“As exciting as watching paint dry, but just what we need…”

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27 responses to ““As exciting as watching paint dry, but just what we need…”

  1. The Watcher

    Mr. Prime Minister.
    Heed this, and heed it well. We, the youthful electorate are not satisfied with the performance of the government! We are aware that this is supposedly a recession. But as much of a recession as it is what we see is excessive public wastage and nepotism that we will not excuse. Our country is full of excuses for things that should happen and don’t. $90Million poured into Tourism with less than half that in returns and doing this every year while increasing our taxes! Bad roads and excessively long road works projects so that greedy folk can line their pockets while we pay the price for them. High gas prices and having our eyes gouged out by Trinidad, an enemy combatant state as far as I am concerned while most of the EC has signed with Venezuela to provide them with oil. The consistent erosion of our ability to own anything Barbadian except criticism from Jamaica about the way our Immigration treats them when they come here to stress and fracture our economy at our expense and to our detriment. The absolute refusal to remove “old heads” from key positions in Barbados whom have already demonstrated whatever value they have had and now have no more, but are rewarded for their age and longevity in these roles, and a government who is complicit in all this!
    This old way of doing things has failed. It failed 20+ years ago but Barbados, in true “Barbadiana” style, has not recognized this as yet. We are very inwardly focused and seem to think that the center of the known universe lies at 13 degrees north, 59 minutes west. It is time to change and pass more responsibility to people who can take this country forward, and not who want to keep the status quo going because “It’s now my turn, I’ve been here waiting 20 years for this!”
    However, it’s your leadership, you were placed there to lead and no one should question your decisions.
    But beware come 2013, because when the time of reckoning comes, it would be your leadership which will clash head on with our vote!

  2. Worried Bajannne

    Well said whoever you are! As a follow-up can you tell us what you propose to ensure change and movement forwards before 2013 because I really worry that, the way that Barbados is imploding, there may not be much to change or save come 2013. Also, not only what are your proposals, what are you actually doing as well – we don’t want you to be as much of talkers as this present government is.
    Look forward to some positive debate and action.

  3. Weston

    “you were placed there to lead and no one should question your decisions.”

    You’re joking right????

  4. rasta man

    Of course he /she is joking.What decisions?????

  5. watcher

    I am not “The Watcher” I am simply “Watcher”

    Perhpas the singular most important thing a Government can have is “Integrity Legislation” Without this legislation in Government, there is no integrity in society. The mark of how one should operate is set by how those who govern operate. As a result, society then operates at the same level. The result is, a poorly operated justice system where contracts mean nothing because the length of time to resolve a dispute is simply too long. Here is an example of why things are moving in the wrong direction. A colleague of mine some 5 years ago bought a house in a development in Barbados. He paid his money as did 15 other people and they are now waiting for the project to be completed. The devleoper then took the monies paid and started another development where people in that develo0pment are now at a loss. Many of the purchasers are from other countries who would spend considerable monies on the island but no longer do becasue they have been burnt by a lack of integrity. So 15 people tell 15 people and so on so forth and soon there are thousands of people who know somthing bad abut buying and perhpas retiring in Barbados. This kind of activity is a major contributor to the slow real estate market. There are mnay many people being ripped off because of lack of integrity and a lack of a efficient court system to quickly resolve matters. There needs to be a major mind shift to a higher level of integrity.

  6. Charlie

    You know at Alcoholics Anonymous they believe that until an individual recognises that they are responsible for their drink problem and stops looking for external resasons for their problems, then they can never get on the road to rehabilitation….I believe our Prime Minister should likewise recognise that by basing our recovery on the UK & North American markets he is basically refusing to believe that there is anything that he or his joke of a Cabinet can do to get us out of this deepening hole……Look, if this lot don’t think they can bring anything to the table why don’t they step aside and let somebody else have a go!…I ain’t saying that the other lot can wave a magic wand & change everything, but I do believe they will not just sit on deck and watch the ship go down.

