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AS I SEE THINGS: Economic solutions


DR BRIAN FRANCIS

AS I SEE THINGS: Economic solutions

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The latest report from the Central Bank of Barbados, Moody’s response to the said report, and the imposition of the municipal solid waste tax, have once again brought to the fore interesting discussions about the true state of the Barbadian economy and how exactly we as a serious people should approach the problems to be resolved for the good of the country.
One amazing suggestion is that the time has come for all of us to put politics and political parties aside and work together in the interest of the development of Barbados by finding the right economic solutions to the major economic problems facing the country at present. In as much as I am in total agreement with that notion, I am yet to fully understand and appreciate how precisely that objective is to be achieved.
Indeed, it is one thing to raise objections to those who constantly criticise policies that are being pursued in the name of the people and which are designed to bring relief to struggling individuals, sectors, industries, and the economy as a whole. Yet, it is quite another story in itself to ask people to come together, cast differences aside, and bring ideas to the table that are designed to transform the socio-economic landscape of this beautiful country. Clearly, therefore, if we are to adopt the latter strategy, there must be strong leadership coming from somewhere. In the present economic environment, that leadership ought to come from the Government. Otherwise, there is likely to be more confusion than solutions.
To be clear, the kind of leadership to which this author refers does not necessarily imply that the Government has to be the initial source of all ideas. Instead, Government simply has to take the lead responsibility for ensuring that mechanisms are put in place to guarantee that once ideas are generated they can be fully explored by as wide a cross-section of interests as possible, culminating in policy formulation and implementation. Even though this idea might appear complicated, it really isn’t and hence can easily be formalised.
Take the case of culture, for instance. In last week’s SUNDAY SUN, Mac Fingall presented 13 ideas he thinks can benefit the country with respect to the development of the Crop Over Festival and our cultural industry in general.
Whether the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) agrees or disagrees with the suggestions is not at all relevant. The important thing is that given the quality of the ideas, the NCF would be wise to bring all of the major players together to discuss the proposals coming from Fingall with the goal of reaching a consensus on the way forward. That, to me, is what sound leadership by the NCF would be about in this specific case.
This example in the case of culture is exactly what we need in Barbados if we are to find meaningful economic solutions to our present economic problems. Whether they come from the Government, the official Opposition, private sector, trade unions, churches, or other organisations and institutions, the fact is that ideas must first be put on the table and then open to scrutiny through a formalised mechanism before becoming official policies. 
As the lotto slogan says, “You have to be in it to win it”.  Let’s all forever be reminded of those simple but decisive words of wisdom.
 

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