Welcome to 2016, which is the Year Of Jubilee in several cases. It is the Jubilee or 50th year of Barbados’ Independence. I have to confess it is also my Jubilee Year (Where did the time go?), and my husband’s, as we will both turn 50 in a few months, God willing.
My husband first, let me hasten to add.
According to the Jewish calendar, the start of the Jewish New Year, which began in September, 2015, marked a Year Of Jubilee. While this is not celebrated universally by Jews, in the Old Testament the Year Of Jubilee was celebrated every 50th year.
At that time, the land would be rested from production, debts would be cancelled and property would be restored to its owner.
This year, I would like to see Barbados truly experience Jubilee, and not just the celebration of 50 years of Independence. I would like to see the cancellation of our national debt which has grown to staggering proportions, and
a number of things restored in this nation.
I would first of all like to see the restoration of transparency in the Government of our nation, where we are told what is going on, and have the opportunity to participate in major decisions that affect our lives and the lives of our children. This applies to decisions like the Cahill project and major changes such as becoming a republic versus remaining part of the monarchy.
I would like to see the restoration of men and women of vision and integrity leading the country. That is not to say that there are none now; but more are needed, especially in our Houses of Parliament.
I would like to see the economy restored to growth, so that we can once again enjoy free health care and have access to drugs and supplies which are needed by our ailing citizens. That growth would also enable the Government to provide tertiary education at a cost that is not prohibitive, so that all may benefit.
I would like to see the national budget restored to a place where it is at least balanced and not in deficit. And on that topic, I would like to see our foreign reserves restored to something substantially more than 14 weeks’ of imports.
I would like to see the restoration of funds to the National Insurance Scheme coffers so that claims made over a year ago can be paid. I have to pause here and mention an experience that hits home, although I know that this is not the worst case.
Some of you may remember my writing that my husband had suffered from vertigo last year. That was in May. He was forced to take sick leave for two weeks and sent in the required forms to the National Insurance Department.
This week, he received a letter asking him to bring in the following in order for his claim to be processed:
Original birth certificate or passport; Barbados ID Card; Marriage certificate, if married; Decree Absolute if divorced.
These are required to process the claim, mind you; not collect it.
Now, apart from the fact that I have never heard of having to provide all of this to receive a claim, which smells to me like a stall tactic, he has been working full time since 1989 and, as far as I know, has paid NIS contributions every month. The National Insurance Department never needed any documentation to receive his contributions. But now that it has to pay out a bit of money, it wants all of this?
I am at a loss as to why my husband would have to produce all these documents, especially a marriage certificate. What relevance does a marriage certificate have for a sickness claim? Is there only one claim allowed per family now?
And what is with the need to provide the Decree Absolute? Lord, please deliver us from idiotic bureaucratic procedures.
Another thing I want to see restored (and hopefully before 2018) is a true democratic process, where people vote according to their own persuasion about a candidate and not because their vote has been bought with cash or an iPad.
In former times it was corned beef and biscuits, but we are a more sophisticated society today and votes therefore cost a lot more. I say restored, but was there a time when we were free of this shameless buying of votes?
Better yet, I would like to see this Westminster system demolished and a more effective system of governance introduced.
Finally, I would like to see our country restored to godliness, where the Lord is truly the people’s guide; where we are our brother’s keeper, share with one another, help one another and look out for one another.
Let us all believe and agree –– because there is power in agreement –– that Barbados will experience true Jubilee in 2016.
(Donna Every is an author, business and personal development trainer, Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and Barbados facilitator for the WINC Acceleration Programme.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Visit www.donnaevery.com and www.facebook.com/DonnaEvery1 Twitter: @EveryDonna)