  7. Johnny Postle

    Come 2013 please tell me (watcher) who the heck are you going to cast your X for? Because if you decide to go back to that crooked thiefing bunch that believe that they are God’s gift to Barbadian Governace you bettas think again. IF you decide to go back with this current bunch of talkers who want you to believe that they are nothing short of integrity and truth then you go back to same crappy promises and speeches that bear no substance. On both sides you have your share of liars and swindlers. SO tell me who the heck are we to put in to power come 2013. I am sick is shite of seeing politicians and their cronies beocome rich of hard working tax payers back. Sick Sick and tired of it. So telll me what the heck do we do in 2013?

  8. Charlie

    @Johnny Postle

    I share your pain, frustration & sheer despair. HOWEVER never let that deter you from casting your vote, no matter who it’s for….By the way if you don’t like these bunch of idiots then you could always start a new party!

  9. Undertaker

    @Charlie
    June 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    I too share the pain of Johnny Postle and like you I believe that an X should not be wasted or withheld, BUT this time around I honestly don’t see a candidate that deserves my vote, the one in is a joker a no show most of the time and if you are graced with their presence just smooth talk, the challenger well he could never get my vote, I know his past so his smooth and pretence talk can’t fool us.

    I am not one of the ones that wanted change though the BLP was wasting a lot of money, under the DLP I have had no luck in the past and it seems the their was no sense in the change, I am pretty sure that this administration will get back in; though with less seats – pretty sure they will call elections in October 2012 too, to play the thompson sympathy card, as they did with the errol barrow one for the st john by election. I just hope that they wise up and put the correct people in the right profolios.

    Undertaker

  10. Undertaker

    One does not solve problems by lamenting on the past especially as this government replaced the last, and it was the last which was responsible for the squander. This government now given a new mandate, is not squandering money as it has none, it is squandering opportunity and time. So which is worse? I would think that they are equally bad.

    The above statement was actually made by a contributor to the triniidadexpress news blog, but just think how applicable it is to us here in Barbados.

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/business/Govt_not_budging_on_5___unions_back_on_warpath-123523999.html

    Undertaker

  11. J. Payne

    @Undertaker. Good point. His speech still has no mention of appointment for a Chief Justice, the price of fuel, the fiasco with the healthcare department and prescription dugs, the recent watershed of complaints about people having to stand up all hours in the bus terminal to wait on a bus, or dare I say it, the Freedom of Information Act. Although he doesn’t handle the portfolio of finance, what about the VAT rate which was supposed to be carried back down by now?
    When fuel dropped the British n rushed and put out for tender a deep water wind-farm off their coastline, why didn’t Barbados do the same?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/23/thanet-windfarm-bright-future-green-industry

  12. J. Payne

    From article above (quote) “The eight lines of turbines, running north-west to south-east, cover a total area of 35sq km off Foreness Point near Margate. With 100 turbines, each 115 metres high with 44-metre blades, it can generate 300 megawatts (MW) of power – enough for 200,000 homes.”(end quote)

    Barbados has just over a quarter million people so I doubt there are 200,000 homes in Barbados. Clearly Barbados could have gone with a smaller system than that but on the other hand if Barbados had excess power it could create an undersea cable and sell some to either St. Vincent or St. Lucia if they wanted to buy.

