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Where there is no vision . . .

fighting goliathI have just returned from St Vincent, where I participated in a campaign to secure the re-election –– for a fourth successive term –– of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and his Unity Labour Party (ULP). And I can tell my fellow Barbadians that when we compare the record of Prime Minister Gonsalves and his ULP administration with that of our Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and his Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration, we Barbadians are forced to hang our heads in shame.

You see, over the past eight years of economic decline and hardship, all that we have heard from Prime Minister Stuart (and his predecessor –– the late Prime Minister David Thompson) is the pathetic excuse that Barbados is a small and vulnerable nation that is caught up in an international recession and that there is nothing the Government of Barbados can do about Barbados’ predicament.

But while Prime Minister Stuart and his DLP colleagues can see or conceive of no solutions to Barbados’ state of economic stagnation and decline, Prime Minister Gonsalves, on the other hand, has inspired and motivated the Vincentian people with a constant upbeat message of hope and optimism, and has used his intellect, imagination, energy and initiative to devise creative economic and social development projects and programmes that have driven St Vincent forward and upward.

The record shows that Prime Minister Gonsalves and his ULP administration did not permit the “international recession” to stop them from constructing –– among other things –– a $600 million international airport at Argyle on the St Vincent mainland; a jet airport at Canouan in the Grenadines; and a modern medical centre at Georgetown in St Vincent. Nor did they permit the “international recession” to prevent them from launching and sustaining an “education revolution” that has dramatically increased access to secondary and university level education for the people of St Vincent, and a “housing revolution” through which the government is transforming the housing conditions of thousands of working-class Vincentians.

The record also shows that the Vincentian government has not engaged in the unconscionable and destructive practice of laying off public servants, or of cutting the welfare provisions which the most indigent and vulnerable citizens depend on.

But as we all know, the record in Barbados is just the opposite! Not only have Messers Stuart, Sinckler, Inniss, Jones and company dismissed some 3,000 public servants, but they have also imposed tuition fees that have caused some 3,200 working-class Barbadians to drop out of tertiary education at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, and have cut the welfare provisions of the most needy Barbadians.

In addition, they have built no major Government capital project over the past eight years, while at the same time plundering the citizens of Barbados with a slew of new and excessive taxes.

The difference between Ralph Gonsalves and Freundel Stuart is that –– like the late great Errol Walton Barrow –– Ralph Gonsalves possesses the gift of “creative imagination”. Gonsalves is therefore not simply a victim of circumstances!

In the face of an international recession, he does not settle into a posture of helplessness and make repeated pathetic excuses. Rather, his creative mind and spirit enables him to find new and novel ways to raise resources, galvanize his people, and get things done.

The truth is that when the international economic environment is difficult –– as it has been over the past eight years –– a country needs to have creative, visionary, energetic, inspiring and determined leaders, if it is to overcome developmental challenges and go forward. Sadly, this has not been the case in Barbados for at least the past ten years.

I don’t claim to be an Errol Barrow or a Ralph Gonsalves, but it is clear to me that there are a multiplicity of economic initiatives the Barbados Government could have taken over the past eight years to stave off the recessionary conditions and drive our country forward.

Over the past several weeks, I have outlined some 13 of these initiatives for my readers, and I have promised to outline the following additional seven initiatives: new environmental protection projects; a new relationship with Latin America; engagement with the African Union; solar energy development and expansion; utilization of dormant financial and human resources; a national research and development programme; and a special initiative to get the entire Public Service involved in projects that add value
to our economy.

The purpose of these articles is to send a message to my fellow Barbadians to the effect that there is no need for us to feel dispirited and hopeless. The challenges we face are not insurmountable. All we need is a little creativity and leadership.

(David Comissiong, an attorney-at-law, is president of the Clement Payne Movement.)

8 Responses to Where there is no vision . . .

  1. Erma Creese December 16, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    What you are saying is so true. Dr Ralph Gobsmacked pulls out of sis Deonyou what you did not see yourself capable of doing. He gives one hope. He never cast you down. He pushes you to think. If you have an idea he helps you to expand on it then he will ask council of his advisers and seek the financing the accomplishment. I speak as a public servant.

  2. BaJan boy December 16, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    A little creativity and the departure of Freundel and his gang..

  3. BaJan boy December 16, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    A little creativity and the departure of Freundel and his gang..then and only then will we start on an upward path. They are a pathetic bunch…with nothing to offer this country..

  4. Kamau Chikeh December 16, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    We in SVG love you David. You did a remarkable job in helping to re-elect the ULP by placing the significance of SVG under the ULP in global context. Great workman. The detractors in SVG are hoping to come here to discredit you.

  5. Joel C. Payne
    Joel C. Payne December 16, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    What does he do in a Commission of Pan African Affairs to collect salary all around the year? Last I check Emancipation is in August and the little march dem do could probably be done by Constituency Council.

  6. Andrena Ceasar
    Andrena Ceasar December 16, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    They is nothing wrong with what he is saying barbadians need to stop being so foolish and open they eyes cause we ain’t going nowhere soon

  7. Marlon Mills December 17, 2015 at 5:44 am

    Mr Commissiong,

    You are a very misguided observer of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines political and economic condition, and if I were you I would get my facts right before writing such rubbish.

  8. Robert Black December 17, 2015 at 11:34 am

    who so ever you are, why did you not give the figures and reality of all the projects you mentioned that you so praising the ULP have done despite the hard economic times.
    For your lack of information let me shade some light into your brain wash imagination………
    1) I am glad you mention the cost of the Airport but you forget to mention that it is now racing to ONE BILLION and still have no clear date of reaching operational. With that being said, what is the nation G.D.P, should any Government spend on any project in excess of what it can actually earn in revenue in any given year?
    2) the Education Revolution is and was a Caricom program, with an achieve date of 2010, what the ULP did was force all tom, dick, jean and harry under an all book education system where you enter, even if you don’t pass you are being promoted to the next class and out you goes. which have cause the highest rate of drop outs and under educated young people my country have ever seen.
    3) you forget to mention where the funding for the Airport was coming. since you refuse to say please permit time to say, while you allow you PM to take monies from the country national Social security account to pay for any project? so why you are praising such actions by the Ralph? millions of dollars have been borrowed from the National Insurance Services savings just to help build the Airport. seeing you look like someone of intellect, no need i say what negative impact this action will have on every live in the next to distant future.
    4) Why for over 14 years in Government the nation have not seen any real economic growth. unlike Barbados, St. Vincent have rich soil for Agriculture but yet the ULP government have done everything in its power to ensure the farmers are not empowered to make money from farming. there is simple no explanation for the lack of productivity from this sector of the Vincentian economy. Not to even mention tourism, we have the lowest numbers across the Caribbean and Vincent have both Niche which many of the other Island don’t have but we are still play tourism like back in the 1980s………….
    i will just leave these thoughts for you……and the opportunity to correct yourself.
    P.S as you are so close to the ulp party i expect you will do one thing………..go ahead


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