A big part of what troubles the Barbados society can be attributed to the rise of a Black middleclass. In spite of billions of dollars invested in this group through ‘free’ education, instead of practically applying the knowledge acquired by actively participating in the management of the social and economic demands of the country, the majority have opted to indolently go about their business.
What defines the wants of this group is a trip to Disney World every other year, a greater than $500,000 mortgage to secure a house in a built up neighbourhood with an SUV or two in the driveway, monthly attendance at one of the many fetes or shows at a cost of at least two or three grantleys. The higher the cost of the ticket the louder the bragging rights via exchanges on Facebook or Whatsapp on the $1,800 smartphone. Last but not least is the offshore account or safety deposit box where hard currency is deposited. This group appears to seek solace in the activity demanded to climbing the career ladder and expanding a social network. Although some join philanthropic associations it is to pad the bio rather than out of a heartfelt need to give back to the society. This a group more interested in discussing news that originate ‘over and away’ rather than local or regional. No interest to form groups to advocate for causes. Leave it to others they say. Let them earn the $10,000 plus salary to feed the addiction to conspicuous consumption.
What is scary about the solidification of the group is the code of behaviour that now defines how business is done in Barbados. A good example can be gleaned in the Things Fall Apart – Caribbean Export Style expose. Distribute the aid or grant money to those favoured based on the pecking order in the social network, university attended or while liming at a Bliss fete. Why should we expect the minister of finance or tourism to make decisions in the interest of the people who elected them if personal relationships within the social network ultimately guide final decision making? Extend this approach to other areas of society where decisions have to be made and the problem builds. Those who do not want to be compliant are jettisoned to the outer band of the group unable to achieve significant upward movement career or otherwise.
Special mention of the minority members who break ranks to exercise a right to share a dissenting view especially against the political directorate. The political class, predominantly Black, will ‘starve’ these uppity members, they will be made to suck salt, withstand the worse tales and gossip.
A new year has just started and worrying is the thought that corruption in high places that use to fester at the top now has permeated to the bottom of the society. We are a predominantly Black country after all.