  13. The Watcher

    As a follow up to what was said in my first posting, I would like to address/attempt to answer / or put forward a few ideas in response to what was asked by Worried Bajannne. Looking at movement forward, we talk a whole lot, but implement so little. Simple ideas that can be used as catalyst to snowball into bigger ones are some of the places where we should start focusing.
    Lets quickly look at what we now face economically. A slugging or receding economy. Out spending out-strips our earning so where do we spend the most and on what? Necessities like food, energy and other goods and services account for some of our major spending. Lets take a look @ food. Can you seek and purchase food on the world market at prices more competitive than those which we are now getting? Is food and I may add here, sub-standard food coming out of Jamaica and Trinidad competitively priced? I bought some Masters or three Plumes matches recently and there is a significant quality control issue with these products. Matches that “fizz” on a strike, are not covered with sufficient sulphur , or are so thin that on strike they break off and fly away. Why do we support Caribbean industries that feed us trash? This Caricom market that we pour money into is failing us. Whom else do you know that purchases garbage from another country and keeps doing so? We buy gas from Trinidad whose octane is so low that it cant be detected by the standard testing methods. Coupled to this, a “toothless” institution called BNSI that serves no purpose because there isn’t a standard, and I bet if they were tasked with the responsibility of creating one, they would start by issuing an Expression of Interest in the local paper for a Consultancy to help to do this. Other countries have these standards, why not observe what they have done, and adapt what they have to what we need. Our cars are not built here, we buy off the international market so the cars aren’t requiring different Octane grades from what the manufacturer is recommending.
    One can ask, “Where will the money to do all this come from?” I can point to one source though I believe firmly that there are others which I have not thought of. That source is Tourism! With its multi-million dollar allotment and paltry returns, it is a failing proposition! I don’t care how you dress or spin it, it’s failing. Common –sense would dictate that if your bank took you money and charged you to keep it without giving you interest or another incentive to have it with that institution; you would go remove it from them immediately. So why do we put significantly more money into something than we can extract from it? I don’t think that I am the only person with ideas on this rock, but when we see how much we like to hold up Singapore as a model of achievement that we would like to emulate, only to offer the excuse that they have done what they have as a result of their apparently dictatorial model of government, I see a “cop-out” in the making. Strength of character of our leaders and not fear of the vote swinging the other way is needed to start to achieve results. To answer the question posed by another reader as to whom I would vote for, especially in light of the fact tha5t the previous party was seen as lesser than honest, I say this to you: Coalition governments are not un-workable or un-attainable. There is no reason that we can’t balance the party structure such that what We, the electorate wants can’t be implemented. Don’t believe it? Look at Egypt, Tunisia and other countries where just this year, leaders have been toppled as a result of what appears to be the power vested in the people. When I said in my first post that “you were placed there to lead and no one should question your decisions.”, I was referencing the attitude of some of this countries politicians regarding their acts and how they think that they have all power to do as they feel no matter who opposes them. This can go on but only for a limited time. We do not have the electorate we’ve had many moons ago that could be easily deceived. There’s too much information, of all qualities, flowing around these days and news now travels at the speed of thought! Watcher mentioned Integrity Legislation and its benefits. But I won’t hold my breath for that . It’s like putting the fox to guard the hen house. We the people have the power to place and remove you from office. We have the power to ask you to step aside and when you don’t, we have the power by means direct or proxy, to have you removed when we see that out will is not being done.
    To move this country forward, many un-popular decisions will have to be taken. Many friendships and “Golf-Club” associations will have to be broken or dismantled and a collective sense of achievement will have to be adopted. It won’t be easy to achieve, but it can be done. Show government your seriousness by demanding by way of letter to the PM illustrating your desire for yearly reviews of Ministers’ performance. Ask for their goals and objectives for every financial year and relate these to their performance. The private sector does require this of their managers, we should do so of ours!
    Finally, stop the fluffy, word-rich and lofty talk and start to implement some attainable goals starting small and planning for growth. Accept no more excuses for failures and mis-steps consistently while showered in promises of better results to comer Below is my list of actions that I would take to start to get Barbados moving again:
    Here is my list of short to medium term goals that I would implement to start getting Barbados back on track with a 5 to 10 year plan.
    1. The setup of a working Incentives scheme to farmers to grow more locally consumed food coupled with the implementation a body comprised of experts and citizens to govern and control the quality and prices of these goods.
    2. Seek alternative sources of gas and oil other than the current markets we now use..
    3. Mandate the use of alternative energy (wind & or solar in new government constructions(houses of offices) such that 25% of the energy required to run these constructions is derived from alternative sources)
    4. Starting with government vehicles, mandate that by 2015, all government owned vehicles run on Bio-Diesel, Natural Gas and Ethanol.
    5. Start a pilot program to produce high fiber sugar cane grown not only for sugar( local use only, not for export) and ethanol production from the by-products.
    6. Start the process of diversifying Barbados’ economy from a Tourism Based economy to an Information Services based one. (All over the world there is a need that large corporations have or set up off site Data Centers which provide Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Services. Start small, target Banking and other Financial Services firms and grow.)
    7. Stagger government working hours. Implement a 12hr Government work day such that there are 5 work shifts of 8 hrs each starting at 6 Am and ending at 6 Pm. Net effect would be seen in a greater access to government services, less road congestion, lower gas import bills, less work stress. Adapt school hours in schools within the city limits if necessary.
    8. Create a Regulatory and Compliance Body whose sole purpose it is to ensure that new initiatives are managed and achieved. Staff this body with Subject Matter Experts in their respective fields and have this body report to a board consisting of individuals from the public and private sectors as well as 11 members, one of each voted from the 11 parishes and accountable to the constituents of that parish.

