||ARTICLES ON ISSUES AFFECTING BARBADOS
Take Back Bridgetown, please!
It is time for the relevant authority to take back Bridgetown. The place is smelly and filthy. Yes, literally filthy and smelly.The last time I visited Bridgetown I was greeted by faeces and its stench at entrance to the bus terminal.
In addition to the pungent stench of urine emanating from several alleys, one is constantly affected by unpleasant odours which move around on two legs.
There is garbage everywhere. The few receptacles, which are not emptied in a timely manner, are usually brimming over with garbage and they, too, look unsightly.
Vagrants have taken over the city and camp out in every nook and cranny, making the benches provided in Independence Square and other places unhygienic. The crates and stalls used by the many vendors are
dilapidated and unsightly. Many of the buildings need a coat of paint. The list goes on.
The few stand-outs like Chefette and Cave Shepard are lost in the sea of squalor.
Suggestions: Get the vagrants off the streets (Please, don’t tell me anything about their rights. I know that they have rights); Give store owners an incentive to beautify their buildings; Set standards for the construction of vending stalls and display racks; Ensure that the streets, garbage receptacles and toilets are cleaned every half hour.
Let us do something now before our Bridgetown is officially labelled a ‘shanty town’.
E. Jerome Davis
Barbadians Can Save the Country
The fiscal deficit of $513 million has the Barbados economy tottering on the brink of collapse. Most are placing the blame squarely at the feet of the political leaders of both parties – the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
However, let us pause for a moment and reflect fairly on the situation. Isn’t it true that Barbadians owe the Government of Barbados in the vicinity of this $513 million? That being the case the fault is not with the politicians but with Barbadians residents who refuse to honor their commitments
to the Government by way of taxes, duties and payment for services rendered. In our Budget presentations taxes are introduced but the expected revenue is never
realized – hence the climbing deficit.
In light of the financial crisis, government should look at returning to the income tax roll the over 26000 workers who were removed in the time of plenty, and put an end to the reverse tax credit. Government should also return the many owners of property valued at less than $125,000 to the tax
roll. These measures, along with the collection of monies owed and other adjustments should help to ease us out of the economic mess now confronting us.
Unfortunately the Barbadian mentality is that once you have a government job you don’t have to work and your job is secure, and that if you owe government you don’t have to pay.
The time has come for ordinary Barbadians to play their part in saving this country. Reducing the fiscal deficit is our business; let us play our part by paying to government what we owe. Pay up the Vat owed, the rent to National Housing, the fees to the QEH, the deductions to the National
Insurance, the rates to BWA, the land tax. Save your country.
Barbadians also need to focus on the import bill. Our supermarkets are laden with non-essential items from overseas. Our local Beer has to compete with cheap beer from outside the country. Government must get bold and based on a survey ban a number of goods brought into this country or tax them to the max.
Unfortunately during the time of plenty Barbadians had become too focused on massive houses, big rides and fat salaries. This bump in the road will serve to bring us back down to earth and to shift our focus back to more realist expectations.
Finally, in making whatever cuts necessary, Government should try to shield the less fortunate, the working poor, for it is this group that usually comply with income generating measures introduce by the government. They are the first to pay their land tax and water bill and so on. They are the ones who go out there and pour what little they have back into the economy.
E. Jerome Davis
Bajan women dressing real badly!
Much has been said about the despicable style of dress adopted by our young men who wear their trousers way down on their buttocks.
I, too, cannot stand the sight of the often dingy boxers or briefs which are visible for all to see. However, it is time that something is said about the appearance of our females.
Years ago the sight of brassiere straps was definitely unacceptable. Nowadays our women, young and not so young, are walking around in public with brassiere straps clearly visible. Sometimes one has to wonder if they are playing x and o’s, with brassiere straps crisscrossing the straps of the blouse they are wearing. Nothing is more disgusting than the sight of a woman in public, wearing a cold shoulder or back-out dress with a strapped brassiere.
Let me be bold and say that no woman of mine could leave home looking so ridiculous. Doesn’t anybody tell these women how horrible they look? To be honest these women look just as horrible as the men who walk around with their underwear showing.
E. Jerome Davis
Mandatory DNA Testing at Birth.
I have never been one to jump on bandwagons. What Ralph Boyce is now calling for (mandatory DNA testing at birth), I have been advocating for years.
Unfortunately, the discussion which has ensued on this subject has lost the correct focus. The call for mandatory testing is no attempt to embarrass or offend females. Mandatory testing must be seen as a requirement of the system. Currently, the system makes it mandatory for a father to be present when registering the birth of a child born in wedlock or a child who is taking the name of the father. When this requirement was introduced by the system, men did not object. They did not feel offended.
When women give the registry the incorrect name of the father of a child, they are lying to the state. This act can have serious repercussion since it is to the registration department that the immigration department and the police turn for accurate information. The act can also have serious medical repercussions and complications for the poor child. The results of the DNA test should be forwarded to the registration department when the child is being registered.
There are some cases where the child is registered and nobody but the mother knows who the father is, not even the child. In some of these cases the mother tells the child that the father is dead and takes her secret to the grave. More often than not this is done to protect the identity of a married man or someone in a prominent position. This is a fact.
Currently, there are too many men, especially in trusting relationship, who are fathering children that are not theirs. For me, it is not only about the father. It is particularly about the child. Every child has the right to know his or her father. One child who calls the wrong man daddy, is one child too many. Also, if one man spends time in prison for not supporting a child that is not his, it is one man too many.
Many a child has had to endure life-long shame and pain of not being sure of the identity of his or her father after hearing rumours that somebody else is the father. We all know how cruel and insensitive Barbadians can be when it comes to gossip.
Some women are caught in the unfortunate position of not being sure of the father of the child. Mandatory testing will eliminate this type of occurrence. It will also have consequences for men. Married men, men in other relationships and men in prominent positions who have palmed off children on unsuspecting men will no longer be able to do so.
Mandatory DNA testing at birth will result in more positives than negatives. Wives and partners who have been faithful have nothing to fear. For too long women have been bragging that “one thing you can be certain of is who your mother is, but not your father.” Well it is time to create a level playing field. I agree that the question of cost must be taken into account but as far as I am concerned DNA testing is more important than constituency councils. And as for those women who are opposing the call, if any of you had a son who was so deceived you would be singing a different tune. Let me hasten to add that if mandatory DNA testing was being done in America or Canada, Barbadians would welcome it. Well, it is time that we led the world in something. Let the testing begin.
E. Jerome Davis
Tool for parents
January 16, 2013.
by Donna Sealy
E. Jerome Davis with one of his books which are guides for parents.
From Bajan to Standard English was the first book he wrote.
That lead to Understanding Bajan Dialect for Tourists and Visitors to Barbados and for author E. Jerome Davis that was just the beginning.
He’s now onto his third book, Train Up A Child, and he shared with Barbados TODAY what prompted him to start writing.
