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Utopian draft


HARRY RUSSELL

Utopian draft

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SUKI COULD HAVE done better!
Since the Wild Coot did not get an invitation to the meeting of minds at the Hilton the other day, I begged an octogenarian lady friend who had a friend at the forum to secrete a copy of the 2013/2020 strategic plan. I duly perused it and after the first 15 pages could not believe my eyes. Then I started searching my library to see which book the draft was copied from.
Frankly speaking, I do not blame whichever people prepared and presented it to the minister, although whoever it was should be the first to be laid off, but I blame the minister for receiving it and having the gumption to present it, albeit towards the end of the session, to what appeared to be intelligent people.
The best that can be said is that the draft of the 2013/2020 Barbados Growth And Development Strategy is a hobbled-together hodgepodge of meaningless piddle in context of Barbados today, if we want to ”bless” the exercise with some merit.
How was a group – bowed down with economic woes, facing national catastrophe with its labour force and international shame for its junk bond status, anxiously awaiting a nudge after long prevarication to the way forward and prepared to overlook lies and deceptions, willing to forgive unforgiveable silence and inaction – given a stone instead of bread and a serpent for a fish?
The group expected a Government-led call to arms at a critical moment in history. The group expected a holding plan to get it out of the mire that we are in; concrete plans to effect reduction in expenditure; maybe a divestment of assets; short-term measures to stem the haemorrhaging of foreign exchange worsened since the beginning of May; measures to give tourism a boost; intensification of plans to give the Ministry of Agriculture incentives to feed ourselves and the rededication of the international sector to scour old and new territories looking for business hand-in-hand with the private sector.
All we got was a plea from the private sector and waffling from Government.
The draft Barbados Growth and Development Strategy is a textbook affirmation of what should be done in a Utopian world. The whole thing was a waste of time but I suspect that the Government had reasons for presenting it. They say, “Dem so damn stupid to put we back in, leh dem teck da.”
On the one hand, the union is saying not to lay people off; on the other hand, the private sector is saying not to raise taxes. So the Government is saying, “What to do, then?” Its own advisers hold diametrically opposing views. All the Wild Coot knows is that if you let loose a string of people now, there will be more chaos.  
On another subject, the fishing agreement between Barbados and Trinidad, our Prime Minister said on national television that there was process. I agree. Perhaps a protest! But the Wild Coot does not agree that the process should take longer than the average duration of a marriage or two people living together today, same-sex couples included.
Remember when we sent two august gentlemen posthaste to Trinidad back in the ’80s? Trinidad should state clearly that they have a problem with Tobago’s people not being prepared to accept any process and that Bajan fishermen should avoid Tobago waters or accept the consequences – being imprisoned and their boats and catch confiscated. Foolishness about a process! Fooling the people all the time!   
Can’t we see that Trinidad does not play by the rules? CLICO has put the whole Caribbean in a mess that it cannot get out of. Sorry – out of which it cannot get. In Almond they thought they were getting a princess, but when push came to shove and there was need to be in for the long haul like Briar Fox, they grabbed their tails and ran. Our businesses smell hell when trying to access their markets. Jamaica is so fed up with the imbalance of trade that some people are calling for a boycott. Can you believe that the Caribbean Court of Appeal headquarters is located in Trinidad but they will not join? Bajans, wake up! We getting it up front and down behind. Look at LIAT!
• Harry Russell is a banker. Email [email protected]

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