Good News – Foreseen National Misery Can Be Avoided

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After assessing the damage caused to buildings from Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria, witnessing the heart-breaking misery of those who have lost so much, observing unrestrained looting of non-food items, and experiencing the halt to all national economic activity, I have returned to Barbados more convinced that we can avoid the foreseen national misery if we choose to.

The prevailing mind-set is that we cannot avoid such misery.  It is expressed in terms like: “what will happen will happen”, and “if the roof is to go, then it will go”.  This defeatist attitude that claims that homeowners can do nothing about foreseen threats explains the general absence of initiative to improve the resilience of our houses, which should be our primary shelters during natural hazards.

I bring good news. For despite the catastrophic building failures and the significant number of roofs damaged, there were many buildings that survived intact.  These buildings had several common features that can result in economical building improvements for all Caribbean residents.

If your roof comprises metal cladding on a supporting timber frame, then your roof is likely vulnerable to extensive wind damage.  Fortunately, you can simply strengthen your roof yourself, or you can get a carpenter to do it for you.  I have calculated the following costs for the 3-bedroom 2-bathroom house with a hipped roof shape that is shown in the 1993 edition of the Barbados National Building Code, which I will conveniently refer to as the Building Code.

The wind will try to remove the metal cladding first, which should be 0.5 mm thick to reduce the likelihood of it tearing.  The Building Code’s minimum standard is to secure the cladding with screws spaced 300 mm (1 ft) apart but spaced 150 mm (6”) apart at the eaves and ridges.

The roofs that survived Category 5 hurricanes exceeded this new standard by generally having one screw inserted between the existing screws.  Therefore, the spacing was 75 mm (3”) at the eaves and ridges, and 150 mm (6”) elsewhere.

Approximately 720 additional screws are needed, and each screw cost about 35 cents resulting in a total building materials cost of approximately $250.  A carpenter should be capable of installing the additional screws in less than one day for approximately $150.

If the cladding is secured to Plywood T1-11 boards, then the boards can be secured to the rafters with longer screws at the rafter locations.  Each longer screw cost about 55 cents each.

With the roof cladding and boards secured to the rafters, the wind will try to separate the rafters.  The rafters can be secured with BRC rafter connectors.  Approximately 80 rafter connectors are required, which cost approximately $1.21 each, resulting a total materials cost of approximately $190 including screws.  A carpenter should be capable of installing the connectors in less than one day for approximately $150.

The remaining roof connection is at the rafter and wall junctions.  If truss anchors were not used, then this connection can be reinforced with rafter/purlin connectors.  Approximately 120 connectors are required, which cost about 94 cents each, resulting in a total materials cost of approximately $230 including screws.  In masonry walls, concrete screws can be used for an additional $90.  A carpenter should be capable of installing the connectors in less than one day for approximately $150.

The total materials cost of securing your roof is then in the order of approximately $820.  Homeowners do not need to do all of this work at once.  They can start with the metal cladding and work their way down.  Most of the work is simple enough that families can do it themselves.  Of course there are other options.

The cost to replace the roof after the hurricane is approximately $40,000.  If you cannot afford this, then you should either start saving or obtain insurance.  If the house is insured, then the annual payments will be over $1,000 and you will be required to pay the initial $750 of any damage.

For both of these options, you would have lost your contents and will have to suffer through the misery of discomfort and reconstruction.  Why choose this option when a better alternative of preventative strengthening exists?

A customer-focused home insurance company can consider allowing one annual premium to go towards roof strengthening.   A caring Government can consider removing all taxes from hurricane connectors and screws, resulting in a price reduction of approximately 30%.  The Minister of Finance has another opportunity to show that he cares.

Grenville Phillips II is the founder of Solutions Barbados and can be reached at


Support our National Champion

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The Hon Christopher Sinckler is Barbados’ Minister of Finance.  He has a most challenging responsibility.  He must consider competing interests and prioritize 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 Mr Sinckler makes a bad decision, we suffer.  When he spends more than Barbados earns, we suffer.  When he increases our national debt, we suffer.  When he manages another downgrade, we suffer.  When he lays off productive public workers, we suffer.  When he will have no other option but to devalue Barbados’ dollar, we will certainly 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.  We need him to succeed.  We need him to win.  So go Chris go.

The question that begs an answer is, why is he taking such a beating?  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 that his opponent will either 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.

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 and Poors rating agencies, it was a merciless slaughter, and they are still not finished with him.

Why won’t he defend himself, and us?  Why won’t he put up his guard?  Why won’t he even feign a jab if he has a conscientious objection to fighting back?  Why simply stand still and allow our opponents to knock him senseless in every round.  What are his trusted advisors hoping to achieve?

