How De Yutes Get So?

Submitted by Just Observing

26 years ago there was a hue and cry when a then young Minister of Education who managed a group of artists brought school aged students to the Wildey Gymnasium to be “feted” by none other than Mr. Edwin Yearwood, Pic of De Crop winner.

At the time this mass “party” was unheard of but clearly went on to become a staple of B/DLP politics, campaigning and our cultural and sub cultural landscape.

Fast forward 27 years to the present and we have a young Minister of Education who manages a group of artists and uses them for promotional and motivational student videos (covid, back to school, stop the bullying etc.) including the popular Mole, Peter Ram and others.

BUT, here is the rub. The attached video shows the duality of entertainment and the flip side of performance roles.


So, one day it’s go to school, learn well, sanitise and don’t trouble nobody. The next day it’s gunshots showering like storm, high grade, kush, 357’s, AR’s and coffins for informers who get shot.

All coming from the same mouths, with the same faces, in the same spaces.

All managed and seemingly endorsed by a young Minister of Education whose business interests apparently diverge from the broader national, social and values based interests when convenient.

Imagine this at a time when violence, guns, shooting and fear of serious crime continue to climb. This is what far too many of our young people glorify, rejoice in and give praise to.

As one of the same said artists said over 30 years ago…..

“Well boh, I find out doh, uh NOW realise how de yutes get so”

Low CXC Grades – A Cause for Concern


Submitted by Felicia Dujon, Director of the Caribbean Mentorship Institute

The Caribbean Examination Council recently announced that over 11,000 pupils across the region who wrote the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Exam (formerly O’levels) last May/June got no passes. The Caribbean Mentorship Institute has also raised concern on this alarming disclosure.

The institute which advocates and conducts research on Caribbean youths has observed an increasing trend of high school dropouts among male students as well. Ms. Felicia Dujon, the Director adds that “ though the figures are alarmingly high- we must consider that each fail grade is a young person who is failing academically. This raises serious concerns for the development of young persons in our region. The question remains whether we are making the impacts that are necessary for their growth and development. Are our curriculums preparing our students for future development? What alternative forms of education can these young persons have access to which will enable them to succeed economically and as contributing citizens. Too many of our young males are high-school drops out, and it is more alarming when it is occurring at the primary school level.

The Institute advises government and education officials to include vocational and mentoring programs in schools which will assist young men and women to have the additional support which is needed for their academic development. They observe that failing grades can contribute to low esteem and deviant behaviours if not addressed effectively. The Institute adds that according to research, Dr. Robert S. Byrd, an Associate Professor of Clinical Paediatrics, Division of General Paediatrics, University of California at Davis, Sacramento, California notes that failure in school can have lifelong consequences. The causes of school failure are myriad and often multiple within individual students who are struggling academically. Social, behavioural, and emotional problems frequently lead to academic difficulties. Health conditions also can impair academic performance. One in five children who repeats a grade in school has some identifiable disability. Irrespective of its cause, school failure is associated with adverse health outcomes. Children who fail in school are more likely to engage in subsequent health-impairing behaviours as adolescents. Failing students also are more likely to drop out of school. Adults who have no high school education often face limited economic opportunities, but they also are more likely to engage in health-impairing behaviours, to experience poor health, and to die at a younger age. Comprehensive approaches to evaluation and intervention may improve outcomes, and health care practitioners should play a vital role in these assessments. Moreover, clinicians can make a significant difference in outcomes by helping families identify the causes of failure and advocate for the resources to alter a child’s downward academic trajectory, preventing further compromise of a child’s health. Paediatric clinicians also should assess and intervene in risk behaviours of failing students. School readiness promotion and school failure prevention should be incorporated into routine health supervision visits.

1991 National Democratic Party Youth Program

Submitted by William Skinner

I have shared this in answer to Artax, who asked if it [NDP Youth Manifesto pledge] was available on line. Note that $20m. in 1991 is about $32m. at today’s rates. The NDP would have spent $100m. on the youth between 1991 and 1996, if it had won the government. That is equivalent to $160m. today.

