Independent Senator Tony Marshall has taken a critical look at what he terms the “freeness syndrome” which has swept the country since the early 1960s.
Marshall voiced this concern today in the Senate while speaking on the 2014-2015 Estimates Of Revenue And Expenditure.
The retired banker said: “Free secondary education and free tertiary education. There are some Knights in this country, there are some doctors, lawyers that I happened to have attended school with whom I know shared the same experiences that I did. I went to Harrison College, but I prefer to say that I went to St Giles Boys’ School. The only reason I went to Harrison College is because I won a scholarship.
“The first salary I worked for was larger than my father’s last salary and he was a sergeant major in the Police Force which in those days was like assistant commissioner. He had eight children and each one attended secondary school. My mother never worked but she looked after us.
“There was no free textbook scheme. There was no borrowing of textbooks, not from the school you borrow one from the student who sat next to you. You had to make sure that you returned it to him so that he could do his studies. So you had to get pages printed or handwritten. You sat and handwrote sections of that book that you thought were very important to you. Today, we have students who believe it a right to receive textbooks. I can tell you that from speaking to principals that students who use those books after the first issue find difficulty in reading the print on some pages.” Marshall added.
Referring to the health programme in Singapore, Marshall pointed out that citizens in that country had to make a financial contribution to attain eligibility under the scheme, but here in Barbados where the service is free there are bitter complaints if one drug is short or have to wait an hour and half for service.
“I am suggesting that this freeness syndrome perhaps has a direct relationship to the littering which takes place in this country. Nothing matters, so why not litter, someone has to pick it up. There is no respect for anything, no value for anything. There is no appreciation of worth. I am all for creating windows for loans and grants for those who want to further their education, but I beg not like the Student Revolving Loan Fund where many have borrowed, gone overseas, not returned and not repaid. I had to sign two bonds for my two children. Sadly most systems in Government seems not to have the supervisory manpower to oversee them,” Marshall said.