I CALLED MY FRIEND the other day and we chatted on matters of mutual interest for a while. I had known him for over 63 years. Then I told him that many people had called me and agreed with my stance that it was wrong to play fast and loose with the National Insurance money.
Be that as it may, I explained to him that as he had taken the brunt of public calumny and condemnation already, he might as well go ahead with the proposal.
Lend the money to Four Seasons. His interest rate would be better than that prevailing in the United States where base rate, according to the Feds, was close to zero. Besides, there were little or no other opportunities for investment in Barbados or the wider Caribbean, or even Europe.
The revelation that interest rates in the United States will remain almost zero per cent in an effort to get the economy going is of paramount interest to us. However, the prediction that rates may remain low until 2014 is certainly no consolation.
Low interest rates, as I have said many times, only to be contradicted by all and sundry, is most times followed by inflation. Low interest rates coupled with a sluggish decrease in unemployment in America does not bode well for Barbados.
Getting back to the National Insurance funds, support the Four Season project and move on. It will take a good while to recommence, stop the dilly-dallying and restart the project so that people could get a little “trallya” in 2012 and the Government can at least offer some jobs by 2013 – that is, if we get past December 20, 2012. By the way, are you ready? Are your garments white as snow?
Will integrity legislation be in force with maximum application by all high-standing officials?
The prediction that funds borrowed from the National Insurance and the IDB will complete the project is open to question and the question becomes more questionable the longer the delay.
Since we have been skinning “cuffings” the price of cement has gone up and so has the price of many other things. Go with what we have, as has been the case with other confused situations, hoping that Part 2 of our remedy will not be too costly.
My friend changed the subject. He wanted to draw my attention to the obnoxious comments from different parts of the world about the race for the Republican candidacy to contest against President Obama. The German Press asked: “How did a major party in the world’s sole superpower become a club of liars, debtors, betrayers, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses? These know-nothing are enabled by a US Press that has been neutered by demands of political correctness so that it can’t say what’s obvious.”
The British Press said that, “the American political system has seldom, if ever, looked so inadequate”, “the thrice-married, ethically-challenged Gingrich is unlikeable in the extreme. Which means the nominee will be Romney, the slimiest, phoniest opportunist to run for president since – well ever”.
Even the Republican New Jersey Chris Cristie said that Gingrich “is an embarrassment to the party” and that he “was run out of the speakership on ethics violation”.
I told my friend that our election system then is not too bad, and I encouraged him now that the furore is past the worst to take advantage of the lull in the eye of the storm.
• Harry Russell is a banker. Email [email protected]