EDITORIAL - Adopt common sense measures

There have been a few times that we have had occasion to lament the apparent decline in ethics, values and traditions of societies across the world, and especially here at home. There have been few occasions that news reports surfaced about young professionals – especially under the age of 45 – who found themselves in trouble with the law and financially because of the ‘quick fix schemes’ they engineered. Reports emerged about online scams, persons caught taking kickbacks under the table for favours, which reflect negatively on their employers, while some just engaged in outright theft to maintain lifestyles that had spiralled well out of their control. There is yet another sub-set of persons who live beyond their means and when conditions become unfavourable to the kind of lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, they resort to complaints and blame whomever they deem responsible for their ‘predicament’.

Several years ago, a government official highlighted some Barbadians’ preference for ‘high living’ and consequently warned against this trend. He stressed that “sometimes we have to change our lifestyles to accommodate our situation”. At the time, the said government official issued his caution out of a sense of concern that common-sense measures are seemingly not being adopted by many consumers.

Presently, the cost of goods and services has risen marginally and oil prices have started to rise again, while food prices are continuing to rise at this time due to the heavy rainfall affecting local farmers negatively in recent months. Consumers are encouraged to engage such common-sense measures.

The stories in the media seem to be a reflection of how this yearning for luxurious lifestyles is quickly spinning out of control. There were several instances over recent years of youth who allegedly stole large amounts of money and are said to have used the money for ‘frivolity’, not even thinking of necessities for themselves or their families.

These types of situations are not specific to Barbados alone. This year alone, several high profile cases relating to the misappropriation of large sums of money were recorded. For example, in Saudi Arabia recently, 201 high profile persons were held for questioning over an estimated US$100 billion in embezzlement and corruption – the biggest purge of the kingdom’s elite in its modern history.

These examples notwithstanding, it is instructive to note that when we examine the progress of some of the world’s most prosperous citizens, a common thread is the tireless hours of work that they have put in to reach those heights. Oprah Winfrey, queen of daytime talk shows, is an excellent example.

Born in poverty to two teenage parents, she was raised by her grandmother on farmland. Her first job was at a grocery store. Warren Buffet, commonly acknowledged as one of the world’s most successful businessmen, admits to living in a relatively modest home and driving a car purchased in the 1930’s.

Barbados has it’s own share of success stories. Several local businessmen have catapulted themselves to success by dint of hard work.

It is obvious that there needs to be a renewed focus, primarily by parents, on a positive and healthy work ethic for our young citizens. No longer should we accept that spirit of entitlement and indifference so often displayed by persons in the workforce. The results of ‘get rich quick’ schemes are often transitory, and should be recognised as such. More attention needs to be paid to raising our personal standards and performance if we are to ensure our future success.

Barbados Advocate

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