Rich man, poor man

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Opinion -


have to go to the Na­tional In­surance to get a let­ter prov­ing I get a pen­sion. I have to carry in re­ceipts from the In­come Tax. Wuhloss, Mag­gie Hoad last boy up with Donville.

Many years ago when I used to park by St Mary’s wall, a gentle­man would be wait­ing when I came back. “I am the man”, he would say, “who was watch­ing the man who was watch­ing your car!”

I was re­minded of that re­cently on dis­cov­er­ing that while I was watch­ing the af­ford­ing ways of this new ad­min­is­tra­tion, oth­ers were watch­ing mine.

I mean, we thought the Dems left the coun­try flat broke. Our Cen­tral Bank Gov­er­nor said be­fore the elec­tion he couldn’t see pub­lic ser­vants get­ting an in­crease since we couldn’t af­ford to pay them as it was.

Yet pub­lic ser­vants and MPS have got an in­crease, we have new min­is­ters like bush, old re­tired in­di­vid­u­als have been re­cy­cled and posted here, there and yon. We are talk­ing about buy­ing sec­ond-hand trucks at a mil­lion each. Where is the money com­ing from?

Surely we aren’t print­ing money or us­ing NIS funds? Surely David C wouldn’t be part of a Gov­ern­ment tak­ing hand­outs from white busi­ness­men? IMF funds not around as yet. So where?

But while I was pon­der­ing that, I made a fa­tal flaw and now the banks are on my case. “Where you get money from?” is what they’re ask­ing. My mis­take. For all our years my wife and daugh­ter washed our clothes in a tub. Last year, an­other daugh­ter bought us a sec­ond-hand wash­ing ma­chine. Re­cently it started mak­ing a noise so I called a re­pair­man. Then all hell broke loose. The banks ob­vi­ously mon­i­tor these things for the Amer­i­can FBI. If a goat farmer can af­ford a wash­ing ma­chine, they feel he must be laun­der­ing money. So it looks like my sav­ings could get “frozen” or some­thing.

I had to go to the Nation and get a let­ter prov­ing I’ve been a colum­nist for 29 years. (My wife feels no­body would pay me to write fool­ish­ness, so the Nation only sends me a cheque as a joke. She’s never touched one cent of that money in case we have to give it back.)

I have to go to the Na­tional In­surance to get a let­ter prov­ing I get a pen­sion. I have to carry in re­ceipts from the In­come Tax. Wuhloss, Mag­gie Hoad last boy up with Donville.

The thing is, no­body will be­lieve how cheaply we live. I once wrote that $6 a day would keep me happy; Al­fred Prag­nell sent me a cheque for $6. Some­body donates a bread­fruit – that is cou cou one day, chips the next. My wife can make a tin of salmon serve six or sixty; she just “length­ens” the sauce. (I get the black skin and bones.) I wear dead peo­ple’s clothes or cast-offs. All my ap­pli­ances are gi’-to-muhs. My pick-up is 28 years old; my trac­tor, 52. We have worked over 40 years with­out a day’s va­ca­tion. If you don’t spend money, you save a lit­tle some­thing.

Next thing, a word of cau­tion to CARICOM broth­ers on the Caribbean Court Jus­tice (CCJ). We note you’re get­ting a ref­er­en­dum. Our gov­ern­ment gave us no choice. But be­ware! Re­mem­ber Ho­tel Cal­i­for­nia: “We are all pris­on­ers here of our own de­vice… ‘re­lax’, said the night man, ‘we are pro­grammed to re­ceive. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!’”

That, my friends, is the CCJ, against whom there is no fur­ther ap­peal. Once you sign on, it is eight years be­fore you can leave. The for­mer colo­nial masters never put such a stric­ture on us for leav­ing the Privy Coun­cil. So why do our black broth­ers? It is a mon­strous wicked­ness, in my opin­ion, to keep any­one in a re­la­tion­ship they want to quit.

By the way, my wife has cor­rectly pre­dicted how the CCJ would rule in ev­ery sin­gle case in­volv­ing Bar­ba­dos. She will do it for free. Don’t fol­low us into that trap.

Fi­nally, eco­nomic re­cov­ery. We heard it was to be “Re Re”. Now it’s “Bert”, prob­a­bly to be fol­lowed by “Ernie” (Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery Needs In­vest­ments, Ex­perts), played by Avi and Clyde. Un­like Bon­nie and Clyde, who took peo­ple’s money il­le­gally, Avi and Clyde are tak­ing it in fuel and water tax.

Lots of cap­i­tal around, but no one in­vest­ing while we’re over­taxed to pay for Gov­ern­ment squan­der­ing and in­ef­fi­ciency.

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