“I became aware of how badly Barbadians were speaking in public, on our radio stations and our television station and the realisation was our Barbadian children could not speak properly. You would see it at NAPSAC and at BASSAC when they were being interviewed. They found it extremely difficult to say anything in English.
“It’s not that they did not know what they wanted to express, it was having to make the transition so I figured if I could produce a work that would assist them to make a transition, not that I’m knocking Bajan dialect because I speak it too and I like it. It is to assist people in reaching a certain, what I call an acceptable level of delivery, that’s the concept behind the book,” the former teacher said.
Davis said that it was “difficult to say” how long it took to write his first book because you wrote, put that body of work aside and went back added and subtracted information until you decided to go ahead a publish it.
“The core of it didn’t take that long. Over the years I would have been gathering the information in my head and as I went along I would have added things until I figured it was time to publish, … [At some point] ‘you must stop now or you’ll never publish’,” Davis stated.
His new book, Train Up a Child, will be available soon.
“In this I try to capture all of the morals and values that parents used to hold fast to and I think I have done reasonable well in doing that. Things I was taught at school, things I would have been taught at church. I find that at school now they hardly do a lot of religious studies as was done when I was a child, let’s say at primary school when the Bible was used quite a bit. For some reason now nobody wants to because you don’t want to say that you’re Anglican or a witness or whatever, so everybody has kinda put that out the door more or less.
“The book is not focussing on any one denomination, everybody will be able to use it as all the values that we held there are captured in that one book,” he explained.
Davis added: “Train up the Child is a timely work aimed at shaping the minds of our youth at a time when so many young people are going astray. … It does not seek to promote or to persuade against any particular religion. The book seeks primarily to act as a guide for all. It is hoped that young readers will benefit from the moral advice presented and that their lives will be positively impacted.
“Train up the Child is also a useful tool for parents and teachers in their effort to promote positive values and to teach children right from wrong. Train up a child in the way he or she should go: and when he or she is old he or she will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
In addition to having the book sold at a bookshops, Davis is among a handful of local authors who sell their books at the largest annual manufacturing trade show, BMEX and other events.
What he wants is for Government to look at removing VAT from the production costs.
“If we’re printing locally VAT is attached so then the book then becomes a little more costly and sometimes that deters people from buying because the mark up at the stores would be a little higher and if it wasn’t there then it would be a little cheaper for persons to buy and I don’t think that anyone has brought it to Government’s attention … “, he said.
The Minister of Finance recently revealed that Corporate Barbados owes the Government of Barbados a whopping $885.9 million dollars. Add monies owed to the Barbados Water Authority, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the National Housing Corporation and this figure will jump to over $1 billion dollars. This is particularly disgusting and untenable. The $291.4 million owed to the National Insurance and the $361.1 million in VAT are a ‘no-no’. This is the people’s money which was deducted from their salaries and should be paid in to the NIS on their behalf, and taxes paid by the people on consumer items and should be paid to the VAT office in a timely manner.
It is even more disgusting since the players in these businesses own large mansions and drive big, expensive cars.
No government should come to the people with a budget to impose more taxes on the backs of the ordinary citizens until these outstanding arrears are collected. Let it be said that it is the average Joe Blogs who pays his taxes. The poor people of this country are living up to their obligations and are paying their taxes through their teeth while these unscrupulous business men are refusing to meet their obligations.
It is time that Government (B or D) gets serious with these defaulters. The country needs these funds now more than ever.
Parliamentarians’ conflict of interest?
A number of parliamentarians have already declared their investments in CLICO. With this in mind, would it not be a conflict of interest if these same parliamentarians are the ones to determine the country’s action regarding CLICO?
And would it be fair to the majority of taxpayers in Barbadians if they are called upon to foot the massive bill to repay those Barbadians who took it upon themselves to invest in CLICO? Would those investors have been willing to share their profits with the taxpayers had CLICO not fallen on hard times?
The solution to the CLICO debacle should have been to restructure, among other things, and keep it afloat thus letting it pay its way out of the financial mess in which it found itself. The Barbados Teachers Credit Union successfully did it before. Why not CLICO?
E. Jerome Davis
No More one-stop Hospitals
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) can be considered a one-stop hospital. There can be no doubt that the QEH is in dire need of refurbishment. However, there is absolutely no need for Government to build a brand new one-stop hospital in Barbados. In fact it would not be economically viable so to do.
Government would be better served to build new specialized institutions which would be easier to maintain and rebuild years from now.
Government could, for example, invest in an institution catering to diabetic, hypertensive and cancer patients and another catering to kidney patients and asthmatics or any other grouping. These institutions could be built on the same compound to allow for inter-accessibility.
The QEH could then be maintained for general care once it is relieved of these specialized and in demand departments.
E. Jerome Davis
Rate the House debates PG
I was “privileged” to hear most of the Duguid-Inniss infamous exchange in the House of Assembly on my radio. This exchange followed closely on the heels of the Hamilton Lashley ”…what de hell...” remark made when he was addressing the Chairman, Honourable James Paul.
Admittedly I did not hear the expletives made by Hon. William Duguid. However, there is no doubt that the entire episode was set in motion by Mr. Duguid’s comment that Mr. Inniss could not obtain a police certificate of character because of the manner in which he earned a living. Mr. Duguid’s comments drew the ire of Mr. Inniss who could be heard repeatedly referring to Mr. Duguid as a “fat slob”. It is alleged that Mr. Inniss also made reference to Mr. Duguid’s family.
My concern in this matter is that persons have sought to crucify Mr. Duguid even though he humbly apologized for his less than honourable behavior but have allowed the equally less than honourable behavior of Mr. Inniss to escape criticism.
The Chairman, Mr. Paul and the Speaker, Honourable Michael Carrington should have scolded Mr. Inniss just as severely as they did Mr. Duguid.
Mr. Duguid was chastised for prefacing his apology with the reason for the outburst. However, it is common knowledge that the sincerest of apologies are usually prefaced by the reason for the action which necessitated the apology.
In closing let me recommend to the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation that the House debates be relayed on a delayed system and that they be rated PG.
Change Buggery Laws
Buggery is defined as - anal intercourse; and Cunnilingus as - oral sex performed on a female.
Based on these definitions, every homosexual, lesbian or heterosexual committing such acts is guilty of a crime in Barbados, regardless to whether it is with consent or not. The Laws of Barbados forbid both acts.
The law against rape should suffice and should replace these two archaic laws. The law should be : Anyone who has sex, including oral or anal sex, with another against his or her will is guilty of rape. The emphasis should be on the use of force. We need to be realistic. This change in the law would not mean that your condoning homosexuality.
Stats on Sugar content in Sweet Drinks
With diabetes winning the war against the Barbadian population, Barbadians should pay greater attention to the sugar content of the "sweet drinks" which they consume by the hundreds. Recently I did some research and was amazed at what I found. Here is a list of some of the many flavours sold around Barbados and the amount of sugar they contain. A bottle of jam has been thrown in as a reference point for sugar content.
