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GUEST COLUMN: Estwick’s new challenge

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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WITHOUT A DOUBT, when Prime Minister David Thompson announced his Cabinet reshuffle on Thursday night, he divested himself of some of his ministerial portfolios. Now he can more ably deal with the physical challenges brought on by his illness. 
I wish Prime Minister Thompson well and I will continue to pray for his restoration to full health and strength.
As is his normal custom, Prime Minister Thompson on Thursday night left us with words of encouragement, charging us to unite with love as a family to bring this country out of its economic crisis. With any address from Mr Thompson you are left with a sense of hope. 
If people would take the time to listen to his messages and recognise the vision he has for this country, Barbados would be on the right course.
Then, immediately following the Prime Minister’s address, national attention turned to Dr David Estwick’s being assigned the portfolio of Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business; and more so from the view of possible fractures within the Cabinet and Government. 
In a few short minutes we had forgotten the request our Prime Minister had made of this nation. Let me refer to that part of Mr Thompson’s message which we pushed aside:
“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 1960s and 1970s, 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.”
Every Barbadian should take this message to heart  and try to incorporate it into their daily activities and in every utterance. 
I think Dr Estwick will do a great job as Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business. The grouping of the ministries contains all of the sectors needed to make our economy more resilient to external shocks.
We cannot continue to accept that when the United States sneezes, we catch a cold. We must develop these industries in Barbados to the extent that they make a meaningful contribution to the GDP and become foreign exchange earners.
So, Minister Estwick, embrace the challenges. You have shown that you are the man for the job. Do not see this placement as a demotion, but more so as the best utilisation of your skills.  We know that you have the interest of the country at heart.
Now, on to the next challenge, modernising the industries under your new portfolio so that they can be productive and contribute to the development of the Barbados economy. As I see it, the Prime Minister sees you as the man to create the drive to take Barbados out of this recession.
The best of luck with your new task, Dr Estwick. Team Barbados supports you. Alex Ryan is a letter writer to THE Nation.