The End Game – Part 5, Prepare to Survive

If I were given a choice between accepting US$100M every year for the remainder of my life, or renegotiating the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) for the benefit of the next generation of Caribbean people, I would choose renegotiating the EPA without hesitation.

A simple trick when negotiating a trade agreement with a weaker economy is to offer a head-start.  By negotiating in secret, our negotiators did not seem to understand that when there is no finish-line, a head-start only delays the inevitable.  The Europeans gave us a 25-year head-start, and so far, we have squandered it.
We should remember that the Europeans gave us 20 years to fix our discriminatory corporate tax system.  Our response was to go to sleep on this issue for 19 years and 10 months, and then attempt a quick fix before the December 2018 deadline.  The Europeans rejected our hurried effort, so we accused them of not playing fair.

While we continue to sleep on the EPA issue, the Europeans are preparing to take all the Caribbean’s resources.  Our politicians seem to have done nothing to prepare us since they embarked on this lunacy 17 years ago.  In 14 years, our children will be forced into the nightmare that our politicians signed.  If they are complaining about unfair play now, what will they do when the Europeans’ gloves finally come off?

Since our politicians seem too interested in public relations exercises in pursuit of their lifetime pension, we would be most foolish to depend on them.  Therefore, the focus of the remainder of this article is to help you develop yourself to become internationally competitive.  If you have read all past End Game articles, then you already know why this is critical for your family’s survival.

We are on this Earth to mature.  Therefore, we should never stop developing.  We normally improve at whatever we practise, and we can operate at an expert level after about 10 years of practise.  For your family’s sake, pursue the following steps.

Step 1 – For one month, starting today, try to do everything you do as well as you can.  That would include: speaking, writing, reading, studying, singing, eating, grooming, dressing, playing, cooking, cleaning and working.  Plan to be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you are today.  Encourage everyone in your household to do the same.

Step 2 – Once you have consistently done your best for one month, it will become habitual and easier to do.  The next step is to identify a better standard than your own effort and try to achieve it.  You can identify higher standards in books, on the Internet, and/or through the advice of those more accomplished.

Step 3 – Start your own business.  We teach persons how to start and grow profitable businesses with no start-up money, so please attend the next free public training workshop.  Please do not get a ‘trust-loan’ or any type of loan to start a business, because you are almost guaranteed to lose it.  The first law of business is that you always lose your initial investment – leaning what not to do.

Step 4 – Develop your skills.  If you are a labourer, learn to become an artisan.  If you are an artisan, learn to become a supervisor.  If you are a supervisor, learn to become a contractor.  If you are a technician assisting a professional, then pursue the qualifications of the professional.  If you are a draughts-person, learn to become an architect.  Get trained formally or informally.

Step 5 – Improve your professional qualifications.  Join an international professional association in your field.  If you are a student member, become a graduate member.  If you are a graduate, become a corporate member.  If you are a corporate member, then become a Fellow.

Step 6 – Improve your academic qualifications.  If you have CXC’s, then pursue an accredited Bachelor’s degree.  If you have a Bachelor’s, then pursue a Master’s.  If you have a Master’s, then pursue a Doctorate.  If you have a Doctorate, then shepherd others through.

As a legacy of slavery, expect others to try to discourage you by criticising or ridiculing your best efforts.  For the sake of yourself and your children, ignore them.  You have 14 years to become internationally competitive, so start today.

I have a lot of sympathy for public workers mismanaged by politically appointed incompetent supervisors.  Government employees, including those in statutory corporations, should insist on working in an internationally competitive environment.  With 10 years of experience in an ISO 9001 management environment, their skills will be highly desirable and internationally transferrable.  If implemented properly, the ISO 9001 system automatically trains persons to become efficient and productive.

For the past 17 years, our politicians and political operatives have immaturely ridiculed this international management standard, to Barbados’ harm.  If your politically appointed manager refuses to implement the ISO 9001 management system, then you have identified a hater who wants to keep you down.  Do not let them keep you down any longer.  Start a side-business, and when it can support your household, look for the first opportunity to leave.

This concludes the End Game series of articles.  You are encouraged to share them.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

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