Nation e-Edition

Happy days will be here again?!

Happy days will be here again?!

By Ricky Jordan | Mon, October 15, 2012 - 12:01 AM

THE BARBADOS Labour Party will win the next general election by a substantial margin and in a twinkling of an eye, all will be well in Barbados again, especially as far as the economy is concerned.

Happy days will be here again, and unlike many Democratic Labour Party sympathizers, I don’t believe the new Government will cut workers from the public service in order to jump-start this ailing economy. In fact, the economy will appear to be jump-started.

In terms of employment in the private sector, nothing will substantially change in a hurry since neither the next Prime Minister nor his chief economic spokesman possesses the magic wand that many Barbadians believe will usher in thousands of jobs lost in that sector over the last four years as a result of the international economic recession.

However, I expect money will be found almost immediately to pay the 40 000 policyholders and investors in CLICO International Life (CIL) and British American Insurance Company. That is because some wealthy BLP backers have been or will be encouraged to wipe out most of the approximately $300 million CIL bill in Barbados, which will in effect be an investment giving the new Government more than one term in office.

Such an investment for ten years in Government would only be a major upfront injection from a wealthy conglomerate but would be more than worth it for all parties in the long run.

If construction magnate Al Barack is not paid by then, the new Government will also do that, with the assistance of its private sector friends or by using a small portion of the untouched $2.8 billion in foreign reserves. Barack’s $70-odd million would make little or no dent in the reserves.

Four Seasons will become a private sector investment again, which would immediately jump-start things in the construction industry, creating jobs for hundreds of masons, carpenters and labourers. The knock-on effect would be relief for several families and an increase in spending on liquor and food in Oistins on weekends.

Barbados will quickly appear to be prospering again. Oh, happy day!

However, the major issues being trumpeted as massive shortcomings of the present administration will remain and will easily fall under the radar since they will forever be blamed on the DLP and seen as issues of the bad old days; and these include The Alexandra School imbroglio and the rigours of the Barbados Drug Service.

The former will be made to go down in history as another waste of taxpayers’ money and principal Jeff Broomes will be promoted to a position in the Ministry of Education, while the old scholars at the Speightstown, St Peter school will finally, and officially, be able to run their school as they see fit. Patrick Frost, Mary Redman et al will return to the woodwork.

The Drug Service, where Minister of Health Donville Inniss sought to tidy up costly administrative issues, will continue on its current path and those who now either have to wait for hours at polyclinics or use some of their retirement savings to pay for costly medication will be a necessary sacrifice.  

Truly, the DLP has become a victim of its own inability to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with its people – a weakness which can actually lead to its members speaking out of turn, giving so much fodder to the Opposition.

In fact, it was indirectly that inability, propelled by the priority of friendship over country, that led to Barbadians’ being assured, in the face of the crash of CLICO parent company CL Financial, that CLICO was “sound”, and delayed the instituting of judicial management long after other jurisdictions, including Trinidad, had brought in its judicial managers.

But we’ll move on, giving the Freundel Stuart administration the ignominy of being Barbados’ first one-term Government, and ushering in at least ten years of apparent prosperity, the revival of dominance of the “too-few”, ugly traffic flyovers, and more than a hint of the arrogance we had grown tired of by 2007.

Is this what Barbados needs now? Really? Seriously?

• Ricky Jordan is an Associate Editor of THE NATION. Email rickyjordan@nationnews.com

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