Today’s weekly article is in response to recent questions about my motives for founding Solutions Barbados. I believe that everyone’s actions attract consequences. This belief is based on Jesus’ promise that He will reward us for the beneficial consequences of our responsible actions, and judge us for the harmful consequences of our irresponsible actions. Part of this judgement follows.
“Then He (Jesus) will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matt 25:41-46)
In my youth, Jesus’ warning was motivation enough for me to try to avoid doing the wrong, and actively do the right. As I accepted responsibilities that impacted others, I intentionally designed plans with the main criterion of not causing harm, for the same reason.
I believe that there is a separate judgement for politicians who oppress others. This belief is based on the description of their judgement recorded in Enoch.
“And all the kings and the mighty and the exalted and those who rule the earth shall fall down before Him on their faces, and worship and set their hope upon that Son of Man, and petition Him and supplicate for mercy at His hands.
“Nevertheless that Lord of Spirits will so press them that they shall hastily go forth from His presence, and their faces shall be filled with shame, and the darkness grow deeper on their faces. And He will deliver them to the angels for punishment, to execute vengeance on them because they have oppressed His children and His elect.” (Enoch 62: 9-11)
Since people can be oppressed through economic measures that leave them homeless, hungry, or imprisoned, I had no intention of attracting judgement to myself by mismanaging Barbados’ economy. However, I did not have good examples to follow.
Both the BLP and DLP appear to have generally pursued the same 5-point economic strategy of: raising taxes, allegedly laying-off the supporters of the other party, alledgely employing their own supporters, and placing the country further in debt. Both parties were aware that their strategy was not sustainable and would eventually ruin Barbados’ economy. However, they would not change.
To avoid the foreseen mass suffering, we designed an economic recovery plan that provided over $1B surplus revenues within our first year, without raising taxes, without laying off any public workers or reducing their salaries, and without any external borrowing. We achieved this by growing the national economy, improving the management of public services, generally reducing taxes, and effectively addressing corruption.
I tried sharing it with the last administration. However, in response to the various armchair advisors at that time, former Prime Minister Stuart gave the criterion of being willing to be judged as a politician, as the qualification for reviewing economic advice. To qualify, we started Solutions Barbados on 1 July 2015 and published our entire plan for public scrutiny the same day. It was independently verified as workable without the need for austerity.
During the last general election, the BLP convinced the electorate that they had examined all plans, and that theirs was the best. The public believed them. Now we know that this was not true. Dr Greenidge of BERT recently publicly admitted that they did not look at any of the non-austerity plans when developing their severe austerity plan. When I asked whether they would now look at our plan to spare the public any further suffering, there was a resounding no.
To date, the media have decided not to report these critical public admissions. Instead, they have taken the decision to promote severe austerity as the only solution. Solutions Barbados continues to exist because the non-austerity solution is still workable, despite the IMF agreement.
If severe austerity was the only solution, then I would join the news media in promoting it. But I know better. The suffering that many have endured under BERT Phase 1, and are about to endure under BERT Phases 2 to 4, is entirely unnecessary. It is still possible to meet the IMF targets without the planned austerity.
If any action that I am a part of is found to be oppressive, then I would seek the public’s assistance for an alternative. If after public consultation oppression was found to be unavoidable, then I would be prepared to make that my defence on judgement day.
None of the Solutions Barbados policies are oppressive, and either party can implement them. All Members of Parliament are responsible for implementing the best plans for Barbados, regardless of which party developed them. Before the implementation of BERT Phase 2, all Members of Parliament are well-advised to examine our plan, if for no other reason than to save themselves from an undesirable certain destiny.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at [email protected]