When Privatization Trumps Productivity

How to increase national productivity must be the topic of conversation.

Managing the finances of the BU household requires adherence to a simple rule which cannot be broken. Do not spend more that is earned! It is the only way individuals can create a financial security blanket (creating wealth) for the family before retirement. We live in a world which has become addicted to consumption. It has become a place where the value system is securely anchored in love for things at the expense of people or what is commonsense.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) next talkback forum has as its topic ‘Putting Money Back in your Pocket”. The topic should provoke all Barbadians to think about what kind of country we want. We understand that political parties are in the business of winning elections, and the opportunity to promise what is often impossible or illogical is par for course at this time. It explains why the period leading into a general election is labelled ‘the silly season’. However Barbadians must be able to rationalize and force the best decision based on what is before us.

Barbados is an economy where we import most of what we consume, we produce little. If we do nothing or follow the trend of expanding our consumption, it means we have to improve the inflow of foreign exchange. It is a simple equation to balance which has implications for being able to defend the parity of the Barbados Dollar and avoid the clutches of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). BU’s simple analysis is that Barbados can continue to live above its means; we have been doing so for the last 20 years, and suffer the fate of many countries across the Caribbean and the world – OR – we can make structural changes to our social and economic model to be able to sustain a wholesome and practical lifestyle for Barbadians in the present and generations to follow, while at the same time build out mitigating options to buffer the exogenous shocks which will affect us from time to time.

We have a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) which has realized four years into its term that it has the reins of government.  A scan of the Barbados Parliament website (BU assumes that it has been updated)reveals that several matters are before the House to be debated and even with an improved work rate by members of government, it is inconceivable that the Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2010, Holidays with Pay Bill, 2012 as well as many Resolutions will be completed. Note that the Cultural Industries Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill have not made it to the short list. BU is mindful that at a time when businesses are being asked to keep the belt tight and maintain employee numbers, the country is being presided over by the largest Cabinet in our post-Independence period. Perhaps if it had shown the same energy for the duration of its term….

In Opposition we have the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) promising to stop the economic haemorrhaging by privatizing key state assets and delivering tax cuts to the middleclass supported by a rollback of VAT to 15% 2016. In Opposition without sight of the big picture a little salt in close proximity is recommended. When the parties make their Manifestos public literally days before the election, Barbadians will get a better grasp of how they propose to guide Barbados in economic conditions which are expected to persist for several more years.

Billions of dollars later pumped into educating Barbadians if BU had to guess what would be the topic consuming national debate leading into a general election – PRIVATIZATION or PRODUCTIVITY – we would be dumbstruck that privatization has trumped productivity. Instead of building on the foundation which the Adames and Barrow have left us, we are about to take the easy route by dumping key state agencies (GAIA and The Port Authority and others) for cash because of our inability to build out a system of meritocracy.

If there was a time when Barbadians should demonstrate that we are an educated people, that time is now. Country first must be the cry. Instead at a time of unprecedented crisis we have a country divided on the issues and unwilling to build consensus on the issues. The BLP has not help the cause by showing political naiveté by committing the biggest political blunder for the season. Time will tell if it proves to be fatal.

It is unfortunate the national discussion is not focussed on the systemic issues affecting the country. This week we learned that the Eurozone slipped into double-dip recession, there is the volatility of the Middle East.  Is it too much for Barbadians to be shocked into the reality about what is important? The decision whether to vote BLP or DLP, Arthur or Stuart is becoming less appealing by the day for a growing segment of the electorate but vote we must.

0 responses to “When Privatization Trumps Productivity

  1. hahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa the DLP supporters are too funny, every few months there is a new ‘phone recording’. Anyone else notices a pattern?


  2. millertheanunnaki

    @ Pegasus Hotel – JAMAICA | November 19, 2012 at 7:25 PM |

    What happens when you are not earning income at the rate required to maintain your opulent lifestyle and you have to eat into your little 16 week savings?
    The official 16 weeks of import cover at the end of September is steadily being eroded and is most likely just 12 by now.

