Once more the government has promised to announce plans for the nation’s great economic escape then on the day of reckoning it all came to nothing. Tuesday was a political and economic blow out. But by now this should not be a surprise. Barbados is a nation living on its collective memory, of time when it was great nation, when a simple 166 sq mile island was highly valued throughout the world.
However, times have moved on and, sadly, our political masters have not; they have left us drifting without a moral compass. After years in crisis, the government and its advisers are still like a ship at sea without a captain; our prime minister continues to remain silent, while loudmouths like Donville Inniss continue to hog the public space. And, worst of all, prime minister Stuart continues to show a loyalty to the gross incompetence of Chris Sinckler which boggles the mind.
By now it is obvious, even to Mr Sinckler himself, that he has been promoted beyond his competence; he is out of his league and leaning on a former professor who has lost touch with modern economics only goes to expose his ignorance even more. Tuesday’s circus in parliament was only the latest of this merry go round, of blister and bluff and gross incompetence. What had begun as an unfortunate but manageable economic crisis has, through inertia and ignorance, grown in to a massive meltdown that not only threatens intergenerational relations, but will continue to stagnate for decades.
Having caused the economy to “shrink” and Barbados to be downgraded to “JUNK” it should not matter what the DLP now says it will do, especially when none of its policies before, worked and given that consumers and other credible people and institutions – no longer have confidence in it. The DLP cannot restore confidence, even if the same weak; tired; stale; incompetent Cabinet is reshuffled again. Only a new Government can restore consumer and investor confidence!
This country is in serious trouble and while it is true that the Government is weak (some would now say, incompetent) the truth is that the majority in our society essentially gave the DLP and blank cheque and a free pass to continue to do crap.
Perhaps with the DLP as the Government, it is now becoming obvious that it is no longer sufficient to just do your civic duty once every five years and that’s that! Maybe if people would spend a little more time paying attention – it would not be so easy for an incompetent DLP to get away with so much foolishness, especially when, it was already known that the DLP is a Government Barbados cannot trust or afford..
Background to the problem
On November 13, 2011, the Nation newspaper published an article captioned “Saga of the Barrack muddle” and written by Bryan Walker. That article stressed the fact that, with interest rates as high as 10% built into the arbitrator’s ruling, pressure was mounting on the Government of Barbados to solve the Al Barrack problem as quickly as possible. However, pressure or not, little or no progress has been effectively made since then.
Today, I am focusing attention on the amount of money owed by the Government of Barbados to Barrack Construction (Barrack) only. Thus, arbitration costs, court costs, and legal fees are not included in my analysis.
It appears that Barrack was “awarded” a contract by the Owen Arthur administration related to the erection of a National Housing Corporation (NHC) office complex at Warrens, St. Michael. A dispute subsequently erupted between Barrack and the Owen Arthur administration and the contentious issue was submitted to arbitration on July 25th, 2002. The issue remained under arbitration until September 6, 2006.
At this point, a few questions are justified:
Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Gline Clarke MP
“I think the Government needs to be more (in) consensus. I do not think the Government has the answers to the problems of the economy. I am not sure it is on this side either but we have to move together, we have to work together for the good of the country.”
BLP Opposition MP, Mr. Gline Clarke, Nation Newspaper, Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Mahogany Coconut Group and thousands of other right thinking citizens should now be very clear, that the BLP/DLP collective has hit a brick wall, and has thrown its hands up in the air in utter despair. Mr. Clarke a minister in the last BLP/DLP government has now spoken the truth: The Government does not have the answers and the Opposition is equally hopeless.
We note that nobody from the BLP/DLP has questioned the accuracy of Clarke’s statement. This means that Clarke is unimpressed with his leader Mia Mottley and his Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart. It was the best independence gift Barbadians got from any of the thirty jokers in their Parliament – the gift of truth.
Submitted by Anthony Davis
Senator Kerryann Ifill, president of the Council For The Disabled
It is simple theft; the stealing of precious space –– parking spots reserved for the handicapped or disabled of our community. And the more we talk about it, the worse it seems to get.
