Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Synergy, in general, may be defined as two or more agents working together to produce a result not obtainable by any of the agents independently.


“It is now official Government policy to spread the entrepreneurial culture to a wider cross section of Barbadians in an effort to create wealth and employment.

“We cannot achieve this goal if the vast majority of Barbadians continue to acquire more and more free education to find a job, and forever thereafter focus on consumption rather than wealth creation.”

Ok, I might be mis-interpreting these comments by the new Bajan Prime Minister or maybe because of the way its written not getting the full story here but this is kind of a strange comment to make in my opinion.

It would suggest (to me) that advanced education and entrepreneurship somehow cannot coexist and to be successful at one we have to leave off the other and to be honest it sounds like something usually said by those prevalent anti-intellectual American types who favor brawn and pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps over brains. You know the types who favor Palin over Obama. Yea dem sorta people.

I mean in my opinion everyone cannot be an entrepreneur, neither can everyone be an academic or go to university Society needs both and there has to be some balance although quite a lot of overlap occurs too.

At the same time lets not sell the pie in the sky dream that anyone with an idea and an entrepreneurial spirit will be successful just like that. Besides hard work, many of these guys can benefit from some training or advanced classes to help them run a successful business. Its not like an idea is all you need to be a successful small business. You might be able to start up with just an idea but without a plan you aren't going to get very far. And included in that plan you have to know how to market yourself and your product, how to deal with the public, how to find staff, how to handle money etc etc. And while you can learn some of this on the job and don't need schooling its not like having a little extra class time here and there would go for naught.

Look in my opinion one of the biggest challenge to entrepreneurship taking off in Barbados is the traditional bajan mindset. Most bajan parents still stress growing up and finding a good job over growing up and starting your own business. We want letters to our names, go and learn accounting or medicine or law or something so. We're not really business orientated or hustlers at heart like some of our Caribbean comrades so to increase entrepreneurship in Barbados you really have to change how kids are taught from early.

Another challenge is start up capital. Is alright to talk about promoting entrepreneurship but help them to get access to start up capital. Its not cheap or easy to do business in Barbados.

The other thing I wonder here is if this is an attempt by government to subliminally change people's mindset to get them to not go to Cave Hill in such numbers. I understand that free education for the numbers that go to UWI must put an enormous burden on the government's coffers but I don't think the way to lessen this is to discourage higher education which is what these comments seem to be doing.

If its too much of a burden or you think some folks are abusing the system or the benefits are not worth the outlay of funds do like other countries and make people pay for the education but don't lament its freeness as a deterrent to an entrepreneurial spirit since comments like the above by our head would suggest we done away with the book learning nonsense and all go open a little beach side stall.

Sorry, that last comment was extremely facetious and knocks the valuable and vast range of services and products that entrepreneurs could produce in our society but my point is that the statements made would make it seem as if entrepreneurship is anti-university study and university study is anti-entrepreneurial. Why must the two concepts be at odds with one another?

Like I said to someone earlier today being an entrepreneur is not like on tv where a light bulb goes off in your head, you sketch a few notes or designs on a napkin, go in the bank show them the napkin and the manager comes out with a big grin on his face an a suitcase full of money for you. Then you go out and build up something and the cash comes flowing in. No in the real world besides idea, you also need a plan and I fail to see how having some additional education under your belt would harm that plan.

Yes I do understand the point that most bajan university grads are looking for ready made jobs but implying in that statement that not going on to higher education will increase entrepreneurship is silly. The change has to be made by changing the way people think while they continue to study.

If not we'll end up in the same predicament as black America with everyone wanting to hustle but no one wanting to learn and society will be still unbalanced.

There has to be a way to encourage both ideas here and acknowledge that there can be overlap without sacrificing one for the other. They aren't mutually exclusive ideals in my opinion, you just have to work to bring out their synergy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The Barbados budget just came down and its pretty brutal. VAT going up, fees, bus fares all sorts of other taxes going up, taxes added. Lashes galore! Going to be a tight Christmas.

Well people, sadly things tight all over the world not just in Bim and with tourism our main money earner not doing that great these days, belts got to be tightened cause ya can only borrow for so long before ya got to pay back right? Unfortunately some of these belt tightening measures will disproportionally hit the most needy in our society like the poor and the pensioners but well star, I don't know what ya can really do about that besides hope that some of these measures temporary.

What I do always find interesting come budget time is how the party in opposition always finds a way to blame the current party when such belt tightening measures are necessary as indeed they do seem to be in this circumstance with the globe still deeply mired in recession. I guess that's the meaning of opposition but in particular today I find some of the comments about waste by the opposition BLP commentators to be rather disingenuous.

The numerous projects at Ilaro Court; the opening of the housing estate at Marchfield, St Philip; the three reshuffles, which necessitated change in stationery, labels and the like; the more than $10 million in summer camps between 2008 and 2009; the launch of the constituency councils; the subsidy to JetBlue and the recent female boxing championship were among the things on the list of “cardinal errors” Forde said the Government made.

