Month: January 2018

David Walrond, JP

2S8A8975 David Waldron

My name is David Walrond and I am honoured that you, the residents of St James North, would consider me to represent you as a Member of Parliament.

I have had many diverse experiences that have prepared me to serve you at this time.  They include owning and managing a successful printing business for a decade, being a secondary school teacher for 7 years, and being a consultant and community activist.  I am also a Justice of the Peace.

I tend to analyse problems, design workable solutions and implement them.  For example, I was privileged to design a workable solution to the giant African snail problem in Barbados, and pioneer the implementation of this solution at a national level.

The problems of lack of employment opportunities, poorly managed public services, and poorly maintained infrastructure concern me greatly.  I know that these problems are found in most constituencies.

For decades, I have heard the political rhetoric blaming one political party or the other for the problems that we face.  In a Solutions Barbados administration, we will actually solve them.

We plan to deliver a flyer and mini-manifesto to each house in St James North.    It may be downloaded below.

A4 Flyer David Waldrond R1

Best regards,

David

Where is the Love

Last week I took my car to Nassco to get it serviced.  When it was ready to be collected, it was too late for their shuttle service.  So I decided to do some ‘management by walking about’ and take the bus to Bridgetown.

The Transport Board’s web site provided an impressive bus schedule, and the College Savannah (Route 9) bus was scheduled to leave Bridgetown on the hour every hour.  So I walked to the nearest bus stop, hoping to arrive in Bridgetown by 4:00 pm.

I arrived at the bus stop around 3:30 pm and there were two ladies who said that they had been waiting for a bus since around 3:00 pm.  They confirmed that the fare was still $2.00.  At approximately 4:15 pm, a passing vehicle offered the ladies a ride.  I decided to continue to wait for the bus since I was on a mission to observe the public transportation system directly, having not ridden in a bus in decades.

After standing at the unshaded bus stop for one hour, while exposed to the merciless sun without a hat, I decided that I would postpone this inspection and try to thumb a ride.  I did this in my youth without incident and normally transported persons thumbing rides – so I know the procedure.  However, despite being well-dressed to conduct business in Bridgetown, I spent one hour thumbing a ride without success.

Many cars passed, and they had to slow down while they passed me since there was a large pothole approximately 30 m on the approach road to the bus stop. Yet, despite almost all drivers glancing at me and my outstretched arm and thumb, no one stopped.  By 5:15 pm I decided that I might as well wait for the bus, which finally arrived at 5:31 pm.

I paid the fare and sat down with no small amount of gratitude.  I was one of 10 persons in a bus that seated approximately 40 persons.  The bus was clean, and the engine was just as noisy as I remembered.  I arrived in Bridgetown at 6:00 pm.

To wait 2.5 hours for a bus can result in a lot of unproductive time.  Passengers who rely on the Transport Board’s published schedules can easily find themselves late for work, church, school, and other scheduled appointments through no fault of their own.  They can also find themselves taking a long time to get back home.  Since Barbados’ economy can be harmed by this level of unnecessary unproductivity and uncertainty, it needs urgent attention.

Quick relief can be found by properly managing the Transport Board’s resources to the ISO 9001 quality management standard.  This standard aims at satisfying the customer by continually improving the product or service.  The improvements are identified by solving the root causes of customer complaints.  As a customer, I was not satisfied with the long wait, but I was satisfied once I boarded the bus.

I do not expect the Transport Board to implement the ISO 9001 standard before the upcoming general election; therefore, it will be up to a Solutions Barbados administration to make the necessary improvements.  However, we need an immediate temporary solution for the travelling public, which can be found through iterative discussion.  A first iteration follows.

If you are a driver of a private vehicle and you see people thumbing a ride at a bus stop in a rural area, then consider giving them a ride.  If you have waited for more than one-half hour at a bus stop, then consider thumbing a ride and offering the driver the bus fare.

If you feel the least bit uncomfortable, then do participate.  Minors and youth should not participate without a trusted adult.  Vulnerable persons should not travel alone, and should call a relative to provide the vehicle’s license plate number before they get in, and notifying the relative after safely leaving the vehicle.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural and Highway & Transportation Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Brace for the Consequences

My last article on Barbados’ vote against the US received sufficient feedback to justify a further explanation.  Some felt that it was simply a case of the US bullying another country, and Barbados’ courageous stand against the US’ offensive threats of retaliation against countries who dared not vote with it.  But is this true?

In assessing claims of truth, we should evaluate evidence.  What is the available evidence?  The US decided to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem.  Israel did not object.  However, the UN objected and tried to force the US to change its decision.  It did this by crafting a non-binding resolution to condemn the US before all nations at the UN General Assembly.

