Well done to our Pan American games athletes. Many gave impressive performances and qualified for the final of their events. They have demonstrated that they are internationally competitive. To improve their training and attend other competitions, our athletes need funds. So, how can we support them?
One method is for the public to invest in the development of our athletes. Investors normally expect a return on their investments, otherwise, it is a charitable donation. How can investors get monetary returns on this type of investment? How can our athletes repay their investors at a rate to encourage sustainable investments?
The simplest way is through endorsements and other earnings that our successful athletes may receive. Those endorsements are not guaranteed. Therefore, the investor takes a significant risk, since most athletes may not attract any endorsements. However, if our athletes do well, they may attract endorsements exceeding US$1M each year. Top athletes can attract endorsements exceeding US$20M each year.
Our successful athletes should enjoy the fruit of their success. However, investors should also receive a return on their investment in the athletes’ non-earning development years. Athletes and investors would need to agree on an equitable split of an athlete’s future earnings. Perhaps they can consider a 50:50 split, where the athlete keeps half of the earnings, and the other half is shared among all investors.
If our athletes agree to share any future endorsements, then we have willing internationally competitive athletes, and we have willing investors. All we need is a trustworthy entity to manage the investment fund. This model of funding can be applied to any sector that is internationally competitive.
Ideally, the Government, representing all Barbadians, should be trusted to manage all of our investments. However, the Government’s decision to confiscate part of our NIS pensions and private retirement savings makes them an untrustworthy manager. Their decision to simply stop paying foreign creditors confirms that assessment.
Barbadians have trusted banks with their retirement savings. However, the banks proved that their loyalty lies elsewhere when they voted to allow the Government to confiscate part of our retirement savings. Barbadians also trusted the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to manage their pensions. But, they too proved themselves untrustworthy.
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry should be an independent entity that should be trusted. However, their extreme behaviour during the last general election proved that they can only be trusted to be loyal to their political party.
Every financial entity who voted to allow the Government to confiscate their client’s retirement savings has proven itself untrustworthy.
Is there any business entity in Barbados that is not politically compromised? Is there any entity that will put the interests of their clients above their loyalty to their political party? Is there anyone left who treasures their professional integrity? Can such a politically independent entity please stand up? Anyone?
They will be willing investors and athletes, so the fund will likely be established. I hope that one of the first recipients will be our national treasure, Ronald Suki King. It will be a shame if such a fund will have to be managed from outside of Barbados for the sole reason that all local entities are too politically compromised to be trusted.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at [email protected]