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ON THE OTHER HAND: Wheel and come again


Peter Laurie

ON THE OTHER HAND: Wheel and come again

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Building a new hospital at Kingsland is a bad idea.
I have nothing against Kingsland, but a hospital should be in Bridgetown where there’s maximum popular access. A capital isn’t a capital without a major public hospital. Also imagine dissing Historic Bridgetown in the year it’s designated a World Heritage Site!
There are numerous places in The City where a new hospital could be located. In fact, right next door to the present Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). Wheel and come again.
I’m not sure it makes sense to refurbish the existing QEH, as the Opposition suggests. Remember how a previous Government refurbished the old Hilton hotel at great expense and then knocked it down a few years later and built a new one?
The problem with refurbishing a non-residential building on a massive scale today is that the required electronic and other technologically advanced infrastructure is easier to incorporate into a purpose-built building. Wheel and come again.
It looks as if the Democratic Labour Party will lose the next election narrowly because of its failure to act decisively and keep the public informed of its vision for the country. But the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) seems not too keen to win. It should refrain from vicious attacks on the Governor of the Central Bank.
Dr Delisle Worrell is a highly respected public servant with an outstanding reputation for integrity and intellectual brilliance. Attacking him suggests that should the BLP be elected to office, it might start victimizing public servants whom it perceives to be too closely allied with the present Government. Wheel and come again.
Whatever the result of the election, public sector reform can no longer be put off. We have a bloated, relatively unproductive public sector. The time for cosmetic changes, mission statements and customer charters has passed. We need to transfer at least 20 per cent of the human resources of the public sector to the private sector where their productivity will be vastly enhanced. This can be phased in easily, efficiently and humanely over six to eight years under the guidance and supervision of the Social Partnership.
No need to reinvent the wheel: we have several models we can follow. Wheel and come again.
How come Pine Hill Dairy continues to sell ultra-pasteurized “cooked” milk under the misleading label of “fresh” milk? Most consumers understand “fresh” milk to be pasteurized milk needing constant refrigeration. Ultra has a shelf life of months without refrigeration.
How can that be “fresh”? Besides, “fresh” milk tastes superior to the “cooked” ultra. I understand why they switched: they saved loads of money from spoilage and refrigeration. But . . . how on earth could the Fair Trading Commission let them get away with this misleading labelling on a technicality? Shame on them! Wheel and come again.
When will the CLICO soap opera end? Nobody in goal? I sympathize with people who had normal insurance policies with CLICO. They should be reimbursed for any losses they suffered.
But it’s another matter for those who bought the executive flexible premium annuity plans with high interest rates that bore no relation to the market rates for fixed deposits. They made a risky investment and should not be bailed out by taxpayers unless they can prove the Government was negligent in allowing CLICO to sell such “policies”. Besides, CLICO has extensive real estate assets in St John that the Government could seize and sell.
I have no idea what the value of its agricultural land is, but it must easily have $10 million to $20 million worth of “rab” (non-agricultural) land alone. And there are enough other assets whose value, if converted into financial instruments of some kind or another, could pay off at least all Bajan creditors.
We can only get an impartial, objective solution if we’re sure that none of the people overseeing – in any capacity whatsoever – the winding-up of CLICO has any financial interest in the matter. So wheel and come again.
• Peter Laurie is a retired diplomat and commentator on social issues.

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