This is what my friend told me. Barbados is almost into the sixth month of government change, in an election that made history for a number of reasons. What I am seeing so far has me concerned.
As I said almost six months ago we witnessed the making of electoral history in Barbados. One political party won every seat on the island. While many celebrated ‘licks like peas” for the previous government, that we all agree needed to be ousted and still needs to be brought up on criminal charges of gross mismanagement and corruption, the question must be asked did we kill one monster just to give birth to another?
In six months’ time I have seen an alarming rise in violent crime. I have seen no attempt to deal with the possible root causes of this. Since we know that a direct correlation exists between crime and poverty, what has been put forward by this new administration to address poverty in Barbados? I am open to enlightenment as I may have missed it. However what I am seeing and feeling are water bills, once manageable for poor people to handle, now are an added economic burden on them. I am seeing 1500 people unemployed, the vast majority of these I am going to assume are poor people. The “last in first out” policy ensured a number of things. The first is that many of the “last in” persons that have gone home are young people now feeling a bit of financial stability through that little job. Devastating is the only word that can be used to describe this state of affairs. The other thing the ‘last in” first out policy ensured, was the stay of many who undermine the efficient running of government services by their lackadaisical attitudes and inefficiency. This is a big form of revenue loss that continues to be perpetuated by government. Why does the government not have a system of continuous work evaluation that could have been used when sending people home? This way you would keep the most productive workers employed. I don’t think much thought was put into this and the 30-0 has the nation to ashamed to speak out. After all it has only been six months.
What is also puzzling to me is the sentiment that we are one road to economic recovery, when all that has been done is the borrowing of money and increased taxation on the people. To borrow means one has to pay back. Outside taxation and a tourist industry that boast of sea, sand and sun, something all Caribbean island have, how does Barbados propose to pay this money back? Mine you the entity that loaned the money, is satisfied that the money can be paid back. Was the taxpayers money and the little tourist industry enough to secure the loan or were other things agreed to that we are unaware of. One man I was playing dominoes with under a streetlight in the ghetto said, the security for all the money being loaned to Barbados rode on the back of the agreed control of a multi million dollar Barbados cannabis industry. Hmmmmmmm. Wait now I say so, what happening with Cannabis in Barbados? A referendum on the matter was not to be had? Someone in a meeting I recently attended said a referendum cost nuff nuff money and the government don’t have the money for that. If that is the case I think we may have be bushwacked, hoodwinked and the greatest act of corruption is about to unfold. Again 30-0 has us bound and gagged.
Have you heard any talk of creating national industries? What is happening with agriculture? Do we have national exports outside of music that degrades our women and freely advertises a product that was historically used to enslave black people and that is now an industry owned by the present generation of old colonial masters? Can we not have a national brand that clothing designers can submit pieces too? Have these clothing sold in Barbadian branded outlets internationally or at least where we have embassies? What has happened to our cotton, why are we not making a move to nationally harvest seaweed and create business from it? What are we paying these ministers for exactly?
As the president of an NGO I was remotely hopeful that the sentiment of working with community based groups in a collective effort to lift the island, expressed by the leader of the opposition and now Prime Minister was more than that. Six months later and several unanswered letters to the office of the Prime Minister, the reality of the 30-0 is becoming a taste bitter to the mouth for those of us that can be politically unbiased and honest with ourselves.
Should we discuss striking children in relation to food? Nahhhhhh. I wonder if history will also the record the monumental stupidity of a nation that put all its eggs in one basket and it fell. Maybe it will be the record of a nation that took the ultimate risk, put all their eggs in one basket and the result were beautiful baby birds that would soon be ready to take flight. While I hope for the latter, my common sense is telling me hope has never satisfied a nation in need.