Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Maxine McClean, believes that as a people, Barbadians have become too comfortable.
The Government Senator made this observation today in the Senate while leading off debate on the 2014-2015 Estimates Of Revenue And Expenditure.
Expressing concern at this development, McClean said: “We have not seen in recent times the requisite level of productivity and so we are at a juncture where since Independence where successive governments, certainly successive Democratic Labour Party Governments, have prepared for this country a portfolio of public goods and a set of institutions which have contributed significantly for people to grow and to face the many challenges since independence. We have as individuals and collectively, to stop and take stock.
“As the Government seeks to re-engineer our economy and seeks avenues of investment, we as citizens have to take stock as we determine how we should play our respective parts. I want to stress that the country has never faced a crisis like the current one.
“I believe that this crisis will test the resilience of our people,” McClean added.
Stressing the need for individual commitment and discipline at this time, the senator argued that though some might say her formative years were not bad, she came from a family where her father was a full-time tailor and her mother a housewife, so they had to “cut and contrive”.
She recalled that she worked for two years to put herself through university.
“In fact, because my parents could not give me any more than their blessings and important values, I attended university part-time working part-time and saving some of my salary which was less than $200 a month at the time to put myself through Cave Hill . . . .
“This is important because we as Barbadians have to stop and think about how we engage the country.
We have to stop and think how we prioritize things in our life. We have to stop and ask, are we making the best use of our resources?”
McClean, who is the minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade told fellow Barbadians that they have to decide if they will pay part of their fees whether at the Cave Hill Campus or the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.
Taking issue with Barbadians who often hold up Singapore as the ideal social welfare state, Mc Clean noted that every citizen in that state had to make a financial contribution to any benefits they might enjoy.”