Yet in 2018 we are hearing a government is going to spend $10m. on some youth entrepreneur program. This is half of what the NDP would have spent in 1991 almost thirty years ago.

Programme For Youth (National Democratic Party (NDP) 1991)

$20m On young

The single most important failure of the old political order is its failure to create sufficient opportunities for young people of working age, to make productive and dignifying use of their time, energy and talents.

As a result, too many able young men and women have been left to drift aimlessly and become enmeshed in a sub-cultural life-style which all too often leads to the destruction of character, mind and body. If ever the young people of Barbados needed help, hope and inspiration, they need it now.(1991)

The National Democratic Party has identified employment, moral example and the opportunity for constructive self-expression as the priority needs of the young people of Barbados, and an NDP Government would be bound by a solemn charge and promise, to seek to meet these needs.

In accordance with this solemn undertaking, an NDP Government would:

  • Spend $20million a year on special programmes and projects for the youth of working age
  • Establish a well staffed Business Advisory Centre to encourage and facilitate the entry of youth into the world of business;
  • Expand the curriculum of all trade services offered by government agencies to include basic training in business management, marketing, communications skills, etiquette and deportment;
  • Upgrade and expand the Apprenticeship Programmes;
  • Provide “start-up kits” for any person who has graduated frorm the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the Skills Training Programme, or from any other approved programme of training and is desirous of working in the area in which he or she has been trained;
  • Introduce a scheme whereby employers registered with the scheme will be paid $75 per week, for one year for every additional person between the age of 17 and 25, who is employed;
  • Provide adequate funding and administrative for the Barbados Youth Council.
  • Involve youth in local government.
  • Appoint a representative number of young men and women to serve in the Senate and on Statutory Boards.
Reference: National Democratic Party 1991 Manifesto pages, 23/24

Related link: 1994 National Democratic Party (NDP)

The Grenville Phillips Column | Marijuana – to legalise or not?

We were told that if we wanted the youth vote, that we must agree to legalise marijuana for recreational use.  Well, Solutions Barbados policies will significantly benefit the youth of Barbados.  However, while we plan to allow non-addictive extracts to be prescribed by doctors for medicinal uses, recreational use of marijuana is another question.

In a Solutions Barbados administration, using marijuana will not attract a prison sentence or court presence, but a fine, much like how illegal parking attracts a parking ticket.  Marijuana will remain an illegal substance in order to protect our youth.

Many of our youth tend to push the boundaries of what previous generations agreed was generally acceptable behaviour.  Some of our behaviours result from researched health and safety standards while some are cultural.

Our youth tend to push the boundaries of all behaviours during their development as they find their own way.  Parents and guardians are responsible for restraining them if their behaviours can cause harm to themselves or others.

During interactions with some young teenagers, they noted that they did not use Facebook, for the simple reason that many their parents used it.  Instead, they used the more recently developed application, Instagram, which few of their parents used.

Our youth have a natural desire to express themselves differently from the previous generation.  This desire is normal and may be expressed by their embracing the latest technological equipment, music, dress and/or other types of fashion.

The styles between generations is sufficiently far apart that our youth tend to stand out when they are with adults.  However, when competing to be different among their peers, they may be tempted to cross the boundary of is legally accepted.  They may express their desire to stand out among their peers by exceeding the speed limit, which is why their car insurance premiums are higher.

Some youth are attracted to marijuana for the simple reason that it is illegal.  However, if it is legalised, then they will likely find something else to differentiate themselves from the normal crowd.  In the US, where states legalised marijuana for recreational use, the youth turned to brain altering drugs, and deaths from overdosing on opioids increased significantly.

Legalising something harmful may seem like a good solution to reduce the costs of policing.  However, I do not think that the foreseen consequential damage to our youth is worth it.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

The Grenville Phillips Column – Liberating Our Youth

Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados

Last week, we described how our secondary school students could graduate with some measure of independence.  This can be achieved by keeping our students interested in learning by teaching them the practical aspects of subjects during the first three years, and then training them to start and grow successful businesses using this practical knowledge.

