by Heather Cole
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
About 20 years ago as we crossed the street to get on to East Street there was a group of people ahead of us and one of the women was lugging a suitcase. We were going to the East Street Vendors Market in London. My son who was five then was with me and when we reached the market, we started to browse.
Suddenly raised voices were heard above the normal chatter. Two women on the other side of the street were arguing loudly and it was escalating. Next, they seemed to be on the verge of exchanging blows and all eyes were focused on them; no one was focused on the items on display.
From my distance across the street, I was trying to figure out what was happening and if to leave when my son said, “mummy look! that woman is putting the people’s things in her suitcase.” He could not see what was happening across the street only what was happening on our side at his eye level.
It was then that I realized that the distraction had been planned. The group had created a distraction and shifted everyone’s focus and in the ensuing confusion, made the vendors’ goods easy prey to theft.
Is this what has been happening in Barbados? Think about it, the prorogation of Parliament for no reason that has been made public to this day and the Throne Speech from hell with its mandate for a Republic, the acquisition of the leadership of the Barbados Workers Union, the largest trade union in Barbados and the by-election in St. George North. Even the pandemic played into the government’s hand as they used it to change the terms of the Severance Pay Act.
The above distractions have caused confusion and shifted the attention of the people of Barbados away from the performance of the economy, unemployment, the fact that this Administration is not providing any solutions, a refusal to diversify the economy, increasing debt and the Chinese invasion of Barbados.
The Prime Minister does not deliver clear messages.
There is more information in the foreign press than from the Government of Barbados about its relationship with China. It looks good and sounds great to hear that the Prime Minister had a telephone call with President Xi but ask any Barbadian what was discussed. They will not have a clue. One wonders if ever there was a time since independence that an Administration in Barbados has acted in such a deliberately unclear manner but again it is meant to cause confusion.
What is significant to note is that the private sector too is confused. However, what occurred over the last weekend in which the government’s move of political expediency not to make vaccines mandatory should be a wake- up call for those businessmen in that sector.
They have a clear case of nearsightedness; they can only see what is right in front of their noses. In particular, the voice of the private sector has not been heard in the debate about the Republic so no one knows what they envision but it cannot be business as usual.
In the scope of things, unvaccinated workers do not pose as great a threat as China. Perhaps if the private sector can envision a scenario in which Barbados is unable to repay China, that China takes over the ports and then raise duties on all imports except from China, it would remove the biblical beam from their eyes.
If there is another move of political expediency that involves China, its products or government contracts, the private sector, will be on the losing end as China does not hand out debt relief to settle for scraps.
With only 66 square miles and limited manufacturing, one does not envision the survival of local manufacturing as Chinese investments begin to roll out. Those lucrative government contracts will become a thing of the past.
Ultimately with billions of Chinese yuans at their disposal, the present Administration will not need the private sector to fund their election campaigns.
The ordinary people in Barbados do not have anything to lose but that is not so with the private sector.
The private sector has a choice to make. Either: 1. Stand idly by as the fire-breathing dragon approaches and watch Rome burn. Or, 2. Act like they are concerned citizens of Barbados and press for transparency and involvement for all the people of Barbados in the process to becoming a Republic which ultimately benefits them.
One kept hearing for weeks on end that the government had been doing an assessment of the housing stock that had been damaged or destroyed in the freak storm, to the point where one really had to wonder what was going on, only to find out in the newspaper a few days ago that the government is purchasing emergency housing from China. Surely this is a sign of things to come. Especially with unemployment so high in Barbados, this should never happen.
There is a connection between the method that the current Administration has chosen to become a Republic and China.
As this unfolds, it appears that neither the public nor the private sector will benefit when Barbados becomes a Republic if all of this has been devised to hide China’s impending control over Barbados by placing it in its debt trap.
The Chinese debt trap is a pattern that is being rolled out across the globe. They loan countries billions of dollars that they know they will never be able to repay. When the debt is called the Chinese exhibit their love for ports and utility companies.
In confusion, planned or unplanned, the brain does not think clearly, and someone always benefits.
Should Barbadians continue to blindly accept what is going on with the pending Republic?
Heather Cole is a United States-based Barbadian investment banker.