Eh eh but allya really believe Bajans have short memories nuh? And maybe they do but umm we can't talk waste in Barbados without referring to the colossal waste of funds used for World Cup 2007.

And yes I tell wunnah from evasince (back when people used to read this blog) that hosting the world cup was going to hurt we financially. Ya doan believe me looka this post from 2006. And that was even before I hear that about half billion dollars spend in Barbados on world cup. And what did we benefit from that massive outlay of funds? And how much a those funds are still owed back to the people we borrowed from?

And who was running government then? Exactly!

So doan get tie up that the new government spend a few dollars for children summer camps to keep the youts off the road, occupied and out of the road this past year when the previous regime spent bigger dollars that haven't really benefited the country.

Folk get tied up in thinking that these financial predicaments that we find ourselves in usually occur rather quickly but if one really studies it, these things occur by a series of mistakes or bad fiscal moves over a longer period of time. How long the whole American mortgage drama was happening before the whole US housing market implode? Same thing here with Barbados, its not like things were great yesterday or last year and we woke up this morning struggling cause of one spending spree. Barbados was borrowing and spending for a long time beyond its means and its just now that it catching up to us.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

No help

No help for Caricom countries hit by Tropical Storm Tomas without benefits to Trinidad and Tobago.

This was made clear by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday.

She said Trinidad and Tobago stands ready to assist its Caricom neighbours but she stipulated that any aid would only come after discussions with her Cabinet colleagues as well as the Opposition Leader, and must in some measure benefit the country.

Well well well.

Ok well I really aint want to put myself in Trini people business but I must say this statement sounding real callous from allya prime minister.

First off y'all done know that Tomas was heading your side an is only God's grace that he mek a turn an head for Barbados and the Windward islands so instead of St Vincent and St Lucia in need of aid it could be you today if things din work out the way they did.

Second and this sort of relate to the first point. Dont get tie up cause allya lil bigger and got few more natural resources than some a we. In the eyes of the world, all we in the Caribbean is barely dots on a map. Is in we best interest to look out for one anudda as a whole. You dont have to see no visible benefit to help but if ya able help out cause helping we is the same thing as helping yaself cause the only way to get ahead is to get ahead as a region. That is like the left arm hurting but the fingers saying I aint rubbing that cause I healthy an um aint relate to me.

And that statement that ya mek Mrs PM sound real callous when ya know how Tomas catspraddle some a we. Cuhdear some a we still widout water and electricity and homeless an you gine say something so. Plus ya is a regional head not no man in the street you should never say nuttin so.

What happened to love or your fellow man and being a good samaratian. Well actually I guess you are being like the parable of the good samartian cause it was the Levite and the priest that should have been neighborly that leff the poor fella skin out for stangers to help. Same way wid you. Nuh benefit to helping so we gine got to look to strangers for.

Alright then, that is how um gine be. Well we would know how we stan in the future.

Monday, November 01, 2010

All bluster no action

And no I'm not talking about Tropical storm Tomas which hit my island Barbados on Saturday morning. Tomas in fact was quite a bit of action as many roofs were blown off, trees uprooted and structures damaged in Barbados.

Thankfully no loss of life there though and I believe minimal lost of life in St Lucia and St Vincent which Tomas pounded with an even harder fist than it did Barbados.

Anyway to God we give thanks that the damage and destruction were not worse. We still aren't 100% up and running yet in Barbados as I speak as the cleanup continues but looks like the cleanup crews are doing a great job restoring power and water services as they go.

No those guys are full of action, kudos, or to put it in my speech, big up to all the light n power and water works and other cleanup staff. respect! But no, my title refers to a lack of action we see in Barbados following disasters.

For instance, two or was it three years ago we had that Arch Cot cave in where a family lost there lives as their house collapsed. Politicians and people of all walks of life complained. How could this happen? How did they get permission to build on this unstable land? We should do something, we should make sure the building codes are followed or updated or both. Lot of bluster, no action, all is forgotten.

This year just a few months ago, tragedy struck in Tudor street when several young women were burned to death in a fire after criminals robbed a store in the city. We condemned the criminals but also said wait a minute how come this place aint had no back door? If they had a back door these women would not have perished in the fire. We should do something, we should make sure the fire codes and building codes are updated or followed if they exist. A bit of bluster, a lot of long talk but then the criminals got caught and all our fury turned to them and codes and laws were again forgotten.

Now this weekend comes Tropical Storm Tomas blowing in like a badjohn or Mr Wolf of Riding Hood fame huffing and puffing. Plenty people lost roofs as the Storm blew by and since we haven't had a storm of this magnitude probably not before I was born (which fa all ya that wanta know is a long time ago in a galaxy far far away) the comments start about why did all these roofs get taken off and whether folk are following the building code. I expect much more uproar on this as the cleanup is finished up but again it will be plenty complaints about updating and or following the building code but two months later it will all be again forgotten.

And such is life in Barbados all bluster no action then forget, wait for the next disaster and repeat cycle.