Notes From a Native Son: A Drowning Government Clutches at Straws

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
Now that we are having the debate over the mismanagement of the Barbados economy and the failure of monetary and fiscal policy, it is important that we turn our attention to the question of the wider macro-economic winds facing us in 2014. First, however, it is necessary to note that although the big battalions of the International Monetary Fund are waiting to invade with their rejuvenated Washington Consensus prescriptions, those in charge of monetary and fiscal policy are still locked in a policy-making vegetative state unable to even think for themselves. Here is Dr DeLisle Worrell, governor of the central bank, in a so-called sponsored statement (was this paid for by the central bank?) stating: “Barbados’s recent economic performance has been commendable given the unprecedented recession in the markets for our tourism and treaded services.” This is a blatant untruth; which ‘markets’ is he talking about? Is he talking about the UK, eurozone, in particular Germany, Canada, the US? If so, Dr Worrell is either not keeping up with global macro-economic data or he is attempting to mislead financial economists, deliberately or otherwise. If so, it is bound to fail because all fund houses have more economic data than he and his colleagues imagine.

All the major developed economies are now showing growth; the eurozone may be a bit more fragile, but the IMF is not so impressed that it is about to revise upwards the fund’s growth forecasts for this year. He goes on “…Barbados brings a number of competitive strengths to the international market. The country’s social and political institutions are stable, the labour force skilled and educated, the physical infrastructure good, and there are strong institutions for information-sharing, discussion and democratic decision-making.” Again this is waffle. There is an enormous skills deficit that is weighing down the economy; people are ‘educated’ in the sense that they are not illiterate in real terms, however they are uneducated to function in a highly technological and sophisticated world. Our claims to being 98 per cent literate are bogus and, as a nation, we should stop advertising what we do not have in stock. He goes on to claim: “The financial regulatory systems are of a high standard, judged by the norms of the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision and other international regulatory bodies.”

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Sandals Documents

Sandals Butch Stewart

Sandals Butch Stewart

Office of the Contractor General Writes to Prime Minister to Recommend Halt of Sale of Sandals Whitehouse Hotel to Gorstew Limited
Kingston; January 19, 2011; The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has today written to Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, and to the Permanent Secretary and Accounting Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ms.Onika Miller, to formally recommend that urgent steps be taken to halt the Administration’s proposed sale of the Sandals Whitehouse Hotel to the Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart owned and controlled Gorstew Limited. The OCG has also recommended that the Government should, thereafter, re-start the divestment process, and subject same to the transparent and structured scrutiny and supervision of the OCG…read more.

OCG Questions Legitimacy of and Motive for Gorstew’s Sandals Whitehouse Court Challenge
Kingston; September 10, 2012 – The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has taken note of a story which appeared in yesterday’s Jamaica Sunday Observer newspaper which is entitled: ‘OCG has no power to probe Sandals Whitehouse’. The story asserts that Gorstew Limited, which is owned by the Hon. Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, OJ, has filed an Application in the Supreme Court to challenge the powers of the Contractor General to investigate the circumstances which led to the Government’s sale of the Sandals Whitehouse Hotel to Gorstew Limited in early 2011…read more.

Aquaponics Versus the Pet Dog

Submitted by Ready done

Aquaponics is the food production system the world is upgrading to from conventional industrial farming. The major problem it solves is that potassium fertilizer taken from mines and used to help crops produces 40% more fruit. It has worked well for the last 100 years but it is a finite resource and will be exhausted soon enough. When it is gone we will see a 40% drop in food production. The world will be a changed place.

Aquaponics does for fertilizers what biofuel does for gasoline. It fast tracks the potassium cycle from taking 1000’s of years to form underground then to be extracted to mere weeks from fish food. Aquaponics in its simplest form is watering your potted plants with aquarium water and letting the water drain back into the aquarium. This plant/fish relationship held and controlled in manmade containers takes excellent care of both the fish and the plants because the fish manure contains nutrients which the plants use. This is good news for anyone wanting to grow food who has never kept fish. The water begins in the fish tank and drains back into the same fish tank therefore only what the plant needs is taken. The rest of the water goes back to the fish and when the plant uses up the fish waste the water gets clean so you don’t have to clean your aquarium no matter how much you feed the fish. The water is not allowed to get stagnate and is kept moving with a small pump to put in oxygen that is needed to keep plant roots and fish alive.

On all accounts Aquaponics is a better way to grow food domestically because this is a closed system and you have no losses to nature. Farmers currently have problems with heavy rain fall washing away fertilizer before plants can take advantage or in the dry season. They are not sure how much fertilizer to use because when it is dry the fertilizer doesn’t spread out enough creating hot spots which kill plants if new fertilizer is applied and the old one is not used up. The surrounding earth absorbs the water you put to your plants making very large water bills Aquaponics takes away all that guess work. And fish don’t need as much time and care as conventional pets. No taking for walks or washing down pens. Fish are also silent and don’t smell, they really are the least socially disruptive animal that can be domesticated and this is only made possible with recent advances in cheap plastics and low energy water pumps. This is probably why our culture never kept any tilapia even though we have advantages in our rain fall patterns because in the dry season we get enough rain to sustain the small needs of an Aquaponics system. We also have the constant temperature needed for optimal fish growth. This means Aquaponics should be a permanent fixture in your household income revenue stream the modern equivalent to a kitchen garden.