This type of targeted sanction is normally reserved for nations committing highly offensive actions, like genocide.  The US objected to being singled out for this type of sanction, and the US responded by noting those who voted to condemn it, in order to re-evaluate their friendship agreements.  This is not bullying, rather, it is a response to being bullied.

What is Barbados’ bullying experience with voting against US interests in Israel?  I have found no evidence that Barbados has ever been bullied into voting the way that the US votes.  The evidence shows that every year, it is typical that 100% of our votes are against the way that the US and Israel votes, and this has never put our friendship with the US at any risk.  So why are some claiming that the US bullies us when there is no evidence whatsoever to support such a claim?  Perhaps we are being manipulated.

Let us now address this last UN vote.  This vote was unlike anything that we have ever done as an independent nation.  It was not the typical vote that targeted an issue favourable to Israel or the Palestinians, this was a massive vote directly targeting the US for international condemnation.  That is why the US Ambassador issued her unprecedented warning, which persons have mis-defined as bullying.  This is the first and only time since our independence that we have ever put our friendship with the US in such jeopardy.

To put this in perspective, let us assume that China was singled out for severe criticism at the UN on human rights abuses, and China warned Barbados not to disrespect them before all nations.  Would our principled UN representatives vote to publically embarrass China?  Probably not.

Guyana is currently trying to exploit significant oil reserves in waters disputed by Venezuela.  In my opinion, Guyana has a strong case, but let us assume that Guyana was singled out for criticism at the UN for this action, and they asked us not to disrespect them before all nations.  Would we vote to publically embarrass our Caribbean friend and neighbour?  Probably not.  Why not?  Because we are principled hypocrites?  No.  Because that is not how we treat our friends.  But perhaps it is how we treat perceived enemies.

Errol Barrow summarised our foreign policy as friends of all and satellites of none.  It seems that we are being manipulated into adding … and enemies of the US.  The question is why?

Some have justified our vote by claiming that we have no beneficial relationship with the US, and therefore, nothing to lose by derisively criticising the US in front of all other nations.  This is simply not true.  Barbados is a highly favoured trading partner with the US.  Barbados does not just have a good trading (double-taxation) agreement with the US, or a very good trade agreement like that of Trinidad and Tobago who had an active US military base at the time. We have a rare exceptionally favourable (to Barbados) trading agreement with the US. It is almost unheard of internationally and it is the envy or every country that learns of it.

Being the 2014 winner of the National Innovation Competition, I train groups of individuals, free of cost, to start and grow profitable businesses.  Participants learn to trade with the US and take advantage of this highly beneficial (to Barbados) trade agreement, with direct access to the largest consumer market on the planet.  So I know of what I write.

We are currently on the brink of economic ruin.  The main thing that may keep Barbadians from losing their mortgaged homes, and out of dire poverty if we are surrendered to the IMF, is that favourable trade agreement.  Regrettably, we carelessly treated our friendship with the US with reckless indifference.

Our representatives’ excuse that we were just voting on principle in support of International Law, seems to confirm that they simply misread the UN vote as just another typical vote against Israel’s interests.  The US Ambassador’s uncharacteristic warnings should have prompted them to take a closer look.

So, if we could do it all over again, then how should we have voted?  In my opinion, the most appropriate course of action for complex disputes where we do not have all of the facts, is to abstain from voting.  We should remember that when a vote was taken to give the Palestinians non-member observer state status in the UN in 2012, Barbados did not get involved in the dispute and simply abstained from voting.

The approximately 70-year Arab-Israel dispute qualifies as complex.  Adding a bilateral agreement between the US and Israel that is of concern to the UN further complicates an already complex issue.  Therefore, the most appropriate course of action in the interest of all Barbadians was to abstain from voting.  Eight of our Caribbean neighbours voted in the interests of their citizens and did just that.

Most Barbadians are completely unaware of the grave danger that our UN representatives have now placed us.  If we actually misread the vote as I am charitably assuming, then the damage can be repaired.  However, if it was intentional, then they should have at least warned us to brace for the likely consequences.

So my main point is that if we feel disrespected by another country at the UN, we should vote for the best interest of Barbadians.  If we feel bullied, we should vote for the best interest of Barbadians.  If the US bullies or does not bully another nation, we should vote for the best interest of Barbadians.  If the Palestinians want to establish a runway in Gaza and a central bank in the West Bank, we should vote for the best interests of Barbadians.  In my opinion, our recent vote was not in the best interest of Barbadians.  I am willing to be convinced otherwise with additional evidence.

The only reason why we should not vote for our own self-interests is if there is genocide and the like in another country.  Otherwise, we should do what every other country at the UN does – vote for the self-interests of our citizens, and be wary of being manipulated into voting for the interests of others at the expense of our citizens

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer, an analyst of history, and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

A Bunch of Hypocrites

As I engage the younger generation, who we are training to manage Barbados after we have gone to the great beyond, I am normally impressed with their general boldness and ability to articulate their concerns.

