Barbados Economic Crisis: Solutions
The Caribbean Is One Nation.
Submitted by William Skinner
|National Flag of Barbados|
As the clock ticks, those of us who refuse to be drawn into the web of deception that is now the main engine driving the ambitions of the Barbados Labor Party and the Democratic Labor Party, can do nothing more than rely on a dwindling number of independent thinkers to save our country.
Fifty years of non- creativity, excessive dillydallying and two parties that are now totally lost, have brought us to the brink of what some have now gleefully determined as doom. The armchair economists are regurgitating figures with almost gay abandon; the trade unionists want increases that we cannot afford and unfortunately, the new third parties seem to be struggling with producing exciting alternative policies to capture the imagination of a populace that is looking for leadership in all the wrong places.
A Prime Minister who once hijacked the salaries of public servants has asked us with a straight face: How did we get back here? Well Sir, we never left here because we refused to have a progressive and enlightened economic plan for the country. So, you are as guilty as all those who went before you and came after you.
Throughout the years, we have been told about: the Singapore model; a service economy; we were to be leaders in off shore business; manufacturing was to be revitalized; the sugar industry was to be brought into the twenty first century; fly overs were to be used to reduce and improve traffic; the public service was to be restructured and I can perhaps write another forty or more promises and policies that were never implemented, were completely botched or simply were dead on arrival.
Somewhere along the way we could amass so much debt that a third of this year’s estimates will now go to debt servicing. Imagine that over a billion dollars including 30 million per year t on a new jail. In mean time the promised revitalization of Bridgetown is now another pipe dream; we have allotted 300 million to pay policy holders because we allowed an insurance company to operate without placing the necessary funds to protect policy holders in the treasury; as a result of political skullduggery , we paid a contractor about ten times more rather than settle as was advised by mediation; somehow we found millions to spend on a cricket filed to watch the West Indies “get beat” or the occasional concert by Rihanna.
It will therefore pain any sincere citizen to even be in the same room as the BLPDLP supporters because they are either blind to the mammoth collective economic ruin that these two parties have visited upon the country or they have imbibed some mind-altering portion while at George and Roebuck Streets.
The answer to all this mismanagement and political chicanery is to be elated because some Indians and whites decided to “march in disgust”. Somebody needs to tell me, what is the suffering the whites and Indians are experiencing, when in fact everything that the Black political class has done and not done has redounded to the economic benefit of these two groups. These days are very funny nights indeed.
We need to put public servants on a four-day week to reduce the wage bill. If this is not done we would never get out of this hole. In the mean time begin a restructuring program to reduce the public service. Utilize the Polytechnic, UWI and the community college as sophisticated vocational training centers to make people employable within a year; embark on a road and highway infrastructure plan, included should me a mammoth relocation of houses and buildings to have more lanes and wider roads. Such a program should cost about one billion dollars over fifteen years and guarantee thousands of jobs. Any Minister of Finance should level with the country and forget pie in the sky economic theories and seek to use technology to ensure that all citizens pay their fair share of taxes. Over the next ten years at least 200 million must be spent to have a modern fishing industry that can effectively reduce the food bill and lead to healthier diets. Another 200 million should be spent on small farming with modern business concepts. Such expenditure would rapidly off set unemployment, in the public service, caused by the restructuring job losses. The Ministry of Education should be radically reformed and the Human Resources Department should be guiding educational policy to ensure that education is directly for ensuring job opportunities. This will allow the armchair economists and party hacks to go to the beach and stop talking crap! As the elders say: they need a good bush bath.
Where will the money come from? Cutting out wastage; proper road network and public transportation to improve productivity; investing in technology to ensure faster and more accurate service providers; educating future citizens in areas such as robotics and coding; eliminating praedial larceny and the immediate appointment of a Contractor General with the powers to prosecute white collar criminals. The thousands of jobs created will reinvigorate the economy and thereby generate wealth.
William Skinner is a social commentator