Here are 50 things to worry about for the coming year.
2. More taxes
3. Fewer jobs
4. Tax relief for bribe-givers
5. Fifty years ago, we abolished pit toilets; now we have crap coming up through the manholes. Look for a crap tax coming soon. The no 1 job is jobby.
6. We, a resource-poor island, depend on a highly-educated populace; but our educational system is going down the manhole, meeting the crap on the way up
7. One of our greatest resources is Bajans abroad, especially in North America. But we will continue to ignore their potential contribution in investment, innovation and entrepreneurship to this country.
9. More taxes
10. Fewer jobs
11. Tax offsets for income derived from corruption
12. Fifty years ago, we had the best civil service in the Caribbean; now, despite the intelligence, energy and enthusiasm of the overwhelming majority of present civil servants, our civil service is going down the manhole, meeting the crap on the way up. It’s obvious: the system needs radical changing! But we seem to like it so.
14. More taxes
15. Fewer jobs
16. Fifty years ago, CBC was, if not great, at least good. Now, it is a mediocre, technically bumbling, unimaginative, tired voice for whichever party is in office. Abolish, privatize it, or let the two political parties pay for it.
17. Fifty years ago, corned beef, Eclipse biscuits and white rum in rum shops could buy you a few votes; now it is strictly serious cash for votes. And the cash is flowing faster than the drink.
18. Marijuana will be soon legal, in some form, everywhere except Barbados; it will take another fifty years here. Meanwhile, our prison fills up with people on possession charges while the ‘big boys’ rake in the money.
20. More taxes; fewer jobs
21. Fifty years ago, we had a lot of standpipes all over Barbados. They were gradually removed. Now, we have the new standpipes: large plastic tanks full of stagnant water. Progress.
22. More apathy; more paralysis
23. More garbage; less water
24. A deteriorating public transport system
25. Bigger and better pot holes
27. More taxes
28. Fewer jobs
29. More environmental destruction
30. Politicians becoming more brazenly unaccountable
31. More land going out of agriculture
32. More people coming up with more expensive, useless ideas to save the sugar industry
33. Further deterioration in our hotel plant
34. Doing business will get more and more difficult with more opportunities for corruption
35. Much l-o-n-ger lines at the Licensing Authority. People will have to start queuing at 4:00 a.m.
36. To get a Police Certificate of Character, you have to line up from 6 a.m. to get processed that day. In 2017, it will be from midnight
37. Harder than ever to get through on the phone to anyone in a large business; if you do get through eventually to the operator, she/he will transfer you to the person whose mailbox is always full or to an answering machine that says that the person is not available or sometimes you are told the person you want does not subscribe to that answering service. Try First Caribbean or Banks Holdings for a perfect Kafkaesque nightmare. Cave Shepherd is an amazing exception: you get to speak to a helpful pleasant human person within three rings. (Barbados Today, why don’t you do an actual telephone calling experiment of both businesses and government departments and publish the results? It might be illuminating and might produce change)
39. More taxes
40. Fewer jobs
41. A more volatile and unstable world: the US will assert its dominance over the Western hemisphere (that includes the Caribbean); China will assert its hegemony over south east Asia (with much resistance from Japan); Russia under Putin, encouraged by Trump, will assert its dominance in Eastern Europe (annexing Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the entire Ukraine). Fascist leaders will come closer to power in France, England and Germany
42. War between North and South Korea (with the US not intervening)
43. Worse customer service
44. Israel launching bombing raids on Iran and threatening to use nuclear weapons
45. War in the Middle East
46. Civil war in Venezuela
48. More taxes
49. Fewer jobs
50. God knows what else
(Dr Peter Laurie is a retired permanent secretary, head of the Foreign Service, and former Barbados ambassador to the United States)