EDITORIAL: It’s time we embrace new ideas
FOR THE PAST EIGHT YEARS Barbados has been under an economic cloud given the turbulent financial challenges it has been facing.
It has been a period of hardship, increased taxation, job cuts and wage stagnation, among many things.
Barbados clearly needs new big, hairy, audacious goals to help take the country out of its economic tailspin while giving people an opportunity to show their commitment to the nation.
It is against this background that suggestions made last week by businessman Ralph “Bizzy” Williams and economics lecturer Troy Lorde to build three new islands off Barbados are to be welcomed. It is about doing new things and doing them differently.
Most importantly, these ideas are being driven by the private sector, often criticised and vilified.
The suggestions come at the right time; on the eve of the annual debate of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure – a time for elected Members of Parliament to speak to these and other bold ideas; to offer their support and to ensure facilitation.
It is clear that Barbados needs to stop thinking small. It is equally important that there must be a sense of urgency in transforming these bold ideas into action.
So while the idea of creating three or four islands offshore may seem a little outlandish, the truth is we need to do things radically different if we are to stand out in the Caribbean.
This is not a case where business executives, academics or the political elite only have to be on board, but one which needs to have a level of intensity from an unrelenting population. That interest must begin today, continue tomorrow, the next day and the next, and then for every day thereafter.
The country needs innovative and workable ideas in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of Independence in 2016.
Many people across Barbados today are angry given how badly things have skidded so far off the roadway. They are anxious and must be convinced that the country in this time of economic difficulty needs a clear message focused on big ideas dealing with issues like full employment, enhanced health care, access to free education and poverty alleviation, and those big ideas distilled right here. We need to make these matters central to the national debate.
It is during this time of hardship that Barbados must be at its best. The petty differences that divide us in normal times must not linger. We need to embrace new ideas.
During this week’s Estimates debate, we do not need Dems and Bees, only Barbadians. Together is the safest way to get through these challenging times.