They seem to be hoping that the opponent will see that our champion has turned the other cheek and in response, will stop fighting.  So far, they have not shown any inclination that they will respect our supposed moral high ground.  They seem only intent on taking full advantage of our misplaced civility.

There is a time for Chris to turn his other cheek – but that time is not when he is fighting on our behalf.  Perhaps he needs to be aware of all of the harm that his passivity is causing Barbados.

We are currently in the 9th round of a 10 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, we need him to fight back.  However, our Champion seems to trust the partisan bad advice that has not worked for us in the previous 9 rounds.

They are advocating a type of Muhammed Ali rope-a-dope strategy, where the opponent exhausts himself by punching a non-responsive target during the early rounds.  However, that will only work if our champion protects himself from the opponent’s relentless barrage.  It does not work if his hands were at his sides during the slaughter.

Right now our champion is reeling, he is hurt, he cannot think straight, and our opponents know this.  He needs to start protecting himself, and then fighting back.  But his trusted advisors are giving him contrary advice.

When I listen to the advice of boxing coaches during late rounds, they seem to 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.  His trusted partisan advisors continue to whisper the same bad advice into his ear.  We need him to win.  Someone needs to shock him into the reality of what his continual losing means for us.  “Chris, put up your damn hands and fight!”

Grenville Phillips II is the founder of Solutions Barbados and can be reached at[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Francina Bourne

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Dear Residents:

My Name is Francina Bourne and I am most honoured that you would consider me be your representation in St Michael South East.

Over that past 20 years, I have worked as a credit officer, then a legal assistant, and now a qualified para-legal officer.  During this time, I also worked in our family’s farming business.

For 2 decades, I resided in the neighbouring Sargeant’s Village, and was distressed at the rising levels of violence, crime, drugs, unemployment and underemployment within my community, especially among the youth.  The current educational and economic system is clearly not working for our youth.  Since they will eventually replace us, we must do a much better job at preparing them to manage Barbados.

I believe that God has raised up different leaders at this time to properly manage our economy, and responsibly prepare our youth for their eventual leadership.  I also believe that God has changed the planned direction of my life to be of national service to you.

We can improve our economic, educational, agricultural, health care, criminal justice, and other systems to the benefit of all Barbadians.  The system should equally benefit those who loudly complain, and those who suffer in silence and choose not to complain.

We have delivered a flyer and mini-manifesto to each house in St Michael South East.    It may be downloaded below.

A4 Flyer FB R2

Best regards,


Call the Police for Me

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From the time Solutions Barbados was formed over 2 years ago, I have learnt a lot of new things about myself.  I have reportedly engaged in the most heinous acts imaginable.  The mystery to be solved is, why I am still walking about Barbados unrestrained.  Why are the police so negligent in their duty to protect Barbadians?  Why have they not come for me yet?

They are persons who see their service to humanity as spreading misinformation about political opponents, for the sole reason of getting voters to choose their candidate.  The clever method is to simply spread a half-truth.  I have come to both understand and despise this role of the political operative.

Political operatives will recklessly drop a mischievous half-truth, and then let an inquisitive person speculate into the realm of defamation.  They will then feign innocence for their role in harming both the defamed and the unsuspecting defamer.  I really despise this role of the political operative.

I have tried to live a good life for diverse reasons.  Foremost of these is that I do not worship God in vain.  I believe that He is, and that He rewards those who intentionally seek Him.  I also believe that God hears the cries of the oppressed, and that a certain fearful judgement awaits the oppressor, so I demonstrate my love for God by helping, and not harming others.

To try to divert persons who have heard half-truths away from dangerous speculation, I have decided to address the allegations.

Visitors to Her Majesty’s Prison at Dodds may have seen me in prison.  However, that is only half of the truth.  Releasing only half of the truth naturally leads people to speculate as to what I could have done to deserve such a fate.

Let me state that I have never been imprisoned for a conviction or remanded to prison for a charge.  I am a volunteer teacher at the prison.  I have taught inmates how to: supervise the construction of safe and durable timber and masonry houses, start and manage businesses with no start-up money, and play the keyboard by ear.  I have been doing this years before I had any idea that I would be involved in politics.

I do this because I genuinely care for prisoners.  I believe that every person has a genuine care for at least one group of people.  Individuals can identify the people group for whom they care based on their initial reaction to news of a member of that group.

If a student has been suspended for an infraction, then if your first thought is one of concern for the consequences of interrupting the student’s education, then you genuinely care about students.  However, if your initial thoughts were condemnatory, in that she got what she deserved, then perhaps there is another people group for who you truly care.

