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AS I SEE THINGS: Reflection time

Brian M. Francis, [email protected]

AS I SEE THINGS: Reflection time

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AS BARBADOS APPROACHES its 50th anniversary of Independence, every resident and citizen as well as those who simply have an emotional connection to the country should see this critical milestone as a timely opportunity for solemn reflections on everything that has transpired in the economy and society over the past five decades of nationhood.

That call is being made against the backdrop that in as much as such a small country has been able to achieve so much on the socioeconomic front, there are currently many challenges looming over our shoulders and heads that have the potential to disrupt life in Barbados to which many have become accustomed.

Let’s face it. Barbados has evolved into a stable, enviable democratic society; built upon massive investments in, inter alia, education, health care, physical and human resources and social programmes.

The economy has had many ups and downs along the way but scores of high-cost services provided by the Government remain intact.

That is indeed a remarkable achievement for a country the size of Barbados with such limited financial resources.

Interestingly though, the economic performances recorded over the past eight years are now bringing into direct focus the issue of sustainability of several things including the ability of the state to continue to maintain many of the social programmes, most of which were designed to help the poor and vulnerable.

This “reality check” is noticeably creating an inevitable scenario in which all should now be asking this simple question: Should Barbados continue to provide the vast amount of services currently in place to residents and citizens at low or no cost to recipients?

You may be very disappointed to learn that no effort is being made to answer that question in this piece. Instead, I pose the question in the context of reflection time for all Barbadians.

Indeed, the economy and society are being transformed right in front of our very eyes.

Sadly, many of the issues before us are not positive.

Hence, we all have a duty to not only demand change but to also chip in to help carve out a new direction for the country.

By addressing the question, we would all put ourselves in better positions to contribute to national discourse on important matters for our own well-being and survival.

To adequately secure a decent quality of life for ourselves and generations to come, we also have to call on all of our leaders in Government, the churches, trade unions, employers’ federations, chamber of industry and commerce, political parties, community groups, sporting and cultural bodies and other nongovernmental organisations to reflect on the past while contemplating policies, strategies, plans and programmes for the future.

Historical lessons should not only be remembered but used as a basis for policy formulation and strategising.

After all, to ignore the past or to fail to incorporate lessons into the things we do to achieve further progress, economically and socially, will be yet another major setback in our quest to transform our country for the benefit of all.

Such a failure would be a grave tragedy in this our 50th year of independence.

Email: [email protected]