Pine Hill Passion Fruit 36g, Frutee Ginger Beer 35g, Frutee Red 35g, JuC 31g,Vita Malt 30g, Plus 29g, Cool 29g, Banks Malt 28g, Sprite 26g, Pepsi 26g, Coke 26g, Twist 25g, Ginger Ale 16g, and Maybel's Guava Jam 13g.
It is interesting to note that the jam contains the least amount of sugar. "Sweet Drinks" manufacturers should note that even when these drinks are diluted, they are still palatable.
Time for a Bajan Radio Station
Minister of Finance, Hon. Chris Sinckler, called for 60% local music to be played on our radio stations but what he is asking for is not enough. Rather, the call for a local station by calypsonian, Adonijah, is more in order.
It is laughable that the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation has not one, not two but three stations and not one is dedicated to things Bajan. These three stations collectively bombard the airwaves with oldie goldies, Jamaican reggae and North American music only breaking at Crop Over to whet our appetites with local Calypso.
I am therefore, pleading with the Prime Minister to dedicate one of the three stations at CBC to things Bajan. This station which should be called Radio Barbados should be used to give our local artiste the exposure and impetus necessary to encourage year round creativity. Barbados already has, and can produce, enough material to maintain a 100% local station. This station would be the ideal channel for material especially from the Richard Stoute Talent Show, NIFCA, and Crop Over. Every year our artistes produce hundreds of songs of which only a few see the light of day. The others are lost forever. The station would also be an avenue for local poetry, comedy and short stories.
It goes without saying that local artistes would benefit financially from royalties. In addition, international recording companies would be able to monitor the local scene for potential international stars. The introduction of local radio would revolutionize the cultural, information and entertainment landscape of Barbados. It would also provide great coverage and promotion of sporting activities, community programmes, concerts and local productions. The introduction of local radio would also give us an identity. The benefits of local radio are endless.
I am therefore, calling on the Prime Minister, under whose portfolio CBC falls, to give some serious consideration to the above.
E. Jerome Davis
Cleave to your woman.
“And be ye not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:12)
With all the debate swirling about on premarital sex and what the bible says and doesn’t say I sought to renew my mind by doing some research on the subject. Although I am not prepared to say that I have proven anything, what I found was quite interesting.
1. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew.
2. The Hebrew word for both woman and wife is the same – ‘ashe’.
3. In Latin, because of its declension, Deo, Deum and Deus all mean God; the word ‘ashth’ is the declension of the Hebrew ‘ashe’ and translated literally means ‘woman of’.
4. The Hebrew word for man is also used for husband – aish.
5. Marriage was not discussed by God and Adam.
6. It is a fact that the bible experienced translator error and interpretation.
Many have used Genesis 2:23 and 24 as the basis for their discussion on marriage. In Genesis 2:23 Adam says: “she shall be called woman (ashe) because she was taken from man”. The next verse continues: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife (ashth)”.
Here the translator chose to translate ‘ashth’ as wife. However, in my opinion this does not follow. A more logical translation would be: “she shall be called woman because she was taken from man. Therefore, shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his woman”.
In Genesis 3:12, Adam continues: “the woman whom thou gavest to me”. He does not say “my wife”. What is suggested here is that the translator switched at will between wife and woman.
It was interesting too that nowhere in Genesis 1 -3 was the concept of marriage discussed. It would be interesting to find out what kind of marriage ceremony Cain and his wife had, how they were married and who married them. Isn’t it more likely that Cain simply took a woman?
The above should make for interesting discussion.
E. Jerome Davis
Pissing At Kensington Oval.
I remember, in the early sixties, asking teacher’s permission to go to the latrine. Once there, I would line up with the other boys to pee against a communal wall as if in some pee-off competition.
I also remember doing the same at Kensington Oval in the seventies. Here, it was worse as a crowd of men of all shapes, sizes and ages pressed shoulder to shoulder, at lunch time, to relieve themselves in the old latrine beneath the Kensington stand.
Fast forward to June 28, 2011. Imagine my surprise when memories of the sixties and seventies came rushing back to me as I entered what I thought would be the spanking new washrooms at the spanking new Kensington Oval. I was honestly bowled over to see men of all shapes, sizes and ages still lined up as of old, peeing against the communal wall.
Pray tell me, how could anyone spend millions of dollars to build a new Kensington Oval facility and yet retain such a demeaning practice? Come on Kensington! This is totally unacceptable especially at a time when there are more appropriate urinals available to choose from.
E. Jerome Davis
Common-law Spouses disadvantaged!
Some years ago the government of the day moved to protect women in particular and men in general, who were living in common law unions, by amending the Family Law Act.
The objective of the amendments was to ensure that common-law spouses had some obligation to each other similarly as did married spouses. The effort is one to be commended. However, the effort fell short in that whereas the amendments imposed obligations on the common- law spouses, it did not confer the corresponding benefits that the married spouses enjoyed.
If common- law spouses, in cases of separation, are bound by law to the division of property and so on, they must correspondingly, like married spouses, be granted the right to the benefits of the National Insurance Department and the Inland Revenue Department.
The amendments, in transposing only one half of the laws relating to unions, have inflicted a grave financial injustice on common- law spouses.
Further, there is a need for government and other business institutions to move progressively in the direction of ensuring that all forms and documents make allowance for the designation of ‘common- law’ as is done for ‘married, single, divorced or separated’. Too often common- law spouses are forced to tick the ‘single box’ when in truth and in fact they are not really single.
If Barbados wants to rub shoulders with developed countries by adopting their progressive policies, it must do so in a holistic manner. Barbadians who work in Canada on the hotel and farm programmes can attest to the fact that they are not deemed single and are able to file for income tax for their common- law spouses who reside here in Barbados.
The government of Barbados should move with all haste to correct this anomaly.
E. Jerome Davis
Condoms in our Schools?
It is fast becoming the norm that Barbadian politicians head for the USA when they have some unpopular statement to make. The head of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) seems to have taken a cue from the politicians.
Was George Griffith, Director of the BFPA, serious when he called for condoms to be placed in schools or was he simply trying to divert the heat from the BFPA? I wonder if he viewed the statistics of teen deliveries and abortions at the QEH as an indictment on his organization.
My friend, George, is a lay-reader at St. Catherine’s church. I wonder if he will ever call for the distribution of condoms in the church.
One thing about George; he is very consistent – ban corporal punishment; yes to abortion; put condoms in school; put condoms in prison. Is this a case of, if you can’t beat them, join them?
Sorry George but I can’t support you on this one.
By the way, George, condoms are already readily available throughout Barbados at corner shops, drug stores and the BFPA. The real problem is not ‘condom availability’. The problem is - How do we get persons to use them?
