Know your power!

WE the people!

It is a concept on which democracies are founded upon, the notion that the people will come together, cognisant of the consequences and difficulties, to make the case for a nation which can govern its own affairs.

We acknowledge that we celebrate Independence and November 30, we stand as one and note the achievements as a country and yet we seem to forget the notion that we the people have created power and have the rights enshrined within the ultimate power construct known as the Constitution.

That Constitution envisaged a collective of the people who came together to select how they wanted their community and nation to be governed and the direction which that country should pursue. The newly formed collective established a country which would be recognised within the global community. This country can trade, import and have a seat at the regional and global communities.

The power to occupy these positions comes from the power of the people and we should never forget this fact.

Apply that notion to every facet of life within this country.

Look at the ongoing issues related to the St. George North by-election. When one party has controlled a constituency for 26 years, then stewardship must come into any equation when a vacancy appears.

So we the people should ask, what has happened in that constituency for 26 years? The incumbent party has sought to equate the decade of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government from 2008 to 2018, with a reason to re-elect them in that constituency, but want to slide past the last two-plus years in office.

We also have an issue which needs explanation. How is it that debates were not part of the national conversation in the last three general elections and the St. John by-election of 2011, but media is being asked to facilitate one now?

Rather than ask the tough questions, media has jumped head first into the political issue, with no pushback. Is this then a commitment to establish a Debates Commission, which places the framework in place for debates in the future?

Is it not strange that the call has come from the head of the incumbent political party, with no agreement, to date, from the other parties?

Something to think hard about!

We often hear consumers complaining about the lack of decent customer service and the rising costs of items within the retail sectors.

Why can’t people remember to exercise their power? The consumer has the right to withhold spending their monies within establishments, if we the people determine that the service is sub-standard and that prices are not of the reasonable variety.

It represents the major deficiency within the consumer movement in this country. Consumers have failed to realise the power which they have and have seemingly abdicated their rights to the retail sector. The days of ‘take it or lump it’ have gone.

Where should this education come from? The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) has provided information when situations or concerns have been raised in the media from customers questioning the treatment which they have experienced with regards to the purchase of goods and potential issues which they might have with standards.

What about consumer rights groups? When last have we heard from these groups related to the powers and rights which consumers might have, since there is a growing concern that the balance of power has moved towards retailers.

Look at the COVID-19 period, for example. We had people resorting to social media to point out issues which they had with pricing at various institutions, as people looked for options to avoid the long lines at supermarkets. Sometimes the pricing was double or triple the amount which would normally obtain. The offending parties issued apologies and it seemed that all was forgiven.

If someone had not raised concerns, one can only imagine that this level of disrespect and downright abuse of the purchasing power of customers would have continued or expanded.

So the answer would be for ‘we the people’ to take our power more seriously.

Walk into these establishments and note the prices. If you find these prices unacceptable, then we cannot and should not feel compelled to purchase anything.

To take a stance, we the people must be willing to make a point through purchasing power. If your local farmers, bakers or supermarkets have better quality or value for money, then use them. Make those who continue to raise prices face the prospect of items staying on shelves. If they are willing to throw away items than lower prices and move stock off the shelves, then let that approach occur.

Ask yourselves, what are the other consequences for poor service? Are employers at fault, if workers fail to showcase proper training? Do employees bear any responsibility if they treat those whose business will ultimately pay their salaries?

It is time to stop accepting and to start demanding quality service and fair pricing. We accept that prices can fluctuate from time to time, but we also accept that if your success is based on our patronage, then some accommodation must be met.

Know your power!

Barbados Advocate

Mailing Address:
Advocate Publishers (2000) Inc
Fontabelle, St. Michael, Barbados

Phone: (246) 467-2000
Fax: (246) 434-2020 / (246) 434-1000