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WILD COOT: Sad times!


Harry Russell

WILD COOT: Sad times!

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This column also wishes to pay tribute to the late Prime Minister David Thompson, a true son of the soil. McCauley said: “To every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late.” His time now, our time soon!
The desire to lead Barbados appeared to be an overwhelming one from his earliest days. He got his desire, and until his sickness he enjoyed the thrusts and parries of life in politics. It can be said that he, like Horatius, defended the Barbados Bridge with many a charging blow.
I met David Thompson the day after Errol Barrow died at the DLP headquarters on George Street. The faraway look in his eyes boded a plan to follow in Barrow’s footsteps in St John. Although he did not express his desire to me, it was obvious that the engine of his mind was in top gear.
I worked for a short time while he was first Minister of Finance, but our collaboration was short. Once or twice I spoke to him early in the morning as he cleared his previous day’s messages, but the most outstanding time was when he paid me a compliment.
It was at a lunch at the Crane Hotel where he often went with his wife and daughters. He usually sat in the far left hand corner. I played pan for the entertainment of the guests. Occasionally someone would stop by his table and exchange a few words. When it was time for him to get his lunch, he passed where I was playing and said: “But, Harry, I did not know that you had this talent.”
He had six months in which to commune with his Maker who we all have to face. May God have mercy on his soul.
With respect to the “economist crisis”, we are faced with a dilemma. Whom are we to believe, or whom not to believe? Who is the economic guru, and who will pontificate at the Oracle of Delphi? Will Zeus consult with Pluto? Will Eros fade away in the sunset? Did not Herod’s magicians turn their staffs into snakes just as Moses did?
I believe that the Central Bank Governor is the country’s chief watchdog Cerberus, and speaks with the backing of his crew who themselves are armed with the day-to-day statistics of the workings of the island. Any consulting this servant of the people does is with his highly qualified staff.
Outside of this, economists have an open gridiron and the sharks are after gaining territory. It is unfortunate that Mia has been set aside for later action (like dessert).
We the people know of her qualifications and abilities. Putting Owen Arthur to shadow Chris Sinckler is like sending 007 on a mission with licence to kill.
Owen will start by speaking in a strange language that poor Chris will be hard put to understand.
This does not mean that Owen is a magician. It is only that the language of a trained economist is like that of a scientist’s.
On the one hand . . . then on the other hand . . . and again on the third hand (or leg).
I am not saying that the new minister is in any way discombobulated. He will probably take to the new ministry like a duck to water. While ducks in the lake in Hyde Park are a protected species, ducks in the House of Parliament could be sitting ducks for economic opposition.
The Opposition spokesman will talk about visible balances and invisible balances; about the quantity theory of money. He will offer that the quantity theory of money being summarized by equation of exchange MV+M’V’=PT;
he would suggest that it seemed logical that if an unbalanced budget was a policy applicable to slump condition (such as we have now) then the fiscal policy suited to an inflationary boom (such as we would wish, that is why we are in China) should be for a large surplus. Hence taxation in your skin!
Watch and see! Decisions that should be made are going to be very painful. Look at what is happening throughout Europe. Will politicians have the guts to take hurtful decisions now?   
• Harry Russell is a retired banker. email [email protected]

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