Difficult Conversations – Credit to my Nation
I pledged allegiance to Barbados since the pledge was established in the 1970s. As a child, the pledge was simply words to be recited on command. As an adult, I accepted the responsibilities associated with that solemn pledge.
To uphold Barbados’ honour, I tried to: do what was right, bring light where there was darkness, and provide evidence-based correction where there appeared to be error. To do otherwise would bring Barbados dishonour. To defend Barbados’ honour, I challenged the practise of achieving lucrative ends through dishonest means.
IGNORING THE ENGINEER.
I have also tried to be a credit to Barbados, rather than a dependent burden, by excelling at something. I pursued Structural Engineering. Then I kept adding to my pursuits. One of my engineering roles is to design structures, and then inspect their construction to certify that they are being built as they were designed.
When a building is not being built as it was designed, I would inform the builder and be met with one of two responses. One would be the builder correcting the deficiency. The other would be the builder ignoring me.
BUILDING ON A BAD FOUNDATION.
I have found that builders tend to ignore an Engineer’s instructions, because they think that they have a special relationship with the Engineer’s clients. A builder may have been selected as a reward for political support, and then had the misfortune of having me approve his work. How the builder got the job was not my concern. How he did the job was.
A builder may construct a substandard foundation, and ignore my instruction that it is defective and needs to be corrected. The contractor may proceed to build on the bad foundation, and ignore my notice that I will neither certify for payment the foundation, nor anything built on that foundation.
ALWAYS A RECKONING.
A builder may convince my Client to pay him, and he may finish the project on time. The Minister may have an entertaining opening ceremony, and unveil an attractive plaque. I would always attend if invited, and would normally enjoy the ceremony.
There is always a reckoning. Defective foundations normally lead to the building settling, resulting in cracks in the walls. An audit may be done to apportion blame. I have never attracted any blame in my 30-year career – because I do not approve defective work.
I believe that Parliament has built a fantasy republic on a defective and unlawful foundation. I wrote an open letter to all members of Parliament to discuss the glaring deficiencies, but the Prime Minister advised those with such concerns to have them addressed in Barbados’ Courts. So I did.
The question of whether Parliament’s republic is lawful or not is now before the Barbados Court of Appeal. I have been strongly advised, and even threatened, to drop it by those who have pledged allegiance, not to Barbados, but to their political parties. It is too late. I cannot drop it. I have already pledged allegiance to Barbados, and I do not pledge carelessly.
Regardless of how the Appeal Court judges rule, it can only benefit Barbados. We will either move forward with the confidence of knowing that Parliament’s new constitution is lawful, or we will have the opportunity to correct any deficiencies that the Court finds. Either way, Barbados wins.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com