BU Covid Dash – Omicron January 19

Attached are charts for week ending 7th January 2022. So far, the daily cases have not topped 600 and have indeed been dropping v. slowly for the past 4 days. The charts suggest that Omicron has been here for nearly a month but the rate of increasing daily cases has dropped. Deaths and isolations have increased, but only marginally. Vaccinations uptake is still very slow.

Source: Lyall Small

See BU COVID 19 Updates page

Adrian Loveridge Column – More Creative Thinking Required People!

We are already half way through what will result in many cases, both locally and around the world as one, if not the most difficult years in living memory.

Frankly I have been disappointed that we have not witnessed more creative thinking and action among the wealth of tourism professionals, who reside and derive their main income from the sector in our country. While it’s almost impossible to compare our position with that of larger neighbours, sparks of ingenuity emerge from abroad.

Take the US state of Arizona as an example. Republican Senator Martha McSally introduced legislation that would enable Americans to deduct domestic travel expenses, which include lodging on their tax returns for the next three years. The American TRIP act would provide a US$4,000 travel credit for individuals and US$8,000 for joint filers, plus an additional US$500 credit for dependent children.

Justifying the concept, Senator McSally, (a former United States Air Force Colonel, the first US women to fly in combat and command a fighter squadron) pointed out that travel and hospitality has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Adding ‘Arizona has lost billions in revenue this year alone due to the pandemic’ and ‘my legislation will help boost domestic travel and jump-start the comeback of our hotels, entertainment sectors and local tourism agencies’.

I am not, for one second, suggesting that we attempt to adopt identical legislation, but it should open up our minds, that there are alternative ways of re-opening our tourism economy, rather than totally depending on overseas visitors, with all the challenges that entails. This form of tax credit could appeal to those who are still in meaningful employment and who have disposable income.

Another way may be to lift the recently imposed room levy and temporarily remove the VAT (value added tax) that is applied to accommodation and the latter on dining, at least until some sort of measured recovery takes place.

While Government will be clearly focused on tax collection to reduce the burden of further debt which has been compounded by Covid-19, it’s long term objective may be to ensure as many businesses as possible avoid bankruptcy and return to profitability in the middle to long term, ultimately making them subject to corporation and all the additional taxes that viability and full employment brings.

Some may reasonably argue that the current timing is not right, but when will it ever more likely to be?

Are ‘we’ going to wait until more businesses are shuttered and beyond realistic recovery?

Surely now, while ‘we’ still have the time, to finally implement the long promised duty-free concessions right across the tourism sector.

It cannot be right or proper that a single entity still extracts unique trading advantages, especially when we consider the fact that most of its derived income stays offshore.

If levelling the playing-field has any real meaning to those who have taken the greatest risk and ploughed almost, if not everything, into their country, let it be clearly demonstrated and raised as a beacon to encourage further local investment.

Barbados COVID 19 Free and Open for Business

Prime Minister Mia Mottley gave the all-clear recently Barbados will be reopening for business on the 25 July 2020 with the proviso public health protocols must be adhered to by individuals and businesses. At the time of the announcement she confirmed to date there have been 96 confirmed cases, 83 total recoveries and seven deaths from Covid-19.

Locals woke up to the announcement a repatriation flight originating from New York and Florida with 120 Barbadians is due to land in Barbados today. Barbadians are aware Florida and New York are COVID 19 hotspots and have to trust the protocols established by public health authorities to protect. It is worth repeating locals have to also accept personal responsibility by following public health guidelines – frequent washing of hands, wear masks, practice physical distancing to name three.

Dr Kenneth Connell, a senior lecturer in clinical pharmacology in the Cave Hill Campus’ Department of Medicine, University of the West Indies also recently made an important announcement. He reminded Barbadians one of the main reasons the island achieved COVID free was due to our closed borders. His sobering observation serves as a reminder Barbadians must continue the intensity of our vigilance against COVID 19.

