Williams Industries chairman Ralph “Bizzy” Williams has declared there are too many people walking about this island talking foolishness about the economy.
“I would urge people [instead],” he said “to start focusing more on the positive things we have in Barbados, rather than trying to pull down this country.
“There are people who are running around talking about devaluation,” he added, “and I am hearing this foolishness and it is bothering me, because the day that Bajans start to turn on themselves, and talk foolishness like devaluation, is when we will create our own downfall . . . .”
Mr Williams wanted nothing of the “political bickering” and everything of “working together”. We do not hold that strong differences of political opinion on either side constitute necessarily “bickering”, but we believe, like Mr Williams, that more than ever all the Social Partners and other national entities need to work together at this time. Indeed, the prolonged debating on and inaction with vital development projects and other national and corporate assignments are unworthy of a country held to be among the fastest developing small-state nations in the world.
Yes, Mr Williams, we do need “unity and understanding”, and our moneys would be better invested here than elsewhere. We must endeavour to keep Barbados as “the best place in the world to live”. But it will not be easy.
Mr Williams himself was making his emotional pleas yesterday against the backdrop of having to lay off workers at his own Williams Electrical company.
“Things are very, very tough, and our receivables are very high, and I wish the Government was more able to pay for the services we provide . . . .”
Exacerbating the circumstances, Mr Williams added, were “the hardships” he was suffering by the hands of entities like the Town Planning Department re approval for two projects, including his expansion of Cole’s Engineering at Lowlands in Christ Church.
Ironically, the businessman was the featured speaker at the launch of WorldSkills Barbados 2014 at Courtyard By Marriott in Hastings, Christ Church, at which developing “a competent and competitive workforce” and providing “an avenue that facilitates and highlights excellence in skills development that meets international competence-based standards” were the quintessential themes.
A mouthful, we will give you that, but the intent of the technical and vocational skills competition is as noble as ever.
We all have things to accomplish: dreams and goals of a better life we would rather live. Often the steps we need to take we put off “until tomorrow”, or, as in Mr Williams’ case, we have others putting off for us.
And, excuses are never sparse. Oft-times, people and representatives of the powers that be are deep down inside happy with the way things are: for them there is not sufficient reason to change. Some others are content to daydream.
The psychologists and life coaching gurus tell us there is everything good about daydreaming, but we venture to add there is a big difference between that and setting serious and realizable goals. We endorse Mr Williams’ view that Barbadians need to show some unity and understanding, if we shall realize our national, political and social goals.
But we cannot put it off until next month, or until Christmas.
The British publisher, poet and philanthropist Felix Dennis puts it succinctly: “You have less time than you think. We all do. Why then are you waiting to fulfil your desire? If you do not start today, then when will you start?
“You will never start unless you start now. Commit yourself heart and soul.”
We concur. But as importantly, we as a nation need once again to adopt the practice that those we entrust to act on our behalf, manage our affairs everywhere, and lead us understand not only the seriousness of urgent action, but as well the gravity of competency.
These days, too many of those in management have no industry knowledge. Their modus operandi is like taking a retail approach to a wholesale company; an accounting firm line to a publishing house –– a microcosm of a larger national picture perhaps? And a high-handedness is born of this incongruity, resulting in those in the lower echelons suffering on account of it.
But then, the world was never fair. Someone once said if you expected the world to be, merely because you were fair, you were fooling yourself; that was like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.
Food for thought for us all –– including Mr Williams.