Our students can be taught the more theoretical information during years 4 and 5 in preparation for their CXC examinations.  However, what will we do for those who have already graduated with no marketable skills?

Solutions Barbados’ plan is to train all persons, including recent graduates, to start and grow profitable businesses, with no or very little start-up funds.

The training workshop takes five (5) weeks and it will be transmitted on CBC television and on the Internet, where it can also be accessed with a smart phone.  At the end of the 5-week workshop, all participants should have started a viable business.

Once persons have a sustainable business and wish to expand, a Solutions Barbados administration will provide micro-loans from a new national bank, which will be managed at all post offices.  Such loans will not be available to start a business, only to grow a profitable business.

It is common for our youth to leave secondary school in search of entry-level jobs.  Such jobs include washing dishes, mixing concrete, carrying construction materials around a site, and security guard duties.  Nothing is wrong with these types of jobs.  However, our youth must see them as means to an end and not their end.

There is a measurable difference in the attitude of a person who washes dishes to fund his business, and the person who washes dishes for a living.  The one who sees an entry-level job as a temporary stepping-stone may work hard to complete his tasks.  The one who has resigned himself to the realization that the entry-level job is permanent, may pace himself for a life-sentence of boredom.

Barbados needs all persons to participate in our economy at their highest potential.  Therefore, all persons in entry-level jobs should have a plan for advancing in the company or starting their own businesses.  The 5-week workshop is designed to also train those in entry-level jobs to grow out of them.

Despite all the training, our youth can still be frustrated when they try to access government services that are critical to their advancement.  That is why all government departments are to be managed to the highest international customer-focused standard, ISO 9001.

Our youth can also be held back because they do not know a political operative or are not in favour with the political party n Government.  Our youth should not have to prostitute themselves just to access services to which they are entitled.  In a Solutions Barbados administration, any public worker who delays, denies or approves an application for politically partisan reasons, or attempts to solicit a bribe or sexual favours for government services, will be fired and lose their pension.

Our youth will eventually replace us.  Therefore, they must understand our foundations, appreciate our struggles, acknowledge the threats to our country, accept their responsibilities, and embrace the discipline that is required to lead others.

In preparation for their leadership roles, they must accept the challenge to find honest income-generating work, responsibly grow out of entry-level jobs, ethically start and grow their business, and responsibly advocate for improvements that benefit all of us in Barbadians.  Our students and recent graduates will enjoy developing in a Solutions Barbados administration, and we, their parents, will be relieved when they do.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

The Grenville Phillips Column – Stop Frustrating Our Youth

Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados

Graduating from secondary school is normally an exhilarating time for our youth.  However, for those who have not found employment, or acceptance in an institution of further learning, the end of the summer holiday can be the start of a long period of hopelessness for them and their parents.

The longer that school graduates remain idle, the greater their disillusionment when they compare their situation to that of their more fortunate friends, and the greater the risk that they will be tempted to obtain money by illegal methods.  Selling stolen property, illegal drugs, and their bodies become viable income options.

As Solutions Barbados’ candidates interact with people in our communities, a common question is: “what is your plan for these youths?”  Our plan is to remove the hopelessness that so many of them currently experience.  Our youth will enjoy maturing in a Solutions Barbados administration.

Every young person will be able to realise their full potential by being trained to be independent, both while they are at school and after they have graduated.  For this to be realised, the secondary school curriculum needs to be improved.

Our secondary school curriculum was designed to prepare students to enter the major professions.  Our resulting professionals can successfully compete with professionals from any part of the world.  However, since the majority of graduates do not pursue such professional careers, our school system fails most of our students.

The simple solution is to arrange the secondary school curriculum so that it benefits everyone.  Everyone includes those planning on pursuing the major professions, business, artisan trades, arts, and those who entered secondary school with low common entrance scores and low aspirations.

The curriculum can be arranged so that the easier-to-learn and more exciting practical parts of subjects, that all students will likely find interesting, can be taught during the first three years.  This is opposed to teaching the more difficult-to-learn theoretical aspects first, and the more practical aspects after students have become frustrated and have lost interest.