Here is a link to a press article covering Dr. Connel’s concerns:


 

Adrian Loveridge Column – Governments Should be Working Together

As more and more tourism businesses indicate they are re-opening, hopefully over the next few weeks, our policymakers and planners will instigate a single source reference website or other social media platform to combat the mass confusion and speculation as to when our industry is ready and able to host locals and overseas visitors.

Meanwhile, potential arrivals are left to navigate a bewildering source of what, in many cases, turns out to be misinformation or at least misleading. Especially relevant when you bear in mind the overwhelming majority of people do not book flights at a day or two’s notice and cannot necessarily choose holiday dates at short notice.

Of course, it all comes down to safety and most reasonable people can fully understand Government’s reluctance to commit to specific dates before every possible precaution preventing the further spread of Covid-19 is put in place. And this even more reinforces the essential need to implement a single reliable source for the latest factual information covering every aspect of our tourism offering.

What is also disappointing is that there appears to be no unified regional plan to re-open Caribbean islands to the world. A recent statement issued by LIAT to the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association indicated ‘the need to extend the temporary layoff of its pilots for three months’. Adding that, it was still awaiting further shareholder funding or subsidies and ‘these funds continue to be delayed’.

Even allowing for the differential in available medical and testing facilities, every territory seems to be doing its ‘own thing’ in terms of accommodation and airlift. Perhaps, many may question whether bodies like the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) could have played a greater role in recovery and if we can ever seriously contemplate marketing the region under one umbrella.

The CTO rightly could cite limited financial resources at this difficult time as a major issue for not being more collectively proactive, but there is always something positive that can be done with the combined talents and knowledge available.

Naturally, each island state has its own priorities in terms of economic recovery, the survival of businesses and restoring employment, but surely a greater degree of unity when negotiating the return of airlines and standard safety protocol could be agreed?

There also remains the sticky subject of taxation. In the case of Barbados, since October 2019 the imposition of a bevy of new taxes and levies has virtually negated Government from any significant fiscal contribution to marketing the destination.  Throughout the duration of lockdown this valuable source has virtually dried-up and while the operating expenses that include staff salaries and premium location premises, both at home and overseas of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., and its associated agencies have remained, clearly there must have been some significant savings in advertising and airlift support.

When flights eventually return, will the administration look again at the level of taxation imposed on airfares which includes Value Added Tax (VAT) and two departure taxes, among others, to aid recovery?

We should remember that our traditional sources markets have all experienced loss or depletion of earned income and unprecedented levels of unemployment for a sustained period and that will inevitably impact on destination choice.

Senator Caswell Franklyn Speaks – The Needs of the Many …

In December 1995 a doctor at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital gave me a dire prognosis for my mother, he said: take her home and make her comfortable for the last, since there is nothing more we could do. I could therefore empathise with Elizabeth Thompson, upon receiving bad news about her mother.

At such a time any loving daughter would want to be close to her mother. No one could fault Liz, she loves her mother and felt a need to be with her, which is commendable. But these are not normal times and I have great difficulty understanding why the Government would set aside the carefully thought out procedure to allow Liz the opportunity to import another case of corona virus, on the pretext that she needed to see her ailing mother.

I am not heartless, I really understand her need but as Spock of Star Trek fame would say:

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, or in this case the needs of the one.

The Government is here to protect all of the people of this country and it should never have compromised that solemn duty for one of its friends. Her needs should not have taken precedence over the needs of every man, woman and child in this country.

Adrian Loveridge Column – Covid 19 and LIAT

It would appear that our citizens and residents will first have the option of travelling within the Caribbean, as and when Coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

As we are now in the traditional prolonged softer summer season, it also appears to be more logical that our tourism planners and policymakers will focus, at least part of their efforts on promoting this opportunity.

As airlift possibilities within the region are extremely limited and LIAT has so far indicated they will not resume commercial passenger services until at least 30th June 2020, here again comes the crunch.

