Month: February 2018

Voting to Suck Salt Featured

Barbadians are finally waking up to the reality that we are on the brink of economic ruin.  Recommendations of currency devaluation and surrendering Barbados to the IMF are being made by prominent economists.  Even newspaper editorials are finally sounding the alarm after ignoring the warning signs for so long.

Barbadians are also waking up to the reality that this election will have grave consequences for their families.  Some prominent media persons appear to have resigned to the idea that it will be very bad, regardless of who is elected to form the next government.  They have repeated that lie so often that gullible voters are starting to be convinced.

It is now obvious to everyone that the DLP’s best efforts have failed to improve our economy.  After many have had to endure about a decade of trying to hold on, the DLP’s most recent plan is one where we must suck the proverbial salt for at least another 4 years.  It is as if they are begging the public not to vote for them.

As if that were not bad enough, the BLP stated that they would not be able to solve our economic problems during their first term in office.  So we are supposed to suck salt for the full 5 years of a BLP administration.  Again, it is as if they were just pleading with the public not to vote for them.

The BLP have several operatives who pretend to be non-partisan.  Their constant advice is to simply elect the BLP and then hold them accountable.  That is a lunatic idea because we have never been able to hold any BLP or DLP politician or administration accountable over the past 50 years.

Why would political operatives make such an easily disproven claim?  It appears that they were promised a place near the trough, where they can hope for spillage when the politicians feed.  So they will say or do anything in order to obtain or maintain their place.

We have run out of time for such selfish political games.  If the economy does not improve soon, then within one year, approximately one third of those with home mortgages will lose their houses, and within 3 years, most of the middle class will be reduced to poverty.  Therefore, it is critical that all political plans be subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny.

The DLP have already revealed their high-austerity plan.  The BLP claims that they have a high-austerity plan, but they will not allow anyone to examine it.  Further, they stated that they will not release it until six (6) weeks after they are elected.  Why anyone would even consider voting for that sort of arrogance is a mystery.

The UPP also have a high-austerity plan, and have agreed to submit it for independent examination, but they have not yet done so.  Solutions Barbados published their proven and workable plan over 2.5 years ago for rigorous public scrutiny.  It has been submitted to several independent economists and accountants for their critical review.

We recently received our first review results, which noted that our assumptions are ultra-conservative, and our plan eliminates the deficit and provides a surplus in our first year.  This means that we would have reversed all of the downgrades and returned Barbados to investment grade in our first year.  The reviewer also noted that the other political parties should seriously consider our plan.

Why does the media appear to only report on the BLP’s and DLP’s high-austerity pronouncements, and the economists’ currency devaluation and IMF based plans, but continue to ignore the only workable non-austerity plan on the table.  Why do the media appear so desperate for Barbados to suck the salt that Guyana and Jamaica were forced to experience?

In this election, the only two available choices are to vote for Solutions, or vote to suck salt.

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

Liberating Our Youth

Last week, we described how our secondary school students could graduate with some measure of independence.  This can be achieved by keeping our students interested in learning by teaching them the practical aspects of subjects during the first three years, and then training them to start and grow successful businesses using this practical knowledge.

Our students can be taught the more theoretical information during years 4 and 5 in preparation for their CXC examinations.  However, what will we do for those who have already graduated with no marketable skills?

Solutions Barbados’ plan is to train all persons, including recent graduates, to start and grow profitable businesses, with no or very little start-up funds.

The training workshop takes five (5) weeks and it will be transmitted on CBC television and on the Internet, where it can also be accessed with a smart phone.  At the end of the 5-week workshop, all participants should have started a viable business.

Once persons have a sustainable business and wish to expand, a Solutions Barbados administration will provide micro-loans from a new national bank, which will be managed at all post offices.  Such loans will not be available to start a business, only to grow a profitable business.

It is common for our youth to leave secondary school in search of entry-level jobs.  Such jobs include washing dishes, mixing concrete, carrying construction materials around a site, and security guard duties.  Nothing is wrong with these types of jobs.  However, our youth must see them as means to an end and not their end.

There is a measurable difference in the attitude of a person who washes dishes to fund his business, and the person who washes dishes for a living.  The one who sees an entry-level job as a temporary stepping-stone may work hard to complete his tasks.  The one who has resigned himself to the realization that the entry-level job is permanent, may pace himself for a life-sentence of boredom.

Barbados needs all persons to participate in our economy at their highest potential.  Therefore, all persons in entry-level jobs should have a plan for advancing in the company or starting their own businesses.  The 5-week workshop is designed to also train those in entry-level jobs to grow out of them.

Despite all the training, our youth can still be frustrated when they try to access government services that are critical to their advancement.  That is why all government departments are to be managed to the highest international customer-focused standard, ISO 9001.

Our youth can also be held back because they do not know a political operative or are not in favour with the political party n Government.  Our youth should not have to prostitute themselves just to access services to which they are entitled.  In a Solutions Barbados administration, any public worker who delays, denies or approves an application for politically partisan reasons, or attempts to solicit a bribe or sexual favours for government services, will be fired and lose their pension.

Our youth will eventually replace us.  Therefore, they must understand our foundations, appreciate our struggles, acknowledge the threats to our country, accept their responsibilities, and embrace the discipline that is required to lead others.

In preparation for their leadership roles, they must accept the challenge to find honest income-generating work, responsibly grow out of entry-level jobs, ethically start and grow their business, and responsibly advocate for improvements that benefit all of us in Barbadians.  Our students and recent graduates will enjoy developing in a Solutions Barbados administration, and we, their parents, will be relieved when they do.

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

Prepare for the Nightmare.

