Barbados: We must choose our own future
by Caleale Goodridge
This is an appeal to you constructed on behalf of the Barbadian people and the security of their economic future.
Outlined is a strategy that the government can implement in order to revamp our country’s production capabilities by switching from a service-based economy; while keeping the cuts to essential sectors and welfare programs to a minimum.
I’m urging all Bajan citizens to please examine this piece for it offers ways in which the government can salvage the Barbadian economy.
A comprehensive measure that the government should take in order to ramp up our agricultural sector is to first and foremost invest money into a major upgrade of the country’s irrigation systems as well as its current infrastructure for renewable energy companies in a cost effective manner. Not to mention that:
1) It would help if the government were to allow for the further education of skills/fields which could potentially enable Barbados to develop a Productive Agricultural Sector be more readily available in terms of access to the people.
2) The government should give provision for Bajan students to go to China to learn engineering; or Chile and Brazil to learn Horticulture with a focus in Agriculture. It would also be very wise of our government to also encourage our students to gain an education/skills in the Horticultural sub-fields of Hydroponics and Aeroponics in a country such as Israel. Israel’s agricultural sector should be used as an example for Barbados as their agricultural sector is flourishing despite its geographical odds.
Better yet, the government should recruit foreign professionals and specialists (particularly from the U.S. and Canada) in Hydroponics and Aeroponics to come to Barbados and educate Bajan farmers as well as Bajan entrepreneurs on the functioning of Hydroponics and Aeroponics. There should be a series of programs that offer courses, workshops, seminars, and practicums in which after completing parties would work towards gaining certification which qualifies them to practice Aeroponics/Hydroponics and Horticulture as a study/vocational field.
Please refer to the following videos for a brief insight on the capabilities and benefits to which hydroponics and aeroponics can bring when applied to agriculture.
*It has been demonstrated that ‘vertical farms’ are more economically viable and guaranteed to be sustainable with a very high yield. Thus making the prospects of “developing” with expansive and expensive urban infrastructure to be unnecessary and detrimentally redundant. Instead, that region should be kept as a strategic area for a more extensive production for the nation’s agricultural and renewable energy sectors.
3) The government would need to subsidize the cost of hydroponic and aeroponic supplies for farming co-ops, farm owners, farmers, and even gardeners. The government should also look into making such accommodations for domestic brand alternative energy companies (ie. solar power companies native to Barbados) as well through subsidizing the resources needed in order for renewable energy companies to be able to supply sufficient energy demands for controlled-environment agricultural facilities (ie. green houses) such as solar panels or wind turbines to power green houses .
4) It should also be of interest to the government to look into the further expanding their prospects to maximizing economically feasible possibilities through the use of not only through cash and food crops (ie. Sugarcane being harvested for both sugar and ethanol fuel); but for commodity crops as well (such as Hemp for one, and cotton). It would also be in our interest if the government strategically encouraged the production of Hemp due to it’s many capabilities and our current capacity to utilize the properties of hemp commercially; potentially spurring an industry for textiles, food products, plastics, soaps, and possibly even Fuel.
5) It is MOST HIGHLY ADVISED that the government throw funds for investment in collective co-ops that are operated and owned by members of particular communities involved in agriculture; thus designating them as ‘agricultural/aquaculture communes’. The government should also give preferential accommodations to such entities as opposed to corporatized agribusinesses for the government may reserve the ability to hold shares in particular co-operative businesses as a sponsor. The government is advised to provide such co-op entities with the advantageous ability and resources to compete in the domestic market as opposed to placing importance on imports.
6) The government should give preferential treatment to agricultural products produced domestically (ie. subsidize the prices of domestic products as opposed to foreign imports). The government should also continue in being HIGHLY AGGRESSIVE in the “Buy Bajan” campaign by extending it to the nation’s agricultural sector as well as her manufacturing sector.
7) Encourage the further institutionalization of education in Horticulture with a particular focus in the field of Agriculture WITHIN Barbados’ education system. The government should shift the current discourse when regarding the agricultural sector to students (especially when young) particularly in Primary and Secondary schools to consider agriculture as a possible profession.
The government should do so by marketing such professions as positions that are highly rewarding economically due to the fact that agricultural markets are projected to especially soar in value due to the ever-growing global food scarcity. By doing so, Barbados would be shifting her dependence from foreign markets which translates to feeding its population not through imports, but domestic products. The government should also be focused emphasizing education in the sciences and mathematics with in Primary and Secondary educations to especially further fuel the agricultural sector.
8) Strategically enter the “Green Economy” through the extensive education and use of Horticulture and the already well-equipped alternative energy/fuel/resource companies.
