I can’t believe that it’s been only a week since the elections. Why do I feel as if a month has gone by? It could only be that so much has happened and is continuing to happen at a rapid pace.
First of all, I was happy to see such a decisive outcome in the elections to change the government, but I must confess to having a somewhat heavy heart. That is because I fear that Barbadians are rejoicing not only to be out from under the apparent abuse and tyranny of the last regime but because they see a saviour in Miss Mottley. What a burden for anyone to bear. She is not a saviour and cannot save Barbados. We all need to do our part and we need divine intervention.
I have been very pleased to finally have information shared with the public even if it has been unpalatable. The first being the IMF report that has apparently been available since February. We knew that things were bad and that nothing substantial was being done so it was really no surprise, but it was still somewhat depressing to read.
Next, the press conference to announce the Cabinet knocked me back a bit, but I’m waiting to see how this plays out and if the many hands will really make light work or if it will be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. I pray that it is the former and not the latter. I really appreciated the frankness of Bishop Gerry Seale as he warned the incoming Cabinet that it was not time to rob the Treasury and I had to laugh at his admonition: “If you have come for a piece of the fatted calf, may I suggest you’re at the wrong table.”
Now it has been confirmed in the Prime Minister’s press conference yesterday that the Cabinet would definitely be at the wrong table (if that was their intent) because there is no fatted calf. The calf has been picked clean by vultures down to the skeleton! I was in disbelief as I listened to the words of the Prime Minister and the Attorney General and heard about the contracts that were written after the dissolution of Parliament and the major deals that were entered into that may bind Barbados for years to come.
If these actions do not tell all Barbadians that we cannot go forward without proper Integrity Legislation, then I do not know what will. And as I was watching a Facebook Live post by Steven Williams (brilliant by the way!) I have to agree with him that while we would like to see the culprits brought to justice, I want back the money. I want back all the money that has been squandered, mismanaged and possibly misappropriated. Assets need to be frozen until an investigation is carried out.
Speaking of investigations, we do not want those where nothing comes of it. I believe it is time for an independent investigator, like someone from Scotland Yard, to come to Barbados and investigate what has really been going on here and not only in the last ten years. I know that we often complain about foreign consultants coming in and doing work that Bajans can do, but this is one time that we need someone who has no connections to anyone in Barbados and who will be willing and able to expose anything and anyone who has compromised the economic future of this nation.
As if the information from the press conference wasn’t enough to digest, before we could even get into our beds, we heard that Reverend Joseph Atherley had crossed the floor and is now the leader of the Opposition. Of course, there is much speculation about why he has chosen to do this a week after being elected as a member of the Barbados Labour Party. As I said to a number of people on my WhatsApp chats, only he and God know the truth.
I do not know what the true reason is, so I’m trying not to make any judgement, but I really feel that if the Constitution can be changed to deal with the Senate situation, then it really needs to be changed for something like this.
I really feel that if someone resigns from a party or crosses the floor, they need to resign from their seat and there should be a by-election. Some may say that the constituents voted for the person, not the party, but let’s get real – it appears that anyone (other than an incumbent DLP) was the preferred choice and while we had a number of other options, I guess we were not really ready to try something new.
So where does all this leave us? We are in very deep waters and now more than ever, we need to pull together. This is not the time to be diverted by political maneuvering, we need to focus on mission-critical issues and we need to do our part to help Barbados get out of this situation. Steven Williams, in his video, talked about businesses having a foreign exchange earning component as a strategy. I am constantly saying this. We must move away from importing and retailing foreign goods and find ways to export our goods and, more importantly, our services.
If we walk through our supermarkets and look in the frozen goods section do we really need imported cheesecake, pizzas and sausages? Do we really need ten types of detergent and fifty types of cereal? Do we have to go away for our holidays to tell our friends that we went to Europe or can we do a staycation instead? And (I speak to myself as well) do we need those books and items from Amazon or can we do without? I am not saying that we should stop living, but in this season we must either tighten our own belts or have them tightened for us. Barbadians, we can overcome this together and with God’s help.
Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She was also the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (2014-2016) and the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Program.
Contact her at [email protected]