Latest Posts

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

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