ONCE UPON A TIME in the 1960’s, two Barbados farmers worked the land that their ancestors had left them. All was well and they prospered – growing sugar and selling their crops for high prices. American farmers and industry had not yet discovered sugar beets or fructose, and the Cuban competition was effectively eliminated from the North American markets.
Times were good.
But then things changed – sugar prices crashed, labour became costly and both farmers were hard-pressed to feed their families and keep those golfing memberships paid up. What to do? What to do?
The Wise Farmer’s Solution
“I know!” cried the wise farmer. “I will personally cut back on expenses any way I can, and everyone is expected to do the same. My family will have to make do with less for now – so that the future can be secured. We will sacrifice everything to highly educate our children. If sugar will not support the family any longer, we will work hard and equip our children to find other modern ways. But this will take sacrifice by this generation so that the children will do well when it is their turn to have families…”
“We may even lease some of our land to others, but we will never NEVER sell the land to maintain our current lifestyle, because if we do that, we will surely reach a time when all the land will be gone, and we will not have achieved anything except to keep the golfing memberships for a few more years…”
The Foolish Farmer
The Foolish Farmer said to himself, “My family will never understand that things have changed and we now have to make do with less, so I will tell them that it is necessary to sell just a little land now, to pay the taxes on the rest of the land. We have so much land, and if I sell just a little at a time, we will be able to maintain those golfing memberships..
He deluded himself and his family, saying “This is just for a time that we will have to sell some small pieces of our land. Something will come up, and in the interim, we will continue to enjoy a wonderful lifestyle with new cars and many servants.”
This went on for three terms, and although the Foolish Farmer talked about making changes and preparing his children for the future, he never really did anything about it. But he did keep selling off little pieces of his children’s inheritance to buy them many presents now.
The Foolish Farmer’s children all loved him and rejoiced that they could continue to live well.
And so, with full bellys, new flyovers and a hospital and schools that were falling apart, the children re-elected their father for an unprecedented fourth term…
Wise Or Foolish…?
Excerpts from The Nation News (link here)…
Paying By Land
by DONNA SEALY
PRIME MINISTER OWEN ARTHUR last night defended the sale of Barbadian land to foreign investors, saying the country had to be able to pay its bills.
Alternatives such as casino gambling, legalised prostitution, currency devaluation and private beaches would not be considered by the Government, he said…
He added that the country had “so little to work with and so much to gain” and therefore there was a need for innovative ideas.
…Agriculture and manufacturing would work, said Arthur, but not the same as years gone by. Current times were challenging, he added, and he could give no assurance that sugar, a $40 million industry, would be able to pay the country’s bills in the future.
“What will be the new economy that will give you the assurance that wages in the public sector will be paid when they fall due?
“The sugar industry is $40 million a year, the public sector wage bill is $700 million a year and I can’t tell them at the end of the month [to] hold strain and hold an IOU . . . How will we have our bills paid . . .?”
…Stressing he would not be going the route of devaluing the Barbados dollar, licensing casino gambling, legalising prostitution or having private beaches, Arthur said the land could not be treated as “static”.
He warned that the country was “spending more that we are earning” and he was not inclined to “borrow our way out of it”.
Arthur noted that the way to deal with the national debt was to “increase our capacity to earn”.
“All across Barbados we have given the impetus in building a new capacity to earn foreign exchange for this country . . . ,” he said.
The Prime Minister, who has responsibility for town planning, said that “when people come here they must respect our laws”, adding that social surveys must be conducted to show how a project would impact on the environment or the neighbourhood where it would be built.
…”I am thirsty for the campaign trail, I really am,” Arthur said.
from The Nation News…
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