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    October 22

  • 03:00 PM

Snake oil sellers

Harry Russell,

Added 22 October 2012


Out of the mouths of babes some serious statements are framed. The SUNDAY SUN of October 14 contained some troubling words despite the long-awaited “awakening” of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). Those words seem to represent people islandwide. First of all, my friend Sir Roy Trotman is reported to have made his feelings quite clear – as usual: “I feel very strongly about the Barbados National Bank (BNB) now being the Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.” He is a former director of the Barbados National Bank. I would not be surprised if, in the mad scramble for money, our present Government sells existing shares and “invites” the National Insurance Board to sell its too in Republic Bank. The Wild Coot had no pressing reason to leave Jamaica in 1977. He was euphoric with the idea of Tom Adams having Barbadians own part of the fulcrum of the economy. I am on a sabbatical mission to oppose the sale of BNB and the dismantling of the Barbados Mortgage Finance Corporation. I predict that, somehow, businesses with Trinidadian connections or ownership will be “constrained” to gravitate towards Trinidad banks. I will always maintain that BNB’s sale was a mistake of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP); and it will be a mistake of the DLP to sell existing shares primarily to satisfy budget overspending. Therefore, I agree with Sir Roy and I strongly maintain that the ethos of Trinidad and Tobago is different. I only check the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation these days for the weather when I cannot get it otherwise. Without apology, I agree with Shantal Monro Knight’s comment: “I struggle to understand how educated people would think that using a national television station in such a manner was either appropriate or would find favour with an educated population.” And she goes further: “I hate to think that I would become one of those people for whom every criticism is seen as an attack; that I would lose perspective on what is fair comment deserving of fair consideration.” She added: “Herein lies the problem with representative democracy – accountability is left up to the mood and fancy of politicians.” Atta girl! Mr Carl Moore was not left out: “I am not impressed with the DLP’s performance, but I see no point in hounding Mr Stuart. Some of the very characteristics so many Barbadians detest in the man can be found in ourselves; we talk and procrastinate and are unable to act. Other times, like him, we keep silent.” Atta boy! Mr Pat Hoyos also had his say on Miss [Mia] Mottley’s efforts to guide Mr [Donville] Inniss: “But because we build this modern society on these two planks (education and health), politicians are noticeably coy about saying how they plan to deal with them now that they are costing so much to operate.” Of course, Mr Peter Wickham had no compunction in airing his clinical deduction: “This is the first occasion since CADRES has been undertaking public opinion polls that a sitting Prime Minister (who has not signalled his intention to demit office) has been less popular within his party.” So in this regard I am like columnist Mr Moore. Since returning to Barbados I have voted BLP, DLP, and National Democratic Party each time according to whom I perceive would best run the country. On the question therefore of snake oil sellers, we need to have a new prescription that our Minister of Health should consider adding to the list of locally approved drugs and save needed foreign exchange. “Snake oil” became a generic name for many compounds marketed as panaceas or miraculous remedies, whose ingredients were usually secret, unidentified, or mis-characterized and mostly inert or ineffective. So, who is peddling remedies of snake oil?   Ask the late Carew, if you can find him. • Harry Russell is a banker. Email quijote70@gmail.com.


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