The question to be asked, too, is – How many of those teenage pregnancies and abortions recorded at the QEH were for school boys? I dare say not many.
E. Jerome Davis
Adult Suffrage (right to vote) in Bim.
The 60th year of Adult Suffrage in Barbados, just like the 50th, has gone by unnoticed.
It was in October, 1950 that Governor of the day, Sir Alfred Savage, assented to the decision of the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council to abolish the property qualifications and grant the right to vote to all Barbadian citizens 21 years old and over.
It was the Rt. Excellent, Sir Grantley Adams, ‘the Messiah’ as he was known then, who led the fight against the all-white Legislative Council to have Adult Suffrage introduced to Barbados. As a result of Grantley Adams’ role in the struggle he became known as ‘the Father of Democracy’.
It is unfortunate that, today, many people take the right to vote for granted, while saluting our Independence. It is unbelievable that such a significant landmark in our history goes by unnoticed and holds no pride of place on our national calendar. (Dec 1.2010 Jerome Davis)
Barbados: Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Cabinet Resuffle
Fellow Barbadians, residents, friends and well wishers -I am honored to be spared this opportunity as your leader to renew our special relationship and update you on our partnership to build a better democracy and a better Barbados. I assure you that working together we can uphold each other and build a glorious legacy for our children.
Last week Dr. Richard Ishmael, my personal physician, issued at my request, a full statement on the condition of my health and the challenges which have confronted me since March. I am again grateful to those of you who have responded with overwhelming love and compassion towards me and my family.
On this occasion I have chosen not to speak to you by live telecast. The nature of my medical treatment has occasioned obvious weight loss. I would rather that you get the portent of my message rather than the picture; and be concerned about the message, not the medium.
While we cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we respond to what happens to us. In that sense I wish to assure you that my family and I are determined to battle this illness and are fully co-operating with the medical teams here and in New York, to ensure that all that’s humanly possible is done to arrest and reverse this condition, while humbly recognizing that ultimately the Will of God will prevail. We are well aware that the future of us all rests in the hands of the Almighty. In recognition of this truth, I continue to solicit your intercession and prayers.
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians pleaded with the Lord to remove his impediment, but the Lord said: “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.
Thus I am able to rejoice in hope and be gracious through faith.
All relationships, including those between premier and people, involve times of closeness and times of distance. I have grown to appreciate you in both circumstances, and I hope your experience has been the same.
In the meantime my reduced physical capacity has placed a strain on my ability to serve you as I would dearly want to, particularly in these challenging economic times when the signs are clear that full global economic recovery is still a fair distance away.
One of the blessings of my extended periods in North America is the opportunity to read and observe, on a daily basis, the performance and analyses associated with the U.S, European and North East Asian economies.
We in Barbados and the wider Caribbean should not bamboozle ourselves with the notion that recovery is dependent on factors of our exclusive design and making.
The approach of our partnership over the past two and a half years has been to cautiously but judiciously proceed; while ensuring at all times the maintenance of a desired social protective net for the most vulnerable. We will not be deviated from this path for it is most difficult to build a lasting democracy when the needs of daily shelter and daily living remain a struggle for far too many among us on this island.
That is why you may not have seen an abundance of buildings going up across the country, but there has been an improvement in the quality of health care, better management and operation of social welfare agencies such as the National Assistance Board, the Urban and Rural Development Commissions, the National Housing Corporation, Child Care Board and associated agencies, and the upkeep of our schools and conditions of work for public officers. Additionally, we have made the sacrifice of containing bus fares and have even offered free access thereto, to school children.
Fellow Citizens and Friends, these are all deliberate strategies geared to cushion the shock and to minimize the impact of the economic decline.
The weeks and months ahead will be equally challenging and it is for that reason that I have assessed the future, in the context of my illness and reduced capacity, and have determined that it is necessary and prudent that I divest aspects of my ministerial portfolio that require robust, day to day oversight.
But before I outline proposed changes to the Cabinet of Barbados, I wish to address a matter of fundamental concern to me, as head of government.
Fellow Barbadians, Ladies and Gentlemen, General Elections are held in Barbados every five years. Historically, in the intervening period we have always conducted ourselves in a focused, mature and patriotic manner. We have placed the best interest of Barbados foremost in our consideration.
The Right Excellent Errol Barrow taught us that size does not have to be a deterrent to greatness. And former Prime Minister Tom Adams had a vision for Barbados that defied our limited landscape. Indeed, former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on his visit to Barbados in 2002, noted that Barbados was a country “punching above its weight”.
If we can unite first and foremost as sons and daughters of these fields and hills we call our very own, nothing will hold us back. We did it in the 60s and 70s, and we make no wanton boast of what we can achieve.
Michael Jackson of late memory reminded us in his song “We are the world” that change will only come when we stand together as one.
In his seminal work he wrote:
“There comes a time, when we heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one. There are people dying, and it’s time to lend a hand to life; the greatest gift of all.
“We can’t go on, pretending day by day, that someone, somewhere will soon make a change. We are all a part, of God’s great big family, and the truth, you know, love is all we need.”
That’s my fondest wish for Barbadians. That we use adversity to refocus our energies on what’s best for Barbados and that we wrap our actions and our utterances in the national flag and the furtherance of this great nation we call home. That’s my challenge to you. Unite and love.
With respect to the path forward, I have today advised his Excellency, the Governor General to reconfigure the Cabinet as follows, as of October 4th 2010:
Hon. David Thompson – Prime Minister and Minister of National Security
Hon. Freundel Stuart – Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs
Hon. Christopher Sinckler – Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs
Hon. Ronald Jones – Minister of Education and Human Resource Development
Hon. Michael Lashley – Minister of Housing, Lands, Urban and Rural Development
Hon. Patrick Todd – Minister of State in the Ministry of Housing, Lands, Urban and Rural Development with responsibilities for Urban and Rural Development
Hon. John Boyce – Minister of Transport and Works. Mr. Boyce will also assume the added responsibility of Leader of the House
Hon. Denis Lowe – Minister of Drainage, Water Resource Management and Environment
Hon. Donville Inniss – Minister of Health
Hon. Richard Sealy – Minister of Tourism
Dr. the Hon. David Estwick – Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development
Dr. the Hon. Esther Byer-Suckoo – Minister of Labour
Hon. Steve Blackett – Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development
Hon. Stephen Lashley – Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth
Sen. Hon. Haynesley Benn – Minster of Commerce and Trade
Hon. George Hutson – Minister of International Transport and International Business
Sen. Hon. Maxine McClean – Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Sen. Hon. Darcy Boyce – Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibilities for Energy, Immigration, Telecommunications and Investment
Sen. Irene Sandiford-Garner – Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health
Senator Harry Husbands – Parliamentary Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister
Senator Jepter Ince – Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs
These changes will accelerate the delivery of vital policies and services. I have every confidence in the public service of Barbados to implement such, with the efficiency and alacrity that is required.
