Barbados : Time Is Running Out
Barbados: Time Is Running Out
|Barbados National Flag|
The Mahogany Coconut Group will not be drawn into senseless nit picking in relation to the possible death of the Barbados its citizens have come to know and love. We are convinced that the first order of business is a return to the polls. If we accept that there has been a betrayal because the government has renege on its election promise to preserve the jobs of public servants, the truth is that it has failed to keep the central plank of its recent elections platform. Mr. Chris Sinckler has failed as Minister of Finance and should relieve himself or be relieved of that portfolio by the Prime Minister.
The country will not recover from this crisis overnight. It is now obvious to all and sundry that the problems are structural in nature. Those who proffer that the economy can be rescued by: eliminating summer camps; discontinuing football tournaments; shutting down constituency councils; making poor black people pay for university education; reintroducing bus fares on poor black children and sending home civil servants are grossly mistaken. We assure them that these are only superficial remedies.
The real problem the country faces is an improper management of its major resource –its people –and that is at the centre of its problems. The education system drains the national budget but it has been on automatic pilot since 1962 when free education was introduced, or so it is claimed. Ever since we have been producing citizens whose prospects of employment were getting dimmer and dimmer by the decade. In the midst of a failing economy and large sums being spent on the University of the West Indies, the limited resources had to dry up. Sir Hilary Beckles had a dream to have a graduate in every household. He never bothered to ask himself, if unemployed graduates on whom, the tax payers spent millions, were going to be an asset to the country. Nobody dared to ask him graduates in what or for what. Owen Arthur dreamed of a Barbados with two or three cars in each garage. In other words it was all about show not substance.
The Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party failed to prepare. The country had two periods (Barrow 1961-1976 and Arthur 1999- 2013) to get it right. Although there was some development, both of them fell short of crafting a real national development plan. Barbados must be prepared to fail unless new leaders spring up to dismantle the sorry collective of: journalists, so-called political analysts, and intellectual political charlatans masquerading as economists. There are some very dangerous trends raising their ugly heads. Too many personal grouses are infecting national development. For example, pollsters hastily arranging new polls that could be seen as a direct attempt to influence the outcome of national elections (Bell and Wickham). Powerful businessmen being allowed to do as they like (Parris CLICO). Vast lands owned by one man (Williams)The same way we expect politicians to be transparent and accountable; we must also pay attention to those who can influence public opinion.
We now witness the strangulation of the trade union movement. Knighthoods being prematurely given to union leaders (Trotman). It used to be that such obnoxious remnants of the colonial era were usually given at the end of careers. Now they are a dime a dozen ,and once the perception that the trade union leaders ,are in bed with the employers and the political managerial class is there, the workers will lose confidence. The current crisis has revealed the most inept and disgraceful trade union leadership in the history of post independence Barbados. We are therefore calling on the NUPW to remove both Clarke (General Secretary) and Maloney (President) from high office.
It was Sir Hilary Beckles who boasted of the Barbados Economic Model, so he ought to explain how this model, that was apparently only known to him crushed. We recall the blackbirds around the paddock feasting on the oats that were in the faeces of the horses. A man once opined that the birds were eating well because the horses’ excrement was rich in nutritional value! Barbados like all the economies in the Caribbean, with the exception of Cuba, decided that it can forever feast on the tourist dollar and was contented to ignore there were healthier ways to earn a meal.
When the late Prime Minister, David Thompson, reshuffled the cabinet, Harold Hoyte, media mogul and an established power player in Barbados, scoffed at the giving of the Ministry of Agriculture, to Dr. David Estwick. In Hoyte’s limited opinion, the agriculture ministry was not “prestigious”. If these are the type of people on whom Barbadians expect their country’s future to be secured; it is time to call the undertaker. Hoyte’s publicly expressed negative view of agriculture clearly demonstrates how he and the power players see their country.
It may well be asked why we have chosen to highlight or “call names”. We do so because we recognize that perhaps there are some new owners of the plantation, and the only difference between them and the ones before them is the color of their skins. It is time to connect the dots! This new group has no real nationalistic devotion to their country. They too, by their behind the scene maneuverings, have all contributed to the crisis of the island. We have both black (Austin) and white (Johnson) describing underpaid black Barbadian workers as lazy. They will not say that some of the most productive workers, who built the country, went from cradle to grave, dirt poor.
The truth is that a sophisticated brand of ultra yardfowlism has invaded and taken over the body politic and corporate Barbados. These deviants do not get tee shirts as, Wickham suggested, and iPods. Oh no; the real yard fowls are driving luxury cars and living in well guarded communities in million dollar mansions. For Barbados to go forward they too must be brought to account.
This crisis goes way beyond Sinckler’s incompetence and Stuart’s obstinacy. We thank Owen Arthur for publicly acknowledging that gimmickry is afoot. We have long held the view that Mia Mottley herself is nothing more than a gimmick. She never discovered black Barbadian women working in agricultural fields for inferior wages; until she found herself in opposition. Pure Gimmickry!
Barbadians deserve an election of real issues and not an extension of Crop Over as was witnessed in 2013. Barbadians should not be picking oats from the horses’ excrement in order to eat. They can thank Sir Hilary Beckles, Harold Hoyte, Sir Charles Williams, Leroy Parris, and other powerful assortment of power brokers, corporate deviants, opportunistic academics and intellectuals along with the Barbados Labour Party and Democratic Labour Party for their current unnecessary predicament.
As we close this piece we are reminded of the answer Mr. Clyde Mascoll gave to a reporter, when he changed parties and joined the Barbados Labour Party. When asked what role he would play, his reply was: “Whatever the Prime Minister(Arthur) wants me to do…… “To Arthur’s eternal credit, he did not ask Mascoll to poison the country’s water supply. When the intellectual elite can be so flippant about how they see themselves, readers would understand why names have to be called.
We maintain that this crisis cannot be looked at in isolation. The truth is that Barbados, like most islands in the Caribbean, has to be rescued from those who have hijacked it for their own purposes. They have brought it to near ruin. Time to call a spade a spade. Time for a new dispensation. Time is running out.