Barbados Water Authority Cannot Strike!

Water is a precious resource.

Water is a precious resource.

The 780 employees currently employed by the BWA represent 8.2 employees per 1,000 services which are high by industry standards and speak to the historic tendency to use this organization as a source of employment.

The Late Prime Minister David Thompson delivered this address to BWA employees on 17 June 2009 to explain his expectations after implementing a 60% water rate hike.

Some contributors to BU are of the view the Barbados Water Authority should be an essential service. BU is also of the view that in the prevailing economic climate there should be consequences for the BWA going on strike. We are NOT operating in a business as usual period in our history. Certain services must be guaranteed!

The Better Security Act of Barbados was established to better secure “an uninterruptable supply of water and light for the use of the community, and for preventing certain avoidable dangers to human life and valuable property”.

Is this Act relevant given the current impasse between the government and the BWA? If it is not should it be?

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Political Yardfowlism Bajan Gangum Style

Submitted by Pachamama

errolbarrowtomeadamsDipper: Tom boy dem Bajans, specially the party loyalists, still treating we like gods, Tommy boy
Tom: You know dey had some people who woulda kill for me
Dipper: you aint got to tell me
Tom: up to now a few a dem aint think we dead, or that the Dems kill me, or that the Dems kill you, or that we progeny would be like we. Yeah, the yardies awaiting a second coming of the Tom and/or the Dipper – a savior
Dipper:  some of Dem yardies still tink I dead in mysterious circumstances. Something to do wid the political machinations of Cammie or a cabinet reshuffle
Tom: Dipper yuh know we were edicated over in away bout politics, gouvement and law but yuh never expect this type of yardie worshipfulness. It was surprising to see how easily it was to mass indoctrinate so much people
Dipper: Goebells was right that was easy as Sunday morning. We still so puwful up dey that there can be nobody like we, even now.

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Barbados Standard & Poor’s Downgrade: Next Steps

Your move Gentlemen!

Your move Gentlemen!

Who is BU to challenge the UWI Cave Hill intelligentsia about the implication of the recent downgrade by Standard & Poor’s.

It is generally accepted the importance of maintaining an investment grade rating to a country like Barbados which is suffering under the weight of heavy debt servicing. With rapidly declining foreign reserves, our boast of never defaulting on our debt, and ability to defend our US peg is now being questioned. Even if the government and the Central Bank continue to preach the need for confidence, it has become obvious their calls have done nothing to bolster the little which exist. Without confidence Barbados will continue to find it difficult to jumpstart the economy.

The news from Standard & Poor’s this week (20/11/2013) that Barbados had its long term rating changed from BB+ to BB-, the short term B rating was unchanged,  was not unexpected.  Of course our rating outlook remains negative. What was unexpected is to hear a member of the UWI intelligentsia suggesting that a non investment rating should not be a hindrance to attracting investment to Barbados.  The explanation is that some investors will perform their due diligence to inform investment decisions. Further explanation was given that Brazil and countries in Africa have not had investment ratings and it has not prevented investment inflows. All of this rhetoric is coming after a failed bond effort by Barbados.

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NUPW is NOT Representing Workers

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

In my experience when Government wants to introduce an unpopular policy, they usually secure the services of some buffoon, who has no official role, to make the announcement. If the reaction is hostile, the Government would then be able to say that it was the opinion of someone who was speaking in their private capacity, and that it had nothing to do with Government policy. The recent suggestion, by NUPW President Walter Maloney, that the middle class should be cut off from receiving many of the services that are being offered free by the state seems to be falling into the category of testing the water for Government, using a buffoon.

Mr. Maloney appears not to understand who or what constitutes the middle class. For his information many of those who we consider to be middle class are just one pay cheque away from poverty. They are mainly employed persons, who because of their status as employees, pay the bulk of the taxes. Mind you, Barbados is very highly taxed. And those persons pay the taxes generally without complaint because they were assured that their taxes would be put to good use in providing the services that Maloney wants to take away.