I take this opportunity to reassure you that I continue to feel greatly blessed, highly favored and deeply loved. Thank you for your expressions of support and fervent prayers during this testing period.
May God bless Barbados and may grace and peace be multiplied unto all Barbadians.
Letter to Editor
According to the Nation News paper, President of the Barbados Bar Association, Leslie Haynes QC, recently stated that "BARBADIANS must “shop” better for legal representation to reduce the chance of being exploited."
In my opinion Mr. Haynes needs to shift his focus on behalf of his members and the public.
What is needed is more information on lawyers. Lawyers should be given the right to advertise. The status quo allows for a few lawyers to monopolize while the majority suffer. How does a young lawyer make a name for him or herself? No wonder some have resorted to inappropriate practices. How can people choose better when they do not know who specializes in what? Many Barbadians choose lawyers based on popularity. This means that a few lawyers get all the work, which leads to long delays in cases being addressed.
For God sake , Mr. Haynes please fight for lawyers' right to advertise.
E. Jerome Davis
Letter to the Editor
I am not surprised that Barbadians are idolizing Eric Jerome Dickey, one of the biggest authors of smut; such is the nature of Barbadians. How can we condemn our local calypsonians for promoting smut yet embrace this foreign author with open arms?
I want to implore the Ministers of Education and of Youth and Family, the Attorney General and Reverends Charles Morris and Errington Massiah to read ‘Waking with Enemies’ by E. Jerome Dickey and to make their comments. ‘Waking with Enemies’ is nothing but a sex novel. Parents beware.
I am particularly concerned that bookstores are indiscriminately placing books containing descriptions of lewd sexual activity within reach of children. Such books should be confined to an area for “adults only”. Currently any school child can stroll into some stores and browse through books containing adult material. This must not be allowed to continue.
I am calling for books by Eric Jerome Dickey to be monitored and to be placed out of the reach of children or banned altogether.
E. Jerome Davis
Free Secondary Education in Barbados
It is high time that the myth surrounding “Free Secondary Education” in be debunked.
For years supporters of both the Democratic Labour Party and the Barbados Labour Party have been trying to score political points on this issue much to the confusion of the youth of this country and to the distortion of our history.
Free secondary education was introduced to by Grantley Adams in 1955 when the was opened. This was followed by the opening of ’s, and Parkinson.
Errol Barrow later expanded on the work of Grantley Adams by making the older secondary schools free. This was seen as a major milestone because of the history attached to these schools. Both Adams and Barrow must be commended for the vision which they had for the people of this country.
However, it must never be said that either Barrow or Adams introduced free secondary education for all. Free secondary education was always conditional. One had to pass an exam to get it. Although all students were given the opportunity to access free secondary education by passing the Common Entrance Exam, hundreds were forced to pay for their education at schools such as the , Metropolitan and Unique. These unfortunate ones were awarded bursaries and therefore, deprived of free secondary education. This situation abounded as late as the nineteen nineties and prevails to this day, albeit on a very small scale. So the fact remains that not all Barbadians benefited from free secondary education.
What is sad about the above is that for the most part the hundreds of Barbadians who were deprived of free secondary education came from the poorest of the poor and were unable to pay their subsidized school fees. The irony that cloaks the concept of free secondary education in is that hundreds of the very people for whom it was introduced did not benefit from it.
E. Jerome Davis
(Former teacher – The Co-operative High School)
Number Exits at Six-Roads, please.
As the Government of Barbados moves to name the Six-Roads' round-about after the late Wynter Crawford, I am making the call to have the six (6) exits at the said round-about, numbered.
Currently it is impossible to give anyone directions onwards from that junction. Visitors to St. Philip on reaching that round-about are often lost as to which exit to take to reach their destination further on. It would be so much easier to be able to tell someone wishing to visit Sterling Children's Home to take the number '1 exit' or someone going to the Reynold Weeks Primary School to take the number '2 exit'.
The solution is simply to place numbers, about two feet high, at each exit. The islands already in place at each exit would render such, an easy exercise.
Further, as the Government of Barbados moves to honour deserving Barbadians in general and 'Philipeens' in particular, I again make the call for the Three Houses Park to be renamed the Florence Daysh Memorial Park.
E.Jerome Davis.(August 23, 2009)
Hair Style Debate
The recent debate on the child who was sent home because of her hairstyle has drawn reaction from two Barbadians, one who lives in Canada and one from the USA.
The responses read in part:
“Principals and teachers should concentrate on what they are paid to do and that is teach … not dress the students” (Marcie V Weekes – Canada)
“What in the world is Barbados coming to? … Children are sent to school to learn and teachers to teach them, not send them home…”(Michael Edwards – USA)
These responses, however, are laughable to say the least. In light of the turmoil that exists in schools in Canada and the USA, I certainly would like to know from whence these letter writers got the moral authority to attack our educational system. Why didn’t Ms Weekes tell the readers that there are now armed police in nineteen (19) public schools and eight (8)catholic schools in Canada?
And Mr. Edwards, What about the shootings in US schools? Why don’t you write about that?
The Barbadian educators know what is required to keep our schools from deteriorating to the levels in your adopted countries and must be commended for the tight reigns held in these challenging times.
Lastly, I challenge Mr. Edwards to find on child in Barbados who goes to school without shoes. I wonder which Barbados he is speaking of.
E. Jerome Davis
Ten questions for Barbadians.
- Why do so many radio and television announcers say poorgramme instead of programme?
- Why do some cricket commentators still refer to the umpire as the impire?
- Why do so many primary school teachers tell children to tie their lasens instead of their laces or to go on the flatform instead of on the platform?
- Why do our members of Parliament continue to say tree tousand instead of three thousand and yufe instead of youth (and many more)?
- Why is everybody suddenly using myself instead of me? – Call John or myself tomorrow.
- Why does the print media continue to use incorrectly the word respectively? – Representatives George Payne and Dale Marshall respectively, will address the meeting. (The Sunday Sun, March 29, 2009)
- Why do so many employees ask for time to go to a frunal instead of a funeral?
- Why do Barbadians make prickle with cukimbers instead of pickle with cucumbers?
- Why do bus commuters say that the bus missed me instead of I missed the bus?
- Why do our children find so many things bored instead of boring and why are they always not interesting in something rather than not interested in something?
Time to revamp the teaching of English by introducing oral English, don’t you think?
E. Jerome Davis
Staggered Opening Hours
It is high time that Government bites the bullet as far as the island’s traffic problem is concerned.
The solution to our current problem is to have one set of opening hours for offices and professional services and another for businesses such as shoe stores, clothing stores, furniture and appliances stores and personal care providers.
Currently all offices, stores and schools in Barbados open and close at the same time, give or take half of an hour. This means that our entire traveling public is on the road at the same time - hence the traffic congestion.
