Republican

Open Letter to the Prime Minister: The People’s Price Tag on a Republic

Submitted by Heather Cole

Submitted by Heather Cole

I write on the behalf of the people of Barbados to highlight what I think is a matter of great concern to your attention. It is with regards to the changing of the system of Government in Barbados from the Westminster system to a Republic.

You may recall that in 1652 the under represented English Colonies, flexed their muscles and obtained quasi independence under the Treaty of Oistins by advocating their rights under the banner of ‘no taxation without representation.’

Errol Barrow then took a step further in 1966 to obtain full Independence for this island from Great Britain.

In admiration of your quest to achieve the status of a Republic in 2016, we have noted that you do not have the two thirds majority in the Lower House and that the Leader of the Opposition may not entertain your wish for a Republican status at this time. In 2016, the people feel the same under representation as the early colonies did, especially given the harsh economic climate that currently exists on the island. So, the people of Barbados can put a firm offer on the table. We can propose by way of a referendum if our below proposals are met to deliver to you a Republic.

One does not have to look too far to see that the provision of the basic necessities of life are now in need of addressing; water, housing, education and health. We have noted that you reward the upper class with contracts, chairmanships, hotel concessions and land to the detriment of providing the people the basic necessities of life. The same people have been burdened with taxes to cover the concessions which you have given away. The poor of this country are given nothing by your government except the constant carnivals that perpetuate the psychological hold that the end of the crop celebrations have placed in their minds since the time of Slavery. There must be something meaningful in exchange for a Republic that will benefit the masses of Barbados.

Here is what I propose in exchange for a Republic:

  1. That the Integrity Legislation that was a manifesto promise of the election of 2008 is implemented.
  2. Sustainable access to running water for all by putting one of those studies that we have been informed are at the BWA into action by digging into the underground aquifers to supply the island. All of Barbados must be ensured this necessity not just the Heights, Terraces and tourist industry.
  3. The removal of VAT across the board on food.
  4. The revision of the VAT rate on cellphone usage back to 17.5%.
  5. On reflection, it is the current education system that is the last bastion of colonialism not our present system of Government. A change in the structure of our educational system will change the mindset of the people. Teaching entrepreneurship from the primary level will halt the curse of the past which dictates success to a selected few who enter the halls of the older secondary schools. In essence the new model will give every child a chance to succeed; instilling in them that the poor black man of this country can own a business and not depend on others to survive.
  6. Free access to tertiary education at the University of the West Indies, the Barbados Community College and The SJP Polytechnic.
  7. The creation of a micro business development programme that has ambassadors who go out to communities guiding the youth into areas where they can start small businesses. Equipping them with skills and knowledge and handholding for predetermined period is a much better way to offer hope to the youth as opposed to football tournaments.
  8. That by a defined selected process the poor of this island are allowed to rent or own the houses that the government has stockpiled.
  9. Offer support to small farmers to form cooperatives with the aim of reducing the imported food bill. There is already the land which Mr. Bjerkham no longer wants that can be used for this purpose.
  10. Reduction in the land tax bills. The cost is now prohibitive to the poor.
  11. The cancellation of the Cahill Waste to Energy Project and a return of the $200,000 finder’s fee back to the public purse immediately and to engage the people in any projects that affect the environment.
  12. The removal of the tipping fee that has led to rampant illegal dumping putting the health of all Barbados at risk.
  13. The provision of resources and equipment at the QEH and the Psychiatric Hospital to ensure adequate care of the residents and citizens of Barbados.
  14. And last but not least the de-criminalization of Marijuana, the scourge that has wrecked the lives of the youth of this county since the mid 1970’s. It should never have been criminalized.

Please note that the above mentioned if agreed upon must be enacted by a date prior to the referendum and that a change to a Republican status will not bind the people to elect your government for a third term in office. The enactment of the above will certainly give the people of Barbados something meaningful to celebrate.

Heather Cole

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149 Comments on “Open Letter to the Prime Minister: The People’s Price Tag on a Republic”

  1. Donna January 14, 2016 at 4:44 PM #

    Obama just diagnosed all of Barbados’ problems.

    Like

  2. David January 14, 2016 at 4:57 PM #

    @Heather

    Congrats, this blog has gone viral.

    You have a growing following.

    Like

  3. Vincent Haynes January 14, 2016 at 9:00 PM #

    @Ping January 14, 2016 at 3:39 PM #

    What is your understanding of a Republic and tell us how we are already one.

    Like

  4. Bush Tea January 14, 2016 at 9:16 PM #

    @ TheGazer
    The presence of a wind turbine to power the US embassy may also signal that energy shortages are expected at some time in the near future.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    As sure as night follows day.

    Just like the old water pipes, our electricity comes from some ancient machines that were due for replacement years ago. After years of talk, studies, promises…. and ongoing lack of direction from government and the foreign owners, we remain in limbo.