As we have witnessed for decades, LIAT has drifted through various degrees of cash flow crisis, management turmoil and insolvency issues, seemingly unable to survive without massive taxpayer support. At the same time, most Governments within the region have increasingly levied what many consider deterrent taxes and surcharges on their airline ticket prices, making it cheaper, in many cases, to fly to Canada or the United States.

So if we, as a country, or other states within the region are remotely hoping that Intra-Caribbean travel will at least lead the charge in returning to some sort of normality in arrivals numbers, then the status quo will have to change. Our Government will have to weigh-up the fact that if people cannot be enticed to our shores, that they will not collect VAT and other taxes on hotel or other accommodation, rental cars, restaurant dining, shopping, attractions and activities etc, for those visits.

The predicament for the administration will be if they really wish our crushed tourism industry to recover in the least possible time, will they forgo at least some of the multiple taxes currently applied?

Of course, it’s not just about returning tourism to viability, but restoring employment to an acceptable level in the foreseeable future, with the additional taxes and national insurance contributions that brings.

According to recent reports the World Bank has approved loans of US$159 million for a series of Caribbean Regional Air Transport connectivity projects.  This included concessionary financing of $13 million for Dominica, US$17 million for Grenada and US$45 million for St. Lucia with a maturity of 40 years including a grace period of 10 years ‘to improve regional capacity’ and ‘facilitate connectivity and support countries during the COVID-19 recovery phase’.

Will these incredibly generous borrowing terms, at least partially relieve financial pressures on these Governments and enable them to reduce airport and departure taxes?

Airline pundits have also been calling for radical reforms of LIAT over the last decade or more and for a company that has been so reliant on taxpayer’s monies for almost an eternity it seems almost incredulous that their accounts have not been made public for 40 years.

Perhaps this is the opportunity to finally restructure the company, without regional political interference preventing the installation of management that could ensure its long term viability and survival. Unless this happens, just the concept of developing the true potential of intra-Caribbean travel and restoring past arrival numbers will remain a distant pipe dream.

Barbadians, ALL Together NOW!

…The discussion must turn to how can we run a country on 25% less revenue than planned over the next 2 years. It does not have to come to layoffs either. It can come from improved tax collection, greater efficiency etc. It does not have to be a case of just “sending home people”…

BU Commenter: John A

What has has been weighing on the blogmaster’s mind in recent weeks you ask?

In light of the Covid 19 pandemic most economies in the world have been negatively affected whether service based, commodity driven or combination of the two. The result is that citizens will have to make sacrifices until ‘normalcy’ is achieved. This is particularly true for the most vulnerable people in society – the indigent and sick.

The 500 million dollar projected shortfall in government’s budget as a consequence of the prevailing adverse economic conditions is a reality not many Barbadians have come to grips if one listens to public discussion. Made more acute the country is suffering from economic fatigue after a severe debt restructure and a decade or more of economic wutlessness.

Obviously government has a moral obligation to find ways to keep workers employed. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate that changes – especially if unplanned – to the tax base will negatively impact revenues therefore compromising government’s financial obligations to pay for public goods and services.

Government’s ability to collect taxes is also affected by a performing private sector. If the private sector contracts for any reason by shutting down businesses or sending home workers, contributions to government’s tax/NIS revenues will adversely impact finances. Covid 19 has created the perfect challenge for all governments including Barbados.

Having mentioned the economic and fiscal hurdles facing the country, it is easy to forget the social challenges that have inevitably resulted to make governing more complex.

The country is currently embroiled in a discussion about the details of how the proposed Barbados Optional Savings Scheme (BOSS) will be implemented. The success of BOSS and other fiscal measures are simply that, short term. If the global economy is lazy to respond to recovery it means SIDs like Barbados will have big problems as it burns cash in hand (reserves) to pay salaries and other unsustainable activities to maintain a reasonable standard of living.  More and more rehashed commentary about how successive governments have built the economy on sand, encourage covert corruption and fuelled a culture of political patronage or a country living above its means will surface. This will make for good political discussion, however, does not make for constructive debate in the unprecedented climate we find ourselves.

