The party’s over. It’s time to stop the party music. We have only days before we decide the direction in which we want to go as a country.
My manifesto is brief and to the point, in fact several main points; to wit:
(a) Make Barbados a better place as it once was – public education and encouragement, anti-litter (penalties a must), flower gardens, back yard gardens, no abusive language in public places.
Provide equipment for testing vehicle exhausts. Then start with a two month grace period. After that, any and all vehicles failing the test will be taken off the road. Next address the noise level of vehicles.
Barbados is not all bad now. Only recently I met someone who told me that in their district one can leave their car unlocked at night and also feel safe if perchance they leave their front door unlocked as well.
(b) Focus on primary education – get it right. Also, start each day in all schools with a five minute quiet time in class. Improve language skills in schools – a word a day chosen by a student in each class. All will be encouraged to use the word.
(c) Provide stipends for leaders of extra-curricular activities – youth groups and the like.
(d) Manage sunshine hours with flex time – 7:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 8 a.m. – 4:00 or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(e) Once a month, initially, turn Palmetto Street into Palmetto Junction (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) for the vendors from the area. They will not only sell but also give demonstrations, hand out recipes and invitations to visit their stalls for discounts and the like. Evening car parking – pay flat fee up front.
(f) Speightstown Tuesday morning – heritage, arts and craft and food. Already there is Oistins on weekends.
(g) Until we get the ferry service, visitor packages to include – day trips to Grenada, St. Vincent and St. Lucia, special LIAT charters. Later fly/sail – fly into Barbados and sail the Grenadine islands as well – simplify immigration / customs procedures.
(h) Hotel workers in-house awards to include a weekend for two at another property. They must also experience the other side of service.
(i) Biennial event for May Day – invite people from other countries (maybe two dozen or more at a time) to come and share what it is like working at jobs which are not familiar to us, whether self-employed or not. For instance, I know a lady in the US who makes pictures from the lint in clothes dryers.
(j) For two decades I have been pushing for an agricultural policy. One of the proposals was a switch from sugar to bamboo – light-weight furniture. Last year Jamaica announced plans for the development of bamboo. Recently I bought a super absorbent towel made of 90 per cent bamboo fibre and 10 per cent polyester.
What about resurrecting the instant yam project now that more people are into instant foods?
Successful expansion of agriculture will require more irrigation. Can we build a solar still for desalination? Irrigation is needed too for playing fields if we are to save our athletes – young and old – from injury.
(k) What of the Four Seasons hotel and villas to be subsequently managed by that company? After the 9/11 incident Four Seasons took some time to recover. In 2007, it agreed to a buyout by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia for $3.8 billion. The pair owns 95 per cent of the company, in equal shares, Isadore Sharp owns the rest. So in what geographical area of the world might we be most successful in selling Hotel Development Bonds with the Four Seasons project as the first ‘buy-in?’
(l) We need to urgently expand our broad band services if we are to attract and keep the kind of business we need.
(m) Establish a Centre for Enterprise Development.