TONI THORNE: Not a fan of shaming others into payment
THE STUDENT REVOLVING Loan Fund (SRLF) was trending all week since they published the names of defaulters in last week’s Sunday Sun. Such a drastic measure was met with much comment. I heard fellow columnist Jeff Broomes state that he agreed with the Fund because the defaulters’ actions can be likened to stealing.
I saw many unforgiving Facebook statuses calling out peers who were listed for their “awful ways”. One person was the topic of much conversation on Twitter for “balling and being at every fete” and not having their priorities in order to repay the loan. I didn’t know who they meant, but I felt sorry for the person.
Equally, I was told of persons who simply could do no better and could find no reasonable way at this time to repay the loan. I also saw statuses where persons felt that the Fund had acted incorrectly and should never “shame persons into payment”. One educator stated that the effort will never work because embarrassment is never a tool that will encourage persons to pay. In the same voice, the person stated that had he been listed, he would have found the money within a week for fear that the next move by the Fund would be to publish the pictures. “We Bajans is get shame quick!”
A month ago, a close family friend told me about an instance where he signed for a “friend”. He had to repay the $50 000 that she defaulted on and skipped the country. When he finally contacted her, she curtly said she could do nothing about it. She neither seemed concerned nor offered to assist him in making the payments. As a result, the recent article with the sureties who were being sought out by the Fund came as no surprise to me. For this reason, I shall never sign on the dotted line for anybody. There are some lessons one need not have to learn by experience.
I am curious about certain things as it relates to the list. Are the persons listed all defaulters or sureties? What criteria was used to list persons? I am hopeful that the process for listing persons was indeed above board and not a case where some people are punished whilst some are excused.
Ideally, I am not in support of shaming people into payment. However, I believe that this method was a last resort by the Fund and sometimes hard decisions must be made which will never be pleasing to all. I would not be surprised if the list is published within two weeks and it is considerably shorter.
I feel for those persons who legitimately are unable to make the payments. I took a bank loan for my law degree and once it is repaid have vowed to never take out another loan for education. The next time I walk up to a loans officer would have to be for a mortgage. That said, I am curious about what efforts have been made by defaulters who say there is nothing that they can do.
I have been late in my bank loan payments in the past. Being self-employed, cash flow issues would arise. However, if this had been for a prolonged period, without any shame I would have found myself in a Burger King serving chicken nuggets to repay my loan. Sometimes we have to swallow our pride and do work which we may otherwise think is not commensurate with our degrees to pay the bills.
If there are persons who are on the list and are willing to spend their money not honouring their commitment to the SRLF and are otherwise living it up, you are being selfish. There are other persons who need and depend on the loan and it is the proper and decent thing to do to repay your loan.
Finally, to the Fund, I hope that you are able to recoup the monies owed. Many Barbadians have been afforded excellent futures because of your programme.
Good luck to all stakeholders in this issue. Happy Sunday.
Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global
Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email: [email protected]