after having their case heard by the Employee Rights Tribunal, were awarded less severance pay than they were due.

    Instead, he was more interested going on BU and other social media platforms to defend the Democratic Labour Party’s actions, while cussing Mia Mottley and the BLP.

    But, it seems as though some people believe coming to BU on a daily basis, to see who could shout Black people and Africa the loudest, are more Black than anyone else and are advancing a cause.

  22. By the way, I wont be encouraging anyone that I know or my family to consume any local chicken until this situation is amicably resolved.

  23. People with such a serious situation as Variant Corona Virus which is a matter of life and death will place a Vacation high on their list or at all???? People are being treated in Ambulances because there are not enough Hospital beds. Yet MIA AMOR MOTTLEY is saying to our people that they have nothing to worry about Tourism wise?????

    You think?????

  24. Artax,

    Big Bad Hal Austin comes out to drop remarks about bullying when someone points out the hypocrisy of someone with whom he has formed an alliance. Apparently “Hal’s Law for BU Behaviour” states that one must allow such obvious hypocrisy to remain unchallenged.

    Pity it is not his blog! 😊

    But don’t worry, CCC’s initials alone make him unforgettable. People remember his comments prior to May 25th, 2018. And everybody knows AC is Mariposa. She too is known to wear an eyepatch like a pirate. People know that they see through one eye.

    Can’t take them seriously even when they stumble upon a good point.

  25. Mia comes up with new gimmick
    “Barbadian by choice”
    Is that a new and improved version of Citizenship by passport
    I knew that one of her many plans is to have an immigrant force of 80thousand living in barbados

    • It does not matter the topic, you and your crew find away to blame BLP/Mia or otherwise reduce it to nothingness.

  26. @ Carson C Cadogan December 19, 2020 5:14 AM

    I am here as the most neutral observer not as a proxy of anybody.

    I support both our many black and other business owners.They are constantly being blackmailed by unions and workers for higher wages. Businessmen are therefore the most vulnerable group in society. And I have a soft spot in my heart for the weak.

    I praise the Mottley government not because it is a BLP government, but simply because it is the best government possible.

  27. Tron

    I hear you, but I don’t believe you.

    Anyone who thinks that this Govt. is the best Govt. since sliced bread want their mental faculties examining. However you are free to fool your self..

  28. David name one thing that Mia has done that is worthy of praises which will improve the Barbados economy
    The welcome stamp has been placed on a well oiled political machine
    Have yet to see a figure of recorded numbers of how many people have been approved
    Meanwhile many black businesses in bridgetown and all across barbados fall to the ground

  29. Meanwhile utterances across other social media platforms rumblings are being heard for the call of an early election
    Would not be surprised since Mia has perfected the art of the witches brew
    This time made up of a Wage bill
    Limited Corona virus on the island
    Awards and grants for front line workers
    These three will be tied together by April and handed as gifts to the people
    Mia knows bajans have short memories and would be quick to jump at the bait

  30. The Barbados Labour Party has resisted every piece of beneficial Legislation in the History of this Country INCLUDING THE NIS, free Secondary education, Radio Barbados, Independence, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Maternity leave for women, school meals, for as long as they existed. Just to name a few.

    You name it and they have resisted it. Now they are pretending to be the GUARDINS such legislation. And their yardfowls are eating it up.

  31. Excerpts from Guyson Mayers column

    If we import rather than produce our needed population, will there be a racial component in deciding who we import? Will we be following the plan to reduce the black population of the world? Does the Welcome Stamp serve a dual purpose or was it a testing of the waters?

  32. @ Donna

    Okay. I no longer read obnoxious Hal Austin’s contributions and promised myself not to engage in any meaningless ‘tit for tats’ with him, which only serves to degrade BU.

    However, since you mentioned it, I read his December 19, 2020 3:33 PM contribution and wondered why he DOES NOT ASK himself if fraudulence is a criminal offence, when he comes on BU to continually ‘call’ WARU-War-On-U a FRAUD.

    As it relates to his comment about bullying being an addiction and the perpetrator must find a victim, there isn’t anyone who knows that better than himself. David BU is his VICTIM.

