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WILD COOT: A baby boom

Harry Russell

WILD COOT: A baby boom

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The clarion call from the Minister of Education for more sexing in Barbados with an increase in babies, requires serious thought. Although it is exciting news, it may be another political red herring. It has to be directed at women 40 years and under – at least 15 years old.
A fellow recently stated in the papers that the population of Barbados, taking into account its size, should be 150 000. That is less than half of what the goodly minister suggested. Most of the criticisms of the proposal are coming from women, since they will be the ones out of commission during and after the procreation process.
What is surprising from the comments made is the emphasis on how hard the times are at present. We may extrapolate from these comments that women may not be averse to the procreation process, but want to be assured that the burden of seeing the output to maturity will not be left to them alone.
To be serious, the Wild Coot, who has done his bit (he has at least three) has been calling for an examination of the procreation habits for a long time. Because of the input of people coming to Barbados, whether region-wise or extra region-wise, we have been able to maintain a population of about 280 000. Even so, if we were not using artificial means, we would have surpassed that target long ago. Remember the articles published by me for which I got plenty of licks from the Muslims – Culture At Risk’ 21/6/10, and Children Deficit 29/4/13.
My burning question may be answered by the publication of the long-awaited census. What is the true procreation rate of indigenous couples in Barbados? Is our culture at risk from not procreating at the standard of 2.11 children per couple? This standard is scheduled to maintain the continuation of the native Barbadian race – whatever it is.
I wonder if the minister is privy to information from the census? Could it be that that is why he is advocating a sharpening of the sword by the men and a changing of the guard by the women? The argument that people are finding it hard to survive in these times or that the male species spread their seed without looking back may be valid. This latter point most of all may vitiate our minister’s plea for a 325 000 population in the near future.
Perhaps the minister is referring to the apparent unsubstantiated publication last year of the figure for procreation of Bajan indigenous women of 1.56 children per couple. How do we count half couples of a Bajan and a foreigner?
What might have provoked the call to arms could have been a finding that foreigners, as a reward for citizenship or an identification card, would support the present Government that granted them the “privilege”. This argument, coming from an old lady, seems farfetched and too political – or is it?
Our minister might perceive that with the increasing ageing of our population, the older folks, try as they may, will not be procreating. On the other hand, they will be consuming and depending on the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) or will be depleting the pension schemes of the private sector. There may have been a plot to kill old people. The plot may have been discovered and a new plan hatched involving the young brigade. Can it be that the minister has got actuarial figures for the NIS showing that Government borrowing and narrow investment strategies have depleted the Fund?
Who will be the men designated to start the procreation process? God help us if the politicians will abrogate this privilege unto themselves. Will a list be drawn up from men and women volunteering? Will the men and women have to have a particular IQ? What will the manner of consent be for the women seeing that 1.56 children per couple is the norm now?
Will there be incentives such as tax rebates or rewards of Government bonds or food stamps for those who exceed the prescribed procreation rate?
We need to corner the minister and get him to elaborate. He cannot drop a bomb like this without educating us.
What is the plan? We need to start tonight, according to my friend Carl.
Harry Russell is a banker. Email [email protected]