The lengthy preamble to the thesis is – as a people are we capable of pivoting from the type of vacuous national discourse we have become accustomed to be replaced by one that is apropos?

A good place to start is to work at disrupting old thought patterns that encourage same old same outcomes. Easier said than done but is must be done if we are to survive as a nation out here in the global rat race.

…Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country…

John F. Kennedy

 

 

Adrian Loveridge Column – Book or not to Book is the Question

One of the greatest challenges for the entire tourism industry post Coronavirus, in my humble opinion, will be the subject of credibility in the eyes of the consumer or traveller. Almost every day, often conflicting announcements, regarding the status of when ‘we’ are able to fly and from where, seem to hit the headlines.

Virgin Atlantic has stated that Barbados bound flights from London will only operate from Heathrow airport and this was highlighted in an advertised summer 2021seat sale launched on 16th May.  A cursory glance at their website show fare levels substantially higher than available in previous years for similar periods.

In a recent Forbes article, British Airways (BA) told staff that ‘flights at London Gatwick may not resume in an extreme scenario’ while at the same time also reporting massive redundancies involving 12,000 staff including 1,130 captains and first officers or 26 per cent of all pilots.

However, highly competitive fares for the beginning of 2021 from Gatwick to Barbados are presently bookable on the BA site, so mixed messages creating confusion.  British Airways currently hold 51 per cent of the take-off and landing slots at Heathrow and Virgin Atlantic only 4 per cent.  So if Virgin are planning to transfer many routes from Gatwick to Heathrow, taking that capacity with them, where are the ‘slots’ or take-off and landing positions going to come from?

Recently, Air New Zealand sold a slot pair at Heathrow for a quoted US$27 million and while there will be inevitable airline failure during this crisis any additional slots that become available will still fetch premium prices.

Prior to Covid-19, Heathrow averaged one flight landing or take-off every 90 seconds on each of its two runways or around 470,000 flights per year. Bearing in mind a night jet ban operates from 11.30 pm until 04.30 am. For travellers living north of London and using public transport to reach the airport, Heathrow will become a much more attractive alternative, once the new Elizabeth Line is fully open with its faster air-conditioned trains linking to major rail stations in the capital.

The importance of raising these and other questions now, during this continued period of speculation and doubt, is to allow our visitors, both returnees and potential first time arrivals, the maximum possible time to plan a holiday to our shores.

We are now just a week away from when two of our largest hotels, jointly with over 550 rooms, announced that they are going to re-open. Many are left to wonder exactly which flights are going to fill these properties, with no apparent national policy on the restoration of airlift and questions over quarantine requirements.

I am pretty sure this is all under discussion at the highest level, but everyone involved needs to know exactly what is going on, if we stand any chance of a speedy tourism recovery. The other area that needs urgent attention are the thousands of holidaymaker’s still awaiting refunds, either from the airlines, travel agents or tour operators.

Until their monies are returned without further delay, they are certainly not going to have the confidence to book another future flight or travel package with the prospect of putting additional funds at risk.

He Was Born With a Vampire on his Back

Submitted by Ras Jahaziel I Iktor Tafari

HE WAS BORN WITH A VAMPIRE ON HIS BACK, so he believes that God put it there.

Moreover, he was schooled and churched to see his landless-ness as normal.That is why today’s X-Slaves do not recognize the fundamental injustice that is inherent in their landless-ness.

What lesson might be learned from the Covid-19 Curfew if you happen to be a landless X-Slavewhose fore-parents were robbed and worked to death,and therefore left you WITH NO INHERITANCE except the name of the Slave-Master that raped them on a daily basis?

