Archive | February, 2010

What the IMF prescribed

28 Feb

Marcello Estevao Leader of the IMF Mission to Barbados

Barbados has been in consultation with the IMF and the IMF issued a press release with its recommendation for the Barbados economy:

With the public debt now standing at 100% of GDP Marcello Estevao Chief of the Mission to Barbados said:

Against this backdrop, fiscal consolidation seems to be the appropriate strategy. Reducing government spending, increasing tax collection efficiency, and broadening the tax base would support the exchange rate regime and improve the government’s balance sheet. Moreover, credible and sustainable measures can actually raise medium-term growth, as better debt dynamics and lower pressure on external reserves would raise the private sector’s willingness to invest in Barbados. Thus, the authorities’ intention to push forward a medium-term fiscal consolidation strategy is very welcome.

The question that these prescriptions raise is what this will mean in actual terms for Barbadians. It certainly looks as though there will be an increase in taxes. Increasing tax efficiency is a laudable goal but Barbados already has a fairly efficient tax collection mechanism already. It is uncertain how much this would yield, especially in a situation where businesses are already suffering from severe cash flow problems and might simply not have the money.

We wait to see how this will unfold further.

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A word to the wise on water

27 Feb

Something is fundamentally wrong with our decision-makers’ brains – there seems to be a fault in their logic and reasoning. It`s Tuesday Morning, 1:30am, yet sleep eludes me, because something is bothering me. I take my usual trip to the bathroom and without much thought depressed the tank lever to flush the toilet; a function we take for granted in Barbados and other Caribbean countries. Because of Climate Change even those with rivers like Jamaica, Trinidad and even Guyana have being experiencing dry taps and saw it fit to ration their water supply.

People, thanks to Global Warming, droughts in one area and flooding in others will be the norm – so get used to it. A Growing population, urbanisation, deforestation, global climatic changes and pollution are some reasons for the increased pressure on the existing water bodies. Population expansion is the single biggest reason behind the increased pressure on fresh water resources. Water consumption has almost doubled in the last fifty years and naturally, per capita availability of water has steadily decreased.

I have heard lots of talk on Barbados not being a water scarce country so I will inform the uninformed that water is a finite commodity. If a country has less than a thousand (1,000) cubic metres (m3) per capita per year it is designated a Water Scarce Country. Barbados’ available water resources are currently rated by the FAO at (390) Cubic Metres per person. One cubic metre is equivalent to 220 gallons. We are adjudged to be the fifteenth water scarce country in the world.

Though approximately 70 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, only 2.5 per cent of it is fit for drinking. The rest is all salt water, which fills up the vast expanse of the oceans and seas — unfit for human consumption. Why then in 2010 are we are still flushing expensive potable water down our toilets and using it for agriculture.

Common sense also tells me that the BWA should have long ago been encouraging persons to conserve water and start water rationing. Logic suggests to me that the BWA is leading the Minister responsible for The BWA rather than the Minister leading the BWA. This modus operandi can only lead to poor judgment and chaos, as well as poor decision-making. Thus it’s like a case of a Private leading a troop into battle, rather than the Commanding Officer. Will it take our Hotels, Schools and Restaurants’ taps to run dry before we act?

Mr Lowe, this is an issue of National Security please show some leadership and stamp your authority. Our inability to imagine what we may be faced with and be proactive is because we have never experienced the stench from unflushed toilets. Can someone tell me if the BWA management has employed an obeah man or some seer thus the delay of a water caution decision until March? Or is this another case of poor advice from technocrats to Ministers who are afraid to manage their ministers for fear of being accused of micro-managing.
Mr Lowe can you please pilot legislation as your legacy, so that all homes can be encouraged through a tax rebate to install water tanks for water harvesting.

Finally I genuinely recommend the reading of the Biblical parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) to those responsible for the managing of our water supply.

Corruption on the Rise

27 Feb

Allegiance is seeking your views on (1) whether corruption is on the rise in Barbados (2) what we can do to address this problem.

Corruption is not limited to politicians and it now seems as though the most junior of public officials are getting into the act. Neither is it a feature of any particular administration. In our casual discussions some individuals think that we do not have a serious problem. We are not sure that this is true (according to Barbadian standards). We certainly can not judge ourselves by the standards of others – we have never done so.