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The D in DLP

Submitted by Dercris
Former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Sandiford led restructuring in the early 90s

Former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Sandiford cut public sector wages and retrenched workers in the early 90s.

In 1992 [former Prime Minister] Sandiford went to Rio to a UN Global Climate Change Conference. He ended his speech with a (very bad) poem he had written Ode to the Environment much to the embarrassment  of the other Caribbean delegations. But I do remember this part  in part ic u lar.

In order to build we must destroy!

But how and what, where and when.

And if we destroy, we must rebuild.

But how and what, where and when.

Please note they advocated back then that we ” must destroy” and then he goes on to say “if we destroy we must rebuild” but  he didn’t know how!! Perhaps we have found the source of DLP policy?   Perhaps that  is what D stands

Fisheries – understanding the flying fish problem

Walter Blackman

Walter Blackman

If we are going to restructure the Barbadian economy successfully, a radical change in attitudes and government policy in the areas of agriculture and fisheries is required.

The objective of this article is to educate readers to the point where we can agree on the origin and nature of our fisheries problem. The next step will be to focus on a solution.

Since the abolition of slavery, the peoples of Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago (T&T), and Guyana, for the most part descendants of slaves and indentured servants, have enjoyed a close and peaceful relationship. The functional co-operation among these three CARICOM states reached its height in the mid-1970’s under Prime Ministers Errol Barrow, Dr. Eric Williams, and Forbes Burnham.

However, considerations related to fish, oil, and natural gas began to creep into Barbados – T&T economic and political relations, and by 1976, the two countries started to engage each other in a series of meetings to deal with these and other matters.

Around this time, Barbados gained a technological foothold in the area of long-range fishing through the introduction of ice boats which provided Barbadian fishermen with the ability to fish in waters ranging from about 60 to 150 nautical miles off Barbados. Naturally, Barbadian ice boats started to pursue the migratory flying fish to the ‘high seas’, as they were called back then, off Tobago.

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The Sinckler Mess

Submitted by Anthony Davis
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Blame me! That was the proclamation from Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, in a close to two-hour news conference from Government Headquarters, broadcast live on national radio this afternoon. He told journalists that he was taking full responsibility for ‘any and all failures’, including the ones that he was ‘not responsible for’ within the Ministry of Finance.Painful decision SINCKLER SAYS GOVERNMENT TRIED DIFFERENT SCENARIOS TO KEEP BARBADOS STEADY AND AFLOAT” on page 3 of “Barbados Today” dated 06 January, 2014

Whom do you think that we should blame for the mess you have gotten us into, Mr. Sinckler? Owen Arthur? He got his share of blame when he was Minister of Finance, but he did not make such a song and dance about it! Or do you expect us to blame Dennis the Menace, or gremlins?

There already seems to be gremlins at work in the NIS Department as they have been having a “technical difficulty” since November, and the IT Department cannot find the problem and solve it up to now. Stand up and take your medicine like a man, instead of resorting to such theatricals. We do not need your crocodile tears.

Mrs. Redman, head of the BUT, stated that you as Minister of Finance gave her the assurance that none of her members will be among the 3000 public servants who will be fired by Government between this month and 15 March. At your press conference yesterday (06 January, 2014) you did not refute her statement, so one can only come to the conclusion that once again this Government has made a sweetheart deal with her. The teachers who went on strike at the Alexandra Secondary School last year didn’t act as if they needed the work so I do not see why some of them should not be sent home. On top of that this Government paid them for striking. Who is to say they wouldn’t walk out of the class room again, and leave students at some other school – and their parents/guardians – up the creek without a paddle again? They were uncompromising about not teaching our children then so why should we have compassion on them now?

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Oppressive DLP Creates a Fiscal Crisis and Again Punishes the Innocent for its Crime and Recklessness

Henderson Bovell

Henderson Bovell

How could the DLP be allowed to get away with such a vulgar and horrible crime against Barbadians and the region? Where is the social justice and accountability?  Has Barbados become a banana republic and a place where the innocent pays and are punished for the atrocities of the wicked? Because of the DLP, the whole world now thinks regional leaders and Governments are incompetent at economic leadership and management!

Barbadians have to be candid about what has happened and why this country now finds itself in this sorry mess and perilous state, where thousands of relatives; friends and neighbours (fellow Barbadians) are being oppressed and subjected to an unknown period of human suffering and a life of poverty, with no light or hope – in the DLP’s tunnel. There has to be a point beyond which, failure to accept sound, well-reasoned advice, from experienced professionals, including those who have “successful-actual on-the-job experience” – constitutes criminal negligence.

Very few would deny that this-failed-DLP-Government’s expenditure fiasco is caused primarily by its “flawed fatted calf doctrine and political entitlement programme,” which the country is now finding-out – has resulted in the reckless over-employment in the public sector, by stealth, over the past six years.

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