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WILD COOT: What rating?

Harry Russell

WILD COOT: What rating?

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Barbados is just shy of a downgrade by the same people who gave AIG (American Insurance Guarantee) a triple A rating just before the American people had to pump billions of dollars into it in order to save the industry and the economy.
True that our leaders sometimes behave like if they do not know what they are doing. For example, the heralded reconstruction of the health system that resulted in a saving of over $25 million is a Trojan horse. I, a pensioner, am now out of pocket $150 per month. Not only has the touted brilliant idea transferred the cost to patients but is seriously jeopardizing the viability of pharmacies. Why do the citizens pay taxes to the Government?
We have to understand that the ratings given by the agencies will affect us because the world takes cognizance of what the ratings say.
We have never reneged on a foreign debt and by some ingenuity of the imagination we have paid or restructured local debt – except, of course, for Mr Barrack; his debt should be about $80 million by now. Most of our fiscal deficit consists of local debt as we seek to maintain a noble cause (employment). At some point we shall have to bite the bullet.
If we call an early election we are probably admitting that things are going to get worse, so “let us fool the people now, rather than wait until 2013”. With the international ratings at our backs, we may have to cut our Civil Service sooner and therefore would be unable to get five more years now.
Although whoever wins the next elections will find the going rough; but the electors’ choice is limited. What my fellow columnist on Thursday may be gloating about may become his headache. We, the people, really have Hobson’s choice. Just like the gentleman up at Dodds.
In his case, by international conventions he should be sent back to Cuba. Cuba had us at its back for many years but its stance seems irresponsible.
Our fight should not be with the Barbados Government. We should take issue with Cuba. It is one thing to speak of the human rights of the gentleman’s plight, but every day we have provided him with food at the expense of the Treasury. That he refused to eat was his choice.
If I, for whatever reason, refuse to eat (and there are many issues that warrant it), and I die, what would human rights say? That it is the Government’s fault? That is my choice, as it is with the Cuban gentleman.
But, Wild Coot, said an online sister, Barbados is a humane country and we have to acknowledge that the man has served his sentence and deserves his freedom.
We cannot set him loose in Barbados, just as we cannot set loose our brothers and sisters from Guyana and Jamaica who serve sentences. We therefore have to find an enclosure where the gentleman can have the illusion of freedom.
One other thing concerns me these days and it is the separation of church and state. While we have not gone the whole hog like America, we still maintain prayers to the Almighty at schools.
We say that this is a Christian country. Well, the late Gaddafi said that the whole of Europe would be Muslim soon. I am watching the case of America. I refer you to a site where a lady puts America’s current position succinctly. But did not the Christians travel the same path once upon a time? Were they not as enthusiastic n their ministry and other ways?