Read full text @Rastafarivisions.com

Showdown with Doctors

It is outrageous the government and the management at QEH are more concerned with hiding their embarrassment than with making sure that the hospital is safe.
From a government that promised transparency, it seems that they are stuck in the same old culture of secrecy  which is the ideal environment for corruption, leads to the deterioration in services and demoralises and disillusions the workers and the citizens.
The failure of the management at QEH to ensure the safety of Bajans using the hospital is legitimate information for every Bajan to know and any rules or regulations which penalise putting such information into the public domain should be scrapped.
Instead of spending time and resources taking disciplinary action against the doctor, the management at the hospital should be using this time, energy and resources to address the problems that have been highlighted.
Tee White

Since Dr. Maurice Walrond (General Surgeon) went public to voice concerns about how surgeries are being performed at the QEH in a COVID 19 environment, the management of the hospital has been forced to initiate an action that will require Dr. Walrond to defend himself against a charge of a breach of contract.

Maurice_Walrond_QEH

 

Page 1 of QEH Letter sent to Walrond Source: Barbados Today

 

It is regrettable the issue had to be raised in the glare of the public. Of greater concern to the blogmaster is that Walrond and the eleven doctors supporting his position were unable to sit around a table to resolve the issue.  Very unfortunate indeed.

It should not come as a surprise QEH management issued a ‘letter’ to Walrond, this is a standard HR practice to respond to any employee or ‘contractee’ thought to have violated terms and conditions of employment. Walrond being the intelligent person that he must be would have calculated the risk reward as they say of taking a public position. The risk to his contract at the QEH being revoked versus the merit of his argument (and eleven colleagues) that the public health of Barbados is being compromised by the existing QEH protocol to deal with surgeries.

The QEH has a responsibility to follow ‘grievance procedure’ and in all fairness could not be expected to ignore Dr. Walrond’s decision to go public last week with David Ellis on the afternoon show Getting Down to Brasstacks. Can you imagine if Tom, Dick and Harry contracted by the QEH to deliver sensitive services felt unfettered access to the media to air concerns was the best option to resolve problems? Such an approach would compromise the running of the QEH or any organization for that matter.

One suspects Dr. Walrond would have weighed the possible outcomes his bold action would have triggered. He comes from a family  setup where he should have benefited from being around his mother (May She Rest in Peace) AND a father who is a retired surgeon. One suspects there is more to come in this matter. What action will the eleven other doctors take who have reportedly affixed their signature to the letter sent to management supporting Walrond’s concerns? Walrond is only the face of the dispute. Surely they will not throw Walrond under the bus without trying to save him. It is reported Walrond initiated communication with BAMP.

The blogmaster understand the arguments from BOTH sides. The QEH is hamstrung by lack of resources to implement the ideal site to do surgeries in a COVID 19 environment. In such a situation Walrond et al will find good reasons to be critical. In this situation reasonable men charged with protecting the health of Barbadians are encouraged to pursue a path to achieve a balanced (win win) position. Airing this matter in public makes for good ratings for the media but says nothing about our ability as an educated people to satisfactorily resolve conflict.

What a time for the public health sector to become unstable.

Our children are watching and modelling our behaviours.

 

And a Time To Rest

grenville-phillips

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

During the COVID-19 press briefings, the Government refused to divulge any information on where positive cases had contracted the virus. We were not allowed to know the village, district or parish. We were not allowed to know whether they visited a business, or the type of business.

The reason for this secrecy, was to avoid any type of stigma and discrimination. We were to accept that: Barbados was one country, we were all in this together, and there was no room for division during this COVID-19 crisis.

Last Sunday (17 May 2020), the Government decided to throw one organisation to the wolves of social media. The Government claimed that three members of a small Church, in Bridgetown, with a membership of about 30, had tested positive. Well, that excluded the large Anglican, Methodist and Moravian churches in Bridgetown.

