“Money to Unite, Anything Else?” by Henderson N. Bovell
Imagine! The rate of poverty has now reached alarming proportions. Too many are already unemployed without any hope of finding work anytime soon.
Businesses are closing. Crime is on the rise, so too the very cost of living this government promised to reduce.
Everything is trending in the wrong direction! The economy is shrinking and the debt is rising. Government cannot pay its basic bills. Of 300 buses over 100 not working. The economy has been downgraded to junk and worse is yet to come.
The number of suicides have reached an alarming rate. I now hear that stress; dysfunctional families and mental illness are on the rise. Would “unity” or “share survival” be on the minds of most right now? It would, however, seem that from a social development perspective – the use of the phrase: “to promote unity,” implies that there is now: “dis-unity” within all communities across Barbados. If so, despite having mentioned all of the above – pray tell – what could the “stressor/s” be for families; businesses and ordinary people within communities?
What scientific social development measure was used to conclude that there is: “dis-unity” within communities? And for what cause or national purpose, should or must communities/the society – now unite? Is there a crisis, especially given that this Government has already stated publicly that it is building a society?
Oh, what distraction!!!
Is it “dis-unity” within communities that caused the economy to shrink or be downgraded to junk? Is it dis-unity within communities that is causing investors to see Jamaica’ debt as being more attractive than Barbados’? Is it the alleged dis-unity within communities that is causing tourists to see St. Lucia and Jamaica as being more appealing than Barbados?
Still, how can any social programme seek to reward a single community with money? And, isn’t private capital infiltrating communities – to achieve an outcome (especially in the absence of credible research) not a very dangerous thing?
Pinelands Creative Workshop and the Israel Lovell Foundation could tell you that even where there is a credible programme that could have a transforming effect on communities – the approach is usually to partner with a department of government.
Is there a responsible and an irresponsible use of private capital within communities, especially when it would appear that – that private capital purports that it wants to achieve an outcome expressed in our national pledge and national anthem.
In the absence therefore of credible research or empirical evidence, wouldn’t intervention within communities not appear – political and intrusive?
Therefore, coming as it does in the month of November, why shouldn’t an apparent ‘un-Barbadian‘ culture, which offers money to communities, allegedly to promote “unity” – not be viewed with suspicion?
What does such an initiative hope to achieve, that: taxpayers’ funded football, sponsor-less NIFCA; The Community Independence Secretarial, a community beautification initiative, the Community Development Department; Youth Commissioners; community Independ-dance fest; Project OASIS or even a community wellness initiative – have failed to?
Is this initiative intended to be cultural; economic, social development or political in scope? One would think that in this climate, a more desired approach would have been to approach government and pledge 10% of the very money it earned from the “people” anyhow – towards a poverty alleviation fund.
It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. Perhaps that explains why the country seems to be getting to a very dangerous place!
Now that we are in the month of November, I am just wondering whether the society shouldn’t be concerned about protecting the integrity of our democracy?
It may be as good a time as any – to reflect on what Mr. Barrow might have foreseen when he cautioned in his mirror image speech, ‘not to allow people to ‘bribe you with your own money.’