    …and just as it took an El Nino drought to expose our watery nakedness, a storm or some similar catalyst will soon unclothe our power vacuum.

    It does not take the CIA to work out that power independence is the way to go….

    Like

  5. Ping Pong January 15, 2016 at 3:57 AM #

    @ Vincent

    every definition of a republic states that a republic is “a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law”.

    We are already a republic. The queen as our titular head of state is an anomaly and an absurdity. PM Stuart (a lawyer) by pretending that Barbados is not already republic is only being disingenuous. Removing the queen will not make Barbados any more or less of a republic other than to disabuse our minds that we live under a monarchy. This whole republic debate is a distraction and a humbug.

    Like

  6. Jeff Cumberbatch January 15, 2016 at 5:01 AM #

    @Ping Pong, most people do not know, or even care, what “republic” means. If it were said that we were to become a “principality” or even a “sovereign state” the reaction would be the same.

    Like

  7. David January 15, 2016 at 5:08 AM #

    Did it mean anything more when Reagan mobilized forces to invade Grenada? Would it have been less of a problem to mobilize if Grenada was a republic?

    Like

  8. flyonthewall January 15, 2016 at 9:52 AM #

    Call me a curmudgeon, but I see nothing new or exceedingly insightful in Ms Cole’s laundry list of solutions: they have all been identified and aired before on BU and other forums. Call me a cynic, but I detect a whiff of political PR behind this post.

    Like

  9. Vincent Haynes January 15, 2016 at 12:43 PM #

    @Ping Pong January 15, 2016 at 3:57 AM #

    I am in agreement with your above………one always has to be sure that when a word is used that both parties have the same understanding.

    Like

  10. Heather January 15, 2016 at 1:32 PM #

    @theflyonthewall, if you truly were a fly on the wall who sees and knows of everything you would not have to detect a whiff of political PR. You would be able to say outright if it is so or not. It is really an insult to the people of Barbados to refer to their needs as a laundry list.

    Like

  11. Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass. January 15, 2016 at 2:21 PM #

    The solutions for our country are not complicated, they have been repeated by several people in many forums.

    The fact remains; the people most capable of efficiently and honestly running our tiny little country (nationals and non-nationals) are not prepared to dive into the political cesspool.

    If follows therefore that our solution for good administration must come from outside the current system or the system must be changed.

    Like

  12. flyonthewall January 15, 2016 at 4:06 PM #

    @Heather

    I haven’t insulted the people of Barbados: their needs are very real and I understand them as well as you do; probably better. The point I am making is that you simply compiled a bunch of issues that have been widely discussed on this blog and elsewhere, reframed them as recommendations, and passed them off as original thinking: yours. This post has been repeated on Facebook where you have asked everyone to share it. What is more, you have sent it to the Nation and Barbados Today. In other words, you seek maximum exposure for everything you write. You did the same thing with your previous post, “The Price of Progress”, which might have been better titled “Lament for lost Barbados.” Hal Austin thought it was the best piece of journalism he has ever read. I saw a piece of propaganda, wrapped up in trip down memory lane, by someone whose “lane” doesn’t stretch all that far. Where were you on November 30, 1966, when Errol Barrow lowered the Union Jack and raised the Broken Trident? As far as I am concerned, The key message of that piece was “In 50 years Barbados has gone to hell in a hand-basket”. You wrapped it up in enough patriotic sentiment to have some on this blog sobbing in their handkerchiefs. The final paragraph was constructed to encourage the perception that much of this decay could be linked to the current administration. And then, lo and behold, in your very next post, you present the solutions. so yes, I detect a whiff of political PR. In fact, let me be blunt: based on what I have seen coming from you, beginning with your anti-Cahill campaign, I believe you are “agent provocateur” for the Barbados Labour Party.

    Like

  13. are-we-there-yet January 15, 2016 at 4:29 PM #

    Heather;

    Looks like you’ve touched a raw nerve. They’ve gone beyond the ac tool.

    Like

  14. David January 15, 2016 at 4:38 PM #

    If we agree the ‘laundry list’ is consonant with what is good for Barbados why is it necessary to ascribe a political motive?

    Like

  15. Heather January 15, 2016 at 4:48 PM #

    @theflyonwall You now have me anxiously waiting to see an article that you have written on BU. Will that me anytime soon?

    Like

  16. Vincent Haynes January 15, 2016 at 4:53 PM #

    @are-we-there-yet January 15, 2016 at 4:29 PM #

    Chuckle……….you got that one right……….the point should be made that we have been going down since the 60’s,starting with the political interference in running the technocrats of govt.

    Like

  17. flyonthewall January 15, 2016 at 6:17 PM #

    @Are we there yet
    You are mistaken if you believe I, like AC, have any DLP affiliation. This is the worst government the country has ever had. I have no intention of defending it. But I stand by my comments and I believe time will prove me right.

