Submitted by Wayne Cadogan
The question on everybody’s lips as well as mine is what are we celebrating? It appears that we are celebrating fifty years of the Democratic Labour Party -celebrations of exclusion and not fifty years of the country achievements! It would have been nice if the government had outlined a list of accomplishments over the past fifty years. One thing for sure, they helped to destroy our once vibrant garment industry. In the 80’s, they were 79 garment factories and a work force of over 14,000 workers. Instead, all I am hearing is about fetes and more fetes all year leading up to independence. It appears as if it is all feting and in some cases the prices that I am hearing is way above the average person’s pocket.
I really do not intend to participate in anything because to my mind, all the fetes and parties are just a smoke screen to take the masses minds away from the real issues read the current economic situation. Some of the major problems facing the country and affecting the masses are, water woes, garbage collection, poor roads, transportation, educational issues, the lies, broken promises about projects in the pipeline for the past three years etc. What will be their legacy is that we will end up with the IMF at our door step, despite their constant denial that the country is on solid footing.
What Barbados should be celebrating is the success of Rihanna. She is the best thing to happen to Barbados since slice bread. It is very disturbing and mind boggling to understand how our own Rihanna who share the spotlight with President Obama, as the two most famous and recognizable people in the universe -except for Donald Trump’s brief moment of fame and glory after shocking the world by winning the Presidency of the United States of America – yet the government of Barbados cannot see it fit to honour her in a tangible way by putting up a couple of billboards across the island and a life size picture of her on entering the Airport to immigration. Rihanna’s face can be seen all over the world and many countries have up billboards of the super star, except Barbados. Last year, the government saw it fit to put up a number of billboards along the Highway for the Heads of Government Conference, but cannot see it fit for one of their own, who is a world icon. This surely cannot be an over sight after all these years, it is a national disgrace and slap in the face.
For once in my life when I travel and people ask me where I am from and I tell them Barbados, they do not ask me which part of Jamaica is that. Thanks to Rihanna the world knows where is Barbados. Rihanna does more for tourism and marketing of Barbados than the Board of Tourism and its overseas high price marketing agencies. When tourists comes to Barbados, they want to see Rihanna’s house, because of her celebrity status. Rihanna’s home and where she grew up has become a tourist attraction and the government is not capitalizing on it. I would hate to think that the reason for not doing so is because there is nothing for any Minister to attach his or her name to as in the case of the opening of a new building or road. If this is the case, he or she could attach their name to the billboard and have their legacy live on! I am sure that if the former Prime Minister was alive he would have understood what Rihanna’s fame means to Barbados and capitalized on the opportunity to further expose Barbados to get tourists to come to our shores.
It is unfortunate the calibre of some of today’s politicians only get involved in politics to further themselves, families and friends and have very little interest in the economics of the country. Its heart breaking to see that a number of our politicians have no foresight and that some of our best brains are not involved in politics and the planning of our 50th anniversary. No wonder that everyone is asking what are we celebrating? In the many ads I have not seen one single telling the people what the achievements are or even attempting to do so. If this was done, many of the people would not have been so critical in seeing it as just a Democratic Labour Party fanfare. One can see that this is an election gimmick to leading up to the next general elections and not about what the country have achieved over the last 50 years and for a select few to leave their legacy in history for the historians to write about when we are celebrating our 100th anniversary.