The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the tipping point as: The critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.
Wikipedia states: In sociology, a tipping point is a point in time when a group—or a large number of group members—rapidly and dramatically changes its behaviour by widely adopting a previously rare practice. It says the phrase was first used in sociology by Morton Grodzins when he adopted the phrase from physics, where it referred to the adding of a small amount of weight to a balanced object until the additional weight caused the object to suddenly and completely topple or tip.
However we look at it, Barbados is at a tipping point in many ways and it is up to us which way it tips. Although the term may have some negative connotations, the tipping point can lead to positive change and that is what we want. A number of happenings over the last few weeks have convinced me of this and of the need to make sure that the tipping occurs in the right direction.
The first evidence of this is the march by 20,000 people to protest the budgetary measures, in particular the National Social Responsibility Levy. While everything was done to try to prevent the march (from ridiculing it and calling it mere exercise, bringing out the race card, trying to instill fear in potential marchers) the march could not be stopped. To me, the number of people who came out from all segments of the society, all races and all ages tells me that the tolerance of the people of Barbados has reached a tipping point and they will tolerate no more evasion and non-communication from Government.
Imagine in a democratic society, people are being castigated for wanting their voices to be heard? How can a march of protest be considered to be disrespectful? What is this foolishness about cats and mice? Have the parliamentarians forgotten that they are representatives of the people and therefore need to listen to the people who they are representing? I am so tired of these political games which put party and politics before people. So, although we have a “balanced budget”, how will that help when we cannot afford to buy food in the supermarkets? How does it improve the competitiveness of our manufacturing sector? How does it help to grow the economy and stimulate business development?
We’re at the tipping point where we either find ways to stimulate the economy or we go into total economic collapse. At this stage, I join with the economists and other experts and say forget the politics and the face saving and go to the IMF. It is embarrassing that after 50 years of Independence, we now need an external body to bail us out and oversee our economy because we have appointed people who have managed it badly and, worse yet, had no repercussions. This cannot continue.
We’re at the tipping point of degenerating into a society of senseless violence. I am praying against this. I don’t know how all the guns are getting into the country, but as one comment I saw on Facebook said, we don’t manufacture them here so they are getting in somehow. I wonder how the people bringing them in would feel if they were turned on their own children or family. The Government needs to deal with this now so that we do not become like Jamaica (sorry to my Jamaican friends). I want to live in peace. How about you?
We’re at the tipping point with our youth. We can either build them up and turn the lawless ones from the path they are on, or we can lose a part of a generation. I heard that a party last weekend was stopped early because of fighting. One message making the rounds on Whatsapp stated that a boy bounced another by accident and his apology did not stop him from getting beat up to the point where he had to get stitches and eye surgery. How has it degenerated to this? How is it that 15-year-olds and 16-year olds can get into clubs and have drinks free all night? Should our drinking age be raised? A friend of mine referred to it as a drinks buffet – all you can drink. And can we only blame the clubs? As parents, we have to impress on our children that they do not need to get drunk to have a good time, and demonstrate that by example.
We would be foolish to believe that any one political party can fix these problems. It will take the entire nation: the family, the schools, the church and the Government working together to make sure that we restore the values that made us strong in the past and create a vision to carry us into the future, for “where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint”.