What’s there to celebrate?

The Buck Stops Here 2As the country is gearing up for the 50th anniversary of Independence with a host of celebrations planned, among which I understand that there is to be a price tag of $7 million (tell me it isn’t true!), I feel the need to stop and examine where we are today compared with 1966.

I was born in 1966 so, of course, I don’t know how things were, but there is no doubt that we have made significant strides in our development since then. Schools have been built, new highways constructed, a new airport was opened, hotels were built and a new source of revenue (primarily from the international business sector) was introduced.

These are very positive things and have contributed to Barbados’ high ranking on many of the various development reports produced by international organizations. At the same time, here we are 50 years after Independence facing a number of very significant (and regressive) issues.

A segment of the population cannot access running water and this has been going on for nearly a year.  Our main hospital is in bad condition, barely has enough supplies to sustain proper patient care and has recently been subject to further cuts in the last budget.

We have more garbage than trucks and the current solution to that problem is ludicrous at every level. Our hotel room stock has declined significantly in the last few years. Our national debt had doubled since 2007 and was US $4.6 billion (yes that is a “b”) in 2015, which amounted to $16,193 per inhabitant.

Our credit rating also has been downgraded so much that, according to one of the jokes circulating on WhatsApp, not even Matthew (the recent hurricane) wanted to come to Barbados.  Thank God!

Our election process is a farce, with both sides openly buying votes and noone seems to have any problem with it. The Westminster system is a joke and nothing gets stopped in Parliament because no member will go against their party and vote according to his or her conscience.

We don’t have a clue what our Government is doing unless papers “drop off the back of a truck” as happened in the case of the Cahill project, since the Government has taken a vow of silence. The Central Bank reported a 1.3 per cent growth in the economy for the first nine months of 2016, but people are still suffering.

The bottom line is that I’m not seeing much to celebrate right now, especially if $7 million is going to be spent on the celebration activities. I would be the first to celebrate if I heard that the money slated for the 50th anniversary was going to be put to better use, although that would literally be like a drop in the ocean.

I would dance in the streets if there was a freeze on taxes, especially with annoying names like social responsibility tax (sorry levy) and more effort was being made to stimulate the economy to provide much needed revenue.

By the way, social responsibility means not using money from NIS to fund other Government debt and projects. I would throw a party if investors started pouring money into the economy because they had confidence in the leadership of the country. I would be ecstatic if there was a strategic plan for the nation that would be implemented regardless of who created it and which party was in power.

I would be jubilant if leaders with vision would emerge and get involved in the politics of the country. I would rejoice if I knew that someone, somewhere has a plan for how Barbados will not only survive in the next 50 years, but will be way ahead of where we are today.

A Barbados where our debt is not greater than our GDP, one where we have departed from the archaic Westminster system and we are led by a coalition of men and women with the best brains in the country.

Leaders who don’t only have a five or ten-year plan to get their pension, but a plan to take the nation successfully into the next fifty years. Now that is something I could celebrate.

(Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She is also the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme and the Barbados Affiliate for the FundRiseHer Campaign. Contact her at donna@donnaevery.com . Website www.donnaevery.com www.facebook.com/DonnaEvery1)

10 Responses to What’s there to celebrate?

  1. Carson C Cadogan October 29, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

  2. Kev October 29, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    I guess u do carson

  3. Tony Waterman October 30, 2016 at 1:49 am

    @Carson C Cadogan!!! Nothing that she has said in that Article is an “UNTRUTH” so please!!!!Tell me, how did YOU come to the decision that she has no idea what she is Talking about, is it because she is a Woman, and Politics is a “MAN” thing ??PLEEAASSEE tell me where she is “WRONG”

  4. Oistins Fisherman October 30, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Carson…… either you have been living in a cave for the past 8 years, or you simply do not wish to hear the truth. Good God Man… what planet ARE you living on! Bim is a disaster right now. I’m so thankful that I’m in my twilight years…

  5. 50 and Proud if it. October 30, 2016 at 7:16 am

    I am a child of the sixtys and i see lots to celebrate. I can vote, i have freedom of religion, i have acess to education, i can freely respond to your article and then be agreed with or be ridiculed. We spend so much time looking at what has gone wrong and never look at what we have compaired to so many other countries.
    Don’t think for one minute i don’t see our problems but i also see our victories.

  6. Denis Lashley October 30, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Spot on Lady!
    Been tormented for years as to why our beloved country is how it is today, can’t anyone in power not see how we are failing and make a concerted effort to stop this madness?
    My feeling is that all the people who have been successful and could help are frighten to do so because of various reasons. Again, my feeling is is has to start with Moral Fibre! It’s dead! To all who read this, I ask you to examine who and what you know of our dealings and have we been right in our thoughts, acceptance, judgements and actions that daily make us who we are? Can any of us say well done?
    My friends, the back doors need sealing, the underhanded deals need to cease, the favours never end, our conscience needs awakening, where is the accountability and morals we were taught?
    Is it too late?

  7. Simone Gittens October 30, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Well said Donna, we do need a new system of government that includes business people, doctors, teachers,engineers and entrepreneurs, male or femail. Who are prepared to put the country ahead of their being re-elected, know how to balance a budget and encourage people including locals to invest in Barbados.

  8. Adrian October 30, 2016 at 9:42 am

    A well written piece. However. I think what we are celebrating in our 50 years of Independence not just this year, the last eight years or even the last eighteen. We are celebrating the last fifty, the last fifty.

  9. Hazel Lashley October 30, 2016 at 11:38 am

    To add to the list of changes that makes it difficult to celebrate with a $7 million party:-
    I was there in 1966 to witness the symbolic ceremony with the shared hopes and aspirations of a proud people. For a time we had a lot to be proud of as a small nation – our own Bank; our own chain of supermarkets; our own insurance companies; garment & furniture manufacturing with an export market to T’dad etc; education was made free and available to all; NIS was established to take care of us in sickness and old age.

    Although we have lost a big chunk of what is listed above and are now being threatened with colonization by T&T, we still have much to be thankful for but it does not warrant a $7 million celebration at this time of need. Hopefully we could justify it for our 75th!

  10. Carson C Cadogan October 30, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Any Bajan who has nothing to celebrate for our 50th Anniversary Independence celebration needs their head examining. That person needs to relocate to either Mars or the Moon.

    There is so much for a sensible Bajan to be give thanks for that it just boggles the mind.

    This woman is a joke.


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