    Like

  18. flyonthewall January 15, 2016 at 6:48 PM #

    @Heather

    Shall I take a trip down memory lane, too? I can remember when a cheese cutter cost 12 cents and a small coke cost seven. I remember when there were bakeries that sold sugar-crusted turnovers that were chock-full with chunks of coconut. I can remember when rum-shops would open a packet of cigarettes and sell you two (Trumpeters). I remember a Barbados where people didn’t worry about personal safety and when news of a murder shocked the entire country. I can remember travelling on “toast-rack” buses to go see the 1.30 show at the Plaza. I can remember making my own kites and buying bombs, fire-crackers and “bandits” when we still celebrated Guy Fawkes day. I remember collecting and trading pictures of film stars that came in Dandy bubble-gum. There were no traffic jams or road rage in those days, because there weren’t that many cars. License plates, no matter which parish, only had one letter in front of the numbers. Most Barbadians got around on bicycles with names like “Raleigh”, “Rudge” and “Hercules”. There was one Mercedes-Benz on the island, which belonged to the man whose family owned RM Jones. Life was so carefree and uncomplicated. Everyone was so happy. Or were they? Let me stop there. I think the rest of BU have had enough.

    Like

  19. pieceuhderockyeahright January 15, 2016 at 7:02 PM #

    @ FlyontheWall

    That is an abrupt “right turn” for those who were well on the way “going west with Ms. Cole”.

    You purport that Ms. Cole is in fact “regurgitating” all of the consonants previously espoused here by many other intellectual soldiers.

    She has culled from all others before her and “repacked” what a Bajan might call a dog dumpling, the visiting American wanting to be more colourful would call “canine dough”.

    So to highlight that repackaging let me cite the instance of the 20KV kerpeller that the United States Embassy was able to get Town and Cuntry Planning approve to build in a residential community, a kerpeller which is not whisper soft and which, if you are a poor black man living in Wildey Close cant sound off loudly enough to get them to tek down this monstrosity.

    @ The Blogmaster that is why the article did not appear in the news because it would have given the Barbados Light and Power operatives the opportunity to rightfully observe that their Wind Farm in Benthams? was refused because of noise, yet that of the mighty Unitd States of Amurica was approved without Mr. Cummins uttering a sound.

    But we like um so.

    But back to you Fly on the Wall.

    Like many, intrigue and contrived truths are of interest to many of us so, instead of just making an interesting statement that Ms. Cole is in fact the emissary of the Troika of Motley, reincarnated, sine any clitorical predispositions, and as opposed to travelling due west 24,901 miles all one has to do is to get up early one morning travel north for 16 miles, tackatoo to the S.S.E for whatever chosen hypoteneuse and then head west AND to the amazement of all of us in the camp, appear to be like the Wise Men who visited the Christ 2016 years ago.

    Go beyond innuendo.

    Prior to making that statement it might have been more effective to have taken 8 to 10 pictures of Miss Cole in different garb, in the presence of the newly reconstituted BLP, and its leadership for substantiation of that interesting claim.

    Had you too had one of the US supplied, “israeli augmented” listening devices that led to the ousting of the former Commissioner of Police (and Alex) you would have been able to supply voice recordings of their convos like Dottin is said to have been able to do with PM Arthur’s.

    If these people could put 1/10 th of the energy that they now apply to corruption and graft, to nation building activities for Barbados, we would be an unstoppable people.

    Like

  20. Hants January 15, 2016 at 7:16 PM #

    @ Pieceuhderock,

    Check the Diaspora corner. Dem old fellas enjoying duh selves. lol

    Like

  21. Well Well & Consequences January 15, 2016 at 7:17 PM #

    Yep Piece….your last paragraph rocks

    Like

  22. Colonel Buggy January 15, 2016 at 8:37 PM #

    The contempt that the Prime Minister holds towards the Citizens of Barbados is beyond belief. Imagine all along ,and that would have included the big bash start off celebration on January the 6th, he knew that a member of the Royal Family would be paying a visit to Barbados as part of our 50th celebration of independence, but has seen it fit not to share this bit of news, with Barbadians ,”the permanent visitors”, of Barbados, but has kept it like a winning lotto ticket in his back pocket, to be shared with glee with the “Repeat Visitors”.
    Do Barbadians ,who are celebrating their 50th year of independence ,deserve to be treated to hand -me -down news?

    Like

  23. millertheanunnaki January 15, 2016 at 8:53 PM #

    @ Colonel Buggy January 15, 2016 at 8:37 PM

    Can’t you see the man is just a piece of classless shit that happened, by misadventure, to float to the very top of political crassness. And just like the house niggers of old, tries his ‘rolling-eyes’ best to come across as a simple magniloquent jackass of sesquipedalian proportions with a massive monkey on his social back.
    He is the epitome of faked snobbery. What a man to back in his push for Republican status where the people are just minions in his game of hypocrisy.