    There isn’t anyone on BU that Hal Austin has targeted other than the blogmaster. Hal Austin has been ‘OPPRESSIVELY and INCESSANTLY CONSTANT’ in his personal attacks against David BU, his character, judgement, intellect, has even ventured as low as to call him ‘semi-literate,’…… and nit-pick EVERYTHING he POSTS.

    And, Donna, I’m sure if you read about how to identify adult bullies, ALL the characteristics given are ‘EXPLICITLY APPLICABLE’ to Hal Austin.

    I’ll give you an example. Adult bullies are usually unforgiving people, in that they hold a grudge, and always play the ‘victim.’ I’m sure you’ll agree Hal Austin comes on BU with MONOTONOUS REGULARITY, to remind the forum of who called him a financial advisor, Roman Catholic, polymath or whatever……… or who said he was ‘name-dropping British intellectuals.’

    Time to use the ↓ key.

  33. @ Mariposa

    That perverse suggestion of an additional 80000 Barbadians, the purpose for which has not yet be fully explained, will be a dangerous route to go down.
    As the author has said, nonsense of people of Barbadian heritage taking up the offer, is baloney. It will be taken up by a number of white people, but mainly by New Barbadians. Demography is the future. Unless black Barbadians protect our future we will be damned.
    If the idea for the suggestion is economic, it is barmy.

  34. I never said that Reifer would win. I always had TONI MOORE to win not that she is was the better candidate. The best candidate lost. Granville Phillips ii lost with about 200 votes or so or something like that. His policies would have pushed SGN into the 21st century.

    If the Barbados Labour Party run a dog in SGN it would win. Those people up there are very blind.

  35. CCC

    You start to put together a package to help at least one black person/ family for Xmas yet?

    I see you running from the topic of you giving

    There are more blacks that will have a bleak Xmas outside of the group of workers that waiting in NIS

  36. I see the Cliff Rest. come up with some lame foot excuse for not paying the Severance pay.

    Severance is part of doing business. I don’t buy the story from them. Paying workers with their own money so that that they might escape paying their responsibility.

    It you don’t want to pay Workers their due then you should not be in Business.

  37. It is 6 days away from Christmas and the displaced workers have still not been paid their monies legally owed to them.

    But their former employers are spending money so that themselves and their families can enjoy A WHITE AND MERRY CHRISTMAS.

    What a “wonderful ” country to live in.

    For some that is , they can do as they like with no consequences to them selves.

  38. Every body wants freeness from the Barbados Labour Party Govt. .

    Now NON NATIONAL women are demanding that they be allowed to have CHILDREN FREE, FREE, FREE.


  39. Any idea how many houses been built for the squatters
    Mia gearing up for early elections and citizens by choice is a top agenda
    Can these squatters get legal immigration status on the grounds that they are being entitled to govt hand outs which should be allocated to citizens or legal immigrants.

  40. Carson C Cadogan December 20, 2020 1:21 PM “Now NON NATIONAL women are demanding that they be allowed to have CHILDREN FREE, FREE, FREE.”

    A woman who has been living in Barbados from 6 to 26 is NOT a non-national. A woman who has been working and paying taxes in Barbados until her recent covid lay-off for years is NOT a non-national. A woman who gives birth to a Bajan baby [likely fathered by a Bajan black man] is NOT a non-national.

    And CCC I don’t know how much you know about the facts of life, but once labor has started around the 40th week of pregnancy it is impossible to safely stop it. So either the woman gives birth in the hospital or she gives birth in the road. When babies are ready to be born, they are born, and no accountant, bookkeeper, economist or financier can stop that. Do you want black working class women to give birth in the streets and fields as happened in the bad old days?

    You have a problem with black working class women giving birth? You think that such women should wait until they are white and upper middle class before giving birth?

    Barbados is “short” of 80,000 people and you want to make nasty political comments about a young healthy black woman giving birth? Once she was laid off you wanted the black working class woman to terminate her pregnancy?

  41. Random thoughts
    Our crack investigative team discovered that the last election was won by approximately 80K votes.
    Popular vote BLP 112,955 DLP 33,551
    Percentage 73.47% 21.82%

    It should be pointed out that the 80K often quoted are all adults and would become voters in a short time. An active voting immigrant population would transform Barbadian politics.

    Strategic placement could guarantee their benefactors a perpetual hold on government. We expect that in time this group would be able to form a strong third party or elect a significant number of their own to office.

