Posted on

EDITORIAL: Plan now for a better future


EDITORIAL: Plan now for a better future

Social Share

As we move almost seamlessly from observance of our Independence anniversary to the commencement of the tourism season, the last thing we should do is to take our significant progress over the last 60 years for granted.

Reflection will show us to have been a resilient people especially when we assumed control over our national affairs, and whatever may have been the neglect of our times under external control, our local political leaders have shown the kind of foresight from which our people, many of whom were unborn, are benefiting at this time.

If this fact is a tribute to the political class, then we must record that both the major political parties share in the praise and commendation, and this country is fortunate to have had leaders who planned for a Barbados beyond their times. It is what is known as visionary leadership.

As an example, it is reported that by the time this weekend passes, we will have had some 26 000 cruise ship passengers visiting our capital as passengers on nine megaships which will have docked at our harbour in the Bridgetown Port. Among these ships will be the Britannia and Mein Schiff.

Some will recall the fierce controversy over building the harbour. It resulted in the loss of the jobs of the lighter men who pulled the oars to bring imported goods from the ships docked way out to sea, as recently as the late 1950s when this country did not have a Deep Water Harbour for boats to come alongside the island as they do now.

Short-sighted criticism did not deflect the late Sir Grantley Adams and the Barbados Labour Party from pursuing their objective in establishing the island as a premier tourism destination.

No deflection

Neither did Mr Barrow (and his Democratic Labour Party) allow any criticism to deflect him from breaking new ground as he pursued deficit financing to enable him to deliver the socially enhancing and beneficial far-sighted policies in relation to secondary and tertiary level education, while advancing the development of the island’s tourism infrastructure, especially the airport.

We mention these achievements because the seeds of whatever present good fortune we enjoy had to be laid in the past, and we enjoin our present crop of politicians to bestir themselves at this critical time to espouse similar vision in declaring those plans which they envisage for the future and engaging public discussion thereon.

The paradigm shift from a sugar manufacturing and exporting economy was not achieved overnight, and speeches like the “no cane blade” speech formed a necessary part of the debate. Eventually the offshore sector has developed as a more than useful plank in the local economy; but the fruits of such vision will not always be immediately visible.

In this context we encourage further debate and public engagement on the policies and ideas surrounding renewable energy. Our energy policies, as a whole, are much too important to be glossed over. But renewable energy, in particular, needs to engage us in forward-thinking policies since it may have a direct impact upon the problems of environmental damage and climate change.

Perhaps as we consider those challenges, we may reopen and include the debate on the construction of two small islands off our West Coast. The history of our Deep Water Harbour  has shown the value of early planning.