    Like

  24. Vincent Haynes January 15, 2016 at 9:06 PM #

    @Colonel Buggy January 15, 2016 at 8:37 PM #

    Chuckle…….now be honest,what do you expect?

    Like

  25. Colonel Buggy January 15, 2016 at 9:34 PM #

    David January 14, 2016 at 6:29 AM

    Did we not have one at Lamberts in St Lucy, and around 20 years ago, a big terrible one belonging to Bizzy Williams at Shop Hill.

    Like

  26. Heather January 15, 2016 at 10:37 PM #

    @flyonthewall. I must burst your bubble. You have just assassinated the English Language. Plain and simple. It is difficult to read, lack structure. There is no style and I do presume that you are older than 9. It does not grab my attention or make me want to read more. Writing and story telling is an art. Perhaps you should go back to the drawing board. However any grading would just be because you accepted the challenge.

    Like

  27. Well Well & Consequences January 16, 2016 at 2:35 AM #

    Colonel….it’s a disease afflicting the politicians, everything that the people should know is wrapped in secrecy only to be vomited when they see white people. Local politicians just cannot be trusted….and the people they talk out their guts to, will trust them the least, because what affects the electorate has absolutely nothing to do with them, they don’t care, they are on vacation and most of them would like to get rid of the monstrosity that is parading as a monarchy, but these hard headed negro men and women cannot get that through their thick skulls.

    Like

  28. ac January 16, 2016 at 6:21 AM #

    History decides whether this govt or any other govt were for the betterment or the worse of a country. The players and the stakeholders who lend their voices to the ongoing of the system mostly do so out of their “wants” and needs and very seldom what is in the best interest of the country.
    For e.g no 12 in the article lays out a formula based on a premise that a tipping fee put in place was the cause for illegal dumping which is a blatant untruth when all and sundry knows that 1. illegal dumping has been an on going problem in barbados for years and continues to be worsened by the lack of implementing laws to curve or stop those practices (which in part can be due to the lack of funding),The question therefore IMHO who does the fee benefits in the long term .Those who are against the tipping fee lost sight of the fact that the fee is initiated in its purest form towards the long term benefit of the environment but ignores the overall benefits and by facts driven by political propaganda and self interest .
    For others who would rather not see the long term dire consequences of an environmental nightmare because of lack of policies sufficiently funded and well formulated in the need of preventative measures the purpose of the fee will serve the long term viability of an environmental friendly barbados and not purposely put in place to help a few but an initiative that serves all of society
    The article is a diatribe of self interest wants and needs housed in a dream like world of “make belief absent of facts and truths having the applaud of those of likened minds

    Like

  29. Vincent Haynes January 16, 2016 at 8:03 AM #

    @WW&C

    Chuckle…..where ignorance is bliss……..

    Like

  30. Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass. January 16, 2016 at 8:06 AM #

    flyonthewall January 15, 2016 at 6:17 PM #
    @Are we there yet
    You are mistaken if you believe I, like AC, have any DLP affiliation. This is the worst government the country has ever had. I have no intention of defending it. But I stand by my comments and I believe time will prove me right.

    Heather’s political motivation seems obvious to me, I presume without one she wouldn’t bother to agitate. I also presume she believes, like all of us, that violent revolution is impossible and undesirable so we must therefore agitate for change with the tools we have available: press, social media etc. By definition that makes her political.

    It does not follow, however, that anyone against the DLP is for the BLP; it is that asinine thinking that has brought us to the brink of destruction. As well as other 2-party Caribbean states, albeit with voting masses more ignorant than ours.

    I sincerely hope that Heather finds the patriotic motivation to stand for election in the 2017 polls. If there was ever an example of what our 3rd party should look like it is her. There are many other patriots with strong opinions about what is best for Barbados who won’t stand for election, our greatest challenge is finding them an effective forum and power base.

    Like

  31. Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass. January 16, 2016 at 8:14 AM #

    ac January 16, 2016 at 6:21 AM #
    History decides whether this govt or any other govt were for the betterment or the worse of a country. The players and the stakeholders who lend their voices to the ongoing of the system mostly do so out of their “wants” and needs and very seldom what is in the best interest of the country.
    For e.g no 12 in the article lays out a formula based on a premise that a tipping fee put in place was the cause for illegal dumping which is a blatant untruth when all and sundry knows that 1. illegal dumping has been an on going problem in barbados for years and continues to be worsened by the lack of implementing laws to curve or stop those practices (which in part can be due to the lack of funding),The question therefore IMHO who does the fee benefits in the long term .Those who are against the tipping fee lost sight of the fact that the fee is initiated in its purest form towards the long term benefit of the environment but ignores the overall benefits and by facts driven by political propaganda and self interest .

