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Chris needs a dose of reality


GRENVILLE PHILLIPS II

Chris needs a dose of reality

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MINISTER OF FINANCE Christopher Sinckler has a most challenging responsibility. He must consider competing interests and prioritise the spending of limited funds. 

He must also be careful to respect the concerns of sovereign rating agencies, creditors and the International Monetary Fund. Concurrently, he must defend his decisions in Parliament.

Mr Sinckler can be likened to a national boxer. The main difference in this analogy is that whenever he makes a bad decision, we suffer. When he spends more than Barbados earns, increases our national debt, manages another downgrade, or he lays off productive public workers, we suffer. When he will have no other option but to devalue Barbados’ dollar, we will grievously suffer.

At the end of each round, our beaten champion stumbles to his corner where he expects to find succour and strategic advice. He finds us, all of us. Our job is to fan him, to give him something to drink, to encourage him, to pray that God will grant him wisdom and understanding and keep him in good health. Why? Because he is the only champion that we have, and when he gets hit, we get hit. So we need him to succeed. We need him to win. So go Chris, go.

The question that begs an answer is this: why is he taking such a beating? Why won’t he defend himself, and us? The answer is simple. He is getting bad advice from his corner. While I and others are encouraging him to keep his guard up to prevent getting hurt, and to make strategic jabs to advance Barbados’ economy, he is given the lunatic advice to simply go out there, put his hands by his side and take the blows.

The advice assumes either that his opponent will have pity on him, stop fighting and award him some climate change funds, or that his opponent will get exhausted from throwing so many unanswered blows, and award him reparations. So far, they have not shown any inclination that they will respect our supposed moral high ground.

Why did he allow the European Union to beat him senselessly? What sense is there in accepting perhaps the worst trade deal that Barbados has ever accepted, in the form of the Economic Partnership Agreement? This deal will essentially give the Caribbean to Europe and return us to servitude.

Why allow Sandals to simply strike him at will? Does Sandals automatically receive concessions that its competitors do not automatically receive? If so, then they are permitted to legally and unfairly compete in Barbados’ market. When he went up against Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s rating agencies, it was a merciless slaughter, and they are still not finished with him.

We are currently in the ninth round of a ten-round match. Our champion’s legs are wobbly from the constant unanswered barrage. As he makes it back to our corner for one last round, he is hurt, he cannot think straight, and our opponents know this.

During late rounds, boxing coaches understand that the time for niceties has ended when they are trying to get through to an exhausted boxer. They tend to speak harshly in order to shock the pugilist into listening to his advice for one last round. This is instructive.

Chris is our champion. If he loses, then we all lose. We need him to win. Someone needs to shock him into the reality of what his continual losing means for us.

– GRENVILLE PHILLIPS II

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