A question for Owen Arthur

As Barbados prepares to celebrate 50 years of national Independence, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has been extolling what he considers to be the positive benefits of privatization and boasting about his privatizing of the Barbados National Bank (BNB).

Well, it is true that he was primarily responsible for beginning the process of selling off Barbados’ only indigenous bank to a Trinidadian private company, and that the current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration was only too happy to follow his lead and to complete the process.

The end result is that the supposedly independent nation of Barbados does not possess even ONE indigenous bank, much less an indigenous state-owned bank! This is nothing less than a national disgrace, for there is not a single serious independent nation in this world that does not possess at least ONE indigenous bank!

Which nation that takes itself seriously is content to have the critical banking sector COMPLETELY foreign owned? But Mr Arthur didn’t stop with the BNB : he was also responsible for selling the Insurance Corporation of Barbados — one of the Barbados Government’s most successful enterprises– to a private Bermudian company!

How, pray tell, is Barbados better off by placing the ownership of the ICB in the hands of Bermudian capitalists, rather than having it owned by the Government and people of Barbados? With such a track record to his name, it is not surprising that Mr Arthur would approve of the recent move by the DLP administration to have the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) forego the repairing or purchasing of their own garbage compactor trucks and to –instead– rent eight garbage compactor trucks from private companies run by the likes of Bizzy Williams and Anderson Cherry at $411 per truck per hour, for eight hours a day and five days a week.

Thus, each truck will cost the SSA (and by extension the taxpayers of Barbados) the sum of $16,440 per week or $427,440 over a six month period, and ultimately $854,880 over a one year period — in the likely event that the arrangement is extended.

The question therefore that needs to be posed to Mr Owen Arthur is as follows: Why should the Sanitation Service Authority Board be saddling us– the taxpayers of Barbados– with payments to private businessmen of $427,440 per truck per half-year (or $854,880 per truck per year), when the Board could have purchased the said truck for a one-time cost of approximately $250,000, and end up being the owner of the truck rather than a mere renter with no ownership rights?

I now look forward with great expectancy to Mr. Arthur’s response to this question.

 David Comissiong

8 Responses to A question for Owen Arthur

  1. Bajan boy November 1, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Same with water how come you guys have chosen to remain silent on the leased water tanks that are causing tax payers rhe same per month as we would have paid one time for all the tanks and they are still serviced by the BWA..

  2. Helicopter(8P) November 1, 2016 at 11:26 am

    The reason these trucks are rented stems from the poor maintenance that the S S A practiced on such apparatus. At the present state of affairs these trucks have to be in tip-top mechanical shape and road worthiness; so in order for the owners to be remunerated their trucks must meet inspection and work the required hours within the required route no exceptions1

  3. Bobo November 1, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    I am not a fan of Comissiong, I have to give him credit for Owen Arthur destruction of BNB Bank and Barbados progress, yearly total $854.880–how many modern day garbage trucks the government can buy for each parish–Politicians from Africa to the Caribbean have no respect to local tax payers—” easy come easy go”

  4. Alex Alleyne November 1, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    The BANK is where the money is. Why should a BAJAN wait on the go ahead from T&T to buy a “piece of the rock” . OWEN should not let the Mortgage department of BNB go in with the selling off of our only Bank.
    Water under the bridge, we can’t buy it back now. Just like LIAT, we pour big bucks into that ‘pork hole” year after year ,and the fellers in Antigua keep saying LIAT ain’t leaving hey.

  5. RC November 1, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    I think that instead of the Unions trying to shut down the Island because they call out teachers during school, abandoning our Children when they could hold their meetings during the long holidays and weekends they should look closely at the operations of L.I.A.T. which is sucking up a lot of our money which could be used to purchase trucks for Sanitation and the like. Also if the mechanic shops at the Transport Board, Sanitation, Water Works etc. are not functioning efficiently then those services should be taken care if by private garages. We should have maintained a locally owned Bank.

  6. jus me November 2, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Come now you guys.
    Banks are subject to the rules the Government applies, so may be they do not own them BUT they should ,IF ANYONE IN GOVERNMENT WAS ABLE, to control them.
    Its like saying if you adopt a child instead of it being blood , the family wouldnt work.

    When you come down to the reality of living in Barbados, the reality is NO One who SHOULD CARE does CARE.
    They are onboard for the ride, a FREE ride.
    As an exercise just name ONE THING any of this bunch have done,that has benefitted our dear little rock?
    I cant.

    Look at the latest Farce,PM allows ,7 million , it is reported, to be spent on Celebrations.
    Is he INSANE.

    Then gets on a plane to UK.

    Therein you have the Governments answer to renting trucks for another Farcical sum.

    its ONLY MONEY.
    Too bad its YOURS and NOT theirs.
    But thats the way the ball bounces.
    At least the way it bounces in BARBADOS.

    Just statistics, 7 million 700 millions one trillion,

    None of this lot will ever pay back one penny of it.

    This will probably be deleted by the CENSORS of this E paper,well there you go, thats life in Barbados.

  7. Hal Austin November 2, 2016 at 3:24 am

    The unions are just badly led. Owen Arthur is an irrelevance, a spent force. What we ant is a statement of commitment from the Opposition. Do they think the fire sale of BNB was in the nation’s best interest?
    How would they fund mall and medium enterprises? Where do they stand on privatisation? How about the bogus reports coming out of the central bank?
    On education, where does the Opposition stand, in particular home-schooling? What about the abuse of sentencing by authoritarian magistrates, will a future BLP government introduce criminal justice reforms?

  8. RHBB November 2, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    In order to evaluate alternative positions, you need to use ALL of the facts. Comissiong compares $854,880 with $250,000 but omits to mention that:
    1) approx $127,000 of that is VAT which goes back to Gov’t coffers.
    2) the price paid is not just for the capital cost of the truck, it will also cover fuel, maintenance, staff and other operating costs. So, to the $250,000 cost of buying a truck, you have to add these other factors to determine the true total cost of acquiring and OPERATING a new truck.
    You have to compare apples to apples!


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