This will mean that students will learn conversational languages, where they learn to speak the language before conjugating verbs; music by ear, where they learn to play an instrument before music theory; applied sciences, where the usefulness of the subject is understood, before science theory, where the usefulness of the subject is less clear.  With this practical knowledge, students will learn how to start and grow a profitable business.

The final two years will be spent preparing for the CXC examinations.  However, with students already benefiting from the useful knowledge of the subjects, they are more likely to exercise the discipline necessary to learn the generally more difficult-to-learn theoretical aspects.  They will learn the subject “Principles of Business” after they have a business to apply this learning to.

Every student will graduate with at least one marketable skill and feel useful.  If our students cannot graduate with being able to survive with some measure of independence, then we have done them a disservice.

Our political leaders should be held responsible for an educational system that has failed so many of our students.  Why?  Because it was a political decision to: mandate that our children attend secondary school; determine how students were allocated to these schools; allow secondary schools to be managed by different boards of politically appointees; determine the teaching, materials, and maintenance resources that each school would receive; and determine the amount of discipline teachers could enforce.

In a Solutions Barbados administration, we will make the political decision to manage all schools to the highest international customer-focused management standard available, ISO 9001, for the benefit our students and their parents.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

School Children Fighting is NOT the Problem

Sir Richard Branson called for inspiring leaders in the Caribbean to stand up!

Almost every day a video featuring pupils of one of our schools is posted to sites on social media and to coin the description by traditional media, it goes viral. The BU household does not intend to post the latest video of students attacking one of their own like a pack of wild animals making the rounds to support the point. While it is constructive sometimes to post the odd video to awaken the concern of a public that has grown numb to growing violence among a segment of our youth population. We observe that many of the videos and pictures featured by many in the traditional and social media is to ride the popularity that being sensationalistic generates.

It is evident if we are forced to listen to the talking heads featured in the traditional media the reasons offered for the bad behaviour seem less than convincing and steeped in emotionalism. The growing trend of violence in the society- especially in the youth population- is worrying to BU because it acts as a reminder of our inability as a country to effectively manage the PSV sector to recall one example.  Many have warned for the last 30 years that there was a need for the stakeholders including the government, insurance companies, PTAs and other NGOs in civil society,  to sensibly address the sub culture that had emerged. Sadly the negative aspects of the sub culture has interwoven with the way of life for many of our school children therefore adding to the complexity of the problem. How we have allowed this sub culture to take root over the last 30 years does not lend confidence that we will be able to effectively wrestle the incidents of rising violence in schools and related behaviour being given wings on social media.

First the traditional media sought a quote from the ineffective President of Barbados National Council of Parent Teacher Association (BNCPTA) Shone Gibbs “There is no need for anyone to take the law into their own hands, but it must be prosecuted to the hills by the family of the victim because we cannot allow these things to happen, this level of bullying and intimidation, because someone could have easily lost their life yesterday”.  Why has his organization that is suppose to represent all PTAs in Barbados not mobilize by arranging a national march to bring focus to the issue of violence in schools and other related issues affecting the school population? Why not collaborate with the BUT and BSTU in a full court press to challenge the many issues swirling in schools? Stop being so damn politically correct!

WE the citizens of Barbados sit on our behinds and offer platitudes when one of these graphic videos is posted which confirms what we already know. The time has come to act to win back the minds of many of our children who are challenged because of the lack of parental guidance in the home and positive role models in their lives. What are the NGOs like the BNCPTA and the ministry in government responsible for youth affairs to cite only two doing to convert words into action plans designed to work to materially attack the problems?

There are enough signs that the traditional values and structure to our society that undergirded it in times of yore are no longer effective. We live in times when the political leader of the country refused to condemn the immoral and unethical behaviour of the Speaker of the House. We have the  incident where a senior minister of government is reported to have brandished a weapon within the precinct of Parliament and the political class conspire to squash the matter.  There were promises made by the Attorney General and the prime minster that they would investigate a matter and report to parliament …

Our county is crying out for leaders and we didn’t need Sir Richard Branson on a recent visit to Barbados to make the observation.

Will our real leaders please stand up!

