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Cat got your tongue?

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who once said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

We might say, “The bitterness of poor quality government will remain long after the people have forgotten the sweetness of an election victory.”

In my view the Democratic Labour Party Government has corrupted the trust that should exist between the government and the governed. Having prated about the stability of the economy prior to, during and after the most recent general election — February 21, 2013 — now to admit that the words were a virtual smoke screen layered over facts, the only course is to return to the people for a mandate. Resign!

The Opposition Barbados Labour Party is also on the horns of a dilemma. They too squandered the faith that the people had in them as a change agent during the last election season primarily because of internecine warfare seemingly brought on by individuals with too much ego, buttressed by personal agenda.

Yet the electorate can now appreciate that they [the BLP] were right in the analysis of the Barbados economy. They can rebound from their past mistakes during the next election which some, even in the DLP, believe will take place before the end of this year.

Already there is the under current that Owen Arthur is the man to turn things around. Yet we have to recall that Mr. Arthur benefitted from advisors within his party who had historical wisdom of the Barbados economy. The late David Thompson and his successor Freundel Stuart have had no such luxury and indeed seem to have refused sound advice from either the Opposition or enlightened sections of the private sector.

It may be true, however, that economics is as much an exact science as predicting the end of the world as we know it. Thus, to suggest that models of economic data applied to anticipated performance would bring a certain outcome would be an outlier in the sphere of the global economic activity given the crushing negative evidence from 2008 until now.

The solution, according to the Dems seems to be: Do not feint, duck, bob and weave, throw a punch, speak or otherwise open yourselves to a counter punch as the crystal ball suggests that the economy will take care of itself. We can ride it out no matter if we are asked, “Cat got your tongue?” That may be all well and good for the DLP but not for the country.

As readers may be aware, I do offer suggestions for change from spiritual to what’s perhaps seen as mundane. What I propose now can hardly be brought to beneficial fruition by a Government which has seemingly shown such indifference to good economic management, as has this Government since 2008.

Simply put I suggest that we consolidate our total indebtedness sector by sector, primarily to understand the application of resources which will be taken from a central pool. This central pool to be known as the Barbados Re-development Fund should be presented as a total request for loan and development funding to a grouping such as the United Arab Emirates or directly to the state of Qatar. The loan element might have a moratorium on repayment of interest and principal, say, for a two-year period. The interest rates should be modest and applied to the reducing balance.

Barbados has to virtually reinvent itself if we are to get out of the quagmire of economic woes. One activity which may become more and more problematic is the financial off-shore sector. The FBI, if not the NSA, is monitoring all our computers. Thus if one goes to the US and you are on the Internet on your computer which throws up certain key words or images which, the FBI for instance, has programmed their “big-brother” system to deem illegal, your computer will be locked off by the FBI and you may have to pay a fine, or worst, to get it unlocked.

This can happen even if the problem has been generated by mal-ware. Have your system well protected. Or perhaps leave it at home. Global surveillance is not new. In the late ’90s the International Labour Organisation magazine reported on the “Echelon Project”, in which the US, Britain and Australia were involved in global internet, fax, e-mail surveillance. Be aware.

Much of our tourism plant needs renewing, even as we seek to bring people from non-traditional markets. The question is, ‘Are we as a people willing to welcome thousands of others who do not look like, speak like or dress like our traditional visitors?’ We need lots of education in these matters as well as total immersion courses in Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi and Mandarin Chinese. True, there are certain translation Apps which can help, but my belief is that the more languages we become proficient in the better our tourism product will be.

Naturally there is more, but who is paying me consultant’s fees? Speak up! Well, cat got your tongue?

— Michael Rudder

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