I recently saw a young fellow who appeared to have just graduated from secondary school selling newspapers.  I bought one and encouraged him to keep doing the right thing.  I was impressed by his politeness.  He should do well in business, because he was selling a high-demand product in a high-trafficked location, and he was polite – which is a valuable asset.

I also encountered persons selling mangoes.  Some had no fear about explaining that they had picked them from a neighbour’s yard.  They felt justified since they did not pick all, but left some, that were harder to reach, for their neighbour.  They also felt entitled to the mangoes since they previously chased the monkeys from stealing the fruit.

They asked me what I will do about police coming into their community and taking bribes for looking the other way.  They laughed when I informed them about the Police Complaints Authority, saying that it is a joke.  I asked them whether they had ever made a complaint, and they admitted that they had not because it is a joke.  I explained that they should first make a complaint, and then observe the response before they conclude that it is joke.

They agreed that this was a rational approach, but then countered by stating that they were tired of all of the hypocrisy in Barbados.  Why is everyone preaching “do as I say but not as I do”?  They then asked some pertinent questions.

Why are obese health officials preaching that the public should not enjoy the unhealthy foods that they seem to be enjoying in abundance?  Why are people with high salaries telling those who are barely getting by to tighten their belts?  Why are people who are always drinking preaching that others should drink responsibly?

When I asked about their choice of job, they tried to justify their choice of employer.  What is the difference between having an employer who tells you to use substandard materials and methods, and having a gang lord who tells you to sell drugs?  In both cases, the employers are doing wrong, customers get hurt, and if they get caught, you will be out of a job.  So what is the real difference?

Why do the police leave the men who pay and receives bribes, and the restaurants that dilute drinks, and contractors who do bad work, and shops that sell defective products, and supermarkets that sell expired food alone, but want to arrest the fellows who are selling drugs?  How is that right?  I agreed that it was not right, and that in a Solutions Barbados administration, they would all be treated equitably.

This brings us to the political poster issue.  The Barbados Light and Power formally requested all political parties not to place posters on their poles.  One reason given is that they can seriously injure workers.  Respect for private property is a basic human right in Barbados, and is protected by our constitution.  Politicians who want to write our nation’s laws, but unashamedly violate constitutional property rights in full public view, are extremely poor examples for our youth.

Fortunately for all of us, there is an upcoming general election and an opportunity for us to select better political models for our nation’s justifiably cynical youth.  Your responsibility in this regard is to simply note every political candidate on a utility pole, and do not vote for them.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Put Up or Shut Up

This is the most crucially important general election that we have ever had since our independence.  We are so much in debt that we are facing economic ruin.  If any successful political party fails to significantly improve the economy within their first year in Government, the majority of Barbadians will suffer unimaginable harm.  We are realistically looking at most of the middle-class being reduced to poverty within the next 3 years

With so much to lose in this general election, voters need to examine each Party’s economic plans.  However, that is clearly asking too much of voters who have more immediate concerns.  In recognition of this, the US has a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that examines political plans and determines their effect on the economy.

For this critical general election, Barbados desperately needs a set of non-partisan accountants and economists who are willing to put aside their political biases, and honestly examine the effects of each Party’s plans on the national economy and society.  I am calling on the Barbados Economic Society and the Institute of Charter Accountants of Barbados to form a joint committee to do just that – for all of our sakes.

The criteria for membership of this committee should be agreed with all political parties.  The joint committee should critically examine each assumption used in each Party’s economic plans, because we cannot afford to get it wrong this time.  It is in all of our interests to know whether a Party’s plans are likely to work, and any deficiencies in a Party’s plans that need to be corrected before they are implemented on the public.

While this can serve to protect the public in some way, it is not fool proof.  Despite all political parties knowing full well that there is no more money left to pay for reckless political promises as in the past, some Parties will continue to make them, because that is the only way they know of getting elected – but this time, they know that they will be blatantly lying to the public.

Since we have run out of time for any more political games, Barbados needs a guarantee that we can return a political product if it is found to be defective.  One such method is to allow voters to recall all members of Cabinet after their first year in office, if their economic plans fails to meet the measureable improvements promised.  With this method, politicians are less likely to make reckless promises and are more likely to keep responsible ones.  It is much better to hold by-elections in those constituencies than to put Barbadians through any more unnecessary suffering.

Solutions Barbados is the only party offering to do what the other parties have not done, namely, properly manage public services, reduce our national debt, allow public workers to be promoted on merit alone, and root out corruption.  Our plans have been published for the past 2.5 years for rigorous public scrutiny, and we welcome having them scored by any non-partisan group.  It is now time for every political party contesting this important election to either ‘put up or shut up’, because we simply cannot afford anymore broken political promises.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com