The season of giving

This is the season of giving.

In my family, we are very practical; we tend to tell each other what we want the others to give. That may seem a bit calculated, but I think it saves getting gifts that you have no use for.

So, when I went to surprise my daughter for her 21st birthday, we went shopping for my Christmas present. So, I know exactly what I’m getting and I know that I will like it.

My husband left his gift for me to find in my Amazon cart so the surprise for him will be if I actually buy it. My children, of course, have no qualms telling us what they want us to give them. Needless to say, they don’t always get it.

I thought I would apply that approach outside of my family in this season of giving. So, what I would like for Christmas (and the New Year) is for more Government ministers to give us straight answers and honest communication like what Minister Donville Inniss gave in a recent interview with the media.

While some believe that it may have been political posturing on his part, I have to say I admire him speaking his mind even if it meant criticizing the Government and some of his colleagues. Now that is someone I would not mind having as a prime minister, in the event that the Government was somehow to win the next election.

However, I would like to have the gift of early elections so that we can decide who we would like to take us forward for the next five years, sooner rather than later, and hopefully return the confidence of investors in Barbados.

I would like banks and financial institutions to give us fair treatment. Recently, a colleague was complaining that he has a variable mortgage, but when the interest rate went down, his rate was not adjusted down as well. He had to call the bank and ask about it before the rate was adjusted and then he had to ask for it to be made retroactive.

I wonder if that would have been the case if the rate had gone up! I remember a few years ago, when we were Premier customers of a bank, we discovered after a year or so that we should have received a preferential mortgage rate as Premier customers. However, we were never told that, but once we found out and asked about it, our rate was adjusted. Maybe these are cases of “You have not because you ask not”.

I would like the Barbados Revenue Authority to give us the same terms that we are required by law to give them. I’m talking about the interest that we have to pay on taxes or VAT (and now company annual returns) if we file late or pay late. However, BRA can pay tax or VAT refunds (when they finally do) months or years later with no interest to the taxpayer.

That is my wish list for Christmas. However, like my children, we don’t always get what we ask for. Those things aside, in keeping with the true spirit of the season, I would like to thank those organizations that have given to my projects during the year, without waiting until Christmas.

First of all, I have to thank the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation for the technical assistance it has given to entrepreneurs this year, me included. BIDC is a government entity that is truly impacting entrepreneurs and making a difference in their businesses.

I would like to thank BIDC again, Williams Industries Inc., Champers, M Grafix, Blue Print Creative, Southpaw Grafix, Ebonnie Rowe, Kellie Cadogan-Price and Rashida Parasram for giving their time, talent and treasure to the women entrepreneurs of Barbados to help make the 2016 Women’s Entrepreneurship Day event a resounding success.

Finally, I would like to give you, my readers, an opportunity to let me know what you would like me to write about in the New Year. If it is more on business and finance and less on the political inefficiencies in the country, I will endeavour to do so. I will also commit to trying my best to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I invite you all to do the same.

(Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She is also the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (2014 – 2016), the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme.

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