As if that were not enough, the Government threw fuel on the fire by publicly speculating that they were not sure, but that they were trying to find out whether members of that church were meeting during the lockdown.

To put the final nail in the coffin, the Government directed that this church was ordered closed until further notice.

On Tuesday 19 May 2020, the Government revealed that they had tested 27 members of the 28-member church, and four persons were positive. Our Acting Chief Medical Officer admitted that there was no evidence to support the allegation, that members of the church had met during the lock-down.

Why allow this irresponsible public speculation? Why did the Government make the reckless public allegation in the first place, that we now know was dangerous fake news?

Has the Government changed the way it reports on positive cases? Is this new protocol to be retroactive? Are we to expect the Government to now publicise the type, size and location of establishments that the other positive cases were in contact, or is this new exposure to only target churches?

The Other Shoe.

Just when we thought that things could not get any worse, they dropped the other shoe. The Government exposed the actual name of the next positive case. What would possess them to do that? What about the stigma that they were so insistent of avoiding?

Why also reveal that the lady tested positive for COVID-19, but was allowed to delay the mandatory isolation that the rest of us must endure, to see her ailing mother?

What about those Government skits, where people were pleading to see their elderly parents, but were denied for the greater good of all Barbadians? They must have known that everyone would see the blatant double standard.

Why throw the lady under the bus, to be ravaged by the wolves of social media? Does the Government think that their new strategy of exposing individuals, will encourage people who think that they may have the virus, from coming forward? Do they think that this new strategy will encourage persons to cooperate with those doing contact tracing?

To be charitable, it seems that the current set of persons managing this crisis are now exhausted. They are consistently making lunatic level mistakes, that cannot be rationally explained.

Further, their mistakes have consequences that can harm us all. Their recent actions are foreseen to force positive cases both underground, and from cooperating with those doing contact tracing.

Solutions Barbados suggests that the current managers be given a two-week vacation, to rest. They can then resume their duties recharged, for the benefit of us all.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Invisible Post COVID PROGRESSIVE Policies

 

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Group

The fears of many progressives that Caribbean leaders will not embrace a new economic path post COVID -19, are slowly surfacing. While we support the current efforts in the fight against COVID-19, we must admit that as the region returns to state of normalcy or what is being branded the “new norm”, there will be nothing new about their economic management.

There is a collective pandering to the same institutions and backward policies that are essentially stagnating growth. We therefore expect the status quo to remain entrenched and we predict that we will witness blatant attempts, to apply the finishing touches to the death of trade unionism. The commanding heights of our economies will continue to be dominated by whites, Asians, and other minorities both local and expatriate. The relentless quest for wealth will continue and many poor Black Caribbean citizens, will be expected to carry the burden.

These hopelessly backward and visionless leaders are once more placing almost all their eggs in the tourist industry basket. They have quickly forgotten how rapidly and comprehensively the tourist industry collapsed as the vicious COVID-19 spread throughout the world. They are hell bent on cajoling with a good servant but a bad master and the vacant air and seaports resembling ghost cities, put fear r in their timid hearts.

The agricultural and manufacturing sectors have been ruthlessly abandoned and in some countries golf courses, marinas and multimillion-dollar homes have replaced anything resembling food crops. The islands are essentially for sale and in some territories, citizenship can be bought to boost foreign exchange levels. The worst kept secret in some islands, is the fact that three generations of white plantation owners have no interest in agriculture. They have destroyed some economies and are in cahoots with some high-flying politicians who live above their means and find themselves in the pocket of corporate marauders.

Against this background of leadership sycophancy, the MCG, has no choice other than to call on progressive forces to blunt this socio-economic destruction. We can no longer limit ourselves to pseudo intellectual mumbo jumbo while our brothers and sisters, in some cases, work for less than $150 USD per week.