This is a most serious issue and we look forward to your participation.

The West Indies Cricket Sector

19 Feb

The West Indies Cricket Team in happier times ... ...

Yes – the Cricket Sector. The cricket sector is potentially one of the most mature areas of activity in the Caribbean. We were doing well in cricket before we were doing well in tourism. We have been the best in the world and we have shown that we can continue to produce the cricketers. Like so many other areas we have failed to tap the economic benefit for the countries of our region.

This is where Government comes in – unfortunately the Governments of the Caribbean have never seen cricket as a sector for the economy. All of us would be highly critical of Government if we were sitting on minerals that we could mine and we were not seeking to do anything about it.

The idea is not for Government to throw money at cricketers or to interfere with the rules of the game. It is about building an industry in which we appear to have a competitive advantage. The region has not benefitted substantially from what can come out of a cricket industry. For example books, training, films, gear that is designed in the region and marketed as coming from the region.

Thousands of West Indians should be involved in an industry to which the region has contributed substantially in fashioning over the years. It is true that regional efforts are often cumbersome, but there is nothing to prevent Barbados from recognising this as one of the new sectors for development.

Countries with limited natural resources must create opportunities for themselves. It is possible to decide to develop an expertise in an area and just go for it!

Yes the whitewash was stark but if we were still benefitting more substantially maybe it would hurt less.

Are we in a political crisis?

17 Feb

Senator Evan Bayh

Possible parallels between the USA Congress and the Barbados Parliament

Below is the top half of a news story from Yahoo.com News, on the 17 th, February, 2010, which the PDC thinks is very interesting. It shows why some of what we have been saying about the DLP and BLP in Barbados, must be addressed. The majority of Barbadian voters must give these two old corrupt stupid traditional parties “the greatest shocks in their lives” – by voting them to hell out of the parliament of this country – within the next two elections. They do not have the Barbadian people and public first and foremost in their minds. They have themselves, many of their families, friends, businesses, and foreign interests first; and thus unforgivable relegating the Barbadian people and public to very low rankings in their respective political registers.

Both Parties Failing the USA
Furthermore, what is noteworthy about this particular news story is that some of the feelings and facts that the PDC has related to DLP and BLP misrule over the last 25 years or so, can be read into the alleged frustrations and anxieties of retiring Sen. Evan Bayh of the US Senate concerning the general failing performances of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the USA – although he has stopped short of asking voters to throw both those parties out of the Congress – he is reported to have said that “the American people needed to deliver a shock to Congress BY VOTING INCUMBENTS OUT EN MASSE AND REPLACING THEM WITH PEOPLE INTERESTED IN REFORMING THE PROCESS AND GOVERNING FOR THE GOOD OF THE PEOPLE, RATHER THAN DEEP-POCKETED SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS.”

Sen. Bayh’s stance to retire and NOT seek a third term in the Senate seems to be saying at least two major things:

1) that President Obama’s many attempts at bi-partisanship politics and to rein in political lobbying – although well intentioned – have both been in vain or have failed – owing to an extreme partisan political culture, with its pock marked political finance campaign and reelection emphases;

2) That he is sick and tired with outright partisan political behaviour on the part of the US Congress, behaviour which can only be helped reformed by the majority of American voters and by strong reformist national political leadership – which President Obama has so far failed to exhibit.

Looking at Alternatives
So, as we leave you with this bit of news, we want you also to just remember that for love of country, we must get the rid of the DLP and BLP in this country, being very mindful of the fact that as many patriotic politically conscious Barbadians as possible must NEVER NEVER persist with the terrible blunder that our immediate parents, uncles, aunts, friends, and acquaintances, did make in the 70s and 80s, which was to allow both the DLP and BLP to overstay their time in our political environment and for them to be ever so often conspiring with many deep pocketed special interest groups in Barbados against the best interests of the Barbadian people and public – and, now, look what horrific attacks we – the broad masses and middle classes – are often times getting from these bandits.

The Following is the News Report

“Disillusioned Bayh advocates electoral “shock” to broken system

In an interview on MSNBC this morning, newly retiring Sen. Evan Bayh declared the American political system “dysfunctional,” riddled with “brain-dead partisanship” and permanent campaigning. Flatly denying any possibility that he’d seek the presidency or any other higher office, Bayh argued that the American people needed to deliver a “shock” to Congress by voting incumbents out en masse and replacing them with people interested in reforming the process and governing for the good of the people, rather than deep-pocketed special-interest groups.

