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THE LOWDOWN: Let it begin with me

Richard Hoad

THE LOWDOWN: Let it begin with me

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Dear Prime Minister,
Let me be among the first to offer congratulations. My beloved wife has insisted all along that you are the one to lead Barbados in 2013. History shows that when choosing men, she settles for none but the best.
However, tone down the victory celebrations. Let not some Bajans gloat at winning over other Bajans at a time when the enemy is at our very gates. A black Barbadian of humble origins has been chosen to lead us in preference to another. So be it. Keep your celebrations for five years hence when we shall have reaped success.
By the way, both parties should read the 2013 Salt Manifesto. We may not agree with a lot of it but he is at least trying to address long-standing problems.
I was struck recently by three revelations: first, a giant underground ant colony excavated in Brazil which in human terms would rival the Great Wall Of China. Go to the ant, thou sluggard, and consider that nothing is impossible if we work together for a single purpose.
Secondly, a similar message came through from watching Trinidad steel bands, some a hundred strong, performing at Panorama. Again a remarkable display of individual efforts being harnessed to a single end with telling results.
Finally, I read in THE NATION comics two weeks ago that “if all the muscles in the body could pull in one direction in one great heave, the force would equal 25 tons”! Twenty-five tons is like five old-time loads of canes. Or five of today’s well fed parliamentarians!
We can’t get all the muscles to pull in one direction, but just imagine if we could get our 275 000 Bajans working selflessly towards the betterment of our country.
That is your challenge, Prime Minister: to win over the civil servants who will pooch back because their party is not in power; the unions which give succour to lazy and indifferent workers; the politicians who encourage mendicancy by handouts and bending the law; the businessmen whose only god is the pursuit of profit without care for the well-being of workers or the good of their country.
The march to a better Barbados requires every Bajan to declare: “Let it begin with me” and put his shoulder to the wheel.
However, now that the election is over, we can relax a bit and “come clean” as they advise at this year’s Laff-It-Off. First off, a confession: I joined many other Bajans in the last five years in the lament that: “Boy, things hard!”
I was lying. The truth is that things haven’t been hard for me for some time now. Indeed, my wife would list that as one of her major complaints.
Secondly, I fully support privatization where that term means the transfer of Government-run enterprises to Bajan ownership and control. (I can never agree that national institutions like our Barbados National Bank should be sold to foreigners.)
And while I enjoyed the clip of the pensioner on the bus, I feel such automatic freenesses should stop. I am a pensioner. Sir Charles Williams is a pensioner. There are fully employed pensioners who can afford to pay bus fares. I can afford to buy a bus.
Why should well heeled people travel free, have their children educated, transported and school-fed free (with considerable wastage and teachers taking home food for their dogs), get free medical care and all the rest? By all means, help the needy. But don’t let us unnecessarily overburden taxpayers to provide housing and house repairs for those who can help themselves.
It is a sad reality that people only appreciate and value possessions that they have obtained through their own hard labour.
Enough of that. We farmers must continue the struggle with our “hi-tek” (as in, nuff stealing) agriculture. Government should look hard at the Salt remedy to this problem.
By the way, Chris Sinckler needs to go further than his apology and explain himself to the outraged gay community.
“Sincky knows I would take a stand behind him at the drop of a hat,” one told me. “Why did he say such unkind things about Poochie?”
“But ‘Poochie’ was a cat.”
“Don’t come with that, Lowdown! Cat is ‘Puss Puss’. He was not nice.”
Oh well, time to take back our country, Bajans. Yes, we can!
• Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.