9) Encourage economic growth by establishing diplomatic ties with key developing economies in particular strategic markets. The government should look into also accommodating domestic companies that can manufacture pharmaceutical products such as pharmaceutical drugs, medical supplies, and medical electronics. China, Taiwan, Brazil, Jordan, Lebanon, and Chile all have bustling Pharmaceutical companies that are starting to give the west a run for its money, however we shouldn’t restrict ourselves to these markets.
***By doing so, the government would essentially be taking preemptive measures that will ensure not only the nation’s food security; but also it would fundamentally safeguard our ability to have an upper-hand in competing with other markets in our agricultural sector. However, Barbados must abstain from corporatism in her agriculture sector and she MUST REFRAIN FROM the production of G.M.O.’s and ban all importation of American G.M.O. (and possible all American produce) on the grounds that scientists around the world are beginning to detect a link to Genetically modified foods and the elevated contraction rates of terminal illnesses (ie. cancer). Essentially, scientists still have yet to determine the full effects of the consumption of G.M.O.’s and how they impact the human body’s health.
-All of this can ensure us a more competitive and resilient Bajan economy that would potentially be highly equipped to become a major regional (if not global) player in the markets.***
It has of course been noted that much worry would surround the government’s ability to accrue the sufficient amount of credit in order to fund such a plan. However, it must be noted that there are indeed a few options which the government could vie for in order to fund such a move.
[A] For one, it has been noted that there is a good bit of development projects proposed and are in the process of being commenced within Barbados currently. Much of these projects are focused on ‘infrastructure’ in order to attract foreign and local private investors. By ‘infrastucture’, I am referring to certain real estate projects that are alleged to bring in revenue. However it would be in the best interest of the government to use the budget for projects such as the ‘Four Seasons’, The proposal for the construction of a new residential complex facilities for the bureaucrats of the Barbados Water Authority. And instead of making a squalor out of our budget and recklessly spending over $800 million on the construction of a new hospital facility, the government should prioritize that to the much needed upgrade of QEH (Queen Elizabeth Hospital) by maximizing its infrastructural capabilities through renovation and refurbishment plans; which would be much cheaper for us as opposed to building a new facility.
The government can use the funds for the BWA’s (Barbados Water Authority) new developmental construction plans to refurbish and renovate old buildings for the BWA instead of building a new complex, which is more costly. The government can also allocate funds from the four seasons program and use that credit to support such a revamping of our agricultural sector.
[B] A second suggestion would be that the government has the option of allocating the necessary funds to support such a major revamping from Barbados’ national reserves (ie HARD ASSETS, gold, silver,platinum, etc). Not to mention that indeed it would be highly expensive to commercialize Barbados’ hydroponic capabilities, however it is definitely FEASIBLE due to Barbados’ small population size. Our country’s limited space in land-size necessitates such a move to ensure self sufficiency.
Again, I stress that there must be an emphasis on collective agricultural co-op business entities that are private. The government can ensure its revenue gain from these entities by reserving the right to hold a small share in their stocks (however it would be wise if the government owned shares in a small series of agricultural/aquaculture communes). This runs the risk of the government needing to employ budgetary cuts to a few sectors, though it must be stressed that the cuts would only be in the short-term; for the economy will most certainly benefit in gains in the long-term for the nation’s productivity will compensate for the deficits.
[C] A third and least advisable option is the continuation of tax increases in order to accrue the appropriate revenues. That, along with strenuous measures that the government would need to implement such as cuts to both unnecessary projects and programs as well as affecting some (if not all) essential welfare government initiatives. Although it would be short-term, it would take a longer time for the economy to rebound should the government decide to not follow through with option [B]; though it’d still be temporary. Not to mention that it could take longer to allocate such funds through just a series of taxes alone, which would otherwise put the average Bajan citizen at an aggravating disadvantage.
[+] Should the government decide to employ either of these tactics, it is strongly advised that the government AGGRESSIVELY PROPAGATE the “Buy Bajan” campaign, Particularly when it comes to meat and produce domestically produced in Barbados. This would encourage Barbadians to purchase local goods and would help to further stimulate the agricultural sector, creating new positions. Followed by the the renewable energy industry, which could mutually benefit from the commercialization of Barbados’ newly established Controlled Environment based Agriculture Sector”. Not to mention that Bajan citizens will come to realization that their costs of living would substantially decrease if they were to invest more into domestic products as opposed to imports.
-Barbados is currently in a HIGHLY VULNERABLE predicament because of her dependence on other countries’ exports. Her inability to diversify and complete revamping of Key sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture has CRIPPLED Barbados’ ability to be self sufficient as well as her ability to compete in the international market (whether regional or global).