    When you spew this $hit do you read it back to yourself before distribution?

    For decades we have fought illegal dumping and just about managed to get it under control, especially due to Bynoe and other recyclers. What did the retarded a$$holes in your cabinet think would happen when they demanded Bajans pay for something they had for free and could continue to get for free? Did the same brainless jackasses think for one minute that measures such as army patrols, police patrols, firmer legislation, larger fines etc. should have been put in place before the tipping fee was implemented to mitigate against the obvious consequences?

    The tipping fee is a perfect example of the detachment the DLP cabinet has from reality and their blind ignorance of the consequences of their ill-conceived, ill-advised foolishness. Any 11 year old child would have told Lowe and his money grabbing whore of a cabinet what the consequences would have been.

    You and your whore masters have not one shred of credibility left in this country, there will be wild celebrations in Bim when you are gone. Continue to increase taxation, we will still starve you out of office. When there is nothing left to teef the teefs will crawl back to where they came from.

    Like

  32. David January 16, 2016 at 8:51 AM #

     

    Movement of Concerned Citizens's photo.

    Like

  33. Well Well & Consequences January 16, 2016 at 10:08 AM #

    Vincent…ha, ha, but I don’t keep my visions secret, all to myself.

    Like

  34. Well Well & Consequences January 16, 2016 at 10:11 AM #

    AC will spew shit whether it’s warranted or not, a shit spewer.

    Like

  35. The Gazer January 16, 2016 at 10:26 AM #

    “Seek maximum exposure for everything you write”. This is exactly what she or any “writer” on social/political topics should be doing. She is not writing in her personal diary, but online.

    “And then, lo in the next paragraph you present a solution”. That was what i like about the article. Refute her solution, suggests competing ideas and bshow where she is wrong.

    Like

  36. The Gazer January 16, 2016 at 10:30 AM #

    To equate this dribble of nonsense with what was written by Ms. Cole is a sign of insanity.

    It looks as if we will all have to get a whacker.

    Like

  37. The Gazer January 16, 2016 at 10:35 AM #

    Colonel, as an example (perhaps a bad one) . if I saw you building a shelter, I would call it lunacy. If I saw the US embassy building one, I would try to get one also. One has to take all of the information into consideration.

    Like

  38. The Gazer January 16, 2016 at 10:43 AM #

    Businessman, I have seen this too often on BU.
    If you express an opinion that does not completely align with the ideas of some, then you are assumed to be supportive of the “other’ side.
    Don’t be intimidated into saying nothing.

    Like

  39. ac January 16, 2016 at 11:31 AM #

    Ha!Ha! Overly frustrated and confuse business man.Your response is inertia typical of those with tunnel vision waiting for the bottom to fall out before taking all available preventitive measures . Clowns like you relish the idea that the band aid method of repair is always the best. Never able to grasp alternatives until it is too late

    Like

  40. Colonel Buggy January 16, 2016 at 11:55 AM #

    Why hasn’t this come as a surprise to anyone ? What did Owen Arthur called this government?

    Like

  41. Colonel Buggy January 16, 2016 at 11:57 AM #

    Like

  42. Well Well & Consequences January 16, 2016 at 1:11 PM #

    I don’t understand this, maybe am a little dim today. I remember very well back in the early 2000s the government bought a residence in Forest Hills, Queens, I believe the price tag was in the region of 2 million US, that would be about or near 16 years ago, so what does that article mean….makes no sense.

    Like

  43. Well Well & Consequences January 16, 2016 at 1:36 PM #

    Colonel…am really not being sarcastic or anything, I was truly confused on seeing that article. The US 2 million dollar residence for diplomats would or should have been insured. Forest Hills is the epitome of hoity toity in NY.

    Like

  44. ac January 16, 2016 at 1:54 PM #

    Frustrated confuse a.sshole business man

    The fact that my comment drew hostility speaks of your acceptance of the status quo which are all so eloquently bundle together in the article under the persumption of change .

    Like

  45. Due Diligence January 16, 2016 at 2:23 PM #

    Colonel

    And, why does a country with a population ranking 171 of 193 require a property, located in the tree-lined and sedate high-income community of Forest Hills in Queens, then goes begging for concessionary financing.

    Like

  46. Colonel Buggy January 16, 2016 at 3:45 PM #

    Perhaps what we will see in the future, is some enterprising Barbadian purchasing property in New York, Washington, Miami ,Toronto and London and renting out to the Barbados Government , like what has been done at the Sky Mall (JulieN),a fat wallet throw away from the sprawling and under used , LLoyd Erskine Sandiford Centre .
    We like it so.

