Journalists have an important role to play in the management of Barbados. However, given their competitive deadlines, they may publish a story with inaccurate information.
Since Solutions Barbados was formed on 1 July 2015, I informed journalists that I will never give them a terse ‘no comment’ response, but will give them as much information that I can without breaking anyone’s trust. Last week, I responded to the various concerns about our Contract, but there was a limit on what I could report. I am now at liberty to provide additional information and will do so.
Last week, we held our Annual General Meeting and elected the officers of our Executive Committee. They are Grenville Phillips II, president; David Waldron, first vice president; Lana Toussaint, second vice-president; Francina Bourne, secretary and Betty Howell, treasurer.
During this meeting, all candidates voted unanimously to accept our draft Constitution, which provides a mechanism for holding all Solutions Barbados candidates to a very high standard of integrity and accountability. They are Solutions Barbados candidates because they are capable of implementing our non-austerity-based policies, and they promised to do so.
If they break their promises, then they will each have to pay the Barbados dollar equivalent of US$250,000 to Walbrent College, each and every time that they break their promises. All the money collected will be distributed to Barbadian charities, and for the past three years, we have been inviting charities to agree to participate.
I founded Walbrent College in 2010 after returning from my first deployment to Haiti following the earthquake that reportedly killed 300,000 persons. I subsequently had a further ten deployments to Haiti. I also dedicated the next five years of my life to training persons in the residential construction industry on how to build safe and economical low-maintenance houses.
We have trained over 1,000 persons from across the Caribbean.
The amount of US$250,000 was chosen because this was the size of the bribe that VECO Corporation admitted paying to US politicians. VECO was involved in the construction of HMP Dodds.
The reason why the Contract is in US dollars is that should Barbados have the misfortune of electing the BLP or DLP, then our currency will likely devalue. Any Solutions Barbados elected Member of Parliament who decides to vote for devaluation should not benefit from that decision.
The issue that a few of our members wanted to review was the requirement that they could not join another political party while they were elected as Solutions Barbados candidates. They saw it as a right guaranteed under the Constitution of Barbados. Others saw it as a right that the Constitution of Barbados allowed a person to give up when joining an exclusive organisation.
After one week of discussion, the majority voted to keep the clause in place. One of our candidates subsequently resigned, and their invaluable contribution to Solutions Barbados is much appreciated. Over the past three years, several potential candidates have stumbled at our standard of accountability. However, Barbados is too close to the brink of economic ruin to risk the Solutions Barbados policies not being properly implemented.
(Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at [email protected])