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Delivering castor oil and sugar

Lynette Holder

Delivering castor oil and sugar

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I recall with none too fond memories as a child being subjected to the mandatory dosing of castor oil. In those days, castor oil was a tried and tested remedy for skin problems, gastrointestinal issues, and the hair.
What it was renowned for was its effect on constipation because it got things moving again.
Now, no man knows the hour when the Son of Man will return but fortunately for us we Barbadians have a sense of when our Budget is and what may be coming down our throats, a good dose of castor oil.
I don’t say this to make light of a serious matter, but simply to underscore what is all too apparent to me. The Barbadian economy is backed up, we are in a recession and we as Barbadians need to face up to the fact that hard decisions need to be made.
The Government and its economic advisors have already told us in very plain terms we have to cut $400 million from our spending. Immediately, like the child eyeing the spoonful of offending liquid, Barbadians from all walks of life started to protest and to speculate about how drastic these cuts would be and how damaging, among others. We spoke from a very personal and selfish perspective.
Yes, there will be periods of pain for all of us given the size of the cuts to be implemented, but this pain seems necessary. We have to look collectively at what we can achieve if the Government’s fiscal plan is able to realize its objectives.
All right-thinking Barbadians would agree that we cannot sit by and allow our economy to implode and our dollar to be devalued, not when we have the means and the collective will to effect a change course.
Barbadians were concerned about the VAT and public sector jobs. The Government has stated emphatically that these two issues are not on the front-burner in their plans.
We have to take them at their word. So what’s left? We still have to deal with the $400 million elephant in the room that will not go away. Will there be cuts in expenditure, revenue raising measures and consolidation of government resources?
I am confident that my fellow Barbadians will redouble their efforts no matter what the medicine and will work harder and more determined to ensure that all that our foreparents have fought for, all that we have struggled for will not fall by the wayside. That is one thing I am unshaken of in my belief.
Barbadians cry out because they have come to enjoy a standard of living that is second to none in the Caribbean. But we still have lots of work to do and it will start with accepting our own dose of economic castor oil to get our economy moving again.
Our grandparents always warned us we have to take the bitter with the sweet. This is now the time to listen to and accept these words of wisdom.
The social partners have been meeting to chart the way forward and rest assured that at the end of the day every one of us want the same thing, the very best for Barbados and its people. I will take my medicine, baulk at the taste and then get down to the task of making Barbados better for all.