    Like

  47. Vincent Haynes January 16, 2016 at 4:54 PM #

    @Colonel Buggy January 16, 2016 at 3:45 PM #

    Time you started to write a book on the happenings in Bim…..unfortunately most publishers would tell you that it has to be classified as work of fiction as no country with all of its much touted educational system could produce people who allow situations like that…..but worth a try…….who knows even a film deal……good for tourism too….we will be deemed a genetic impossibility……the sky is the limit

    Title:The BBs of the Caribbean.

    Like

  48. greenmule January 16, 2016 at 5:22 PM #

    It is a good time for Barbados to order 5 million barrels of crude oil @ $28USD / barrel & stockpile.Barbados should have signed the petrcarib deal ,take out a loan for 5 million barrels & lock in Venezuela .

    Like

  49. David January 16, 2016 at 5:26 PM #

    @greenmule

    You are aware Venezuela is drowning in economic turmoil at the moment?

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/01/venezuela-government-declares-economic-emergency-160116054425863.html?

    Like

  50. greenmule January 16, 2016 at 5:30 PM #

    The Government not passing on any savings from cheap oil ( $28USD/ barrel) to consumers. It is still costing motorist $150+ BDS to full up at the gas stations. So there is no need to raise vat to 22.5% on cell phones.

    Like

  51. greenmule January 16, 2016 at 5:35 PM #

    @ David.
    If you can’t get a deal with Venezuela, then lock Trinidad.

    Like

  52. flyonthewall January 16, 2016 at 7:05 PM #

    ERROL BARROW REFUSED TO BE JOSHUA AND WE SHOULD THANK HIM FOR IT

    Ms Cole has expressed a desire for me to write something on BU. I imagine she wishes an opportunity to comment on my work as I have done on hers. I’m not one to disappoint a lady, so I am giving it my best shot. However, let me first make a number of disclaimers:
    First, since she introduced the 50-years-since-Independence theme, I have kept to it. What I write is an entirely personal interpretation – not a work of history – of what transpired in the early years as we set off on the journey. And since that journey truly began under Errol Barrow, I have chosen to focus on him.
    Second, I never met Barrow or any member of his government. The closest I ever came to him was in a discotheque in Barbados, and even then he was 20 feet away.
    Third, I am not a DLP supporter; I don’t have any deep regard for the other party either as it is currently constituted, but if forced to choose I will probably lean in its direction.
    ________________________________

    Barbadians love their biblical stories and heroes, and they are adept at finding parallels in their own time. The story that resonates most strongly for black Barbadians, as indeed it has done for black Christians everywhere, is the freeing of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. It is not by coincidence that Grantley Adams was called the “Black Moses”.
    But as we know, while Moses led his people out of Egypt, it was not his destiny to take them into the Promised Land. That responsibility – that privilege – would fall to Joshua. It would be Joshua whose army defeated the Canaanites; it would be he who would blow his horn to blast the walls of Jericho and, one by one, also bring down the other citadels of Canaan.

    In 1966, there were many Barbadians who saw Errol Barrow as Joshua and were eager for the sound of his horn. The citadels would fall and the Canaanites would be routed, and within the context of Barbados at that time it’s not hard to figure out who the “Canaanites” were.

    Errol Barrow shunned that role and we should all thank him for it. Had he embraced it, Barbados today would be another bankrupt experiment in democracy, a dysfunctional little rock in the Atlantic. He left the “Canaanites” in place in their citadels (i.e. White-run commercial enterprises) and set out to build a nation that would accommodate them.
    I believe he knew that, in time, there would be more Israelites inside the citadels than Canaanites. What is more, they would build their own. Besides, he needed those White-run commercial enterprises – those citadels – to function well to help fund the vision he had for Barbados.

    And Barrow was very adept at drawing on the talents and experience of those White business leaders. He knew that these men, despite their colour, would help him build a new Barbados. He asked them to serve and they did. What is more, they did it for free.

    As I see it, Barrow chose the path of evolution rather than revolution, even though he knew it would be a far more gradual process than many wished it to be. And he made that path attractive by paving it with education and making it smoother to travel on.
    Across the Atlantic, in Africa, other leaders in newly independent countries chose differently.

    There, a plethora of highly destructive “Joshuas” held Africa back for decades. Fifty years on, there is hardly a country on that continent in which democracy is anything but a thin coat of varnish.

    Errol Barrow wanted to build a more equitable society but not by fire. What many people don’t appreciate is that, in the social hierarchy of Barbados – at least the Black hierarchy – he was an aristocrat. And aristocrats tend to value rather than despise order and stability.
    He was an international thinker, extremely well educated and with a world view honed by participation in a world war. And on November 30, 1966, he knew EXACTLY how precarious his country’s future was.

    Contrary to what some may believe Britain did not resist the idea of Independence for Barbados. What concerned the British Government of the day was that, having helped push the “Good Ship Barbados” out to sea, they would have to come rescue us as we foundered within sight of shore.

    Errol Barrow must have had the same fear. He knew that if it all went pear-shaped Barbados was well and truly f—-d.

