Enjoying retirement, trying new things
by Stacey RussellHIS EXPERIENCES in Barbados over the last three years kept joy in his heart and a smile on his face and he intends to continue his life without grief in Washington, DC. Economist Dennis Jones, who spent the last three-and-a-half years here, left the island two weeks ago to carry on supporting his wife Therese Turner-Jones, also an economist, in a new professional posting in the United States. The former high-ranking official with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) did much more than enjoy the sand, sun and sea while in Barbados. If not of his own accord, he was induced by media like THE NATION to belt out numerous commentaries on the local economy. In fact, he became a noted contributor to BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.
On July 29, at Accra Beach Hotel & Resort, Christ Church, in the midst of organising his overnight accommodation before flying to the US the following day, he revealed in an interview that he was Jamaican-born and held British citizenship. His wife’s new job as programme coordinator of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) prompted the move here, Jones said. He said he had mixed feelings about taking up residence in Barbados with his wife and six-year-old daughter Rhian, leaving his 25-year-old stepdaughter Bronwyn and 23-year-old daughter Eleanor, both university graduates, to pursue their careers in the US.
“Barbadians whom I have met here – at every level, social or professional – I have found to be very nice. I’ve [also] met plenty of people who have harassed me, hassled me and made life more difficult than it needs to be. “I think everybody has their own way. “I think the way people solve problems here is interesting. They don’t always get to a solution and they sometimes find that they are stuck with a problem. . . . They are stuck in a way of doing things, which means that they can’t move,” he related in a pleasant tone. Jones, who worked with the IMF since 1990 and was the IMF’s resident representative in Guinea, West Africa, for three years prior to relocating to Barbados, resigned from the IMF approximately one year after moving here.
“Then, at the beginning of this year, I actually took early retirement. So I’m now a retired person. “I’m interested in anything to do with the economy. I have a young daughter to raise. “We have two older children in their 20s, graduates from university, and they are trying to make their way in the world of work and they need parenting of a different kind,” he said. Casually attired and seated with his daughter in his lap, Jones said he was happily retired “for the moment” and had ventured into the peevish world of financial markets as an investment manager. “I manage my own portfolio – pension fund and finances – and I do that through foreign exchange trading. I want to continue doing that certainly for the next year or two.
“I’m learning how to be a foreign exchange trader at a very advanced age. There is a lot to learn. There are people who have been in the business for 15, 20 years who still say that they have a lot to learn. “It’s not easy and there is a long way to go,” he said. Otherwise he is content to engage in “interesting” activities that allow him to expand his experience and knowledge, nor necessarily for personal gain. “To the extent that I can make a contribution that is appreciated, I will do so. If it is not appreciated, then I’m happy to sit at home on my balcony and do things with my children, my wife and my family,” he said.
At this stage of his life, Jones has few worries other than the failing health of his 80-year-old father who suffered a stroke back in Jamaica, and the general well-being of his wife’s relatives in The Bahamas, where she has her roots. “I don’t need grief. I have made my contribution to bureaucratic work and I have no interest in going back to an office and working for someone. I don’t see that I should give up the freedom that I now have, which is to work when I want to in a way that I want to, for reasons that make sense to me.“I think I’m a better person when I’m happy; I’m a better person when I smile, and I want to continue to do things that keep me that way.
“Being in Barbados has helped to keep that smile on my face a lot of the time. “I’m very thankful to the people who I’ve met and who have been kind to me. And those who have not been kind to me, I’m not angry at them,” the former IMF economist said.