The George Brathwaite Column – Job Talk Versus Real Job Growth

Submitted by Dr. George C. Brathwaite

Unemplyment Stats 2015It is staggering when the current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration comes across as being boastful against data suggesting that job growth in Barbados reached a point of satisfaction in which the unemployment rate supposedly dipped to 9.3 in the first three months – January to March – of 2016. According to data produced by the Barbados Statistical Service, the unemployment rate among males stood at 8.7 per cent and 10.0 per cent among females. Furthermore, the number of persons employed totalled 131 300.

This writer is concerned that the size of the workforce during this period is significantly lower than it was in 2008; yet, the DLP takes comfort in repeatedly honing in on an alleged decrease in the unemployment rate. The Barbados Economic & Social Report for 2008 indicates that the annual rate of unemployment for that year was “8.1 per cent, representing a 0.7 percentage point increase over the 7.4 per cent, which was recorded in 2007. … There was only a marginal increase in the labour force during 2008 which grew by approximately 100 individuals to record a labour force of 143,800 persons. The composition of the labour force at the end of 2008 was 73,700 males and 70,100 females. The total employed labour force in 2008 was 132,100 persons, comprising 68,700 males and 63,400 females.”

For countries like Barbados and in today’s world, it is very important that job creation and employment opportunities exist since the likelihood of more persons actively working is conducive to economic growth and enhancing national productivity. Indeed, the most recent IMF Article IV Consultation Report contends that “a comprehensive growth strategy is needed to lift” Barbados’ long‑term competitiveness in the key tourism sectors, together with setting “priorities for raising growth” which would “include timely implementation of tourism investment and infrastructure projects, improving public service efficiency and streamlining business regulation, increasing labor market flexibility, and unlocking agriculture’s growth potential.” Being identified here are too many key areas with potential in an economy that has been underperforming over the past eight years, and has been described as being stagnant and struggling to the point of reaching crisis proportions.

The Social and Economic Reports for 2013, 2014, and 2015 highlight the following information which at best can be described as unflattering for those potential workers wanting to enter the labour market and make some earned money so that they could feed their families and clothe their children. Considering that thousands of persons have been pushed, for one reason or another from the workforce, has to be a huge frustration to hear of unemployment lows when the suffering is high.

The multiple reports state that: At the end of 2013, there were 126,200 employed persons in Barbados. This was an increase of 900 persons when compared with the previous year, when 125,300 persons were recorded. … The unemployment rate remained at 11.6 per cent, consistent with 2012. The total labour force was estimated to be 142,900 persons, an increase of approximately 1,200 persons when compared with 2012. The composition of the labour force at the end of 2013 was 72,900 males and 70,000 females.

At the end of 2014, there were 124,800 employed persons in Barbados. This was a decrease of 6,600 persons when compared with the previous year, when 131,400 persons were recorded. … The unemployment rate stood at 12.8 per cent, an increase of 1.3 percentage points when compared with the same period 2013. …The unemployment rate rose to 12.3 per cent, up from 11.6 per cent at the end of 2013. … The total labour force was estimated to be 142,300 persons, a decline of approximately 6,400 persons when compared with 2013. The composition of the labour force at the end of 2014 was 72,000 males and 70,300 females.

At the end of 2015, there were 128,200 employed persons in Barbados. This was an increase of 3,400 persons when compared with the previous year, when 124,800 persons were recorded. … The unemployment rate fell to 11.3 per cent, down from 12.3 per cent at the end of 2014. … The total labour force was estimated to be 144,600 persons, an increase of approximately 2,300 persons when compared with 2014. The composition of the labour force at the end of 2015 was 72,900 males and 71,700 females.

Do not let the numbers fool or confuse us! Do not allow the political rhetoric coming from the mouths of Democratic Labour Party Ministers to convince us that the troubled Cabinet of Prime Minister Stuart is performing anywhere near optimal levels. Like the Barbados economy, the DLP Cabinet Ministers have flattered to deceive, while Barbadians continue to suffer the indignity of having to rely on seasonal employment, underemployment, and ‘brekking the odd job’ in the informal sectors of the economy.