    That things did not go pear-shaped is due to his leadership and a vision that went far beyond politics. I have heard it said that he was autocratic, but in the early days of Independence he probably needed to be. (Besides, I have this said of other prime ministers we have had. From all accounts, Tom Adams was no “sweet bread” and neither was Owen Arthur.)

    I’m grateful to Errol Barrow, and to the other leaders that Barbados produced since 1966. We may say they were flawed, but which of us isn’t.

    Fifty years on, I believe many Barbadians would willingly settle for some of that old-fashioned autocracy instead of what currently exists. We are drowning is politicians while starved for statesmen.

    The difference between the two is this: a statesman thinks of the next generation; a politician thinks of the next election.

    Like

  53. are-we-there-yet January 16, 2016 at 8:24 PM #

    FlyOnTheWall;

    Nice!
    Write something on the Cahill debacle.

    Like

  54. Colonel Buggy January 16, 2016 at 8:34 PM #

    Due Diligence January 16, 2016 at 2:23 PM #

    You asked why? The Great Errol Walton Barrow has long ago given us the answer.
    We have champagne taste with mauby pockets.

    Like

  55. Vincent Haynes January 16, 2016 at 8:47 PM #

    @flyonthewall January 16, 2016 at 7:05 PM #

    Hats off to you,a good assesment up to independence.

    What are your views of his 10 years tenure post independence?

    Like

  56. balance January 16, 2016 at 11:38 PM #

    “We have champagne taste with mauby pockets.”
    It was as a result of his ‘make you feel good’ policies which encouraged people to live and consumes conspicuously in other words to live above our means.

    Like

  57. Bush Tea January 17, 2016 at 12:10 AM #

    @ balance
    It was as a result of his ‘make you feel good’ policies which encouraged people to live and consumes conspicuously
    +++++++++++++++++++++++
    Nonsense…
    Not only did we live within our means back then, but we also managed to acquire valuable national assets such as the Harbour, Airport, Manufacturing estates, Bartel, etc…

    The deficit got out of hand under the great ‘economist’ (what ever the hell THAT is…)

    Like

  58. balance January 17, 2016 at 12:10 AM #

    “And Barrow was very adept at drawing on the talents and experience of those White business leaders. He knew that these men, despite their colour, would help him build a new Barbados. He asked them to serve and they did. What is more, they did it for free.”

    We may say they were flawed, but which of us isn’t. Yes I do agree that we all have our demons but I have never been able to comprehend how Mr Barrow had the temerity to curse in a vicious way the same white businessmen he turned to for help as you put it. I heard Mr barrow on the political platform whipping the crowd into a frenzy by telling the crowd the Barbados Shipping and trading was the bastion of colonialism and calling certain businessmen by name to the adulation of the crowd said they wanted putting on the Lord Combermere and put out to sea.

    Like

  59. Sargeant January 17, 2016 at 1:08 AM #

    @Flyonthewall
    Across the Atlantic, in Africa, other leaders in newly independent countries chose differently.
    There, a plethora of highly destructive “Joshuas” held Africa back for decades. Fifty years on, there is hardly a country on that continent in which democracy is anything but a thin coat of varnish

    +++++++++++
    Don’t try to elevate Barbados by giving African countries short shrift, stop comparing oranges with apples. For a proper context compare the experience of Barbados post Independence with other Caribbean countries. Barbados was blessed with a good foundation, a small island, homogeneous population, good primary schools and a high literacy rate, decent communication (read roads). Let’s look at Ghana the first of those African countries that gained Independence from Britain. A large country, rural population, schools but not on par tribal society (there is still an Ashanti King) many languages and dialects different regions cobbled together to form a country. Look at Nigeria , large sprawling country which the colonial power brought together, many languages, tribal differences, religious differences, Central Gov’t despised by other regions (see Igbos), non- homogeneous see differences between people from the North and those from the South. Look at Kenya, large country tribal differences, Independence gained through a guerrilla uprising (Mau Mau), I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture.

    Like

  60. Vincent Haynes January 17, 2016 at 8:57 AM #

    @balance January 17, 2016 at 12:10 AM #

    Any good/great political leader has a balancing act to perform by telling the poor class masses what they want to hear(including cussing all&sundry) as they are the ones providing the votes and at the same time convincing the monied class that he will look after them if they support him.

    Like

  61. Tron January 17, 2016 at 10:43 AM #

    In my opinion all talk about black v. white, republic and so on is only a big distraction from the true issue: economy, overhead in public service and integrity in serving Bim.

    “Punching above weight” was only possible by good governance in the past. There is no white or black, republican or royal, left or right wing economic policy, but only good and bad for the majority of this country in order to protect the weak, encourage the strong and to balance society.

    As commentators said before, the tools to get out of the present mess are already know. Where is the captain to lead by example and to change the rules of the game?

