A matter of priorities

There are many mixed messages with regard to the Barbadian economy and how residents are expected to deal with it. Various titbits of advice have been given by Ministers and others in authority on how Barbadians should approach dealing with the state of the economy. This would obviously vary from household to household. The challenge comes when the persons do not interpret these messages to fit in with their household income and general means.

From the time many adults were young, they were most likely told that ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. You were always encouraged to take a load off, especially if you are a hard worker, hence there were those who would take some quiet time or those who would shake a leg at an event or party. Nowadays, many Barbadians look forward to the many events that are advertised and a number of the patrons that attend these events view them as a distraction from the ‘hardships’ that are seemingly not abating.

However, the problem comes when people make this party behaviour a priority at the expense of what is important: bills and adequately providing for their families. It would not be totally unexpected or unreasonable to conjecture that there will be some persons during this Crop Over season who will attend all the fetes, and limes; purchase a costume for one of the popular bands; and get the necessary new outfits, hairdos and other “necessities” to look good for the season. They try to keep up this opulent standard of living mostly because they see it through media or
others around them seem to be living the dream.

In fact, there are some who spend in this manner and at every start of the Michaelmas term, they complain and look for assistance from Government entities to help them prepare their children for school, while turning a renewed focus toward the need for the said child to have an education.

This is not to say that there are people out there who legitimately cannot afford to meet their basic obligations. Rather, this is merely an example of how people make situations much more difficult for those who are genuinely in need.

The price of Kadooment costumes have risen over the years, along with various entertainment venues because they also had to adjust to meet the rising cost of living, but one would expect a modicum of common-sense to be exercised when dealing with such critical money matters as these. Would it not be prudent then to forego one of the fetes, or some of the drinks, or even the Kadooment costume, and make the required bill payments?

There is always that reminder that in order for the economy to improve, people must continue to spend money. If there is little or no spending, there is stagnation.

However, each individual must figure out for themselves a comfortable threshold when it comes to their spend. Keeping up with celebrities and the well off is not a realistic threshold because it can lead to financial ruin.

Barbados Advocate

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