Bayh’s announcement stunned the American political world, as up until just last week he looked to be well on his way to an easy reelection for a third term in the Senate, and his senior staff was aggressively pursuing that goal.

But Bayh had apparently become increasingly frustrated in the Senate. In this morning’s interview he noted that just two weeks ago, Republicans who had co-sponsored a bill with him to rein in the deficit turned around and voted against it for purely political reasons. He also stated repeatedly that members of his own party should be more willing to settle for a compromise rather than holding out for perfection.

“Sometimes half a loaf is better than none,” Bayh insisted.

It’s no secret that the Senate has struggled to take action this year. With the two major parties unusually far apart in their substantive proposals for the direction of the country, even finding half a loaf to agree on has been difficult. Though the Democrats have had a substantial majority in the Senate for the last year, Republicans have escalated their threats to use filibusters (by forcing a cloture vote, see the graph below) to force Democrats to come up with 60 votes to pass any major legislation. And after Scott Brown’s election to the Senate last month gave Republicans a 41st seat, health-care reform and other Democratic goals were stopped dead in their tracks.”

Taken from Yahoo.Com News, Wednesday, 17 th January, 2010.

PDC

Barbadians! Barbados is Burning.

15 Feb

Barbados is burning and our water supply is running out. What is the Government doing about these issues other than showing total ignorance? I am absolutely hurt as a citizen of Barbados who has benefited from free education at the level of indifference I am seeing in the country. Everything seems to be wait and see or it’s not my problem. Every year persons start to burn canes and grass fields yet the sugar crops start later every year. Aquifers are not being replenished due to an absence of rainfall, yet no caution has been issued to conserve water. A minibus driver who is involved in a fatal motor incident is still allowed to continue to drive and accumulate nearly two hundred traffic violations. Is this justice and accountability?

We have thirty one acres of arable land at Sunbury Land St Philip being turned into a quarry and not a word from the Minister of Agriculture. I recently attended a meeting seeking answers from my Parliamentary Representative on what representation was made about the change of use of this land. What transpired leaved me to conclude that the Minister was accommodating but the partisan crowd was more interested in the satisfaction of their appetites with the snacks provided. Shame on Barbadians who only demand rum and food from our political leaders and not great governance as well as accountability. I am extremely sorry to see operatives of the BLP and DLP serving their own self interests at the expense of the country’s progress. Many of these deceitful party supporters are failing to be truthful to their leaders. I want to plead to every Barbadian who wants accountability, Transparency, Proper Representation to speak out for the sake of generations to come. Barbadians,Barbados is Burning let’s not in our ignorance accept mediocrity we must come together as one people BLP&DLP for the sake of country.

Kammie Holder

Some men see Opportunities others see Problems. You Choose which man you are!

So what about on-line polls?

13 Feb

How will online polling be used in the next election?

Late last year one of our leading media houses ran an on-line poll that placed two politicians against each other. The first time that the poll was undertaken, it overwhelmingly favoured one politician. Then a statement was made that there was a technical problem. The poll was held again and the politician that had been favoured previously was now overwhelmingly out of favour, approximately one week later. The second poll was published.

There are a number of issues that this story raises. Firstly the majority of Barbadians neither knew of nor participated in that poll. There was no scientific method used to determine the participants in the poll. Indeed it is fairly certain that there is a particular demographic that is on the Internet and then there is a subset of that that participates in polls.

During the particular poll discussed above it is known that there were several individuals who voted more than once. Those who engage in these polls know full well that this is the case. The result is however completely misleading to those in the wider community that are not familiar with it. In such circumstances it would be better if the poll had not been published.

At a more sinister level there were those that argued that the first poll was dismissed because the person who had been favoured in the first instance was not favoured by those conducting the poll. This yet again raises the issue of the integrity of the pollster. Even though the commentators acknowledged that the poll was no where near to scientific, nevertheless conclusions were drawn from it.

It would seem that this type of polling is even less scientific and even more dangerous. By publishing the poll one could not help but feel that there was a deliberate attempt to mislead the public of Barbados.