We note that some leaders are forced to eat humble pie as they slip into bed with known corporate pirates. Our distinguished head of the University of the West Indies finds himself begging the same corporate elites that he once vehemently castigated. We watch in awe as one leader a once considered a Marxist, finds himself at the center of unsavory acts unbefitting his tremendous intellect and academic brilliance. And another leader finds herself embracing a rich white corporate heavy roller, whom she viciously attacked in a general election just about two short years ago.

The COVID-19 has not only unhinged our socio-economic model but has left naked for all to see, a barren collective leadership that now finds everything, apart from sunseekers on their beaches, beyond their bankrupt imagination.

We expect to see more pigs walking on their hindlegs.

William Skinner, Information Officer, MCG.

Time to CUT Salaries Prime Minister!

In her recent address to the nation Prime Minister Mia Mottley indicated a real discussion will take place next week between the government and social partnership as it pertains to how the country will have to support workers displaced in a post COVID period. The idea of pandemic bonds has been floated.

Commonsense Barbadians understand the pandemic will force a change to the way WE have to do business today, tomorrow and in the future. It is important to define WE – it means all actors operating in civil society INCLUDING the government.

Leadership is about leading by example. There is no better time than to illustrate the idea of leading from the front than for the Prime Minister and her very large Cabinet to take a salary cut.

The blogmaster joins with many looking forward to participate in a sensible national discussion about the best way forward in a COVID world. It makes no sense ordinary people asked to make a sacrifice and OTHERS are allowed to operate business as usual.

Cutting salaries will not result in a significant savings in the context of the national budget BUT it is not about that is it.


 

Forced savings discussion could help save jobs

In an effort to keep job losses to a minimum, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley will next week start a dialogue with her financial advisors regarding the possibility of introducing forced savings for public officers.

The Prime Minister said the new measure, through which some public officers would have part of their salary kept in the form of bonds, would play a significant role in helping provide Government with more fiscal space as it continued to deal with the debilitating economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on Thursday night after consultations with the Social Partnership at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Mottley said forced savings could lead to hundreds of public servants keeping their jobs, even though there was no plan to start sending home any.
“If we have to look to avoid forced layoffs in Government, then we can look at a form of forced savings. We will have that conversation next week, as we want to give everyone an opportunity. We have to cut expenditure, even in spite of the fiscal space we have. We are in a comfortable position, but we want to ensure we have safe work for safe people.”
Mottley said the International Monetary Fund had recommended to its board in early June that Barbados be allowed to move from a six per cent primary surplus to one per cent.

“It will give us at least $550 million in elbow room,” she told the media.
She said Government’s main aim was to slowly get the country back to a state of normalcy. (BA)

Life After COVID 19

Link suggested by Dr. GP (reproduced from Bajanthings.com

Life after COVID19. Hope for a new world order.

With the spread of the COVID-19 virus showing no sign of leaving the world any time soon it is probably premature to talk or think of life after it is gone.

It appears that the necessary and common sense restrictions on gathering has slowed the infection rate and by extension the death rate. But as soon as these restrictions are lifted in stages the number of cases again rise. It has happened in S. Korea, Singapore and lately in China.

It will be interesting to see the results in Europe.  In Barbados we have relaxed the 24/7 curfew we had to 8pm to 5am.  The next 2 weeks will tell us if it was premature.  It is a hard balance between halting the spread and getting back to work, or just being able to go outside and socialise.

The human animal evolved as a social animal and to try to change this for any period of time will not work. You can modify it but not stop the need to be in groups or tribes.

I think that we in the Caribbean have found it more difficult not to socialise on buses, streets, shops and everywhere we congregate than those accustomed to life in big cities. There it is considered rude to make eye contact with a stranger. That is not the Caribbean way. We get on a bus and immediate join in any conversation with everyone.

For me I have noticed the enforced change when I go into shops or businesses where all the social interaction no longer applies. I hope that returns soon as that is what makes us one people.

Read fill text @Bajanthings.com