Costing us more
The politically incestuous black oligarchy that has developed in Barbados over the past 50 years, and that exercises control over our system of national governance, possesses little or no confidence in the abilities of the Barbadian people, and is constantly looking “outside” to the white American and European foreigner for Barbados’ economic salvation!
A case in point is the current Democratic Labour Party government’s embarrassingly fulsome embrace of the American multi-national company known as Cost-U-Less. Apparently every conceivable concession is to be given to encourage Cost-U-Less to come to Barbados and to set up a big supermarket to sell consumer items to us Barbadians.
Why, after nearly 400 years of the Barbadian people engaging in the import-based distributive trade, we need to virtually pay an American multi-national company to come and set up a supermarket to sell to us and to take their profits out of our country, is beyond comprehension!
Our Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, prates on and on about the Cost-U-Less supermarket constituting a “foreign investment” in our country, but he does not seem to realise that the road to dependence on foreign investors is the road to an over-all entrenched system of economic dependency and the exploitation and poverty of spirit that such a system engenders.
By all means, let us have foreign investment where the foreigner is bringing some new high technology enterprise that we don’t already possess, for in such a case the benefits of the investment will, in all likelihood, outweigh the deleterious effects. But, surely, we don’t need to entice foreign investors to come to Barbados to grab hold of chunks of an industry that we are already intimately familiar with.
If our Government felt that Barbados needed a new mega-supermarket, then surely the correct approach should have been for Government to take the initiative to assemble a group of strategically chosen Barbadian business-persons possessed of the relevant expertise, to sell them the idea, and to work with them to establish the new enterprise. But unfortunately, this type of self-respecting, independent thinking seems to be beyond the capacity of our nouveau riche oligarchical “political class”.
The Peoples Empowerment Party subscribes to the view that development — genuine development — in any organism has to come from within that organism! Thus, we would like to see our country adopt an “indigenising” approach to development that is based on the concept of us identifying what our resources are — natural, cultural, intellectual, human — taking hold of these resources, and working with them in such a way that we add value to them and in the process develop ourselves and our nation.
If we had such an approach to development we would have long ago recognised that we possess many national resources that are pregnant with potential for development! A short list of such national resources would include — our unique sea island cotton, solar energy technology, black belly sheep, our credit union expertise, Barbados antique furniture, our literary musical and visual artists, Bajan hot peppers and cherries, our expertise in education, our style of tropical architecture, our cricket tradition, Barbados sugar and rum, our “national” airline, and the list goes on.
And so, instead of looking for Europeans and North Americans to come to Barbados and do something for us, we would have organised ourselves to take hold of these national resources, to develop them for ourselves, and to sell them to the rest of the world!
* David Comissiong is president of the Peoples Empowerment Party.