    Can you imagine what it will be by the end of January 2013 when the Prison BOLT payment has to be made?
    Do you really feel that the ‘lickle” (picked up in Jca) forex in the kitty is enough to tide us over this sustained period of underemployment when there will not only be demands to meet regular imports of food, oil and supplies but also remittances of profits, management fees, overseas studies and financing the operations of the foreign affairs like embassies and overseas travel plus the most compulsorily, the servicing of our overseas debt.
    What about the $40 million for the Pierhead redesign computer airbrush job. Has that been remitted to the St Lucian IBC yet by Darcy Boyce? OSA needs to hang his head in shame!

    Now who is the retard and who is the wise one?


  3. Pegasus Hotel - JAMAICA

    @ millertheanunnaki

    Thanks. But would you please answer the question. Here is is again:-

    If a devaluation of the Barbados dollars is on the cards (as you claim) then why is Owen Seymore Arthur, a previously fired Prime Minister, calling for the foreign exchange surplus ($300M) to be used as a local economy stimulus??

    Why, why, why? The $30 M BOLT payment, due each and every January for 25 years is a creature of OSA. He was there in the room when the creature was conceived, he helped deliver it (along with Darcy who was on the Evaluation Committee) and then he (OSA) made sure it was fed (his signature in on the Letter of Comfort) and now that the creature has become a political monster, he wants to put the blame of Mia Amor Mottley.


  4. miller i see you bring up the privatization topic using communist Cuba as an example . man you really drowning in your own sh..t now, please explain to me how a people that is the cuban people who barely makes a penny a day and depends on the govt leftovers to feed them gonna have money to lease the olds dilapidated buildings the govt have no further use for and now have come up with the grandiose plan to unload them on the people under the so called privatisation leasing plan . sometime similar to what you and OSA have in mind for bajans,


  5. millertheanunnaki

    @ Pegasus Hotel – JAMAICA | November 19, 2012 at 8:17 PM |

    Because OSA learned from David Thompson. Barbados under OSA was the worst economy in the world according to the DLP under David Thompson so he promised to save us from economic destruction and hell fire. Can’t OSA play the same tune?
    Instead of Jobs no 1, 2 and 3 being Cost of living OSA can sing jobs no 1, 2, 3,and 4 will be getting people back to work and money in people’s pocket.
    What’s new about the Punch and Judy show? A flying white horse eating and snorting good old Blue Mountain pride, Pegasus?

    With respect to Darcy and the prison contract award don’t you think he was the quisling in the room?
    Such disloyal men who betray their leaders ought to be punished not with laughter but with a firing from the Cabinet squad. Whom do you think is leaking all the Cabinet’s secrets? Jepter Ince or David Estwick or even Chris?

    Get men around Freundel who are handsome such ugly men with the disloyal untrustworthy gene like Darcy Boyce must be avoided at all cost.



    I do not think that Donville should continue to accuse me beating my wife. I have not beat her since 2009. I don’t stand for disobedience with women, when them head down the road I does remind them who is boss even if I gotta give them too good slaps, a big chuck and ring my foot in them.


  7. Fair Commentator

    When all else fails,this administration must realise that something revolutionary must be attempted to get us out this wreck


  8. Politiicans need to stop playing games and man-up to the inevitable and that is that privatization is inevitable.

    The Barbados Economy cannot continue to prop up CBC and the Transport Board and other blood sucking entities.

    Transport can be privatized–More people will benefit because a big non-profit entity like the Transport Board can split into many fragments. ditto for other big wasteful entities.

    Here is how Transport can work privatized.

    You have mini-buses, ZRs and Taxis that will increase in number and be owned by individuals. You have many private cars in Barbados. Give people permission to make money using their cars by transporting other people. I can therefore pull up my car by a workplace put in 5 or 6 people and charge them a fare and quick so get them to their destination.

