While the majority of Barbados is disgusted with the increase of taxes about to be implemented by the current Minister of Finance and his gang, the fact of the matter is, the island is in economic trouble, and we need solutions.
The Democratic Labor Party (DLP) is not showing that is has really thought out the effects of what they are about to impose on Barbadians economically. Either that or they just don’t care. It might very well be that they don’t know what to do as the answers to this problem will not be readily found in their politicking text books. Solutions to what we in Barbados are facing will take vision. Making things harder on the masses, especially the poor, is never a good idea, although, in some instances it cannot be avoided. This is not one of those instances.
Let me offer a solution as a citizen of Barbados to the economic battle before us. This alone will solve everything but I am sure it can help the island in a major way on a number of different levels.
I think too much money is spent on prisoners or rather individuals charged for certain crimes, and in the law courts on these same people. I think the jail should be reserved for crimes of rape, robbery, guns, violence, kidnapping and such serious crimes and criminals (special west wing for politicians, lol). In my personal opinion Marijuana should be legal and a major industry of Barbados, but seeing that it is not nearly the case, I propose that the Ganja Man be taxed. When caught with the plant, persons should be fined based on a percentage of the wholesale street value of the amount in their possession and the plant confiscated (no need for jail time, waste time). Failure to pay the tax will result in mandatory community service for the individual in the way of farm labor. The person’s taxes will be deducted from a stipend that the individual will receive form their work on the farm. In this way the expense of lengthy trials, the housing and feeding of prisoners for long periods of time will be reduced. I am sure when the math is done the government can recognize savings in the millions of dollars. Added to this, if done in a well-organised manner, the agriculture sector could get a boost as these people can be attached to small farmers that are challenged for labor.
I would also like to say this approach can be used for the people that are delinquent on their child support payments. Why lock them up? When they come out, they are still required to pay the money they owe to the court, so what is the point of incarceration? To make a point? At whose expense? Me the individual who is taking care of my responsibility as a parent. Put these people in the community service program on the farms. If these people have jobs, get their employers to subtract the tax from their wages directly. Make jail expenditure on these people an absolute last resort.
Until we are advanced enough in our thinking to seriously consider the industry of marijuana and hemp as possible major revenue earners for Barbados, we can and should start reducing state expenditures in a major way from the advice given above.
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
― Nelson Mandela
“The genius of the current caste system, and what most distinguishes it from its predecessors, is that it appears voluntary. People choose to commit crimes, and that's why they are locked up or locked out, we are told. This feature makes the politics of responsibility particularly tempting, as it appears the system can be avoided with good behavior. But herein lies the trap. All people make mistakes. All of us are sinners. All of us are criminals. All of us violate the law at some point in our lives. In fact, if the worst thing you have ever done is speed ten miles over the speed limit on the freeway, you have put yourself and others at more risk of harm than someone smoking marijuana in the privacy of his or her living room.
― Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
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