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Bajans must live within their means

shadiasimpson, [email protected]

Bajans must live within their means

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WHEN OUR POLITICIANS are removed from the hustings and are outside of the heat of trying to score points over their rivals, it is heartening to hear the kind of wise counsel that they offer for the upliftment of this country and its people.
A case in point was the content offered by members of either side of the divide in the House of Assembly on Tuesday. More specifically, there was a call for people to be more self-reliant and stop looking to the state for almost everything – from birth to death.
Barbadians once had a reputation, not only at home but certainly across the region, for our pride and industry. Our people saw those things as important in trying to pull themselves up sometimes from the most adverse circumstances. So  today, many of the people who have become successful can speak of the trying times  experienced during their youthful days and those of their family and friends. It was the sweat of their brow, the tremendous sacrifices made and the vision of a better tomorrow that drove most people.
In recent times, we seem to have become a society driven by mendicancy. This is evident by the constant demands for Government to provide housing, grant funding, support families, even in cases where kith and kin are around and  in a position to help. But when help is  not readily given, then the feeling is that public exposure will bring shame on those who fail to meet the demands.
Unfortunately, some of this mendicant behaviour has been driven by the political class and their cohorts over many years. Some of them have given people the false belief that the state’s resources are there for the taking, failing to explain that there is no free lunch; so while one man eats without worry, another man must pay. That is part of the burden of the taxpayer.
So it was gratifying to hear our politicians yesterday point out to the people that, regardless to their economic circumstances, they need to help themselves. People must be told the plain truth, whether from the floor of Parliament or at the political branch meeting; whether in church or a social gathering: Government cannot provide it all, either during these tough economic times or when things are good. Yes, we will have cases of abject poverty and circumstances and situations where the state must provide the safety net, but it cannot be for everyone without care or consideration.
We need to appreciate that at the root of much of this problem of mendicancy is not only the loss of pride among a growing number of people but the adoption of a lifestyle that is neither realistic nor sustainable. We need a reality check, which suggests we must live within our means.