    Look how people going to now start making money

    So more cars instead of being parked at home will be out making money. Cost of wear and tear and maintenance will be at the owner, not government.

    Free up the law that will allow people to bring in cars cheaper off of the net. There are some vehicles in good condition which are older that the stipulated four years . People can buy these to transport other people and make money. It could be a community thing . All the cars in Bush Hall can transport Bush Hall people . All the Cars in Wotton can transport the people in Wotton and so on.
    This is a change from what we are accustomed to with the Transport Board Buses
    There is absolutely no danger in transportation being privatised–None whatsover
    Transportation can be privatized


    ……and dont talk about CBC
    ——-Privatize CBC without even justifying it–it justifies itself

    The DLP and the BLP are aware that it is the way to go. The two parties need to come together and tackle the situation in a bi-partisan manner

    Anybody dare to challenge my proposal
    I think not

    Come on BLP and DLP, Tell the people the truth and stop playing games.
    Tell the people that Transportation –Privatized can work.
    Tell them


  9. @Yagga

    Let us get this straight, the politicians issue, sell, make deals with PSV permits. They allocate, approve, sell lucrative routes to friends and others with deep pockets. Successive ministers award insurance, repair contracts to friends and special others. Now that the inefficiency has been exposed in times of plenty NOT, what do we do? PRIVATIZE.

    We are a sad lot.


  10. Still waiting to hear why Transport Board etc must be government owned.


  11. BLP "no workable solutions, just gimmicks and cartoons"

    The BLP forgot to mention to their supporters that their so called “privatisation” would lead to thousands losing their jobs, paying $5 bus fares including for sending their children school,significantly reduced service to rural parishes.
    They are promising everything to everyone but not one specific word about where the money will come from.
    So after all the long talk from Arthur trying to give the impression that they were these easy solutions out there- do we get a credible plan from the BLP – NO.
    We get “a poorly thought out “privatisation Gimmick and Cartoons” –
    this is what the BLP presents after 4 1/2 years of criticising everything – “Gimmicks and Cartoons”.
    It seems that the BLP is out of fresh ideas.


  12. @ BLP NWS…..
    “They are promising everything to everyone but not one specific word about where the money will come from.”

    I don’t recall hearing where the money for the duty free cars, interest free loans etc would have come from.
    You need to stop trying to scare people talking foolishness about $5 bus fares and fees for school children. Government could sell TB and still subsidise pensioners’ and school children’ bus fares and low volume routes at a cost below what it is currently spending. The more you and your cohorts talk, the more it becomes clearer that you are the ones without ideas.



    We get “a poorly thought out “privatisation Gimmick and Cartoons” –
    this is what the BLP presents after 4 1/2 years of criticising everything – “Gimmicks and Cartoons”.
    It seems that the BLP is out of fresh ideas.
    This comment above by whoever is such trite it is a shame. Just because you are limited in your creative ideas, you ascribe the same limitations to others. You cannot think it, you cannot see it so you assume that others cant think , others cant see. –Joke !

    You do not know so listen and learn
    and if you have ears to hear , you will hear

    Ahh come on, you cannot be so benign


  14. BLP "no workable solutions, just gimmicks and cartoons"

    Definition of a gimmick – noun
    a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or trade: it is not so much a programme to improve services as a gimmick to gain votes

    During 14 years as Prime Minister, Owen Arthur swells the ranks of the public service, refuses to make much needed reforms to the Barbados Drug Service and then criticises those who do, over the last 4 years he says that spending needs to be cut but offer no specific solutions, he nearly bankrupted the BNOC and now talks about making the entity attractive for sale while criticising efforts that saved the entity-
    After Arthur spends the last 4 years criticising the fiscal deficit he then starts promising things that everyone knows will create a financial mess without specifying where the money will come from, Mr. Arthur is obviously about “gimmicks ” and is offering no workable solutions.