During the school vacation the traffic problem disappears. However, since there is no room for change as far as the school hours are concerned, the focus should be on the hours of offices and places of business. There is absolutely no advantage or benefit in opening stores at 8.30 a.m. and closing them at 5.00 p.m. It would be more appropriate to open them at 10.00 a.m. and to close them later.
Staggered opening hours would not only ease the traffic problem but also make it easier to shop and pay bills since under the current system persons have to rush around like crazy during lunch time to do so. Lunch-time shopping and paying bills result in a lost of productivity since employees often return to work late and in no condition to start back to work promptly.
No doubt, the introduction of staggered opening hours will meet resistance from the trade unions and affected workers. However, believe it or not, the change will be to the workers’ advantage. Currently some workers wake up as early as 4.30 a.m. in order to leave home at 5.30 a.m., and return home around 6.00 p.m. This means that they have no time to do any form of housework. With the introduction of staggered hours they would be able to leave home as late as 8.00 or 9.00 a.m. Companies could also adopt the option of giving workers an early evening off on a rotation basis.
It is common knowledge that Barbadians are slow to embrace change and that politicians maintain the status quo in order to win votes. Therefore, the suggestion of staggered opening hours although feasible may never see the light of day.
E. Jerome Davis
Energy vampires: Fact versus fiction
By Lori Bongiorno
It's well-known that most electronic devices in our homes are sucking up energy even while they are turned off. But for all the information out there, many questions remain. I got hundreds of reader questions after writing the post What's wasting energy in your home right now. Below are answers to the five most common inquiries:
Which electronic devices waste the most energy when they are turned off but still plugged in?
Set-top cable boxes and digital video recorders are some of the biggest energy hogs. Unfortunately, there's little consumers can do since television shows can't be taped if boxes are unplugged. It also typically takes a long time to reboot boxes.
However, some of the other major consumers of standby power are more easily dealt with: computers, multifunction printers, flat-screen TVs, DVDs, VCRs, CD players, power tools, and hand-held vacuums. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) measured standby power for a long list of products.
Why do electronic devices use energy when they are switched off?
Electronics consume standby power for one of two reasons, says Chris Kielich of the Department of Energy. They either have an adapter that will continue to draw electricity, or they have devices (such as clocks and touchpads) that draw power. Anything with a remote control will also draw standby power, she says, since the device needs to be able to detect the remote when it's pushed.
Does everything suck energy when it's plugged in and turned off?
No. If your coffeemaker or toaster doesn't have a clock, then it's probably not using standby power, says Kielich. Chances are your hair dryer and lamps (although they may have a power adapter for the dimmer) are not drawing standby power either, she says. Devices with a switch that physically breaks the circuit don't consume standby power.
Will switching things on and off shorten their life?
Probably not, says Kielich. You'd have to turn devices on and off thousands of times to shorten their lives. The real downside, she says, to unplugging electronics is that clocks and remotes will not work, and you do have to reset everything.
Can you ruin batteries by unplugging battery chargers and causing batteries to completely discharge?
It could be a possibility, says Kielich. Her advice: Don't let batteries get completely drained. But you don't need to have things like hand-held power vacuums and drills plugged into the charger when it's 100% charged, or even 50% charged.
Power Strip FAQs
Plugging electronics into a power strip and turning it off when you're not using it is a widely prescribed solution for curbing vampire power. Here are answers to common questions:
· Power strips draw energy when they are turned on, but not when they are switched off.
· Any decent power strip should have surge protection, according to Kielich. Flicking your power strip on and off will not create a power surge capable of damaging electronic devices. In fact, it will protect devices from other surges.
· Several readers were worried about the possibility of fires caused by plugging too many things in at once. If you plug in the allowed number of devices, then power strips are safe, says Kielich. Just don't plug your power strip into another power strip, or you run the risk of creating an overload.
CLEAN UP RADIO - NOVEMBER 27, 2005
THIS IS A CALL for management of local radio stations to monitor what the young DJs are feeding the young people of this country. Admittedly some of them have good intentions but lack the necessary skills to carry out these intentions and are ignorant of their impact and influence on our youth.
I have been monitoring one station, 98.1, which has been targeting young people, especially those at secondary schools, every day between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Sad to say, I am truly disturbed by what is coming out of that station.
Back-up Plan for Essential Services – July 5, 2005
Many of the songs are steeped in negatives, and where the message is positive, it is so subtle that it is lost in the accompanying, and constantly repeated, negative catch words and phrases like "bad boy", "rude boy", "murderer", "shottee", "magnum" and "A.K 47".
Let me give some examples, as remembered, of the lyrics heard on this station:
1) "Rudi don't fear no one, Rudi don't fear; Gangster don't fear no boy, gangster don't fear".
2) Murder de man, wicked Babylon gine murder de man - This is followed by the DJ shouting out "murderation".
3) "me lend out me merci to a boy; he tek a plane an gone a-foreign; I had no visa to follow him; so I start a killing; me kill a boy.... burn down houses, in left no evidence; me merciless, me bitter like gall".
A feature of the station's morning programme is a "roll-call" where students from each secondary school are asked to call in and "big-up" or 'shout-out" their school crews or posses. Are "bigging-up" and "shouting-out" expressions we want to encourage our schoolchildren to adopt? And have we forgotten the serious problems schools were encountering with posses and crews? We certainly do not need the re-emergence of these "bashment crews" and "slip and slide girls" in our schools.
Former headteacher, Joan Blackett, fought long and hard to rid Springer Memorial of that culture.
One morning the DJ in question implored a young female student to shout out "sick and psychotic". And of course the young female student bellowed out proudly, "sick and psychotic".
Now we all know that youth workers have been trying to get young people to distance themselves from these negatives. Some of our youths had been adopting names like "Sicko" and "Psycho" and acting out the expected roles. Added to this the said station was advertising a fête labelled “This Time Sick and Psychotic”. This fête was being hosted by the station.
My question at this point is: where is management in all of this?
There is no doubt that Barbados has slowed the tide of destruction on which our young people floated. However, if these DJs are left unchecked, all the work that has been done will be overturned. Further, the millions of dollars spent by Government on prevention and rehabilitation will be wasted as a result of the flawed programming of this Government-owned station.
- E. JEROME DAVIS.
FATAL VOYAGE OF 11 SENEGALESE A REMINDER OF MIDDLE PASSAGE – FEB 21, 2007
"THE 'MIDDLE PASSAGE' was the journey of slave trading ships from the west coast of Africa, where the slaves were obtained, across the Atlantic, where they were sold or, in some cases, traded for goods such as molasses, which was used in the making of rum.
However, this voyage has come to be remembered for much more than simply the transport and sale of slaves. The Middle Passage was the longest, hardest, most dangerous and also most horrific part of the journey of the slave ships. With extremely tightly packed loads of human cargo that stank and carried both infectious disease and death, the ships would travel east to west across the Atlantic on a miserable voyage lasting at least five weeks, and sometimes as long as three months.