If Maloney and his handlers want to remove the services that the middle class are enjoying free at the point of delivery, they should first be talking about lowering the taxes so that these middle-class people would still have a little money in their pockets to pay for the services that they are thinking to withdraw.

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Ministry of Education Must be Professional Executing Role as Final Arbiter

Submitted by The Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Laurie King, Chief Education Officer

Laurie King, Chief Education Officer

The Mahogany Coconut Group (MCG) is concerned that Barbadian school children, can go to the Ministry of Education and have a legitimate punishment enforced by their school’s principal, overturned by a civil servant! Such a travesty occurred recently, when a group of school children turned up at the Ministry of Education, and succeeded in getting a senior ministry official, to overrule the punishment imposed on them, by their principal, for frequently being late in arriving at school.

What transpired sets a very ugly and dangerous precedent that will most certainly, result in far reaching negative effects on the dispensation, of discipline in our schools. The unbelievable actions of the civil servant, dealt a very low blow, to the principal. We know for a fact that many principals are now contemplating if it is worth their while to discipline students.

This brazen assault on our educators is a trademark of both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party. It is now very clear to all concerned that when party supporters from either side are placed in powerful positions, their inability to understand their job description becomes a major problem.

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Notes From a Native Son: For Whom the Bell Tolls, If Not for Thee?

Introduction:

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The natives are getting restless as the dark clouds descend, it is as if there is  an expectation of bad news. While ministers and their advisers, clearly out of their policy-making depths, struggle with a patchwork of policies initiatives, mainly around the exhausted tourism sector, the rest of government and the private sector is in lock down. People are talking as in a Tower of Babel, but the noise is not making any sense, often lacking in coherence and simple logic, while in the meantime nothing is happening. Even so, what passes for policy is usually a further waste of taxpayers’ money: Four Seasons, Almond Village, Sandals, Transport Board, Gems, the chaos at the central bank – we all know the score. Absent from this roll call are any new and persuasive ideas from parliamentarians, technocrats or policy advisers. It is as if there are no answers to the nation’s problems, that the millions we have spend on education since 1966 has all been in vain, that together as a people we cannot put country before party or ego and come up with viable solutions to our problems.

Entrepreneurial State:
Recently I received a review copy of a book, The Entrepreneurial State, by Mariana Mazzucato, professor of economics at the University of Sussex, and it is a wonderful read. If I though it would have been appreciated, I would send a copy to every member of parliament – government and opposition – so that they can get new ideas on the pioneering role of government in economic development. Prof Mazzucato gives a long list of the new technologies and sectors, from the internet to Apple, Google, pharmaceuticals, and numerous others developments that would not have seen the light of day had not for early State support and intervention. It was State funding – government, military, health service, universities – that funded the early stages of most of these developments before they were transferred to the private sector.
It is a development that we have seen with the global banking crisis and the subsequent sovereign debt meltdown: a crisis that started with Bill Clinton’s removal of the Glass/Steagall barrier, which led eventually to banks over-dosing on cheap credit and, inevitably, the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Then the language of big business changed, from calls for minimum government to one of systemically important banks which had to be bailed out by taxpayers, removing huge unprecedented debt from the balance sheets of private banks to that of the State, ordinary taxpayers. Then calls for a solution, led by academics with access to policy-making, with one set calling for austerity, while the others lined up behind the so-called Australian School, calling for lighter government. But, as Prof Mazzucato has shown, there is room for State intervention, provided it is sensible and prudent and the outcomes are measured and productive.

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Clergy Behaving Like Politicians

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6: 1- 4 New international Version

I was watching the CBC Evening News a few nights ago when I had the distinct displeasure of seeing four persons who describe themselves as pastor, reverend and apostle broadcasting to the world that they give hand outs to the needy. I would therefore like to commend Matthew 6: 1- 4 to them and any others who want to make their names at the expense of the needy.

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