This should be my final article before the General Election and it has been an interesting three years. We formed on July 1, 2015, and published our complete manifesto on that same day. We have assembled a group of highly competent individuals who are innovators in their fields. They have an average of 20 years of management experience which has adequately prepared them to properly manage Barbados’ economy.
Our candidates have not assembled to simply sit as opposition parliamentarians and watch Barbados fail – a certain outcome if the economy is managed by any of the established political parties. Many economists have arrived at the consensus position that neither the BLP nor the DLP has the discipline to properly manage Barbados’ economy and that the IMF would do a superior job.
We need to be reminded that both established parties have finally brought us to where Guyana and Jamaica were before their currency was devalued. They have both brought Barbados to the brink of economic ruin, but now have the gall to promise us the most severe austerity for their gross mismanagement.
Independent economist and former UWI lecturer, Michael Howard, has reportedly rubbished the BLP’s manifesto as theoretically unsound and designed only to get votes. That is his professional opinion. The DLP’s various plans have been tried for the past decade and have simply not worked to improve our economy.
The only plan that has come through rigorous public scrutiny and favourable independent critical review is Solutions Barbados’ non-austerity plan. We run a surplus in our first year, something that our government has only managed to achieve once in our 52 years of independence.
We can verifiably run a surplus while also abolishing VAT and not laying off any public workers or reducing their salaries. The typical question is – where are we going to find the additional money to replace VAT? This is a good question. However, a better question has been asked by the Opposition – what has the Government done with all the revenues it has collected?
That we can run a surplus while abolishing VAT and avoiding austerity, simply demonstrates the amount of wastage and mismanagement that the established parties have perfected over the past 40 years. We do not need to squeeze additional money out of the almost empty pockets of Barbadians. We will have enough to provide well managed public services and to meet our debt obligations, without austerity.
Some think that Solutions Barbados is some type of third party. Let me declare that Solutions Barbados is not a third or even a second party, but a first party. Solutions Barbados is the first political party where all of its candidates are born-again Christians from many different church backgrounds but are not divided because of theology.We are the first party to have 13 women, and three married couples as candidates in a general election. We are the first party to propose an anti-corruption policy that can actually stop corruption and to publish our manifesto for public scrutiny approximately three years before a general election. We are the first political party with a chartered structural engineer as a candidate or leader.
We are also the first political party whose candidates have committed themselves to the electorate, to be faithful to the policies to which they are seeking election, by agreeing to sign a contract with a severe financial penalty for each and every breach.
Solutions Barbados candidates are all innovators. They are all ready, willing and competent to effectively serve the people, properly manage the economy of Barbados, and be held accountable. We have done our best. Now Barbados, the choice is yours.
(Grenville Phillips II is the president of Walbrent College who has trained over 1,000 late-learners across the Caribbean region. He is also the founder of Solutions Barbados and can be reached atNextParty246@gmail.com)