Although incredibly profitable for both its participants and their investing backers, the terrible Middle Passage has come to represent the ultimate in human misery and suffering. The abominable and inhuman conditions, which the Africans were faced with on their voyage, clearly display the great evil of the slave trade." (Greg's Maritime Page)
The fatal journey to Barbados of the 11 Africans from Senegal in 2006 marks a fortuitous
re-enactment, 173 years after the abolition of slavery, of the historical Middle Passage.
Every effort should be made to link that fatal trip with the historical passage by the erecting of a monument at the burial site of the 11 unidentified bodies. The monument would be a tourist attraction and a tangible link to our past and historical moorings.
- JEROME DAVIS
PTA Nothing but a Conflict of Interest – August 2, 2005
WONDER how many people are aware of the potential conflict that is latently bound up in that association commonly referred to as the parent-teacher association (PTA).
The PTA is a legitimate association of both parents and teachers of a particular school. There is no separation or distinction.
Usually, but not always, the president of the PTA is a parent and more often than not the president speaks to matters affecting the children of a particular school.
It is common practice for PTA presidents to publicly address problems relating to teachers, the school or policies introduced by the principal of the host school.
This is where the conflict is unintentionally created.
A particular school by accepting the establishment of a PTA has in truth and in fact made its staff, members of that association. Therefore, when the PTA issues a statement, the views contained therein are in truth and in fact the views of not only the parents but also the teachers. It is my belief that few teachers, if any, are aware of this fact.
So that, for example, when the president of the PTA says that they are prepared to take the Government to court, the teachers of the school are unwittingly a part of the intended action.
Further, when a PTA takes action against the behaviour of teachers or a principal it means that the teachers are taking action against themselves.
It would indeed be interesting to hear what the President of the Barbados Union of Teachers, Karen Best, has to say about this because as it stands she is not the only one who can speak on behalf of teachers.
The views of an attorney would also be useful.
I think that we would be better served if PTAs were replaced with parent-guardian associations (PGA) thus removing the grey area and conflict of interest that currently exists in relation to who is represented by the associations.
- JEROME DAVIS
POOR SERVICE AT THREE HOUSES' PARK May 2008
The good: Three Houses Park on Whit Monday was packed. Men, women and children were scattered all over the sprawling landscape. Every ounce of shade was taken. Colours abounded. Laughter, music and the sweet smell of food filled the air. What a joy to behold.
The Bad: Cars were parked in every nook and cranny. Route buses had to squeeze through cars doubled park from one end of the road to the other, signalling the need for more parking space.(There were no instances of road rage, however.)
The Ugly: Come five thirty, the doors of the washroom facility swung shut on the mass of people assembled in the Park. At this time only a small handful of picnickers, wishing to beat the traffic, made their way out of the Park. Thereafter, gentlemen, ladies, grannies, grandpas and children could be seen making their way to the facility only to be met by a closed door. One lady, fiddling with her zipper as she approached the washroom, had no choice but to hastily duck behind a nearby bunch of grass to relieve herself, unknowingly exposing to many her big red knickers in the process. Many sought the privacy of bush, grass or rock cliff as the nearby cane ground had been recently relieved of its canes. Around 6.30 p.m picnickers finally started to leave the Park in their numbers. This disgusting situation has been going on for years. Yet we say we are one of the most developed countries in the world.
Close examination revealed that the sign on the facility states “April to September
8.30 a.m to 5.30 p.m”. How ridiculous! Picnickers descend on the Park from around
10.00 a.m. and the light at this time fades around 6.30 p.m. Surely something can be done to address this sad state of affairs.
THE GOVERNMENT OF BARBADOS and Attorney-General Mia Mottley must be complimented for the way in which the Glendairy Prisons affair was handled.
The prison officers, Royal Barbados Police Force and Defence Force who ensured that Barbados remained safe during that critical period, must be given full marks. I am sure that the entire world was watching and was amazed and impressed with the way the uprising was handled.
The haste with which they were able to find alternative accommodation for the prisoners was simply amazing.
The burning down of Glendairy, however, has made me ask the question "what if"? What if there was a disaster of similar magnitude at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH)? What if there was some incident at Grantley Adams International Airport that caused the airport to be closed for a week or more?
The Glendairy disaster has made me realise that there is a need in Barbados for a second hospital and a second airstrip with a basic terminal building.
Government should move with haste to ensure that there is adequate back-up for these two important facilities.
We were very lucky that the St Lucy facility was there to be converted into a prison, but I do not think that we would be so fortunate if disaster should strike either the airport or the QEH.
- JEROME DAVIS
Put ”all way stop” at Junction – 13 June 2005
I WRITE to lend full support to those people calling for action to be taken in making the junction at Boarded Hall/Frere Pilgrim safe. In fact, an effort should be made to improve the safety at all points where serious accidents are known to occur.
I want to recommend to the relevant ministry that "All Way Stop" signs be placed at the Boarded Hall/Frere Pilgrim intersection. This is a method I have seen used very successfully throughout Canada. What this means is that all traffic approaching the intersection (from all four directions) must stop.
The traffic then moves off on a first stop basis. The four major stops erected must all carry the words "All Way Stop" which indicates that traffic approaching all directions must stop. This approach can also be used for three-way intersections.
While driving through Barbados I have seen a number of dangerous intersections that could be made safe with the introduction of "All Way Stop" signs. It is my hope that the relevant ministry gives this suggestion some consideration.
E. Jerome Davis
There is urgent need for the way dates are recorded in Barbados to be standardized. If this is not done, there is going to be mass confusion in years to come when the date is critical to determine some legal matter or matters of age etc.
To bear out my point, here are a few dates, which I have encountered recently.
1. Barbados National Bank - 05/11/07 (5th November 2007)
2. Sure Pay - 11/05/2007 (November 5th, 2007)
3. BL&P - 2007/10/09 (2007 October 09th)
4. Other - 2007/10/09 (2007 September 10th)
Now I want you to unravel the following dates: 05/10/07; 10/05/07; 07/10/05; 06/07/05; 03/11/06.
Time We Had Designated School Zones – July 14, 2005
REGRETTABLY, many of our primary schools are located right next to public roads. As a result, the increase in vehicular traffic is placing severe pressure on these schools in terms of safety and noise pollution.
It is amazing that teachers manage to conduct classes at these schools where they are forced to pause mid-sentence every few minutes to allow for noisy trucks, cars and buses to pass.
It is also amazing that more accidents do not occur in the vicinity of these schools as a result of speeding vehicles. It is my belief that the immediate vicinity of each school should be designated a "school zone" and should carry the appropriate signs indicating such.
In these designated zones motorists should be restricted from blowing horns unnecessarily, playing loud music, revving up and idling engines. Further there should be a specific speed limit in these zones, preferably 40 kilometres an hour.
Currently there are signs which request motorists to reduce speed. This is inadequate since a motorist who is travelling at 70 kilometres an hour can reduce his speed to 60 kilometres and still be within the law.
