A reflection on Barbados at 50

GUESTXCOLUMNI do not write this letter as the President of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA), but rather as a proud citizen of Barbados.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of this nation’s Independence, I pause to reflect on that momentous night on November 30, 1966 when the Barbados flag was officially raised for the first time. At just 9 years old, I could hardly be expected to fully grasp what it meant for Barbados to become independent from the United Kingdom. But I knew that something important was happening because of my father’s reaction and the fact that he had gone to the Garrison for this important event whilst the rest of the family remained at home listening intently to the live radio broadcast.

Now, 50 years later, I fully understand the significance of that day. It meant that we would be charting our own course in the world with our own people at the helm and the Lord as the people’s guide. I realize now that we were an inspired and proud people who believed that we had to play our part in the growth and development of our nation.

So, those of us who grew up ‘post-Independence’ did what we were supposed to do as part of the working class in the public and private sectors of Barbados. We played our part, we followed the rules, and we planned for our future and the future of our children by saving and investing in pension plans, life insurance policies and annuities, because that’s what we were supposed to do.

We had no doubts or fears about the safety of our hard-earned savings because there was a well-crafted Insurance Act and a Government appointed Office of the Supervisor of Insurance whose purpose was to monitor activity in the Insurance sector and protect us and our savings and investments from mismanagement or malfeasance.

And yet, as Barbados prepares to celebrate 50 years of Independence, many thousands of our citizens have little to rejoice about as they continue to wait to hear when they will start to receive the fruits of their labour which were set aside for their “old age”; savings and investments which were meant to ensure that they could live in relative comfort after having spent the majority of their lives contributing to the growth and development of Barbados; funds which would enable them to keep a well maintained roof over their heads, meet the ever rising costs of living and of health care, and pay for their children’s education to ensure the country would continue to benefit from the contributions of the next generation.

Fifty years later, some of us may be in times of plenty, but many of us are in serious times of need despite having sown the seeds from which our pride sprung. We have been and continue to be loyal sons and daughters of this nation, but we are making it known that as we write our names on history’s page, some of our expectations are not great because after nearly eight years, thousands of policyholders still await the outcome of the CLICO and BAICO debacles, not to mention many who have passed away during that time without the peace of mind that their dependents would be taken care of.

The owners and managers of these organizations, along with a government system that was supposed to oversee and protect the policyholders, failed as strict guardians of our financial heritage and through their negligence, have crafted our financial fate in a disastrous fashion that could never have been imagined and should never have been allowed to happen.

And so, sadly those of us loyal sons and daughters who are policyholders in these two companies do hereby make it known that even though these fields and hills are our very own, we continue to suffer at a time in our life when we should be celebrating.

Happy 50th Anniversary of Independence Barbados!

4 Responses to A reflection on Barbados at 50

  1. Gavin Dawson
    Gavin Dawson November 2, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Thank You Ms June Fowler, We hope that Chris Sinckler ( MOF) has the decency to read this, only he has gone extremely quiet on the subject, let us hope that know one else passes before they start to receive the cash due to them, the cash that they had worked hard for and entrusted it in a company whose directors stole the money from them.

  2. jrsmith November 2, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Certain people will always get away with anything corrupt in barbados, because of lots of people who is involve… but lots have back fired and more to come ,thats why bajans is loosing Barbados as if we are being sold down the river..

    Since our (Independence ) (Dependency ) 50 years on and we have no water running from our taps , high unemployment a prison fill with our young black people , a non productive political failing government , issues with chicken wings , water trucks and tons of dirty water making its way to our island , but through this all we are educated..

    But are we ready for the 51st year …………..

  3. Bobo November 2, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Divide and Rule –Fifty years of black leadership (politicians) destruction, fifty years ^^way beyond slavery^^, a new prison to house the young generation instead of proper education to fulfil their survival , from London to the Caribbean young girls breeding like rabbits, fifty years of political corruption, high taxes pleasing to the Politicians , fifty years of shame anger–

    A disgrace to our Ancestors Struggle– ”fifty” a generation of years

    Folks of Barbados unless you are blink like the Americans, those who are voting for the republican party a bunch conservative narcissist, one have to ask over the years what good have they done for Americans,why in the 21st century Americans are working for 7-US per hour- most CEO yearly earning 99-144 million US—”why” Trump refuse to pay Taxes for 18 years and have the courage to run for President–what about the poor honest man, through bad business has to end up in prison because he cannot pay his taxes.

    Folks of Barbados both political Parties mismangement have you and your children where you are at the moment -moving to nowhere land-”Time for a Change”
    Please check out ”The Next Party Grenville Phillips proposal for the Barbados future.

    Folks of Barbados time to stand up for your rights pay taxes–both Political parties have you where you are in thi moment

  4. Michelle Payne November 2, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    When The People allow leaders to govern them without accountability, Democracy dies June.

    Barbadians, like the British Colonists in America in the 18th Century, decided to remove a system of government that was not representative of the needs of The People. The American Revolution of 1776 removed King George as their leader. Barbadians, did likewise in 1966 with a “peaceful revolution”. Our nation’s 50th anniversary is the milestone for us to reflect individually and collectively, on the second phase of our nation’s journey as a self governed People–reflecting on our past, present, successes and shortcomings.

    Let us look to the future and celebrate together anew, with a vision and love for Bim reminiscent of leaders like Clement Payne, Errol Barrow and Tom Adams. Building a Bolder, Brighter, Better Barbados!


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