    I couldn’t promise that results will be immediate of that push-back won’t be significant, especially from the status-quo, but I can tell you one thing that is a certainty, and that is this. “ To avoid progress, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing!”

  14. rasta man

    @The Watcher : Some good ideas but and a big BUT: The status quo has to remain.

  15. Anonymous

    Do not worry, Kellman to the rescue. For years he has been putting forward ideas on how to deal with many problems. Now is his time to convince his cabinet colleagues that his ideas are sensible and implementable.

    If he cannot produce results for the industrial and small business sectors, he should just shut up and take the cheques for being parliamentarian.

    Hope he does better that Owen who year after year put forward totally unimplementable ideas.

  16. Marcus Garvey

    Would we please get rid of the old “cant use a computer” heads in government that only come to work 2 and a half days a week! The rest of the week they cant be bothered to do more than is possible to stop eyebrows from being raised! This country is full of so many people in the public service that shud be put out to pasture it aint funny. All the while these relics keeping young people that want to work outta a job!

  17. Anonymous

    The young people need to learn practical things. The old people are wasting time reading papers and driving around all day .The young ones who are competent with the computer chat all day with friends- they are as useless as the old ones. All the young people really want are quick promotions.

  18. J. Payne

    @The Watcher. I feel those are good suggestions. I have some as well:

    1) Put more teeth (power) into the Fair Trading Commission. Its decisions could and should be reported in a quarterly journal and/or online. Included would be the reasons for those findings. More opportunity should be made for the public to be better informed and consulted in those decisions.
    I’m also wondering whether magistrates and justices of the court should have to publish why they adjudicated in certain directions as well. (i.e. what precedents influenced their decision, et al.)
    2a) The last time the DLP was elected into office they signed a 25 year extension of the monopoly agreement for Cable and Wireless. According to my math that should be up either this year or next! Do not renew as is!!!!! Allow other companies to sell phone service on the same phone lines. There’s no problem with other companies doing this through the central office to the consumer. This was done in America successfully. Although the infrastructure is owned by the phone company, the poles and infrastructure are on public roads, and are regarded (and treated) as part of public property. Furthermore, the monopoly is granted as a public utility, therefore, any company, so-long as they have equipment that wont damage the infrastructure, should be allowed to interconnect at wholesale rates. On top of that, put in that legislation where C&W can’t charge ANY competitor MORE than what they charge their own arm to inter-connect. This is to have a fair playing field. Many years ago C&W used to say that they had phone operators in Barbados, and so they needed to charge high rates to keep Barbadians employed. To that I’d say: C&W you already let go of all the Barbadian workers down by Wildey. As I understand, that big white building is almost empty now, so there is no more reason for Barbadians to support your record profits now. All the Bajans were let go and jobs transferred to Jamaica and St. Lucia, so those markets should support the higher fees and poor service of that regional corporation.
    2b) To keep C&W from just raising their own fees and thus the wholesale rate, bring in an actual cable tv provider which can provide high-speed internet over an infrastructure separate of the telephone system. This will make the two technologies compete against one another.
    3) Put the lone power utility on notice that their “protection” will be opened up too in future.
    4) Any new street-lights being pu- up should be solar-powered LED lights. A rigorous 10-15 year plan should be put in place to get all Barbados street lights off ‘current’ whenever possible and placed on solar. Or at least power as ‘back-up’ if it must remain for some reason.
    5) Start devising what is required on future models of energy efficient buses. If Barbados could have electric buses recharged by renewable energy the country should be better off.
    6) Barbados should look for goods that are sold on a luxury level. Growing cocoa for gourmet chocolate, specialised coffee, blackbelly sheep, giant snails to west-Africa market where they are a delicacy, the green monkeys that some farmers want culled can be used for vaccinee…
    7) Open the “.bb” CcTLD to global registration. Bring down the cost of registration too to push quantity… Some counties like Western Samoa have opened up .ws (for “website”) and have earned some handsome foreign exchange from that intangible asset that must be renewed annually. “.bb” could be marketed as “BlackBerry” related sites, or even “bed and breakfast” accommodations.
    8) Some Barbados commissions can be dropped. Eample: What does the Commission of Pan African Affairs do? What foreign exchange is it bringing into Barbados? What has it done in the past year to support keeping it? Don’t some Barbadians know where black people originated? Or is it really necc. to have a commission to inform the masses of this finding?
    9) I hear a lot of complaints about people selling coconuts on the highways of Barbados, they are lauded for entrepreneurial spirit. There is nothing wrong with selling such things but what I want to know is, what is the government doing to bring in higher paying jobs to Barbados? Selling coconuts is aright and good, but Barbados needs jobs that pay better than that. What is the government doing to make sure better paying job opportunities are realised in the nation ten years from now?
    10) See if greater cost savings can be derived from an amalgamation of the various local schools in Barbados. (BCC, SJPP, Erdiston)
    11) Investigate the feasibility of a cruise terminal for Speightstown. Dredging might be required but it would be good to have some idea how much would have to be undertaken. The British used to sail big ships to Speightstown, so what about just building a cruise pier out into the sea to gain depth like the Bridgetown Port breakwater?
    12) Years ago the Chinese government mentioned they may wanted to enter the multi-billion dollar cruise industry by launching a cruise line in the Caribbean, the government should find out if they are still interested, and if they’d like to put a servicing facility in Barbados and/or base the cruise-line from Barbados.
    13) Work on a plan to aggressively begin paying down Barbados’ long term debt, and works towards finding every avenue to keep it down. Find workable strategies to shore up Barbados’ reserves for a next rainy day….