  15. @ Yagga Rowe. You have many private cars in Barbados. Give people permission to make money using their cars by transporting other people. I can therefore pull up my car by a workplace put in 5 or 6 people and charge them a fare and quick so get them to their destination.
    Not a bad idea, but the money that these private car owners will make transporting people,would not be sufficient to pay for their soon to be modified insurance coverage. Third Party only for an old Suzuki Van will not cut it.
    Perhaps the Government can get into this act, with the amount of Government owned MP and ML cars we see swanning around with just one occupant , it would be more economical and efficient to use these cars to transport people ,along the route of their travels, more so, than the big 60/70 seater Buscars with a few passengers , most of the times.


  16. Definition of gimmickry: Democratic Labour Party (DLP) 2008 Manifesto (noun) Democratic Labour Party (DLP) 2008 election campaigning (verb)


  17. BLP "no workable solutions, just gimmicks and cartoons"

    Definition of Gimmickry- a BLP attempt to lay off thousands of public sector workers through “privatisation” while trying to sell it as “enfranchisement” .
    Bajans will not be fooled by Arthur, come again.


  18. Barbados should preserve its tradition of supportive governments


    Randy Batson’s letter in The Barbados Advocate (11/23, ‘Our Society Needs to Find a New Way Forward’) provides a cautionary tale for why comparisons of the US economic system to that of Barbados is dangerous, and why viewing FOX news and especially Bill O’Reilly needs to come with a warning label at the bottom of the screen!

    Let’s first get straight some marked differences that are elicited by Mr. Batson’s missive:

    1) Bill O’Reilly is regarded by a clown supreme by most of the intelligent, educated and informed electorate of the US. This was even before he made his lame “wanted stuff” remark.

    2) The term “entitlements” as used by O’Reilly and others of the careless pundit class is a misnomer because they are not free! American workers have paid into them with significant taxes their whole lives (somewhat like Barbados’ National Insurance scheme).

    3) There is no “universal health care” in the United States! Medicare covers a limited range of the elder populace (those over 65 years old who’ve worked at least 40 quarters) while Medicaid covers the poorest indigent – usually working populace – not paid a living wage by which they could buy health coverage on their own. The “Obamacare” system the US Right (like O’Reilly) made such a fuss over is not free, rather people must sign up to a private insurer and pay their rates, else be fined by the government.

    4) College tuition-grants were never part of the “stuff” to which O’Reilly and earlier Romney referred, but rather Obama enabling a different federal loan scheme by which part or all of the loan balance could be forgiven after 10 years if conditions were met (especially if the students were never able to get out of low wage, i.e. Walmart pay scale) jobs.

    5) The contraceptives for young women, and also older, were not “free stuff” as described by Romney and Bill O’Reilly, but always part of the Obama Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because it was known that otherwise – impecunious, struggling women and their families would have to shell out over $99 000 in order to prevent having more kids – meaning they’d also likely have to turn to abortions.

    The people that have consistently invoked O’Reilly and his “free stuff” comment (as a positive take) simply don’t get it. They don’t understand the working dynamic in the US nor ask why it was that Mitt Romney actually promised a scale of true “free stuff” (to his benefactors) that made Obama’s provisions look like chump change.
    Hence, had Romney won, the millionaires and billionaires would have reaped not only $5 trillion in tax cuts, but an end to regulations protecting our food, water, medical prescriptions even air standards. All of this so the top 1 per cent of American society could become even wealthier at the expense of the rest of us.

    My point here is that Barbados, under NO circumstances, should consider any solution (including indiscriminate “privatisation”) that destroys or eliminates the essential support of positive government – as similarly advocated by the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Mitt Romney here in the US.

    That is a prescription to increase economic inequality and that is one thing we don’t need anywhere, whether in Barbados or here in the US.

    Philip A. Stahl
    Colorado Springs, USA


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