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New books of importance to our nation

Barbados Nation

New books of importance to our nation

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During this past week two books were published and released in our country. One was written by Dr Jean Holder, a former permanent secretary and diplomat and is called An Intimate Portrait Of The Rt Excellent Errol Walton Barrow. It is a timely publication in the month when we celebrate National Heroes Day; the late prime minister being one of our national heroes.

The other book is by international tax treaty negotiator Fran Hendy-Yarde who has worked in the Ministry of International Business and who has now put her learning and experience into the publication of a new work entitled Tax Diplomacy: An Introduction To Tax Treaties.

Both these books will enhance the public interest because in the first place they will both inform the public about things that matter greatly to our country. We are not far from celebrating our 50th year of Independence and biographical appreciation of the views and policies of our first prime minister who negotiated our Independence from Britain would be of more than ordinary interest. So too would we benefit from gaining a deeper understanding of the reasons behind some of his innovative social policy initiatives.

It is difficult managing any economy especially small ones emerging out of the energy draining snake pit of colonialism, and the struggles and compromises of those early days as seen through the eyes of the leader in those times would be a compelling addition to our  understanding of how we got from there to here, and indeed how we should approach present problems as we assess and move on to future enhancement of the social good.

Our elders used to say that experience cannot be bought over a shop counter, and moreover that it is a good teacher. In the absence of an autobiography of Mr Barrow himself, we are indebted to Dr Holder for affording us something of a cockpit view of how our first prime minister approached some of the major challenges which he faced.

In this context we are heartened that two of our prime ministers still alive are hard at work producing their memoirs. Once completed these works will also be national resources on which we can all draw, and Dr Holder’s suggestion that the NCF might be used to facilitate the publication of local books has much merit, especially when we think of prime ministerial memoirs.

Mrs Hendy Yarde’s book is an important and special publication. It is also timely. Given the current economic climate, this country has a clear need to maximise its development of the financial service sector.

Our national strategy is a treaty-based one and clear and profound  understanding of the treaty networks of this country and the international tax planning debate currently taking place will be enhanced by study of this new and important work. Tax Diplomacy therefore fills an important niche in our national offshore strategy.

Our very small marketplace makes publication of local books expensive, but the effort must be encouraged. The public benefit of these two publications cannot be overemphasised.