Short-changed by Govt
There is a notion that money is a cure-for-all. It has the power to erase everything from the past once it turns up. It is so powerful that the journey it takes to reach its destination may often be overlooked.
At the end of the year, I felt equally inspired to revisit some of the sentiments in that article because of the obvious absence of money during the current Christmas season. This absence is the consequence of a decade of misguided policies and indifferent political leadership.
The question to be asked and answered is: why is there an absence of money? The answer provides the evidence for a decade of policy failure that, ironically, came to light on the tenth Christmas.
There is belief that the political indifference, at the heart of the failure, can be turned around by simply turning up at the eleventh hour. Equally, if you turn up with money, so much the better. In short, money can erase years of indifference.
We have a Government that extracted increasingly more from us over time, as we remained committed to a journey. The more it extracted, the more it wasted. A little with content was not great gain for Government.
Notwithstanding the obvious pain that the extraction caused to Barbadians, there was no sympathy. Rest assured that after a decade of decay, the same Government will try to gloss it over with a golden handshake in the coming months.
Bajans are supposed to have short memories. So short that they are not supposed to remember being short-paid or short-changed. It is not okay to spend years defending policy positions, reverse the positions in a few months and expect Barbadians to forget. However, there is a big difference between changing your position on privatisation and short-changing Barbadians in their pockets. They resonate differently.
When Barbadians work, they expect to receive adequate pay. If prices are rising and they are not receiving more pay, then the pay is not adequate. Furthermore, when taxes are rising, the workers are truly being short-changed.
Barbadians are more than willing to sacrifice for the good of the country. But the period of sacrifice must be determined; it cannot be indefinite. From 2008 to 2017 is a long time to be making sacrifices, especially when there is no evidence that the sacrifices are not in vain.
After such a long period, it is unimaginable that Christmas of 2017 could have been worse than the Christmas of 2008. This is indicative of economic failure and political indifference. The comparison of the Christmases is much easier to digest than the fact that “since the introduction of the Government’s Medium-term Fiscal Strategy in 2010, in response to the perceived effects of the world financial crisis of 2008/2009, some unprecedented economic consequences emerged. These include: (1) persistently large fiscal current account deficits, (2) galloping national debt, (3) excessive domestic credit creation and (4) little to no growth in nominal gross domestic product”.
There is room for both types of analysis. The Christmas comparison is far more visual and, by extension, more effective. However, from a leadership perspective, the two are equally important. Failure to recognise the latter is currently having serious consequences for Barbadians in the short and long term.
Again, this week, I appeal to the game of cricket. In the early days, it was unmistakable that Barbadian and West Indian cricketers played the longer form of the game with the belief that it allowed them to define who we are as a people on the regional and world stages. We pursued excellence with limited resources. Success came in the journey.
It is now possible to define success in a big pay packet for a one-off 20/20 series somewhere around the world. Is the new definition of success being used as a measure in other spheres of our lives?
It appears so. Our current political leaders are finding it very easy to compromise our short- and long-term prosperity for their gain.
AT THE BEGINNING OF 2017, I felt inspired to write an article that contained references to personal happenings in my life. I wrote: “Success is not for most a journey in which we learn, make mistakes and therefore continuously redefine ourselves for the better; it is a destination that is measured in terms of position/status that is accompanied by material gain/growth. The latter often is reduced to money as the measure.”
the environment or for the nation’s budget.
The current proposal combines floating wind turbines, with natural gas power capabilities, and tidal turbines built and positioned to produce their projected output, with low-scheduled maintenance and repair cost, realised by crews on floating platforms.
Financing such a transformation, from fossil fuel-fired generators to renewable energy-driven turbines, must be seen in terms of its savings. Consider the cost in foreign currency that would be used to purchase fuel on the international market as a non-producer, or as a producer consider the revenue that could be earned from the sale of fuel not used internally, both as a direct result of this transition.
This also seems to be a very practical way to meet and surpass a self-imposed target of generating over 20 per cent of electricity needs from renewable energy by the year 2020.