From The Barbados Advocate…
Saying that Caribbean countries must accept the inevitable phasing out of preferences and the need to adjust our economies, Prime Minister Owen Arthur nevertheless stated that the region was concerned with the callous manner in which the transition is being managed.
Speaking during the opening of the fifth UK/Caribbean Forum yesterday at the Barbados Hilton, he said that this action was witnessed last November with "the instant and unilateral evisceration of the Sugar Protocol."
He noted, "In the case of Barbados, we have in fact already started to develop new activities as we diversify around our dominant sector, sugar, as suggested by the Commission, but our exchanges to date with EU officials have left us in no doubt that the prescription they would ideally like to impose upon us is the total abandonment of sugar cane agriculture."
"For reasons such as this the Caribbean may be forgiven if it holds the view that there is unfortunately little sign of genuine dialogue towards the most viable and mutually acceptable transition arrangements", he continued…
Of course the U.K. and the European Union want "total abandonment of sugar cane agriculture" – because for decades they have been paying Barbados way over the world price for sugar as a subsidy.
In better times, "charitable" or "national interest" subsidies might have been an easier sell to Europe and especially to citizens of the United Kingdom – especially with the friendly relationship that Barbados and the U.K. previously shared.
But Mr. Prime Minister… do you really expect U.K. citizens to happily continue to subsidize Barbados when they often see their Monarchy, the Queen or a young Prince being publicly insulted in the media by the Prime Minister of Barbados? Do you really think the average Brit hears the Prime Minister of Barbados insult the Crown and then says, "Oh we had better send some more sugar subsidy to Barbados then" ?
Yard fowls do come home to roost occasionally, so be polite on the world stage, Mr. Prime Minister. Its called "diplomacy".
If Barbados wants to become a republic, we can achieve our goals without having our leadership going out of the way to insult or denigrate old allies and valuable trading partners.