Submitted by William Skinner
I am among those who have long given up on the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party. I have concluded that they have done equally badly and equally well. Try as I may, it is almost impossible to discern any significant difference between the two. A classic case of the pot and kettle- six and half dozen.
Regardless of how critical we are of them, we must honestly ask ourselves if we have made maximum use of the good they have done. I think the sophisticated calls it intellectual honesty. Others will say give Jack his shirt jack!
Both parties have given the bulk of the national pie to education. There are not many countries in the world where public schooling is better than private. For example, there are no private high schools in Barbados that can match Harrison College, Queens College. The few private schools that are superior to either of them in terms of physical structure are no match academically. The question we must ask is whether those who have benefited from such excellent public schooling have any real commitment to their country.
This question can therefore be easily extended to include the University of the West Indies, where until quite recently education was free. How dedicated or nationalistic are those graduates who have been educated at the public expense and bluntly refuse to repay government student loans? Many of them have settled into comfortable lifestyles. However they bluntly refuse to honour their student debts.
We can now turn to our garbage problem. For decades we have thrown our derelict cars and appliances into gullies and have callously dumped and littered our country. We acted as if we were entitled to destroy the environment. Although neither party has been successful in effectively managing the process of garbage collection, the question remains: Have we not been our greatest enemy in this regard?
Finally, I comment on public housing. Over the years, governments have constructed housing for citizens. In many cases the rent agreed to was about sixty dollars monthly. That is about $30 USD. Some tenants never paid the rent although they were employed and had many of the finer consumer products in their homes. Eventually the bottom fell out of the bucket and successive governments tried vainly to collect back rent. Are we to assume that those tenants did not realize their responsibility to pay rent?
I have highlighted these areas, where the citizens have abused the good intentions of successive governments. Are we honest enough to suggest that we have all in some measure contributed to the decline of the country? While it cannot be denied that governments have blundered and floundered, we still must admit that in some cases the citizens have contributed to the predicament in which we now find ourselves.