Execute or Die

The blogmaster followed with interest the passing of Bills yesterday in the Lower House of the National Payment System Bill 2021 and the Barbados Identity Management Bill 2021. The government appears to be moving to take advantage of technology to enhance and transform how Barbadians do business in a new ecosystem, pay for goods, services. Gone are the days when banks and to a lesser extent credit unions monopolized payment systems. Replacing the ‘tattered and embarrassing’ looking Barbados ID card is also overdue. From following the debate the new Barbados ID card will use current technology to store a range of data to permit the holder to do different types of transactions with optional validation with the use of biometrics etc. The improvements once implemented will improve business facilitation and other deficiencies.

The initiative by government to improve the ‘national payment ecosystem’ to quote Minister in the ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn although laudable exposes the fact homegrown businesses do not control the bulk of payment transactions. For too long Barbadians seem happy to be consumers of goods and services instead of becoming owners in the distribution chain whether financial or commodity. Unless we discover ways to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery enhancements we make facilitated by new laws in parliament will be nothing more than painting ‘lipstick on the pig’.

The other development which caught the attention of the blogmaster was the announcement last week a comeyuh promised to invest 10 million dollars to transform the 400 acre Haymans plantation to a state of the art farm. The blogmaster commends the investor who for whatever reason appears to be motivated to do something that should be part of a larger project to address food security in Barbados. Covid 19 has exposed our shortcomings as far as agriculture production is concerned. We agree there has been increase in agricultural output, however, nothing that has significantly moved the needle to address food security concerns. Did it escape Barbadians Charles Gagnon, owner of Haymans had to remove 50 truckloads of garbage illegally dumped on the site.

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The initiative is a timely reminder to inquire what is the project status of 30 acres of land located at Dukes plantation that was donated to UWI Cave Hill Campus in 2017. There is a lethargy that seems to permeate everything we do in Barbados. Surely we have referred to implementation deficit often enough to have made a conclusion by now that we have to change how we do business if we want to sustain an acceptable quality of life for our people. There is an advantage to being a 2×3 island. It should equip us to be nimble in decision-making and project execution.

In simple less flowery language Barbadians must shed comfortable politically partisan positions and evolve to assessing what are national imperatives and just do it. The constant and banal snarling exhibited by stakeholders in civil society is unacceptable given our investment in education. We are a Black majority nation and should be embarrassed to acknowledge that our key gateways to economic activity are controlled by minority AND foreign interest.


Has Hilary Beckles Traded His Soul To Ensure His Legacy?

The politics of globalization are about asserting one’s identity. If you can’t assert the authenticity of your culture…your nation, state and your culture will be rendered obsolete.

Hilary Beckles – Principal of the University of the West Indies (2002)

Does anyone think Hilary Beckles remembers the quote above? What the BU household remember is his valiant effort to gain a seat on the Board of Directors of what was the Mutual Assurance Society, since converted to a stock company and currently trading under the name of Sagicor. The fact that he lost the battle will not resonate in the history books as much as the raising of a black consciousness which a generation of black Barbadians have benefited. It was the classic David and Goliath confrontation, the established company successfully managed by the whites for many years off the backs of black policyholders, confronted by a black intellectual who was the beneficiary of a post colonial free education policy. Let us remember that the late Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow asserted that free education was to be the right of every Barbadian. The impact which the intervention Hilary Beckles has had on the landscape of Barbados will probably not be adjudged for another generation. We can probably agree that his single-handed battle interrupted the course of events and the consequence of it all is that black Barbadians and civil society took a giant leap forward.

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