All of the figures presented here clearly show that by the end of March 2016, the employed population in Barbados was smaller than it was in 2008 (i.e. 131, 300 in 2016 compared with 143, 800 in 2008). Unbelievable, considering the idle boasts of the DEMS. The incredulity of the data was aptly discussed in a July 8, 2016 Nation News Paper Editorial titled ‘Out of work, or unemployed?’ There was a relevant claim made suggesting that: “We would have to join all those who are more than a little curious about these latest statistics in asking for a detailed explanation on how they are compiled. We accept that there is science in statistics, but for ordinary citizens who live in the real world, the anecdotal evidence all around does not square with these numbers.”

Nevertheless, there must be growing concerns about the state of the economy in light of budget measures which include increased taxation and that would likely dampen some potential for employment growth. Where are the incentives for job creation in Barbados? Do the opportunities rest in projects such as the Hyatt which is said to begin work in September, even without the necessary approvals in place and properly detailed and communicated to the many stakeholders in Barbados? Will the opportunities emerge in the duty free zones for which the country still knows very little, if anything at all, on how these will work?

Why is it that the Minister of Labour can recognise the troubling effects of high youth unemployment, but Barbados is continuing to make macroeconomic plans without special provision for seeing these young people being captured in the proposals? Is the Finance Minister throwing already cracked eggs into a construction basket in which his credibility and the promise of projects have seldom reaped any synchronisation? Job number one for the next year has to be about jobs for our young people. Approaching 50 years of independence, significant job creation is the least that the DLP can do for good of nation.

(Dr. George C. Brathwaite is a researcher and political consultant, and up until recently, he was editor of Caribbean Times (Antigua). Email: )

The George Brathwaite Column – Agriculture is Vital, and so is our Youth

I am baffled by the national approach or lack thereof when it comes to a struggling agriculture sector and the high incidence of youth unemployment in Barbados. In fact, it was almost seven years ago when the then Barbados Minister of Agriculture, Haynesley Benn, speaking at the Launch of the Youth in Agriculture Programme, ‘Developing Agri-Preneurs’ stated that: “Agriculture is a vital part of our livelihood, contributing to our GDP, foreign exchange earnings, employment, food security and food sovereignty. It has close linkages to tourism and other sub-sectors. Yet, its sustainability is threatened by a number of factors. One significant factor is the lack of interest our youth has in agriculture.”

Now clearly, if in 2009 the Government understood the extent of the problem hampering Barbados with the potential to inhibit social development, it meant that solutions had to be found and programmes implemented. Everyone will agree that agriculture is important to the development of any nation. With Barbados having a high population density and limited land and other natural resources, this nation is even more challenged to cope and find effective solutions.

Therefore, it is important that the youth in Barbados are included not simply as passive participants but as active advocates, planners, and policymakers regarding the linkages to be found between their spaces and agricultural output. At the national level, we have to ask the serious question whether we have done enough to encourage our youth to contribute to agriculture production?

Additionally, has the Government working alone or in partnership with the private sector, provided ample incentives to advance agricultural development with focus on utilising the multi-talents of our youth? Many young people, on a daily basis, are saying that they have grown less inspired under the current administration. They find the dismal circumstances of joblessness unbearable.

Besides, it was the 2011 Draft Youth Policy that revealed the fundamental challenge facing Barbados, pointing on the youth’s desire to know “how to survive and prosper in a rapidly changing, highly competitive global market place.” The fact that globalisation has rendered more porous our borders and opened new avenues for doing business, means that we have to consistently encourage our youth to be involved locally, regionally, and internationally. Indeed, globalisation has brought new opportunities for many workers, especially those who are well educated, and having the skills demanded in the high-tech global economy. This is where Barbados’ food security and agriculture sector need to be expanded.

Nonetheless, globalisation has deepened insecurity and poverty for many others, including large numbers of our young people. Unfortunately, several of our young people do not have either the skills needed to compete or the means to acquire them. Providing our youth with work that is satisfying and the potential for earning decent incomes are paramount, even if this work is cast as a poverty-reduction strategy. To follow the established practice of talk and more talk, or to do little or nothing is a dereliction of duty. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has to halt the drift, and the Ministry of Agriculture must encourage youth participation in the sector.

