Christmas, New Year wishes
I do not want a lot this Christmas and because I know that things are pretty tight this year, the things on my Christmas wish list can be divided up and delivered by several different people or entities. Additionally, I have no problem with waiting until the New Year for some of my gifts.
1. My first wish is that the Salvation Army and several other charities, which support the neediest among us, will have cause to say that this has been the best Christmas season they have ever had. I hope to hear stories of how overwhelmed they were by the generosity of Barbadians who in the midst of all the Christmas spending, redecorating and gift-giving still found time to remember the needs of others.
2. I wish that a spirit of wisdom will fall on each and every household so that we will spend wisely and also be reminded that as a country we are facing tough economic times. All signs suggest that the economic situation will only worsen. The New Year, which we traditionally ring in with much merriment, will be one in which hard decisions have to be made if this country is to remain stable.
3. I would be happy if this same spirit of wisdom would rest in double doses on the politicians who run and will run this country in the coming years. I hope that they will begin to treat the population like thinking, intelligent beings and do away with the rhetoric and flippancy on national issues, which help to inflate their egos but do nothing to address the systemic concerns facing this country.
4. I wish that the coming election season will be dominated by critical issues and concerns and that as a people, we will demand serious debate from our potential leaders, rather than allow them to beguile us with unrealistic election promises and handouts. I look forward to innovative ideas for restructuring this economy and society that allows for the full productive use of its resources.
5. In 2013, I would like to see the rise of a new cadre of national and regional leaders with a strong vision and the intestinal fortitude to grasp the promise of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and push ahead with an innovative and relevant development agenda for the region. I hope that this new cadre of leaders would realize that the revamping of the CARICOM Secretariat and being accountable for their own commitments cannot be a cosmetic exercise carried out only through the release of declarations and flowery speeches.
6. Instead of talking and pontificating about entrepreneurship and innovation, I would like some actual commitment to the cause through the removal of institutional, regulatory and financing barriers which stymie the inherent capacity for brilliance which lies barely tapped in this country.
7. Can a champion of consumer rights arise in the New Year? I want a champion so strong and loud-mouthed that both the private and public sector will be scrambling to get their houses in order. I look forward to better quality customer service, the cobwebs and dust being swept away from some phones so that they are actually answered, and goods and services working and lasting long enough to justify the money paid.
8. With just a couple of days to go before Christmas, I am still wishing for someone to point me to a place with a turkey and ham that I can afford. I would also accept a couple of reasonably priced curtain panels as opposed to feeling like I need to get a bank loan to change my three-year-old set. Generally, I wish that prices in Barbados would make sense.
9. I hope that the coming school term will be a new start for the long-suffering students at Alexandra School, propelling that school to even higher academic and sporting achievements.
10. Finally, I wish that many of us will reflect on all that God has done for us in spite of our own failings. I hope that God’s grace will continue to abound over this island and that we will remain protected and sheltered for the coming year.
• Shantal Munro Knight is a development specialist and executive coordinator at the Caribbean Policy Development Centre. Email [email protected]