Still worth the celebration
The events over the past year are likely to impact how many Barbadians will feel about celebrating our 52nd Independence birthday tomorrow.
For the hundreds of civil servants retrenched over the last few weeks in Government’s ongoing restructuring programme, it will not necessarily be a happy day. Neither will it be a joyous occasion for several of their former colleagues who may be wondering if they could be next, given the Barbados Workers’ Union general secretary’s statement that the retrenchment exercise could last into 2019.
It is also unlikely to be a day of rejoicing for several Barbadians who lost loved ones to the violence and lawlessness plaguing our society. Their grief of losing someone would likely be compounded with the knowledge that even when the culprit(s) are caught, they may not be convicted of the crime until after five years or more.
Worse, they may have to cope with seeing the accused on the streets months after their arrest, and the individual would likely remain free on bail for years while the matter languishes in the painfully slow court system.
For those in the private sector who are fortunate to be working, many could be wondering if their organisation would be laying off people after the upcoming holiday season as has been quietly going on for the last few years due to the cloud of uncertainty that has been hanging over the economy.
Barbadians’ concerns don’t stop there. With households to support and children to clothe and feed, many are troubled about the level of taxation being demanded, as well as the high prices that greet them daily whether in the supermarkets, stores, restaurants or from vendors.
They are anxious too, over their inability to get to work in a timely fashion given the unreliability of public transport, while the potholed conditions of the roads make travelling in all vehicles a bumpy, uncomfortable experience.
And if that is not enough, many are being frustrated by the lack of timely garbage collections, while others in certain parts of the island are daily inconvenienced by the poor quality of their water supply, or too frequent water outages. Like it or not, this is Barbados today. It is not a pretty picture. How we got to this point will continue to be a talking point. For sure, those who held the reins of power within the recent past cannot escape criticism for their stewardship. But, what really matters now is how we can get past this stage and create a better, brighter future.
Ironically, our democracy which gave us a leadership whose policies greatly contributed to our present predicament also provided the mechanism for us to replace them peacefully. And that is worth celebrating.
Our Independence is worth colebrating because we have achieved much in the last 52 years despite the several challenges we faced as a small island developing state. And we’re confident that our hallmark resilience as a people will once again allow us to punch above our weight.