Advocates for the disabled –– not least among them the president of the Council For The Disabled, Senator Kerryann Ifill herself –– say fines for the able-bodied who illegally park in the spots for the handicapped should be twice or triple what they are now. A few have recommended instead a mandatory seven days in jail – Barbados Today
First of all let me congratulate “Barbados Today” for a well-written editorial. It is despicable for hard-backed men and women to park in spots reserved for the handicapped. I have noticed that mainly males park in such spots. Females tend to desist from breaking this law, as they do with most of our laws!
Imagine! The house engulfed in flames, but the DLP assures: “don’t worry, we have the key to the front door!” The Government is now making the wild allegation that its ability to access a US$225M bridging loan in these tough economic times, is an indication that Barbados can still borrow on the International markets at reasonable rates.’. How can a “rolling-basis-interest-rate,” ‘EVER’ be a good thing?
Owen Arthur would describe this as: ‘a man jumping off the 80th floor of a building, without a parachute and when passing the 50th floor, is heard to say: “so far so good.” Let’s put this discussion in context. You will recall that the DLP was forced to withdraw its $500 million bond offer on the International Capital Market because (given the “JUNK BOND” status the DLP has earned for Barbados) respected and credible International Investors now find Jamaica’s debt more attractive than Barbados.’
Remember also, that the Central Bank of Barbados took-up US$375 million and essentially bought “JUNK:” with it, that is to say - “DLP-JUNK-Bonds.” Then consider that since June, the DLP caused this country to lose over $400m in foreign reserves. With the foreign exchange cover causing panic, the DLP is “desperate” but it finds itself in a position of absolute weakness – having had four downgrade, including one to “JUNK,” as well as a negative credit rating. Investors like Barbados but they have simply lost confidence in the DLP and with this much uncertainty (where all indicators are showing that things are deteriorating “fast”) a capital flight is inevitable!
The civil service of Barbados accounts for more than 25% of the country’s GDP. One dollar paid as salary to a civil servant is assumed to be one dollar worth of national output. Indifference, poor work habits, and political interference through the years have conspired to make this assumption spurious.
This article attempts to help readers understand the nature and depth of the civil service problem in Barbados by revisiting some historical signposts.
1954: The system of ministerial government was introduced in Barbados. The BLP held 16 out of 24 seats at the time so Grantley Adams became the first premier of the island and local control of the civil service began in earnest.
1974: Apparently angry and frustrated over attitudes aimed at blocking the implementation of his governmental policies, Errol Barrow as Prime Minister (PM) of Barbados, denounced the civil service as an ‘army of occupation’. He also amended the constitution to base the appointment of all judges on the recommendation of the PM after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.
1976: Tom Adams became PM and political interference within the civil service reached unprecedented levels.
There are instances in history where the person in charge does something remarkable act (at the right time) which saves the lives of people or accomplishes some other remarkable feat on behalf of their country or those for whom they have responsibility. Names like Owen Arthur; Tom Adam; Barrow and Clement Payne, easily spring to mind. A captain of a cruise liner or a pilot of a plane – is no different from a Prime Minister of a country. Take, (then 57-year-old) Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, for example. The world will remember him as the man who landed a US Airways Plane with 155 passengers and 5 crew, successfully and safely on the Hudson River – having lost power to both engines – after the plant hit a flock of Canadian Geese. You probably cannot imagine the degree of difficulty or, how remarkable it is to land a plane on water but the experts thought what Capt. Sullenberger did was such an outstanding achievement that the entire Crew of Flight 1549 was later awarded the Master’s Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. The award citation read, “This emergency ditching and evacuation, with the loss of no lives, is a heroic and unique aviation achievement.” It was said to have been described by NTSB board member Kitty Higgins as, “the most successful ditching in aviation history.”