    Like

  62. flyonthewall January 17, 2016 at 10:58 AM #

    @Are we there yet

    Like the vast majority of Bajans I’m appalled by degree of corruption that it represents, but I can’t add anything to what BU and others have exposed. I’m not a “player”. I came here to learn the truth behind this deal.

    Like

  63. Jeff Cumberbatch January 17, 2016 at 11:18 AM #

    David, I believe that Fly-on-the-wall’s submission deserves a separate space. The topic as to the veryearly years of our sovereign statehood is of significant contemporary relevance in our 50th year.

    Like

  64. flyonthewall January 17, 2016 at 11:30 AM #

    @ Vincent

    In all honesty I am not qualified to assess Barrow’s political performance. I’m not a political scientist or historian, and by the time of his second period in office I was living overseas. As I said in my post, my observations are personal and subjective. Looking back, I believe things could have gone sideways under someone less wise.
    @Sargeant
    I do get the picture: tribalism made it extremely difficult to create cohesive societies. Nonetheless, the “Joshua role” has been played out in many countries in Africa. It was perfected by Robert Mugabe.
    @Balance
    He knew what they wanted to hear and what made good political theatre. It boils down to votes. You know Bajans don’t go to political meetings to hear reasoned arguments grounded in sound policy. I have a very dear friend (white) who has been a staunch BLP supporter in the background since the time of Bree St. John. he told me a story about how a very high-up BLPite called him one night to tell him that whites would be getting some licks from the platform the next night. “Don’t take it seriously,” he said. “You know how it goes and why.” I heard the story that Dipper wanted to put all white people on a boat and push them out to sea. But let me tell you a story about him and boats that I know for a fact. Apart from loving to cook, he loved to fish. And many is the time he went fishing with white men on THEIR boats. He could discuss things discreetly without being seen to fraternize with the “enemy”.

    Like

  65. Vincent Haynes January 17, 2016 at 12:18 PM #

    flyonthewall January 17, 2016 at 11:30 AM #

    I Agree with your post above…….I was not here for much of the 2nd term but for his 3rd term I was back here and it was his worse,possibly driven by the fuel crisis.

    Like

  66. Bush Tea January 17, 2016 at 12:57 PM #

    Barrow was a man born ahead of his time, and while Barbados benefitted from his vision, he suffered the usual fate of those who are similarly out of touch with contemporary thinking.

    Flyonthewall is largely correct, but Barrow was self-assured enough to be able to see himself as leader of all Barbados – Black and White, and to take steps aimed at maximising collective results. Tom also to an extent, but then we had the Don Blackman /USA approach taking hold …and its inherent divisiveness.

    Barrow could not swallow the fact that after all he had done, he was rejected by the masses in election….. he NEVER got over that rejection. This happens often when wise, competent leaders attempt to guide brass bowls to safe grazings …only to be ignored and rejected in favour of others of the brass bowl ilk…..🙂

    …something about casting pearls to swine….

    Like

  67. flyonthewall January 17, 2016 at 1:07 PM #

    I just realized that in my last post I addressed Are We There Yet instead of Balance. I apologize for any confusion.

    @Jeff
    Thank you Jeff, I take your suggestion as a great compliment. But I am content to be an ordinary blogger. I don’t have any desire to make a name for myself or receive any special attention.

    Like

  68. David January 17, 2016 at 1:31 PM #

    @flyonthewall

    This is where you and Heather are different, you have a (good) point to make share it. What good is having an idea or perspective and be passive in its dissemination. Agree with Jeff your intervention should be highlighted🙂. Feel free to submit your thoughts by clicking on ‘Submit Confidential’ at the top of the page. This is what we need in Barbados, IDEAS, especially from the apolitical🙂.

    Like

  69. flyonthewall January 17, 2016 at 2:04 PM #

    You are quite right David: Heather Cole and I are very different.

    Liked by 1 person

  70. balance January 17, 2016 at 11:28 PM #

    “but we also managed to acquire valuable national assets such as the Harbour, Airport, Manufacturing estates, Bartel, etc”
    Nonsense all of the above were evident before 1961.

    Like

  71. Andrew Simpson April 24, 2016 at 3:59 PM #

    What if I do not agree with two or three of your proposals? And my neighbor agrees with me on two but with you on the other. A platform for popular consensus must be built, minus the partisan political waste of human and financial resources.

    Like

  72. David April 24, 2016 at 4:02 PM #

    And this is where vision informed by leadership comes in to play.

    Like

  73. Chester Walke July 22, 2016 at 3:05 PM #

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

    Like

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  1. Errol Barrow Refused to be JOSHUA | Barbados Underground - January 17, 2016

    […] Extracted from Open Letter to the Prime Minister: The People’s Price Tag on a Republic posted by flyonthewall. […]

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