    Their wealth could ensure that they are the dominant political party in 15 years.

    Bear in mind that some of these 80K will have spouses and children, so that the impact and rate of this transformation of the voting population may be greater and faster than thought.

    We believe that this importation of 80k is at best a bad idea and is a betrayal of the people of Barbados.

  42. Quo Vadis class structure
    IN JUNE 2019 I wrote an article headlined: “From middle class to lower”. In this article I bemoaned the fact that the middle class was unable to help in creating jobs at that crucial junction.
    The situation is even worse now. At that time there was no talk of a minimum wage, but there is talk now, and the debate is furious. Even the top brains in Barbados are engaged in the debate.
    Government is promising to leave no stone untouched in bringing about a minimum wage. I wonder if they all know what they are talking about.
    I asked a trusted friend, and he said, “People were getting away with paying low wages for a long time, it is time it stops.’ I feel that was emotion speaking.
    While I know that there are instances where people take advantage of the situation and pay low wages far below a reasonable rate, with a situation where there is 40 per cent unemployment and the ravages of the pandemic, even with a low wage some people will still have a job and can scrape through.
    Standard of living
    “But we do not want people to scrape through, we want people to have a wage that is consistent with the cost and standard of living,” insisted my friend. – In other words, an ideal world.
    Well I have already said that the middle class is now the lower class.
    It is struggling to do everything for itself, thus reducing the employment factor and soon those companies that were paying survival rates will be constrained to cut back further. The Wild Coot cannot give a reason to justify paying people below survival rate, but at survival rate there is still a job and may be better than raiding the National Insurance till by successive Governments.
    (Check Winston Cox’s article in the December 13 SUNDAY SUN). What is even worse is that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and it will be a while before businesses recover. Moreover we are destined to be in an IMF programme until my grandchildren have grandchildren to repay the billion dollars debt.
    Just look at Jamaica’s struggle with the IMF that has gone on for over 20 years and still has a future. That of Barbados with even less resources will be worse. To talk about minimum wage now is hopeful and a promise with unspecified consequences.
    But the Wild Coot stands by the assessment made in June 2019 about the plight of the middle class, then the lower class and the future of being a struggling class with expectations in the sky.
    The divestment of the shares of CIBC to the Columbian group sweetened by the enticement of a loan to procure the shares may be a warning about future investments in Barbados. Tourism will gradually return, but not all on our terms.
    Minimum wages will be seen as a deterrent to market forces and a vibrant recovery.
    Reduced profits
    Look at the poor response by the banks to inducements to lend.
    The record of repayment of loans, especially mortgages is forcing banks to seek profit in other areas.
    FirstCaribbean is not the only bank to have made a loss. Republic Bank has shown reduced profit. We note the type of advertisement coming from other banks in order to get customers to do business with them. Government needs more revenue now as some statutory corporations need support even though social services rates have been increased. Many pensioners now cannot afford to effect repairs and may hire a workman to be paid for a few hours of work. This is where there is absolute need. Workmen are asked to quote for a job where there is no other choice but to seek help.
    Minimum wages will not come into the equation.
    Folks, I put up a Christmas tree for which I paid $100. When I finished decorating it, it looked “mauga”. There were no presents under the tree as I was not good this year. However, I live by my father’s motto: “A bad boy is better than no boy at all.”
    My mother raised pigs (I had to take care of the pen), but there was a bonus at Christmas when a man came and slaughtered the fattest pig. She had a book in which since June she had been noting orders for Christmas. The family had pork non-stop. We had turkey and the
    Wild Coot was the turkey slayer. We did not go to the supermarket for turkey, ham and pork.
    Merry Christmas anyway!
    Harry Russell is a banker.

    Source: Nation

  43. Harry Russell has been kicking up dust for many years against unfair systems. And was he not a much respected NDP colleague of William Skinner, recently touted as a worthy candidate? Here he is saying just what I have been saying.

    Get real!

    Turn off the tv! Work after work! And before!

    Entry level income will never raise a family.

  44. @Sargeant December 20, 2020 11:43 PM “@Cuhdear Barbados is “short” of 80,000 people.

    Really? When did this become factual?

    I don’t know that it is factual, which Is why I put the “short” in inverted commas/quotation marks

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