Barbados Can’t Afford To Have Obama As U.S. President
As the Democratic Party campaign heats up to a sizzle with no one knowing whether Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama will represent the party in this year’s US Presidential Election we are reminded that the outcome of that race will mean a lot to us here in Barbados. It seems to have been overlooked that we can’t afford to have Mr. Obama winning the upcoming election.
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Obama launched a tirade that promised that if elected he intends to ‘do something’ about those nasty Caribbean money laundering havens and he included Barbados.
In February 2007 he and his fellow senator Carl Levin were hot and heavy on our case when he introduced the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act in the Senate.
Obama and Levin identified us here in Barbados as an “Offshore Secrecy Jurisdiction.” And they were adamant that their law will shut down our international business program. Obama wants all that business done in the United States where he can collect taxes.
Mr. Obama’s called us an oasis for abusive tax havens and tax shelters and the emphasis of his bill was to shut down the services, banking and businesses that we provide to offshore investors. He wants to declare these activities illegal and put a stop to them.
And he won’t finish there. Just two weeks ago Mr. Obama did the same thing when he promised that he would reopen NAFTA which is the open market arrangement that the United States has with Canada which is also an important trading partner with our country. His agenda is clear and on the record this two pronged approach will happen if he becomes president, just like he promised, and our island is going to suffer.
And what about Canada, another major benefactor to Barbados?
In the same vein Canadian Minister of Finance, Mr. James Flaherty has promised that Canada is going to crack down on the financial and banking services our country offers in much the same way as Mr. Obama: declare them illegal and offside to all Canadians.
And the unfortunate story truth, the real story here, is that we deserve it.
It is one thing to try to tell the world you are a democracy and open for business and will be fair and uphold commercial standards of high integrity. But you know what? We as a country don’t have high standards of commercial and political integrity and we have been found out. We deserve all of this attention from the United States and Canada because we have allowed our standards to slip for all the world to see and if we don’t clean up our act soon we are going to suffer in a big way when the world turns on us.
These developed countries don’t have to deal with us and it sure looks like they are going to be taking a hard look at us. Certainly Mr. Obama, if he becomes president, is going to inflict some serious damage, just like he has promised.
The first thing we have to do is address the embarrassing absence of any kind of conflict of interest and insider dealing type legislation. Do we really think, when this is such a big issue in the world, that foreigners don’t get it? We are seeing it manifest in what is being said about us. This BFP blog which has become a barometer of these things is seeing its readership grow by leaps and bounds because the everyone is getting worried. And Mr. Obama and Mr. Flaherty know it too.
The second thing we have to do is review our laws and court system. They are antiquated, self-serving and demonstrably corrupt if only because we tolerate all sorts of slips and omissions that favor the home team or the powerful in our country. Do we think foreigner don’t notice?
The third thing we have to do is have a government that shows the way. We just tolerated 14 years of increasing cronyism and wastage with the embarrassing spectacle of cabinet ministers becoming wealthy while corrupt public projects crumbled around them incurring debt that, given the state of the world economy that is entering into a recession, we will never be able to repay. We have mortgaged our best assets to Cricket and other dubious projects which fill undeserving pockets and we are in now in trouble. Do we think the foreigners don’t notice?
And how do we treat foreigners who bring their money, their talents, their goodwill to our island?
Do we abuse them or honour them? Worrisome stories are multiplying that show that the we disrespect them.. Do we think foreigners don’t notice?
But there is hope. We have a new government that has promised to be more transparent and ethical than the last, to show that when we tell the world we are open for business we mean that if they come here we will be fair, honest, and straight with them.
If we don’t do that then all we are doing is justifying the types of treatment that Mr. Obama, Mr. Flaherty, and others in the world have promised to inflict on us.
Unfortunately for Mr. Thompson and his crew there is not much time. The first few months of the new reign are gone and it is make it or break it time because if we don’t show the world a new face real soon we can be sure Mr. Obama will be all over us come November, just like he has promised. He is coming, to be sure, and what will we have to show him to talk him out of his plan?
BFP Reader “Almost Grape Hall”