Lowering the cost of living
The citizens of any country put their trust in their elected representative and government to implement policies that will create an environment that fosters betterment for all. When there’s an overall failure of the government to properly execute solid initiatives to fulfill their promises, it create ripple effects that will eventually spread out into wider areas and affect the public opinion of government’s ability to deliver.
It’s vital as Barbadians that we critically appraise the function of Government and question them regarding the areas where they have failed. We must again reach the place where we understand that Barbados still belongs to Barbadians.
One of the areas that the NBKA has seen over the last 18 years of governance in Barbados, is that our successive leadership has sought to exempt themselves from controlling and being responsible and accountable for the entities that directly affect the pockets of Barbadians. The selling of local government enterprises to foreign entities has caused a level of external dominance of our nation.
The preference for subsidising as a part of their governmental system of operation to the people of Barbados has become the common path to take. The areas of banking, insurance, electricity, water, food and telecommunications are now under the control of many who have no real understanding of the destiny of this country.
This lack of governmental control of necessary entities is the main hindrance to the reduction of the high cost of living and the struggle that Barbadians are experiencing. We at the NBKA have taken the time to zero in on a few key elements that continue to be huge concerns in the public domain and are reeking havoc on our citizens.
We have concluded that at the centre of our woes in this country is the high cost of electricity. Barbadians are paying more for electricity than many of their regional counterparts.
The NBKA has committed itself to lowering the cost of living in Barbados through the implementation of a solution that will lower the cost of electricity by 40 per cent over a two-years period. We have to get on with the task of getting Barbados in line with the modern world by bringing an end to the systems that seeks to keep her functioning as a Third World country and operating like we are back in the 1980s.
Across the island, from home owners to business operators, the cry is the same: The cost of electricity is too high. One businessman said that he is struggling to pay his bill at the end of the month, and to compensate he had to raise prices in his store. The time has come to deal with the root of the matter.
Given the opportunity to implement this plan, a 40 per cent reduction in the cost of electricity in Barbados will have instantaneous effects on the high cost of living. To clarify our position on the matter, lower electricity costs mean a drastic reduction in the importation of diesel. Lower monthly bills mean more money in the hands of Barbadians and businessmen. Lower electricity costs will greatly diminish the prices of goods, water, lower landlines, cellular bills and Internet rates. It will also lower the monthly expenditure at the hospital, culminating in more money to run its daily operation more efficiently. The QEH has a monthly electricity bill of $800,000.
Adding to this, Barbados will again become attractive to foreign investors and businesses, especially data processing and computer and cellular system centre. These types of companies will not even consider establishing business here due to the high cost of electricity. More investment in business in Barbados will create more jobs for Barbadians and more foreign exchange.
It is imperative that we make the tough decisions that will turn Barbados around now. If you’re not transforming, then you’re stuck. We have to be willing to think outside the box if we are going to move our nation forward. What we must ask is why haven’t we moved to more cost effective and greener measures to provide our island with energy.
With at least 12 hours of sunshine daily, the benefit of the north east trade winds and 24 hours of strong currents from the Atlantic Ocean, it’s a shame that we still haven’t created projects that will tap into these natural forces to produce energy in Barbados.
We’ve heard that Barbados’ greatest resource is its people, yet the level of investment in our people by the Government is at it lowest. We have to end the cycle of governmental ignorance and rejection of ideas, projects and concepts presented to them that could help make this country better.
The NBKA believes that the time is here for a fresh approach to a new Barbados.