“How many times does the government get to announce that an air deal with China is “coming” before it’s not news anymore?”
BFP reader WSD reacts to a Nation story about Barbados “making ground” in an air service agreement with China.
The return of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart ends yet another high-level government trip to China. Barbadians were treated to the usual same-old same old photos of our DLP or BLP representatives touring China and shaking hands with the big-ups. Have a look at past photos of Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and David Thompson hanging around with Chinese government officials and you’ll get what I mean. You could switch the heads around with Photoshop and with the exception of Mia’s big red dress, the photos are all the same image and the same story.
Show me the money!
Like the trips before, there was the usual announcement of another grant from China, this time about six million dollars if memory serves. When the money doesn’t come through (as with the promised library funding) we seldom hear about that. Neither is there much talk about the Chinese workers and companies getting construction contracts while Bajan machinery and hands sit idle. There is especially little talk of how Chinese computer hardware and programming companies are winning government contracts – which is an especially scary proposition for the Barbados offshore banking and insurance industry considering China’s propensity for economic espionage.
Nothing instills confidence and security in the financial sector’s computer operations like having Chinese routers! (Shhhhh!!!!)
The big article in the Nation is that the PM instructed our Ambassador to China, Sir Lloyd Sandiford, to give the air travel agreement with China “priority”. While such an agreement could provide valuable tourists and foreign currency, the BLP and DLP governments have dangled that carrot for five years or more and the hope is wearing a little thin.
But old story or not, that is the feel good article of the day at The Nation and it is designed to lessen the pain of the recent downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service. In many ways the stage was set for that downgrade by the spendthrift BLP Arthur/Mottley government but don’t expect Goin’ wid Owen or Mia to take any responsibility for weakening our foundations long before David Thompson was elected.
As to what Barbados should be doing, each one of us should be working harder, living smaller and doing our best to make every visitor feel like they want to return to BIM. That message isn’t getting out there from the government though, for as PM Stuart says, we’ve made a Chinese air agreement a “priority” and the downgrade is “no cause for alarm.”