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Beautiful, beautiful Barbados, as the great Merrymen sang years ago. Emile Straker himself can tell you that what obtains today is in direct contradiction to his glowing lyrics.
Let me highlight some of the “beautiful” things that obtain in this country which any Government ought to fix.
Since 1975, the ability to have two pensions was terminated. Right now if you get a Government pension from the Treasury, you cannot get one from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) – even if there were funds. So having paid contributions to NIS for over 40 years, I cannot get a red cent from them.
Furthermore, if I opt to take any NIS before the age of 67 and a half years, it is deducted from the Treasury pension, so that I end up with the same amount. Furthermore, if I took from NIS at 61 years old, I get a reduced rate and CANNOT work, which has to be supported by a signed affidavit. No survivors can get anything until I die, which would also be a reduced aggregate per month.
This is wrong and needs fixing. Beautiful, right?
Under such circumstances, one would think that titles would help. No, they don’t.
I am a Crop Over stalwart (for one year only), a nobody afterwards. I am a Music Awards Cornerstone recipient and more recently, a Barbados Jubilee honoree, one of 50 amongst 270 000-plus people in this country. Winston “Cassius Clay” Yearwood is OBE and some other title.
My point is that none of these awards and titles carries any monetary entitlements or privileges. So in the bank it’s the same line as the others, same tax, same NSRL, and most of all, just as broke as others and struggling to make ends meet. Beautiful, isn’t it?
Cars and car parts carry almost a 210 per cent tax rate, so buying parts here is almost out of the question. So you try online. A part there for US$100 could cost as much as BDS$1 200. Then to ship to your US location it costs. When it gets here, there is the mark-up, plus environmental tax, plus VAT, plus duties and even duties on the shipping, which you have already paid twice. Isn’t that beautiful?
We are now big on eco this and eco that, green this and green that, and more so “healthy lifestyles”, but hello, the most healthy foods are very expensive, including good vitamins and vegetables . . . . An item for $5 in Miami is $30 here. Like gluten-free oats, for example. Why are these items taxed at all when we are being told to eat healthier? Beautiful, right?
Coming out of that is indiscriminate burning which, after ten years of clamouring, the fire department is now asking people not to burn garbage . . . . Isn’t Barbados beautiful?
– WAYNE ‘POONKA’ WILLOCK