Response to Dr Tennyson Joseph

Dear Editor:

Allow me to respond to Dr Tennyson Joseph’s concerns about employers as political candidates.  Dr Joseph used the classic debating tactic of redefining a critical concept to one that is popularly offensive, ascribing the offensive concept to his respondent, and then vehemently criticizing the offensive concept to the expected delight of the public.  I too was cheering him on as he railed against his defined “employer class”, but the public deserves to know that he was simply arguing with himself, much like Hartley Henry.

There have always been irresponsible employers.  Caribbean history is replete with the accounts of trade unionists who challenged the oppressive employers, often at great personal sacrifice.  Those giants of a past generation are publically acknowledged as national heroes and Caribbean icons.

Many households are familiar with the almost daily complaints of their family-members about their greedy, irresponsible, ignorant, cheap, wasteful, incompetent, but powerful employers, who may have laid them off in order to maintain profit levels.

Irresponsible employers may no longer physically oppress persons directly.  Rather, they use the political system to displace their competitors.  This may be in the form of contributions to a political party in order to gain lobbying influence.  For example, they may lobby to make health and occupational standards that they have already achieved, mandatory, in order to increase the product development costs of their smaller competitors.  The government regulators may then be manipulated into believing that they are enforcing a public good, when they are actually forcing the smaller competitors to bankruptcy for the sole benefit of the irresponsible employer.  Removing smaller competitors normally results in higher priced products for public consumption.

Solutions Barbados does not want irresponsible employers as candidates.  Responsible employers care for the welfare of their employees, and readily accept reduced profits in order to maintain their employees.  Dr Joseph seems to believe that such employers are mythical.  I can guarantee him that they are not, and we plan to present 30 such employers as candidates for the public to consider.

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