  19. yatinkiteasy

    To J Payne…some great ideas expressed.
    I am pretty sure that if the PM, and ALL his Ministers stayed home for a year, the country would run just fine. Every government Department has its own management structure, which in some cases is very good, and in others , very deficient. (Just as in Private Companies)
    My point is , they DO nothing.

  20. Charlie

    @ J Payne

    Some of those ideas are real interesting. If only we had a Govt & Civil Service that was receptive to new ideas or original thought then who knows what could happen next.

  21. The Watcher

    @ J.Payne.
    I simply love some of these ideas. Your first is well overdue on many fronts in Barbados. And yes, Magistrates and judges should have their records of decisions made public. You will certainly start a firestorm there though! The second point is simply splendid! Enough said on that! Well, almost enough. You are aware that inviting a cable entity here means the local and lone TV station will have to sharpen up its act, sun-standard at best. Point three, I just can’t wait for this to happen. Now when I read point four, I almost went and got cotton wool to plug into my ears just in case while I slept my ideas were leaking out of my head and evaporating only to come back down as rain where you live. I have been saying for years that there is no good reason under then sun,( no pun intended here either) that we should be erecting anything other than solar powered street lights here. Additionally, if these are not readily available, why can some entrepreneur take a street light and retrofit it with some cells, a Li-Ion battery, regulation circuitry and a few CREE led’s and appropriate reflectors> I can see an whole industry spawning from this. I know that I may even be giving away an idea here, but we have to think collectively to get the country moving again. I simply loved that idea and was elated to see that there are so many more like-minded people here who see the need to recover from the slumber of political partisanship that has bogged us down for so long. Points five and six are well taken. Hadn’t seen that angle, but innovation and brainstorming are the keys to innovation. Point 8, well…What can I say here. I would be honest and say that you sound both youthful and Technically Strategic as opposed to Technically Implementative( can I create a words here as we go along?) That is a wonderful idea. I believe strongly that Barbados should start to use technology as opposed to abuse technology and derive profit, hence foreign exchange from the use of it. I did not see a point # 98 but I surmised that this point was encapsulated in point seven.
    To be perfectly honest, your points down to the last one at eleven seem to me to be excellent points ah identifying both direction and initiative to start moving Barbados along, I dare say again.
    But wait J.Payne. As much as you and I may seem to have in common, or think alike, neither of us holds the reins on power or possibly even its coat-tails. If these ideas can’t be seen as elevating the status quo or at least enriching them, they probably won’t be realized anytime soon. What we seem to have here is the embryonic stages of a momentum towards change. I do not want to add a characteristic to it just yet, but I dare say we aren’t the only two folk out there who have ideas and who want strength and innovation in our leadership structure. On hypothesizing only this morning before returning to read this column, I have concluded based on the facts that are before me, this current administration is significantly fractured. There seems to be two schools of thought in the party and hence two camps. The youthful, vibrant, idea rich group and the Old boys club with the cob-web sticking out their ears! I have made up my mind that come 2013 should I be around to see it, my vote can’t go to a fella who wants to be the PM of this country unless that person can demonstrate two very basic(I believe)things to me. One, they can demonstrate initiative and the ability to coral the public into a sense of the “collective” for the good of the land, and two, they have some idea what the Cubed-root of a negative number is. I am happy to see though that these is a glimmer of hope for change to the way we do things, not the party whom they are dune under. So if you are in your 60 and up, doan even come close to my door, cause I ent voting for the same old way no more!
    Gotta say it again though, I love your ideas!

