Generally speaking, over the past 35 years, the political class has taken full advantage of a trusting, docile electorate. With no effective checks and balances in place, both political parties have routinely accused each other of using taxpayers’ money to fund deals, bribes, foreign bank accounts,
and kickbacks, and to create multi-millionaires out of a few handpicked people. Most of the island’s newest multi-millionaires can show no work, and can demonstrate no application of a set of skills to justify the accumulation of their recently acquired wealth.
Specifically, over the past 7 years, the David Thompson/Freundel Stuart administration and its advisors have exhibited a glaring inability to understand the economic and financial problems confronting the country. Since the government doesn’t understand the problem, it can never formulate an effective solution. Thus, Barbadians are beginning to feel the effects and hardships of an IMF imposed “homegrown” solution that must now be implemented by a reluctant, kicking, and screaming government.
Incompetence, arrogance, greed, insensitivity, ignorance, and disrespect for our laws and national reputation, on the part of the political class, have resulted in tremendous stress being exerted on a significant number of households in Barbados. After a prolonged period of economic and financial mismanagement created by the political class and their cronies, who do you think must suffer and pay the price in order to stabilize the economy? The workers of Barbados and their families must, of course.
Workers now have to grapple with the problems of small or no salary increases, high tax rates, unsafe and life-threatening forms of public transportation, rising costs of basic necessities, high personal and national debt burdens, and unfair and discriminatory hiring and firing practices at the workplace. Those workers born between 1951 and 1955 have now been earmarked, by government practice, for forced dismissal. Most government workers haven’t realized it yet, but there is a very high probability that both their government and NIS pension cheques will be repeatedly cut after they retire.
Investors and businessmen have to contend with the high costs of doing business, limited investment opportunities, frustrating “red tape”, the negative fallout of being domiciled in a country whose international credit rating has plummeted to junk status, uncertainty, and a lack of confidence brought on by a Prime Minister who has exhibited very poor leadership qualities to date, and a Minister of Finance who does not understand how a decimal point works. Additionally, bribes and kickbacks, paid by “shrewd” and unscrupulous businessmen to secure major contracts, continue to put honest and hardworking entrepreneurs at a great competitive disadvantage.
Property owners have been hammered with increased property taxes.
Young, intelligent, ambitious, but poor Barbadian minds cannot find jobs in a stagnant economy and they cannot afford to pay the mandatory university fees. Certainly, the devil will eventually find work for their idle hands to do.
If we put the performance of the Government of Barbados over the past 7 years under the microscope for just a couple of seconds, a few facts will be immediately revealed by simply following the money.
After inheriting a massive debt problem, thanks in most part to the Owen Arthur administration, the David Thompson/Freundel Stuart administration made a bad situation worse by borrowing whatever international currency it could get its hands on. Very little, if any, of the billions of dollars borrowed and spent from 2008 – 2015 contributed to the development of the country or the creation of sustainable jobs for its people. The country’s international credit card has now been maxed out and its international bonds have been relegated to junk status.
At the domestic level, the David Thompson/Freundel Stuart administration has displayed a similar insatiable thirst for money. Despite the fact that the actuary had repeatedly, albeit in vain, called on the Owen Arthur administration to control and reduce the level of NIS loans to government, the David Thompson/Freundel Stuart administration made a bad situation worse by continuing to treat NIS funds as a major source of government financing.
Who will suffer most when NIS funds eventually run dry? The workers of Barbados and their families will, of course
Now that the administration has had its feast and has left a skeletal NIS fund in its wake, it has now shifted its gaze upon the cash being held by the citizens of Barbados. Millions of dollars have been recently hauled in from citizens and have already been spent. There is a high probability that these trusting domestic investors will be literally “left holding the bag” of junk Barbados savings bonds.
Who will ultimately pay for this disastrous level of national debt? The workers of Barbados and their families will, of course
Now let us look at the behavior of the David Thompson/Freundel Stuart administration when it comes to giving out lucrative government contracts and investment opportunities. Not surprisingly, most of the major contracts and investment opportunities are handed out on a platter to handpicked foreigners. Some of these foreigners are nothing more than financial vampires constantly in search of third-world victims. The remaining contracts are then handed out to a few handpicked local businessmen. Typically, these contracts generate massive cost over-runs.
Who benefit from the allocation of lucrative contracts by the political class? The workers of Barbados and their families don’t, of course.
Who will ultimately pay for these contracts and their associated cost over-runs? The workers of Barbados and their families will, of course.
Evidently, the workers of Barbados and their families have a proverbial bone to pick with their political bosses. Their bosses clearly have not been looking after the interests of Barbadian workers, and have now been caught again trying to dismiss workers in an unfair and discriminatory manner. I don’t have the time and space to even mention the Cahill Waste-to-Energy project which has long been exposed by contributors on Barbados Underground as a scam of scandalous and dangerous proportions.
After reading the above, any fool can see that the situation is no longer about the workers of NCC, BIDC, SSA, Customs, or QEH. It is about the political class trying to use extortionist measures against Barbadian taxpayers and trying to get rid of Barbadian workers in an abusive and prejudicial manner. The response, therefore, ought to be about Barbadian taxpayers and workers defending their rights and interests by trying to rid themselves of a parasitic, useless and arrogant group of politicians.
Contributors to the Barbados Underground have repeatedly warned readers that those parliamentarians who made their first entry in 2008 are now simply biding their time until February 2016 when they will qualify for a parliamentary pension. If Barbadian workers manage to rid themselves of their political bosses before 2016, they and their families will save millions and millions of dollars in pension costs.
Worded differently, it is in the personal interest of members of the political class to survive until February 2016. On the other hand, it is in the national interest, and the workers’ interest, to get rid of them before February 2016. Since the dice have already been cast, the battle lines must now be clearly drawn.
Who is in the best position to commence the fight, on behalf of Barbadian workers and their families, against an unproductive and oppressive political class? The trade union is, of course.
The next strike called by the unions should be a strike on behalf of all Barbadian workers and their families. This strike, national in scope, should not end until the resignations of our useless political bosses have been secured. Let us try, in a unified way, to secure those resignations before February 2016.