Also, shops and bars which fall within the zone should be required to post signs requesting their customers to refrain from loud talking and arguing and should be restricted from playing music during school hours. Members of the public should be prevented from assembling and liming within these zones as well.
It is my belief that the introduction of the above will create an atmosphere that is more conducive to learning in our schools and will also go a long way towards making the roads and the immediate environs of the schools safe for our little ones.
LET US RECOGNISE RIHANNA’S SUCCESS – NOVEMBER 6, 2007.
RIHANNA is the "biggest thing" (person) to come out of Barbados ever. Yet to date, not a word of acknowledgement at the national level. How can this be?
Rihanna's success has been phenomenal, almost unbelievable. She has outshone entertainers all over the world. She has successfully competed with the very best in the United States. I certainly did not think that I would have lived long enough to see a Barbadian dominate the world scene as she has. Yet we remain silent. How can this be?
Sportsmen in the Caribbean have done less but have received immediate recognition - house, land, keys to the city - from their respective governments. Hasn't Rihanna accomplished what successive ministers of culture have asked young Barbadians to aspire towards?
Come, come! We can do better than this. Lay out the red carpet for a super star.
- JEROME DAVIS
TIGHTEN UP IMMIGRATION POLICY – OCTOBER 21 , 2007
BARBADOS is undoubtedly one of the most developed of the developing countries in the world. Fortunately for Barbados, it can draw on the failures and successes of the developed countries of the world as it continues on its path to being recognised as a developed country.
Recently Barbados has been in the grips of a very passionate and heart wrenching debate on the question of Guyanese immigrating to these shores. It is unfortunate that the debate remained at the level, which it did. One would have hoped that Barbadians would have lifted the level of the debate to focus on the whole question of immigration in Barbados and the need for a new policy.
The United States and Canada, two large countries, have for years been magnets to people from all over the world. As a result, these two countries have put measures in place to regulate and monitor the flow of immigrants to their shores. Persons living in these countries are either citizens, landed immigrants, visitors, workers with work permits or illegal immigrants. To monitor these different categories of status, the relevant documentation is available - green card, work permit, landed immigrant identification papers and so on. Anyone not in possession of some form of document is easily identified as an illegal immigrant.
It is now high time that Barbados follows the tried and tested path of these North American countries and put in place, measures that are best suited to its own peculiarities and circumstances. Admittedly, Barbados has addressed the question of citizenship. One can become a citizen of Barbados by birth, by descent or by marriage.
It is my view that Barbados should set up a Citizenship and Immigration Department whose role should be to process applications for citizenship and for residency.
To this end, comprehensive criteria and regulations should be set out so that non-nationals would be aware of the requirements for becoming either a Barbadian citizen or permanent resident. As a result, every person living in Barbados should be in possession of a document reflecting his or her status. Citizens would be in possession of a Barbados identification card, permanent residents would possess a resident of
Barbados identification card, persons on work permits would carry the relevant work permit and so on.
The right to vote should be addressed also. It is my view that the right to vote should be limited to citizens of Barbados. This being the case, provisions would have to be made for permanent residents to qualify for citizenship. The criteria for such would have to be debated and well thought out, and may require that such persons applying for citizenship be residents of Barbados for a specific number of years, among other things.
The identification cards given should indicate the type of citizenship granted. The granting of such status should be made with the understanding that it could be revoked. In revoking such citizenship the department should take into consideration breaches such as absence from the country, deportation, criminal acts and so on.
With the Caricom Single Market and Economy around the corner, Barbados has got to move hastily to put its house in order to ensure that the country remains the paradise it is for all Barbadians.
An exercise as outlined above will be a massive undertaking since all non-nationals currently living here would have to be processed to ensure that they are properly recognised and documented. However, once done, future processing would be far easier and more routine.
E. JEROME DAVIS
REFORM HEALTH CARE SECTOR – MAR 4, 2007
IT'S A CASE of "water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink".
At 10:30 p.m. when the four-year-old passed away at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), approximately 200 doctors were probably having dinner and six polyclinics and approximately 20 private clinics and medical centres were closed.
It is sad that the onus is placed on a handful of doctors at the QEH to respond to and to save the entire nation after 7 p.m. daily. On public holidays it is even worse.
It is then that the QEH is expected to cover the nation's population and the visiting tourists over a 24-hour period, while all other medical personnel slumber.
Patients are forced to attend the Accident & amp; Emergency Department at the QEH with non-emergency ailments - headaches, back pains, colds, cuts and bruises because doctors' offices and medical clinics
The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners must sit down with Government to rationalise the provision and availability of health care in Barbados.
The QEH alone cannot be made to take the blame for the unavailability of health care in Barbados.
- E. JEROME DAVIS
‘SMALL MAN’ GIVING GOVERNMENT A BAD RAP – 13 FEBRUARY 2006
THE GOVERNMENT OF BARBADOS continues to take a lot of licks due to the inefficiencies of small contractors.
The revelation by Albert Brandford last week of the Auditor-General's report on St Leonard's Boys' School is testimony to this. Government, over recent years, has been bending over backwards to accommodate the "small man" but to its own detriment.
In fact, Government has been very gracious in not identifying and condemning these small contractors.
As a result of its efforts to assist small businesses, Government has been faced with cost overruns, protracted completion dates and unsatisfactory work. As a result, it has been exposed to much criticism from the Democratic Labour Party.
Truth is, much of the criticism and attacks levelled at Government should be reserved for the small contractors who have been given a chance to partake in some of the economic pie. Unfortunately, some of them have failed to live up to their contractual obligations.
The public should therefore be cautious when condemning Government for awarding contracts to larger and more competent contractors.
- E. JEROME DAVIS
BANKING POLICY NEEDS REVIEW – JAN 10, 2007
I AM CALLING on Government to make it mandatory for banks to give clients the option of assigning beneficiaries to their accounts. The over $800 000 in "abandoned funds" listed by Scotia Bank in THE NATION newspaper on January 4 is a clear indication that present banking policy is inadequate.
Among the names listed by Scotia Bank were deceased persons with individual accounts of $86 803.91, $117 986.60, $84 570.63 and $79 601.80. This would hardly ever happen in the credit union movement. The credit union, unlike banking institutions, makes provision for joint membership as well as for beneficiaries.
There are many elderly people who would love to put the names of relatives on their bank accounts in case they die, but are afraid to do so for fear that those who are dishonest might cheat them of their hard-earned savings.
I have had the sad opportunity to witness old women crying before banking officials on realising that the relatives on their joint accounts had skimmed off all their savings. What was further distressing in these cases was that the affected people had now to seek the approval of the said culprits to have their names removed. What folly!
The outdated requirements by banking institutions also deter many overseas nationals from opening accounts here in Barbados, since they would only have the joint account option. A change in policy could result in an increase in accounts helped by overseas nationals and greater foreign exchange for the country.
- JEROME DAVIS
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