WILD COOT – Harfleur again!
Like King Henry V, our present Prime Minister may be saying: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”; or perhaps: “Friends, Bajans, countrymen, I come to praise Caesar, not to bury him. Do not talk about a general election, he has brought golden opinions from all sorts of people which must be wornn their newest gloss not cast aside so soon”.
A daunting question might be: “Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valour as thou art in desire, letting I dare not wait upon I ‘would’ like the poor cat in the adage?”
More appropriate may be a quotation from a popular play: “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle towards my hand, come let me clutch thee, and on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood [taxes] which was not so before?”
In his plays, many of Shakespeare’s characters were in a similar position as that of our new Prime Minister. Should he call a general election now, or wallow in the trials of the next three years. To be or not to be, that is the question?
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (including the CADRES polls) and by opposing end them (by a general election)?”
Can he summon the troops with a clarion call, even command them to imitate the action of a tiger, stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage? Are their blood fed from fathers and mothers of canvassing proof?
Fathers like Errol Barrow et al from morn till even fought and have now sheathed (being sidelined) their swords. Let them be copy to men and women of grosser blood (the Opposition) and teach them how to war?
The ratings are down. The Opposition says that the country is in trouble management-wise; erstwhile economists here and abroad say that the country is in trouble fiscal-wise; our chief economist says that the country is not yet in trouble foreign exchange-wise; masons who worked for $150 a day would now wisely accept $100 per day. They all are honourable and wise men.
However, truth be told, there will be moaning and gnashing of teeth when the next Budget is presented. Perhaps we were hoping for a miracle (no hurricane?) since 2008, but that is not to be. Therefore we must face the music now.
We are all, with few exceptions, in the same boat. Here we feel but the penalty of Adam (work, when we can find it), and some men also find the treachery of Eve. But we will have to say “sweet are the uses of adversity, which like the toad, ugly and venomous” (food prices are going to go up as the price of grain and wheat internationally escalates).
But there is a dark side to increased taxation. I am sure that the taxation of 2008 exacerbated the tax arrears. Payment of National Insurance, Value Added Tax, Land Tax, Income Tax, Road Tax and insurance gave way to survival, making sure that cash flow got priority.
Therefore, a word of warning, unlike in Europe and like in Jamaica people will chose survival. A Budget might only be a wish.
Tax like lechery provokes and unprovokes; it provokes the desire but takes away the performance; thus tax is said to be an equivocator; it takes one and mars one, it stands one to and not stands one to, diabetics included. Be careful, Barbados may be filled with equivocators.
You know, sometimes I get my Shakespeare mixed up. Rumour has it that a certain minister was passing a heath in Barbados, when he heard voices.
“All hail thee, Thane of George Street, thou shalt be king hereafter!” To which the Minister replied: “Then I shall have to put rancours in the vessel of my peace in the constituency, and my two eternal jewels give to the common enemy of man.”Harold Russell is a retired banker. Email [email protected]