-It has been proven time and time again that prudent measures implemented by successful economies that are now key regional/global players took measures that indeed equated to short-falls in the temporary, but most certainly ensured gains to their benefit in the
(not-so-distant) long run.
-As mentioned before, to continue to rely on imports equates to Barbados being crippled and hindering her ability to be self sufficient in producing domestic products as well as being internationally competitive as a market. Barbados would forever be at the mercy of other countries should it were to rely on other countries’ land for agricultural production due to the fact that it would be subject to foreign tariffs, taxes, and customs. Hydroponics and Aeroponics are the most viable options to our conundrum, and can be solved by allocating funds for both agriculture and renewable energy supplies on community levels as opposed to a centralized system for the nation.
FINAL ASSESSMENT & SIMPLIFIED PRESCRIPTION
It has been assessed that The government of Barbados must follow these strategies seriously in order to sufficiently safeguard a prosperous and most of all “INDEPENDENT & SELF SUFFICIENT” future for our national economy on a preemptive scale.
The analysis is detailed in that it offers clear options as to how the government can employ strategic, preemptive, and tactful in establishing a field for our domestic markets to flourish.
Not to mention that it would be in the best interest of Barbados to establish economic trading unions through diplomatic ties with other nations within the Caribbean, Central as well as South America, and even Africa (for African economies are ever more becoming rapidly developing economies). The very fact that Barbados is so strategically located within the Atlantic Ocean bordered by multiple regions; the government should be manipulating that by being active in establishing an extensive network of beneficial trade and commerce with countries in all of the aforementioned regions.
Therefore, it should be stressed to the government that as it persists in being slow in addressing Barbados’ crisis of “Food Security & Productivity”, time is quickly running out as our competitors/neighbours are fast forging ties with other economies around the globe. Needless to say, this will equate to our available options to dry up and will leave Barbados in a position in which her economy, government, and indeed her citizens will forever be subject to subservience by an economic-hegemonic power (ie. U.S., U.K., Canada).
The suggested strategy would install a system of Self-Sufficiency, Productivity, and Preemptive thinking. I pray that the Ministers of Agriculture as well as the members of PEP and the greater parliament would heed this and motion for its implementation.
Should Barbados continue with this trend of complete economic stagnation, then it would be the citizens that the government would have to answer to in trying to provide an explanation as to why the government lagged in appropriately prioritizing the nation’s expenditures to key sectors such as Agriculture and Manufacturing.
It must be stressed to the ministers and other politicians within the Barbadian parliament that they are accountable to the Bajan people. Do not sell Barbados short by failing to appropriately prioritize our expenditures to where it is necessary. For if the government fails, it will be the people that the entire government would have to answer to. Not DLP or the BLP alone, but all parties that have sworn to their duties as our nation’s elected representatives. Do not sell Bajans short on our beloved Barbados! WE MUST ACT NOW!
Please refer to this link to sign the petition! : http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/protocal4bim/
by Caleale Goodridge
My name is Caleale (kuh’leel) Goodridge, and I am 21 year old student currently attending Ithaca College in New York and I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to join me in helping to create awareness amongst the Barbadian people about the dangerous shortcomings of our government and its inability to sufficiently provide a sturdy foundation for industry to flourish within the Barbados economy.
I have researched extensively on much of the nation’s economic history, and I have come up with a strategy in which the government could initiate due to the fact that I believe it offers the most viable options that could prevent staving consequences for our economy in the future. Despite my being 21, I believe that I have come up with a devised solution that could industrialize Barbados from a Service (ie. Tourist economy) to a Productive economy.
However, I am also aware that my young age will work only to my detriment, for Bajans are renowned for taking seriously only those who have the “experience” and proper academic credentials. And despite my parents being born and bred in the Bimshire, it still doesn’t change the fact that I am a “Bajan-Yankee”; which I know for certain will contribute to Bajans not being able to take me seriously.
I have been looking to spread awareness about this strategy for quite some time now. I have written three letters to the Ministry of Agriculture as well as the Ministry of Finance but to no avail. Not to mention that I have tried hard to spread the word by submitting comments on Barbadian newspaper sources, only to have them become subject to “screening” by “administrators”. Needless to say, it has been over a month and up to now my comments and mails have not been responded to.
That is why I am reaching out to Bajans like YOU, who are aware and alert of the harmful dynamics our nation currently faces politically and economically, which is why I NEED YOUR HELP in helping establish that awareness. We especially NEED the assembly of the Bajan youth. If you would like to get in contact with me so we can perhaps delve more into depth as to how this can come to be, please email me at: Cgoodridge91@gmail.com
I am really looking forward to hearing a response from you, and will be willing to answer any further questions on where I am coming from and how we can go about achieving such a task.
Please take care!