This week, so many things have happened that I find it hard to comment on only one. So, at the risk of this article being a bit disjointed, I will write about three of them that rendered me speechless although they are not related.
The first one is more personal so I will start with that. Our house insurance is coming up for renewal and we got a quote from our insurer a month or so ago which was the same as last year. What they do is start with a big number, apply a “discount” and then end with a smaller (but still big) number.
Rather than accept their quote, I decided to shop around and asked our insurance broker to get some quotes for me. I have dealt with them for other types of insurance and have always been very impressed with their service. I got back the comparison of quotes from them this week for six insurance companies, including our existing insurance provider.
I was shocked and really annoyed (to say the least) to see that our existing insurance company came in among the three lowest quotes, at $1,378 less than the amount they had quoted us previously, even though we have been customers from the time we built our house nine years ago. I am still speechless!
They had even added the new policy stamp duty to their quote until the broker pointed out that we are existing customers. They then resubmitted their quote without it. Need I tell you that on principle alone, although they are one of the three lowest quotes (all the same amount), I am moving my business. Furthermore, because they were not honest enough to offer us the best premium at the outset, I will be moving all my other business from there as well. Call me naïve, because I know that businesses want to make a profit, but I am sure they are already making a profit at the lower premium, so they are just plain greedy.
Since I’m steamed up, I might as well continue to vent about the approval to spend $50 million on two new berths at the Bridgetown Port. As far as I know, the Port has not been privatized. Right? So it still belongs to Government. The same government that is struggling to pay salaries every month and has had to resort to printing money to do so. The same government that has the country in more debt than any other time in our history.
I understand that one of the berths is for luxury yachts and one for cargo, but I cannot help but wonder how many years it will take to make a return on that investment. I am not even going into the awarding of the contract in this article and the tendering process on the whole, or lack thereof.
The passing of these supplementary budgets and acts to reinstate parliamentarians’ salaries and such like, really annoy me because unless some of the ruling party’s members have the testicular fortitude to say “enough is enough”, everything will be passed, regardless of whether it is good for the country or not.
This is why I welcome the new parties and I would, even more so, welcome independents who have no party affiliation. These independents, in the words of one of my colleagues, would “keep both parties on their toes” and also represent the people of Barbados without a party or personal agenda.
Finally, I was also rendered speechless by the Minister of Finance’s speech at his press conference. Well, at least the silence has been broken, but what was actually said? I was not that close to the radio, but I believe I heard the Minister say that there would be no devaluation this year or next year or any time in the foreseeable future.
That is music to the ears of all voters which, I’m sure, it was supposed to be. However, Mr. Sinckler’s optimism is a little disconcerting given what we know to be the state of the economy. I was not sure if it was a case of presenting alternative facts or a case of doublethink (as defined in George Orwell’s 1984). Perhaps he is optimistic about the economy now that Mr Arthur has agreed to lead the Council of Economic Advisers and share some of the good counsel that he has been sharing with everyone else.
I, for one, am happy. For years, I have been advocating putting aside party politics and having the best brains come together to come up with solutions to the country’s problems. But we should have no doubt, according to Mr. Arthur, that our way of life will be significantly affected. We have waited almost too long to act so, now we have to be prepared to take whatever medicine is decided upon, and hope that it has the desired effect of making the economy healthy again.
(Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She is also the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (2014 – 2016) and the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme. Contact her at donnadonnaevery.com
Website www.donnaevery.com; www.facebook.com/DonnaEvery1)