If the DLP was flying that plane, everybody on-board would have been dead and the plane completely destroyed. A far less difficult undertaking and yet, the DLP somehow manages to crash the Barbados economy, AGAIN!
Press Release by Robert Clarke, Attorney-at-Law – Vice President People’s Empowerment People (PEP)
Robert Clarke, Attorney-at-Law
The statement on CBC TV on the 24 November, 2013 by Vincent Blackett of the Catholic Church which was reported in the Daily Nation of Monday 25 November, 2013 in relation to the down grading of the Barbados’ economy by Standards & Poor, by Moody’s, by the International Monetary Fund, by the World Bank that “no one can downgrade us” “We have been upgraded by Jesus Christ” shows the lack of understanding of the suffering of the people of the Caribbean and Barbados in particular.
I am not certain which Jesus Christ he is referring to. Is he cognizant of the Jesus Christ as reported in the New Testament of the Bible who looked at Lazarus the dead and gave him life; the Leper full of oozing sores who he touched with his hand and healed; the blind who was looking for his face but could not see and he touched him and the blind saw; the multitudes who he fed with the five fishes and five loaves of bread; or it the new concept of Jesus as shown in the massive buildings of the churches in especially Rome and all through Latin America, or is it the Vatican Banks which control most of economies of the World without caring for the poor?
Submitted by Pachamama
Dipper: Tom boy dem Bajans, specially the party loyalists, still treating we like gods, Tommy boy
Tom: You know dey had some people who woulda kill for me
Dipper: you aint got to tell me
Tom: up to now a few a dem aint think we dead, or that the Dems kill me, or that the Dems kill you, or that we progeny would be like we. Yeah, the yardies awaiting a second coming of the Tom and/or the Dipper – a savior
Dipper: some of Dem yardies still tink I dead in mysterious circumstances. Something to do wid the political machinations of Cammie or a cabinet reshuffle
Tom: Dipper yuh know we were edicated over in away bout politics, gouvement and law but yuh never expect this type of yardie worshipfulness. It was surprising to see how easily it was to mass indoctrinate so much people
Dipper: Goebells was right that was easy as Sunday morning. We still so puwful up dey that there can be nobody like we, even now.
Submitted by Pachamama
Leaders from our past…
A few weeks ago we had reason to comment on the remarks made by Prime Minister Kenny Anthony of Saint Lucia. Remarks made while addressing a group of people in Barbados. We would have thought that these comments would have had the Caribbean in intellectual turmoil. That Caribbean peoples would have been up in arms, no pun intended. We would have estimated that the highest councils of Caribbean governance would have been meeting, in extended seasons, to first assess the validity of the comments made, identify the countries most at risk, measure the possibility for contagion and adopt measures with hard implementation dates, aimed at changing the status quo of which the goodly Prime Minister spoke. We would have thought that leadership in civil society, from cooperatives to NGO’s, from youth groups to groups for the aged, from workers unions to corporate groupings, would have sought to have a discussion on this economic Armageddon of which Anthony spoke. We were wrong!
This seeming inertia, we can only estimate, may represent the current state of a defeated people. A people that seems to have lost their will to survive. And there is much circumstantial evidence that may serve to support this argument. We have for more than twenty years seen symptoms of cultural death expressed in cricket, for example. Over the past few weeks we have for the umpteenth time seen our team humbled in two test matches by the Indians. This, after all kinds of braggadocio by the captain. After, all kinds of high performance centres and other institutional frameworks which our players from the period of global dominance, in cricket, never had. This was a time when we had political ‘leaders’ like Eric Williams, Michael Manley, Errol Barrow, Forbes Burnham and Cheddi Jagan and so on. Some say that we are not to expect our sports men and women to excel when the political and economic culture is anaemic, at best. Of course, there is always the exception that proves the rule. One may cite the emergence of Usain Bolt and the production line of track and field athletes that Jamaica has brought to dominate the world, though extra-regional forces are busily using technology and drug testing to defeat this victory. This phenomenon, in athletics, is less obvious for other Caribbean countries.