It is fairly easy to accept that since the 2008 change of government in Barbados, there were several factors inclusive of recession that would have negatively impacted young people in dire need of work. The number of formal jobs available to young people became lesser as the DLP frustrated over the common sense of imposing higher and more draconian taxes in recessionary years.

We know from literature in the western world that the main struggle of young people is “to enter and remain in the labour market” and that, globally, “young people are three times more likely than adults to be out of a job.” It is not surprising then that over the last eight years in Barbados, rising unemployment in both the private and public sectors have hurt the prospects for the youth and more broadly, for the agricultural sector. Barbados achieved little or no economic growth between 2008 and 2016; and social and economic stagnation have held permanent resident status under the DLP in Barbados, thus inducing increased poverty.

Young people have been forced into the informal sector. While the informal sector is not necessarily a bad thing, there must still be the assistance provided by the state and its agencies for encouraging the development of entrepreneurial talents among young people. Instead of hundreds of acres of land at Pool, Wakefield, Todds and many other plantations laying idle or overgrown with bush and cow itch, young people can be allowed to set up teams working in a programme of ownership and enterprise. The young people can lease and bring these lands back into the cultivation of food crops.

Focussing on one solution will not bring wholesale success, but it may effectively contribute to achieving employment generation and inclusive growth within the economy. Entrepreneurship still persists in the psyche of Barbadians as an unwanted insecurity that is likely to incur too many unbearable risks. Clearly, both government and the private sector have definitive roles to play so that we do not fail our young people. We can ill afford to sacrifice our food security given the inherent challenges faced by small island developing states (SIDS).

Writing in a popular development journal, Professor Alice Amsden contends that: “To slay the dragon of poverty, deliberate and determined investments in jobs above starvation wages must play a central role, whether for self-employment or paid employment.” The implied significance of this statement is far-reaching, especially in the context that young people in Barbados are still struggling in 2016 to find and keep decent work.

Barbados’ agricultural sector has been left stranded by lack of imagination and idea-deficiency from the policymakers. What should have been a happy and rewarding marriage between opportunities in agriculture and job creation appears permanently fractured. In addition, the private sector is not sufficiently encouraged to maximise on youthful resources. There has to be an injection of urgency in responding to the needs of our young people and to redress the plight of agriculture.

Private sector development – formal and informal – has an important role to play in poverty reduction. The private sector, including small enterprises, creates and sustains the jobs necessary for poor people to work and earn the income needed to purchase goods and services. Small enterprise development contributes to poverty reduction when it creates employment and job creation provides income to the poor. The key contention is that agriculture is vital to our survival, and so is our youth.

(Dr. George C. Brathwaite is a researcher and political consultant, and up until recently, he was editor of Caribbean Times (Antigua). Email: )

Notes From a Native Son: The Intergenerational War is Warming Up and We Must do Something About it Now

Hal Austin

The global demographic time bomb, or more correctly the problem as it is developing in the developed economies, now looks like spreading to those economies such as Africa and Latin America, where those aged under thirty far outnumber older workers. As we know, this pending crisis is leading to an intergenerational battle, as the baby boomers – those born between the end of the Second World War and the mid-1960s – continue to grab all the goodies for themselves: occupational pensions, homeownership, investments and leisure activities.

As the southern Europeans have shown us, particularly Greeks and Spanish, young people are not taking this laying down. The closest I can remember of this kind of social upheaval was the student rebellion at the end of the 1960s; with students in Germany, France, Britain and the US creating mayhem in protest against the Viet Nam war. There was also the Black Power movement in the US, the rise of the Anarchists and out of these powerful social uprisings came the feminist movement, the Greens, Gay rights and the general shift in popular sentiment to the Left. However, I recently attended a meeting of students movements here in London at which I was asked to address the question of intergenerational conflict. Someone had heard me speaking at a meeting at the Trades Union Congress a few years ago, that time in relation to pensions and home ownership, and though I could add a bit of spice to the debate.

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