That is what separates a teacher who cares for students, from someone who simply sees their work as a method of earning an income.  We want our teachers to care enough to act, to help the slow learner, discipline the unruly, and protect the vulnerable student

Another common allegation is that I have outside children.  My question is always: where are they?  Bring them to me so that I can meet them.  To-date, neither child nor child-mother have come forward, and those who await their coming will wait in vain.

I have also been accused of being politically funded by large corporations in Barbados, will only do what the big businesses want, and am simply a naive pawn in their plans.  So far, the only group that has expressed opposition our economic plans are businesses.  They are concerned that we plan to tax their revenues.  They would much prefer to pay much less taxes by having only their profits taxed.

One persistent allegation that has extended to all Solutions Barbados candidates is that we are elitist.  By reason of our training and experience, we are indeed elite, but not elitist.  We genuinely care for all Barbadian residents, visitors, and businesses, and are willingly offering ourselves to represent you.  We are ready to serve you, not to be served by you.  If this means that we must bear the half-truths in silence, then we will.

Grenville Phillips II is the founder of Solutions Barbados and can be reached at


Solving Barbados’ Gang Problems.

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Several very expensive solutions to Barbados’ gang and drug problems are available.  In desperation, the Government may be tempted to select one of them and unnecessarily push Barbados further into debt.  Given Government’s tendency to partially implement solutions and then realize that they are unaffordable, the money will likely be wasted.

Since we currently have ‘mauby’ pockets, an effective and economical (not costly) solution would more likely be implemented to completion.  In designing solutions for our youth, we should remember our responsibility to them, which is to provide an environment where they can be trained to receive the baton of leadership, so that they can responsibly manage this legacy which is Barbados.

Once this vision is accepted, then the solution reveals itself.  On the gang issue, there are three groups of youths that need to be targeted.  The first group is the current secondary school students who are being prepared to leave school with no marketable skills.

The second group is those who have already graduated from secondary school without any marketable skills, and are coming to the realization that the only employment opportunities available to them are within a gang.

The third group is gang leaders, who think that the only way that they can participate in Barbados’ economy is through recruiting others to engage in the illegal drug trade.  Permanent solutions need to be designed for each group.

In designing permanent solutions, it is important to address the root causes and not only the symptoms.  One root cause of our gangs is the secondary school curriculum, which results in many students leaving school without any marketable skills.  This brings us to the solution for our current students.

The existing school curriculum needs to be rearranged so that students spend their first three years learning the more exciting, easier-to-learn, and more marketable practical aspects of the subjects.  During this time, all students should be taught, among other things: conversational languages, applied sciences and arts, and music-by-ear.

All students should at least know how to cook, make marketable products from raw materials at home (eg: coconut oil from coconuts), perform basic accounting, perform basic maintenance on manufactured products, and speak and write well.  The final two years should be spent learning the more challenging theoretical aspects of subjects in preparation for the CXC examinations.

Those who have already left school without marketable skills will soon realise that as adults, they need money.  Individual counselling and group seminars may be useful for their personal development; however, it does not pay bills.  They are aware that they do not possess marketable skills to get anything but labourer positions, and in the current economic climate, those entry-level positions are already taken by those who left school before them.  Therefore, the solution is to give them the training to start their own profitable businesses.

Walbrent College conducts free practical workshops that train persons, with no apparent marketable skills, to start and grow a business with no start-up money.  The College used to teach the workshop to inmates in prison so that they could have had a legitimate source of income following their release.

The next free 5-day workshop for unemployed and under-employed persons will likely be held within one month.  Walbrent College is hosting a free public town-hall meeting on Sunday 10th September at 5:00 pm at Combermere School, where participants may register themselves and others to attend the free workshop.

At the town hall meeting, Roger Husbands, who accurately predicted the current gang activity now described by the Police, has been invited to make further predictions based on an analysis of the current situation.  Solutions Barbados will explain their plan to effectively and economically address Barbados’ gang and crime problems.  All are welcome to attend.

The third group comprises gang leaders who control gang members.  Many of them wish that there was another way, but feel trapped in the hazardous drug trade.  They desperately need to manage the development, marketing and distribution of a safer product.

Fortunately, there are an unlimited amount of replacement products to which they can apply their unique management skills.  They simply need to see the resulting income in order to be convinced to make the switch.

When an area is being flooded by an open faucet, the first order of business is to turn it off and then proceed with the clean-up.  Changing the secondary school curriculum to give all students marketable skills is the equivalent of turning off the faucet.  This requires the support of the Ministry of Education.  It is to their shame that a new school term is about to start and the curriculum remains unchanged.

Grenville Phillips II is the founder of Solutions Barbados and can be reached at