Never give up

The following is the final part of an excerpt from a speech delivered recently by attorney at law Hilford Murrell at the first in a series of lunchtime lectures put on by the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies and the Central Bank of Barbados.

Facing the challenges of tertiary education

I would be the first to admit there may be some fear and trepidation when commenting on the policies and programmes of Government or even the Private Sector. When I began to comment on financial and other affairs, I was summoned to the Central Bank and told that 99 persons will have something to say, but only one will write.

He advised me that some readers will criticise you, others may consider your writings of some worth, but do not be discouraged – never give up. That advice came from Dr. DeLisle Worrell in the mid 1980s, and I now pass it on to those other beneficiaries of higher learning.

When I delivered an address at the graduation ceremony of one of our secondary schools on July 7, 1991, I was informed that over the last ten years, 2,914 local students graduated from UWI. In contrast, the figure for local graduates over the period 2007 to 2011 stands at 8,059.

This means that the pool of persons capable of commenting on both public and private matters of interest and concern has grown significantly.

I said earlier that there are many persons in our society who express their sentiments in the comfort of the living room in fear of victimisation. However, I recall that the late Prime Minister David Thompson, in his maiden speech to the BCCI in February 2008 warned them not to tell him what they think he wants to hear. I will take licence from our former leader and make reference to some areas of national concern…

Privatisation, Entrepreneurship, Share-ownership are all wrapped in the same cloth. There is a general feeling among some of us that everything imported is better than local – even ideas. Therefore, on this question of privatisation, allow me to quote from an article in the Financial Times of Thursday September 24, 1984.

Here Dr. David Owen, then leader of the SDP stated: “The best way of promoting a progressive and prosperous social market economy is to insist on a more dispersed ownership of property and assets, so that the benefits and the degree of personal independence which it makes possible become widely available – instead of being confined to the few.”

Transport Board

For the financial years 1991 to 2008, the Transport Board made cumulative losses of BDS$245,539,696. With a fleet of 294 omnibuses as against 164 minibuses and 227 ZRs public transport is already in the hands of the private sector.

If we are to go forward, further sections of the board’s operations can be privatised in a manner similar to UCAL. Allow the same working class persons to establish corporations similar to UCAL where there were no job losses. It cannot be business as usual – it has to be business unusual.

The only complaint that so far has surfaced about privatisation is the possibility of not having a late bus for workers. Let us work together to reduce these spiralling losses ever being mindful that we now have 75,060 private cars, 566 maxi taxis and 1,260 registered taxis.

Summer Camps

Government has committed itself to the principle of entrepreneurship. No one will deny that this has been a commendable suggestion which has borne fruit. During the period 2008 to 2012, 12,171 business names have been registered. This represents an increase of slightly less than 300 over the previous five year period.

Let us put back the summer camps into the hands of the youth thereby creating a novel system entrepreneurship. This will allow these young individuals an opportunity to gain experience in areas such as building inter personal relationships, budgeting, target setting, and problem solving, to mention only a few.

Above all, contributions by Government will be towards the most needy and should be a considerable saving in the public purse. It cannot be business as usual-it has to be business unusual

Constituency Councils/ SSA

I have lumped Constituency Councils and the SSA together because I am of the view that a meaningful relationship between these two bodies can be a forum for job creation. Let me make my position absolutely clear.

I agree that there should be some tier of responsibility between the parliamentary representative and his/her constituents but the alignment of a council to a particular representative conveys a master/servant relationship. I have already made my position clear on this matter to the Minister of Finance and have also written my piece on the subject.

The re-branded entity can circulate persons living in the several new developments and seek their authority to institute private garbage collection days. If properly structured, the cost to householders would be sufficient to fund the operation and will create a new cadre of private working class owners along with additional jobs or for garbage assistants. This will relieve the pile up of garbage throughout the island where such developments reside.

There will be no job losses and existing garbage units can be deployed in those densely populated and suburban areas where is likely to be an overflow of garbage. Perhaps Government may even wish to include any such private expenditure as an allowable tax deduction. It cannot be business as usual — it has to be business unusual.


When I compiled my presentation, I had no knowledge that the date for general elections would have been announced. Some of what I said may therefore find its way on the political platforms. That is good because it would mean they have read it or heard about.

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