Solutions Barbados is the only political party that has published a workable economic plan that does not require IMF funding.  The BLP and DLP have embraced development philosophies that no longer work when a country is in this level of debt, and have taken us to the brink of economic ruin.  That is why many economists recommend that borrowing from the IMF should be part of their economic plans.

Should voters choose to elect Solutions Barbados candidates in the upcoming general election, then they can finally experience well-managed government services and a fair economy in which all participants can benefit.  Since we are not following the BLP/DLP failed development philosophies, every resident can become healthy, wealthy and educated if they choose to, without being politically favoured.

If Barbados has the misfortune of electing any other Party, then as soon as the election results are announced, they should prepare for the worst, because within one year, they will likely be living their nightmare.  Mercifully, they may only have to survive the 5-year term of the nightmare that they voted to experience.  Some useful post-election advice follows.

Those with cars need to ask their mechanic to replace every part that will likely need replacing within the next 5 years, especially the wheels and shock absorbers.  If persons cannot afford to have them installed now, then they should at least purchase the parts while they can still afford to.

Persons should not apply for home mortgages, and those who were recently approved for a mortgage should not take it.  Those with houses should complete any outstanding maintenance projects.  Everyone should consider purchasing a new computer, cell phone, camera, TV, microwave, washing machine, and any other device or home appliance that may need to be replaced within 5 years.

All employees in an export related sector should try to protect their salaries.  Such employees should request that the basis of their current salaries be in US dollars, but paid in the equivalent Barbados dollars.  Persons in this ‘export’ category include maids and gardeners in foreign-owned villas, all employees in the tourism and international business sectors, and all employees of those who directly export goods or services.

Persons who can access their pensions should try to protect them before they are worth less.  Those who do not qualify to access their pensions should weep for their dependents and join their fellow Barbadians, who recklessly decided to suck whatever is left after the salt that they voted to suck has gone by not voting for Solutions Barbados candidates.

All of this will be necessary because the IMF has one main role – to protect the country’s foreign currency earnings from the country’s residents.  They are well-aware that if you have access to foreign currency, you will spend it.  They are there to ensure that the foreign currency is used primarily to repay those from whom we borrowed – it does not belong to us.

To prevent us from using foreign currency on our needs or wants, they will likely devalue our currency to make the foreign currency purchases very expensive for us.  They will also significantly increase income taxes so that we will have very little money to spend.  Finally, they will increase sales taxes so that after we have spent our remaining money on our bare necessities, there will be nothing left.  So the foreign currency will be protected from us, and we will basically be working for nothing, like slaves.

In an IMF program, we should not expect our politicians to represent our interests.  That is because the IMF has learnt a very important lesson of slavery – feed the overseer and he will beat his fellow slaves.  Therefore, the only persons who normally do well during an IMF program are politicians, who are rewarded for carrying out the IMF’s instructions without mercy.  It is instructive to note that when the IMF doubled the income tax rates on Guyanese, their politicians offered no meaningful objection whatsoever.

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

Stop Frustrating Our Youth

Graduating from secondary school is normally an exhilarating time for our youth. However, for those who have not found employment, or acceptance in an institution of further learning, the end of the summer holiday can be the start of a long period of hopelessness for them and their parents.
 
The longer that school graduates remain idle, the greater their disillusionment when they compare their situation to that of their more fortunate friends, and the greater the risk that they will be tempted to obtain money by illegal methods. Selling stolen property, illegal drugs, and their bodies become viable income options.
 
As Solutions Barbados’ candidates interact with people in our communities, a common question is: “what is your plan for these youths?” Our plan is to remove the hopelessness that so many of them currently experience. Our youth will enjoy maturing in a Solutions Barbados administration.
 
Every young person will be able to realise their full potential by being trained to be independent, both while they are at school and after they have graduated. For this to be realised, the secondary school curriculum needs to be improved.
 
Our secondary school curriculum was designed to prepare students to enter the major professions. Our resulting professionals can successfully compete with professionals from any part of the world. However, since the majority of graduates do not pursue such professional careers, our school system fails most of our students.
 
The simple solution is to arrange the secondary school curriculum so that it benefits everyone. Everyone includes those planning on pursuing the major professions, business, artisan trades, arts, and those who entered secondary school with low common entrance scores and low aspirations.
 
The curriculum can be arranged so that the easier-to-learn and more exciting practical parts of subjects, that all students will likely find interesting, can be taught during the first three years. This is opposed to teaching the more difficult-to-learn theoretical aspects first, and the more practical aspects after students have become frustrated and have lost interest.
 
This will mean that students will learn conversational languages, where they learn to speak the language before conjugating verbs; music by ear, where they learn to play an instrument before music theory; applied sciences, where the usefulness of the subject is understood, before science theory, where the usefulness of the subject is less clear. With this practical knowledge, students will learn how to start and grow a profitable business.
 
The final two years will be spent preparing for the CXC examinations. However, with students already benefiting from the useful knowledge of the subjects, they are more likely to exercise the discipline necessary to learn the generally more difficult-to-learn theoretical aspects. They will learn the subject “Principles of Business” after they have a business to apply this learning to.
 
Every student will graduate with at least one marketable skill and feel useful. If our students cannot graduate with being able to survive with some measure of independence, then we have done them a disservice.
 
Our political leaders should be held responsible for an educational system that has failed so many of our students. Why? Because it was a political decision to: mandate that our children attend secondary school; determine how students were allocated to these schools; allow secondary schools to be managed by different boards of politically appointees; determine the teaching, materials, and maintenance resources that each school would receive; and determine the amount of discipline teachers could enforce.
 
In a Solutions Barbados administration, we will make the political decision to manage all schools to the highest international customer-focused management standard available, ISO 9001, for the benefit our students and their parents.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com