  22. Roots

    Good post, just as i was saying earlier but it clearly went anonymous to anonymous. The old stubborn group that just waiting for a pension need to be put out to pasture cause they not wid the times. Not all young people are useless and those properly trained can make a world of difference wid their ideas, especially if they are not aligned to any political party aka yard fowl or lackey

  23. J. Payne

    @Charlie.
    Isn’t that ashame? I feel the exact same way about if if Cabinet stayed home. And that’s the bad part. I’ve written some of these suggestions to the government in emails. Worst yet these are answers to problems which have been around Barbados for almost 30 years. High cost of utilities, a still to high over-dependence on fossil fuel, fracturing monopolist power in Barbados, arresting the slide in foreign exchange and foreign trade, raising wages. These are not new problems in any way shape and form.

  24. J. Payne

    Sorry my above comment was for “yatinkiteasy”. (I scrolled too fast.)

    @Charlie. Something has to be done if the Barbados government remains the largest employer in the country. In an arrangement like that the nation will always be under large debt, with continual need to raise the VAT.

  25. Charlie

    @ J Payne

    The Govt is borrowing heavily to pay the wages of the Civil Service. CRAZY!!!. The Civil Service is NON VALUE ADDED. By that I mean that they do not generate foreign exchange or additional revenues into the coffers of the treasury. They are a massive drain that is removing the life blood out of this small nation. I dread to think how the next generation is ever going to pay back all of these monies.

    I know that some may think that faceless people like us appear to spend a great deal of time kicking hell out of civil servants, but unfortunately as we the public are the paymasters, then we have every right to comment on how our employees are underperforming.

    The sad, oh so very sad thing is that our civil servants are some of the most highly qualified people in the country. They have diplomas, degrees, masters & even doctorates galore between them. Unfortunately this appears to only make them more bitter & twisted when they do not get the promotion that they think is theirs for the taking, & gusess who gets to bare the brunt of their frustration?…You guessed it, us poor tax paying suckers!

    The truth of the matter is that whether it is today, tomorrow or next year, the Civil Service wage bill must be reduced & reduced massively. All the talk of wage increases is a joke, & a joke at the expense of the already overburdened tax payers.

  26. J. Payne

    I kind of wonder if H.E. The Rt. Hon. Sandiford might not be a better Prime Minister right now. Perhaps Mr. Stuart might find his niche in China as ambassador…. Mr. Sandiford has past Prime Ministerial experience and after all the reforms he put in places is what the BLP found in place to put the country back on track.

  27. 167

    We have to reduce public sector spending in order to save Barbados. Such an approach will leave the party in power at a real disadvantage. The opposition will always pretend that there is an easy way to solve our fiscal problem. The reality is that there is no easy way.

    If we reduce capital expenditures-(mostly contracts) the fatted calf on which the political operatives rely will wither and die.The party in power will lose its key supporters, organizers and financial bakers.

    if current expenditures(mostly wages and salaries) are cut the party in power will lose votes as the public servants become disgruntled.

    We will borrow and beg in order to keep our present unsustainable system going. After China, I don’t know where we can run to for loans to keep paying our bills.