Appreciating Barbados

Sometimes it takes a visit away or unfortunately a disaster to appreciate what we have here in Barbados and the calibre of people that we have. Despite the many things that need to be fixed here and the issues that we have, I was very proud to hear that the Barbadians were the first to respond to the Dominica crisis by sending in goods via the Coast Guard and other
private vessels and that the Barbados Defence Force and the Regional Security System were keeping law and order in that island.

I was really heartened to see stores offering discounts and making provision to facilitate shipments of goods and foodstuff to our sister island. My husband went to a small hardware on the west coast and when the owner heard that he was buying a couple of tree saws for Dominica, he gave them free. Another hardware gave him as much as a 20 per cent discount on other products for Dominica.

It would be even better if the Government were willing to make items earmarked for relief efforts for Dominica VAT free so that the money people have allotted to spend on goods to send would stretch farther. However, that would be a logistical headache and would need to be facilitated by stores sending the items directly to the Coast Guard or other shipping agents so that unscrupulous people would not use the opportunity to help themselves.

I wish that the generosity being shown by businesses would also be extended to our own people so that we could buy goods at reasonable prices every day. Jokes aside, I know that businesses couldn’t be sustainable if they offered those types of discounts on a regular basis, but I would really love to know how much profit is made on imported food and how much is duty, NSRL and other charges that have to be paid over to Government.

I was shocked (but glad) to buy a jar of jam in the UK for £0.70 when the same jam sells here for $26-27. How is that possible? I also bought a popular brand of flatbread which sells for about $13 here for £1.  Having said that, not everything is cheaper there because I found quite a number of things there as expensive as, and sometimes more than, ours. Imagine paying £5 for parking for two hours in London? That makes the $1.50 an hour for parking in Bridgetown far more palatable.

I also don’t think that we realize how good we have some things here in Barbados and in the Caribbean. I’m talking about the services that we sometimes take for granted. We stayed at a farm in the country and the Wi Fi was a source of frustration for us; when it wasn’t disconnecting, it was operating at snail’s pace. That gave me a new-found appreciation for FLOW and the Internet connection that I have here, which is usually reliable. I thought that London would be better, but some parts of London have similar problems.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t complain about the three days waiting period for a cheque to be deposited to your account, even though other banks can access cheques that you write to them a day after you pay. I say that because I discovered that in England even a cheque drawn on the same bank, can take up to seven days to clear! Talk about getting interest on undeposited funds.

Tourists sometimes complain about our small roads, and while I admit that some are small and in bad condition, I travelled on some of the equally small, not to mention dark, country roads over there. And don’t look to find a 24-hour gas station, like our SOL stations, in those areas because they are non-existent. Many close at eight and we were lucky to find one open after 10 when our gas light was on and we were literally on our last few miles of gas.

So although we are a developing nation and our currency is considered an “exotic currency” as I recently heard it described, we, as Barbadians have a lot to be thankful for and proud of. If we can only get some strong leaders who have vision and the political will to run this country effectively, we would be farther ahead than we are.

I have noticed though that there is also efficiency in taking off the foreign exchange fee (FXF), although that is probably a function of the banks and not government. In some cases, you see the FXF coming off before the merchant even puts through their charge. Let us hope that the Government is as efficient in putting it to good use.

As we continue to help Dominica, let us remember that we are not yet out of the hurricane season and pray that Maria was the last of the catastrophic hurricanes.  As we hear of the destruction and loss of life, let us remember to appreciate who we have and what we have and give thanks for them.

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

7 Responses to Appreciating Barbados

  1. Helicopter(8P) September 30, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    A very thoughtful and humanitarian piece of litrature Donna. Your informative and caring attitude shows of your wonderful personality and character!

    Reply
  2. Mabel Jordan-Murray
    Mabel Jordan-Murray September 30, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    A well written article.

    Reply
  3. Olutoye Walrond
    Olutoye Walrond September 30, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    We should be careful not to compare ourselves with others we may consider superior to us and concluding that we really don’t have anything to be worried about. We should be comparing what we have to what is the optimum and what is attainable and reasonable.
    And because others have it worse than we do is not good reason for us to settle for less than what is best. This line of reasoning which says because some countries have dirt roads we should put up with potholes is foolishness.

    Reply
  4. lathan September 30, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    The foreign exchange fee? Could this be described in more detail how this is charged? is it charged on all products? etc, just basic details please 🙂

    Reply
  5. Nyron Johnson
    Nyron Johnson September 30, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Just what is your messaging here Barbados Today? I wonder at times if there are juveniles in control of your edditing department.. are you unaware of the reach of your postings: and the impact it may have on others? You need to be more responsible.

    Reply
  6. Jus me September 30, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Jam
    100 per cent duty,Charged on every cost the shipper pays to get it to Barbados
    A Ten thousand dollar penalty for weight over a certain amount.
    Finally when there is a Grand Total
    VAT is added

    Reply
  7. Mikey October 1, 2017 at 12:58 am

    Well said Olu,,, when we compare, please compare with please compare with what is at our standard or better,, not what is worse.. Example: We should not be complacent and happy because the citizens of Haiti were once eating mud-cakes and we have not had to resort to that. We should always be looking to improve and better our situation.

    Reply

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