I don’t know about you, but 2017 rushed by so fast that I feel as if things that happened early in the year happened in 2016!
I was very fortunate to accomplish three of the five things I had on my list to achieve for the year. I started the second WINC Acceleration Program, I published Free At Last which completed The Acreage series and I completed my ABCs of Entrepreneurship Series and started to market it.
I’m carrying forward the completion of my novel, Vaucluse, (yet again) into 2018, but I’ve given myself until the end of the first quarter to complete it. I have never had such an exercise in frustration! Writing a historical novel based on a real character is a tremendous challenge when records in the archives are closed because they are in such bad condition, or because information is just not available. Nevertheless, I will persevere because I cannot bear to leave anything unfinished.
Like most people, I will create goals that I want to achieve this year but I also have a wish list and I’m hoping that it will be a case of “from my lips to God’s ears”.
1. I wish that Barbadians would not suffer from short term memory loss and only remember things in the past when they come to cast their votes. Many Bajans tend to remember the good things that they benefited from, like free education and health care etc., but fail to remember the hardships of the last few years and this year in particular. Hopefully, a Christmas hamper and a flat screen TV cannot blur the reality of the NSRL.
2. I wish that Barbadians would realize that this two-party system is not working and cannot take the country forward. If we had one set of leaders who would work together to create a vision for the nation that is independent of whoever is administering the Government, Barbados would be a lot further ahead.
3. I wish that voters would remember the Members of Parliament who cried down the Budget, but turned around and voted in favour of it.
4. I wish that the Prevention of Corruption Act or an improved piece of legislation would be enacted and proclaimed in order to increase the level of integrity in the country. But then again, you can’t really legislate integrity; either you have it or you don’t.
5. I wish that the Freedom of Information Act would be enacted and proclaimed. Then we would know how much the Hilton was really sold for (if it was in fact sold) and what the real value of Blue Horizon was compared to what was paid for it.
6. I wish that the Barbados economy would begin to turn around and that confidence would be restored so that some of the major multinationals and entrepreneurial firms would consider Barbados as a destination to do business.
7. I wish that the Ministry of International Business would challenge the blacklisting of Barbados as a tax haven, given that we have legitimate tax treaties with most developed states.
8. I wish that Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property would abolish the Annual Return for companies. While it provides money to Government on the one hand, it reduces productive time by causing ridiculous queues that business people or their employees have to lineup in to pay the fee. Perhaps it can be linked to the filing of corporation tax so that you have more time to prepare the information, especially for companies with December year ends.
9. I wish that the south coast sewerage problem could get fixed soon and that they would put a maintenance programme in place, rather than reacting after raw sewage starts to bubble up all over the south coast. I see that the Minister of Tourism and Minister of Health aren’t out swimming this time.
10. I wish that our credit rating would begin to rise again and that investor confidence would be restored to our country so that our economy would get much-needed foreign investment. I wish that investors would not be confronted by people with their hands stretched out to receive what is not theirs.
11. I wish that politicians would stop trying to buy votes and would seek election on their own merit. Maybe the problem is that they have no merit to rely on.
12. I wish that we would see a Parliament full of men and women of integrity and vision who have solutions for the county so that Barbados can begin to emerge from the pit that we have descended into over the last decade.
But if wishes were horses, beggars would ride so rather than merely wishing, I will do my part to turn this country around with my vote, my skills and my knowledge and I hope that you will all do the same.