According to one saying, time flies when you’re having fun. Apparently, it moves just as fast when you are not.
A full six months have now past since the last general election and all Barbadians must be fully aware that the reality of life just does not square with the fun, frolic and party that characterised so much of the campaigning of January and February.
While we keep our eyes of the clock, we also can’t help but notice that we are heading “bull-cow speed” into a second winter tourist season without the benefit of Almond Beach Village in our inventory of rooms and other facilities to earn foreign exchange when we need it most.
But we don’t make references to these things for the purpose of casting blame on any one party, but as a reminder to us all as Barbadians that given the rate at which events are now evolving in our midst, we have to re-order our ways of doing business if we want to survive and emerge a better society.
We now know, as we spoke to in this space earlier this week, that the level of dislocation to temporary public servants is likely to be quite severe, a direct consequence of the measures put in place by last week’s national Budget, which itself was predicated on an economy that had been sputtering for too long, while quite frankly we did not do nearly enough as we could have to counter the impact.
Given what has already occurred in some central government offices as well as with some of the statutory corporations, and what now seems likely to continue unfolding for some time as acting appointments expire, it is understandable why fear is rising.
We know, based on queries we have received, there is tremendous concern in the teaching profession among the hundreds of temporary teachers who are employed from term to term or year to year to ensure our children are well prepared for all that the future may offer them.
And while it is normal for some teachers to experience some level of anxiety about if, when and where they will be assigned at this time of year, we believe that under the current circumstances both the Ministry of Education and the teachers unions ought to be more proactive in letting those who look to them for direction know what will take place this time around.
“This is normal!”, “They will find out soon!”, “This has been going on for years!” really can’t be satisfactory responses under the circumstances. These are not normal times!
And that bring us to the second point. While we can criticise the Government all we like for the choices they have made, it is even more important that we expend energy on ensuring that in the face of the cuts we live in a country that still functions efficiently. Or as efficiently as our resources will allow.
Here are a few examples: In the case of public sector administrators, it is hardly likely that in the months ahead we will see those armies of MTW and Drainage Division workers in their bright yellow reflective vests “beautifying” the highways. We hope that those who are responsible are already putting steps in place to ensure these streets don’t become overgrown with bush, since the easy reaction would be: “How dem expect me to clear de roads if I ain’t got no staff!” In case we have not noticed, the rains have set in.
In the case of John Public, we certainly have ample justification now for never, ever uttering again: “If I don’t dump it de garbage people won’t got nuttin to do!”
The times require us all to display our patriotism like never before and if we fail to do so we will only make it harder for ourselves. The extent of the pain we suffer, and the length of time we are forced to endure it will both be significantly influenced by our maturity as a people.
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