Engineers Getting In The Way

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

Portvale sugar factory continues to be closed at this most critical time of our crop season. Shockingly, the factory is still undergoing repairs after a two-week shutdown. Normally repairs happen during the planting and growing seasons, to avoid any shut-downs for repairs during the crop reaping time. Evidently, something has gone terribly wrong.

When CBC-TV finally broke the story that Portvale had already been closed for one week for repairs, the news reporter attempted to give comforting assurance and hope, by stating that: “the engineers are hard at work.” If engineers are seen to be hard at work on a problem that the public is aware of, then the situation must be very dire indeed.


Experienced Engineers normally foresee problems and quietly solve them with permanent solutions – without any fanfare. Therefore, an Engineer’s work is normally thankless, because the public has no opportunity to complain about problems they avoided experiencing. The public are generally unaware that there was anything to give thanks for, when Engineers do their jobs well.

The Barbados media’s decision to treat the closure of the Portvale factory as a national secret, that the public had no right to know, is very troubling. The planters’ decision to spill the proverbial bean, by publicly complaining about the risk of canes rotting, may have forced their hand.

The Barbados media must resist the temptation to be the public relations arm and attack hounds of their political party, and start serving the public with integrity.


The more important issue is: Are there any Chartered Mechanical Engineers employed at Portvale factory to avoid these types of delays? If not, then are there any Chartered Mechanical Engineers working in the Ministry of Agriculture? If not, then is there a single Chartered Mechanical Engineer working in the entire public service of Barbados? Is there a single journalist in Barbados who can ask these questions?

If the Government of Barbados has decided to stop hiring Chartered Mechanical Engineers, then the public must prepare for a wave of: rapidly deteriorating infrastructure, more frequent breakdowns and closures, and unnecessarily higher taxes to prematurely replace poorly maintained infrastructure.


The effective solution is obvious. But we do not seem to want effective solutions in Barbados, because it robs us of an opportunity to show who we really are. We much prefer to let things deteriorate, because that gives the public the opportunity to complain.

The more loudly people complain, the more likely the problem will be temporarily addressed – at an unnecessarily high cost. These short-term solutions give the public many opportunities to show who we really are – a grateful people. We long to express our gratitude. But Engineers’ competence keeps frustrating that cultural attribute.

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

Sagicor Threatens to Part Ways With the Sugar Industry After Waiting 15 Years on a Plan

Submitted by Anthony Davis

With the future of Barbados’ struggling sugar industry already very uncertain, insurance and financial services giant Sagicor Financial Corporation today announced that it is in the process of reviewing its participation in the island’s agribusiness sectorBarbados Today

Dowridge Miller - CEO Sagicor

Dowridge Miller – CEO Sagicor

Talk about dilatory tactics!

I would like it take that long for politicians to agree to raising their money which they get from the taxpayers tax free monthly – no matter what else happens. There are public servants not being paid, and the ones who are supposed to run this country are making a mockery of it.

Fifteen years is an eternity for the cane farmers to wait for an answer from any government – whether BLP  or DLP, and it is many times worse when both of them did not have the time for or care about how the sugar industry was doing. It seems like a case of the blind leading the blind – no matter who wins the next elections.

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Sugar Monies Paid on a Promise

THE AUDACITY OF LEROY PARRIS, claiming that since the freezing of $4.5 million of his $20 million assets, he can’t meet living and business expenses. The Prime Minister allegedly gave advice to the Speaker recently. I wonder if he offered any to his pal Mr Parris?

I certainly can’t advise him, but if I were in a similar position I would be hiding in the nearest hole, thanking my lucky stars that Bajans have traditionally been peaceful  and hoping they remain so.

June Fowler’s fears that the resolution to the CLICO saga might be derailed by certain alleged and sometimes acknowledged friendships are well founded. And to those who don’t see why Government is becoming involved, have they forgotten that successive governments failed in their regulatory function?

Now to the sugar money: Another promise but until farmers have the cheques in hand, they continue to live in hope.

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Agriculturalist Peter Webster Contradicts Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

portvale sugar factory

portvale sugar factory

Isn’t it disappointing and a poor reflection on the leadership in Barbados we have to endure the perennial blame game concerning the state and future of the sugar industry in Barbados? At last month’s Barbados Chamber of Commerce  and Industry (BCCI) Prime Minister Stuart  placed the blame squarely on the back of the private sector for the decline. Even if we accept Stuart’s position we have to ask him, who will lead? It is approaching mid-February and there has been no mobilization of the crop season to reap what is estimated to be 9,000 tonnes of sugar, the lowest in our history.

The average Barbadian is divided about whether sugar is uneconomic. Sadly the majority of positions taken are from uninformed position. Uninformed positions extend to social commentators (talk show hosts) who can be heard daily with positions like, let us follow the St. Kitts model. When the hell has Barbados been known for following lesser developed countries? Is this the sum of billions of investment in education?

Back to sugar!

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