Barbados is great
HANDS up if many of you believe that this country’s best days are behind us?
Let me know if you subscribe to the belief that there is no hope on the horizon and that it can only be achieved if certain forces come together to lift us out of the doldrums. It is perhaps the cynic in myself who prefers to believe that it is the collective will of a proud people, who refuse to be told that they cannot rescue themselves, that will see this island through our current financial storms.
While at lunch with colleagues, I happened on a breaking news story on CNN which stunned me. South Africa, one of the most stable countries on the African continent, rich with history and natural resources, had its credit rating reduced to junk status by Standard and Poor’s, who recently did the same for Barbados.
When Standard and Poor’s lowered this country’s rating, the hue and cry across the airwaves and in print, was that this country has ‘lost its way’. In fact, we had an Opposition M.P. actually stand up in the recent Estimates debate and point to an article in a Jamaican newspaper, which sought to opine that Barbados, was not as polished as it was before. Even before that, another member sought to use a report also emanating from Jamaica, which looked at this country’s bonds, stating that we could be facing a sell-off as investors sense possible weakness in our financial position.
The postulations were endless and mind-numbing to comprehend. If I had simply taken what was advanced as the definitive position on this country’s fortunes as from the Opposition, then I would have climbed in bed, with the covers over my head and not emerged from my bedroom until the same people who advanced this doomsday scenario, told me to emerge from my location, as the all-clear was given.
I smirked as I remembered the movie ‘V – the series’. The notion of ‘take me to your leader’ rang through my head. The all-knowing, all powerful leader who sits back and will offer the hope through an all-seeing approach to the challenges which a broken world faced. The leader was willing to share this view of a beautiful world, but yet was unable to see those around them who wanted destruction and despair, so that the war could be won. In fact, the final scene, where the ‘Star Child’, a mutation created by the same person who wanted to destroy humanity, was on a ship headed to the ‘all knowing leader’ did not know that a bomb hidden there. Interesting!
However, I digress. This country continues to be a marvel. We offer free education from Primary school to Tertiary. We have health care. That effectively means that Government stands in the breach to allow Barbadians to access medication and primary care way below market prices. Governments over the years have continued to offer Sanitation and other services free and while we can argue about the times when these services are not offered, we should actually be more aware of the unique position which this island finds itself.
Take sanitation and health care. There was a big flare-up about Cahill two years ago. Plasma Gasification was ‘trashed’ as a means to tackle the growing waste management problems in this country, but those in opposition has not offered nothing else. We even heard silliness about the technology producing heat ‘hotter than the sun’ – the height of foolishness.
The cost of Cells at the Mangrove dump is not cheap, nor is the space unlimited. Every dry season we have challenges with burning tyres and the toxic fumes which emanate from the site.
Recycling was advanced as a way to tackle our issues, but how will this be done? Will it require legislation, and a new structure to police it? We cannot even get Barbadians to stop dumping indiscriminately. A country of this size cannot continue to dump so much garbage daily.
In terms of health-care, just look at recent efforts by Republicans in the United States to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
This country’s greatness is not based on affirmation from one group or another. We as citizens have to establish what we should be grateful for and use it to cut through the nonsense which suggests otherwise, the investment in us is too great to accept that view.