By David Bryan; Attorney-at-Law
The economic wilderness engulfing the landscape of Barbados has crept undoubtedly into every family home across the length and breadth of this Island. Let’s be blunt; the last 8 years under the Democratic Labour Party has been more down than up. The majority of Barbadians have spent the bulk of their time just trying to survive this slow moving storm of recession which has over-shadowed their lives.
As we celebrate January 21st, 2016, for ‘the father of Independence’ -the Rt. Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, there is no loud parliamentary table thumping which can be heard for any substantial gains of socio-economic development under this current DLP government when compared to the significant achievements donned by the “dipper”.
Errol Barrow was an outspoken Prime Minister, a political maverick and visionary who led with bold, imaginative ideas that capitulated Barbados from a series of “villages” to a modern society through his path of economic “adventure”. Fast forward to 2016, the opposite of Barrow’s real politick of ingenuity is all but disappeared.
I dare say, the citizens of our country have spent much time agonizing in trying how to keep their heads above water, trying to pray that someday things will turn around financially, trying to pay their light and water bills to avoid disconnection, trying to buy the basic food for themselves and household members-without becoming malnourished in the process, trying to find ways to get more money in their pocket, trying not to dip into their life- long savings (if they have any at all), trying to keep their house from being sold because they can’t pay their mortgage, trying to keep their businesses afloat, trying not to send home anymore employees, trying to last out to the next Budget to see if anything in it can assist, trying to last until Crop Over, trying to last until Christmas and the end of the year, trying trying….
Trying to see if they can get the N.I.S cheques, trying to get their pension on time each month, trying to get V.A.T returns, trying to get Tax refunds, trying to pay the bailiffs, trying to pay hire-purchase companies, trying to get ‘little’ water to cook and bathe with when the days come, trying to get a job, trying not to get laid off, trying to keep healthy and not go to the Q.E.H, trying to get the right prescription drugs (if they have them in stock), trying to avoid the pot-holes, trying to get money to pay road tax and car insurance, trying to find gas money for the vehicle each week, trying, trying….
Trying to pay the children’s school fees, trying to get lunch money for them, trying to pay for them after secondary school if they want to go to UWI, trying to get a loan to send them to UWI; trying to get a roof over their heads, trying to buy land and house for the longest time, trying to pay the rent to the Landlord, trying to pay the hiked professional fees by the end of January every year, trying to get a tax ease somewhere, somehow with government, trying, trying….
As I reflect with a clarity and a forthright honesty, this is not the Barbados I was born in, educated by and worked for; this Barbados represents all that has gone wrong for the majority of people but ‘right’ for a select few within the inner circle of the halls of government.
This Barbados has lost its philological mooring and ideology which once looked out for the people first. Where our hopes, aspirations, dreams and ambitions were pregnant with excitement of what tomorrow would bring by successive governments, who always looked after their wants second.
Rest assured the harsh economic realities of everyday Barbadians open up as sure as the sun comes up each morning. In it all, Barbadians, have lost their voice in the duly elected officials of this government, who have neglected their duty to champion the rights of its people for a more equitable economic enfranchisement for all.
A Barbados which is so off-course, that it cannot be found in the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of failed fiscal monetary policies of the Prime Minister Stuart led government and that of Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler. These policies are having marginal positive trickle down impact upon the everyday lives of ordinary Barbadians and the economy.
Finally, democratic institutions fail not because of policies but because of man’s failure to institute policies to ensure a thriving democracy. One may ask is there no silver lining to be found with this government? My answer in 24 months. Happy Errol Barrow Day.