An eclipse over Barbados

 This week, there was an eclipse over Barbados.  Since it didn’t go completely dark, we only had a partial eclipse here. As I sought to find something positive that was happening in Barbados, I felt as if we were in the middle of an eclipse with evil blotting out the good.

From the recent spate of  gun violence, the number of murders for the year, the number of fatal road accidents, the state of the economy, the questionable contracts entered into by Government, the rising talk of racism, date rape drugs, lewdness at Kadooment and the general moral decay of the country, I feel as if Barbados is being covered in evil which appears to be shutting out the light.

The good news is that there is still some light, although the darkness seems to be taking precedence at this time and that, like an eclipse, the darkness will pass and the sun will shine again. Even in our educational system, while we lament over students now taking advantage of the almost free education and leaving school with few or no certificates, we have just seen an amazing number of scholarships and exhibitions, showing that all is not lost. What we need to do is find strategies to spread this success and not just in the area of academics, but also in technical and vocational areas.

So rather than feast on the negative news, let us begin to imagine a different Barbados and speak it and pray it into being. Let us begin by speaking well of and to each other. I was appalled to read some of the comments made following an article on the Internet about the Blue Horizon transaction. Rather than focus on the issues to get to the truth, like what was the property valued for and did someone really offer more for it and, if so, why the offer was not accepted, people started attacking each other!

Then partisan politics kicked in and it became supporters of one party pulling down the other. Can we not see that partisan politics and this whole Westminster system will destroy Barbados if we let it? Can we not see that it doesn’t matter which party is in if we don’t have proper governance, transparency and accountability? Can we not keep perpetuating the race divide and learn to live together in unity? If we are dissatisfied with who is getting the major contracts from Government, let us insist on the passing of the Freedom of Information Act and the proclamation of the Prevention of Corruption Act so that information becomes available on these contracts and can be scrutinized and acted upon.

Much of the darkness will leave Barbados when political interference stops and when real accountability starts. There has been much abuse of power and position (by both parties) and now the chicks have come home to roost.Unfortunately, the roosting means low levels of reserves, a junk status credit rating, an escalation of crime and violence and all other manners of evil. The only way to eradicate these things is to get to the source, expose it and uproot it. So, while it is good that the defence force is on standby to help combat the gun violence, how are we dealing with how the guns are getting in?

We have looming over our heads fiscal measures that are supposed to generate $500 million to balance the budget. But what are we doing about the decisions and the decision makers that got us to this point in the first place? What can be done to recoup the millions overspent on projects that resulted in increased borrowing that has us with this astounding debt to GDP ratio? How will the debts owed to individuals and organizations be repaid?

As I said, if we want this eclipse to begin to pass and for the light to shine again, we need to change the very way we do things. We need to change our system of governance and have a more participatory system. I would like to see this current Westminster system replaced with a system where seats in Parliament are occupied by non-partisan individuals who have demonstrated the ability to bring solutions in their areas of expertise and who then form a government rather than a two (or more) party system and led by an elected head from among them. The entire country can take the role of the watchdog to ensure that the interests of the country are well represented; we will have no  need for an opposition.

We cannot keep doing the same things and expect to get different results.  If Barbados is to come out from under this darkness, we need to do something different and we need to start by repenting of the fact that we have all stood by and allowed evil to creep in and to ask for the wisdom, courage and integrity to do what needs to be done so that the light will be restored to our nation.

Source: (Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She is the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme and was the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (2014 – 2016). Contact her at donna@donnaevery.com. Website: www.donnaevery.com; www.facebook.com/DonnaEvery1)

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