Why Complain in Barbados?

Barbados is, in my opinion, the best place in the world.  A beautiful landscape with fairly predictable weather, a stable government, a relatively impartial judiciary, a growing economy, a comprehensive utility network, free essential public services, and a fairly well informed population make Barbados a relatively comfortable place to live and work.

There are other countries where people are persecuted for dissention, and there is no legal recourse for harm to individuals and damage to property.  There are other countries where poverty is abject and legal economic opportunities are scarce; but not so in Barbados.  God has truly blessed this country.  So why do we complain?

We do not complain.  It had been an inaccurate description of what people do when they comment publicly.  It is very easy to dismiss legitimate criticism as complaining.  One rarely hears or reads of complaints in Barbados; however, Barbadians do identify low standards of personal behaviour, public and private sector services, and consumer products.  Why do they do this?  Because they know that we can do better.

Why don’t we do better?  Because governing appears to have evolved into a political game.  The principal criterion for making decisions appears to be political expediency, where decisions are made only when it is in the best interests of the party in power to make them.  The objective of the game is to remain in power for as long as possible.

This type of governance is understandable, since no political party wishes to relinquish power; however, the game’s one vulnerability is an informed electorate.  It is therefore a strategic error for governments to believe that they can delay doing what is right, when the electorate can see that there is no justifiable reason for the delay.

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6 responses to “Why Complain in Barbados?

  1. I always like the phrase: “just because something is good, doesn’t mean it can’t be better”

  2. Hi Nickster:

    That is an excellent phrase!

    Regards,
    Grenville

  3. This is the second time I have read this particular comment. I must have glossed over it before since it is only now that I realised what a serious comment it actually is. I listen to Brasstacks’ most days ( only since the infamous crossing of the floor) and what you have written is the exact conclusion I have come to. I mean, I have not voted in nearly 10 years but have every intention of voting in the next election. I am educated enough to know what a sovereign nation should expect from its government. I am therefore disappointed to a certain extent that such a popular government has not done more to really place Barbados on the brink of real World Class status (instead of it being a cute phrase) in terms of laws which are enforced.
    This is something which really bothers me and I keep suggesting to my offspring that they need to live and work somewhere where systems actually function. Somewhere where there is reliability. I am just really disappointed that is all.

  4. What Does a Statesman Look Like?
    Download PDF of the larger publication
    The term “politician” isn’t a popular one, even with politicians. Most people would agree that to be labeled a “statesman” is a much higher compliment — and that we need fewer of the former and more of the latter. There’s a general sense that statesmen lift us up, while politicians let us down. This column will seek to foster a climate which will produce more statesmen and fewer politicians, so let’s begin with some observations about what distinguishes one from the other.

    (Click to enlarge)
    “A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
    —Thomas Jefferson

    Statesmen are a big cut above politicians, who seek office for thrills or for power or because they like the attention it brings them. Some politicians are better than others, but statesmen rise above mere politics, that meat grinder of principles. The clever politician knows how to manipulate power for personal advantage, but the statesman’s allegiance is to loftier objectives.

    Statesmen don’t seek public office for personal gain or attention. Like George Washington, they often are people who take time out from productive careers of accomplishment to temporarily serve the public. They don’t have to work for government because that’s all they know how to do. They stand for a principled vision, not for what they think citizens will fall for. When a statesman gets elected, he doesn’t forget the public-spirited citizens who sent him to office and become a mouthpiece for the permanent bureaucracy or some special interest that greased his campaign.

    Because they seek the truth, statesmen are more likely to do what’s right than what may be politically popular at the moment. You know where they stand because they say what they mean and they mean what they say. They do not engage in class warfare, race-baiting or in other divisive or partisan tactics that pull people apart. They do not buy votes with tax dollars. They don’t make promises they can’t keep or intend to break. They take responsibility for their actions. A statesman doesn’t try to pull himself up by dragging somebody else down, and he doesn’t try to convince people they’re victims just so he can posture as their savior.

    When it comes to managing public finances, statesmen prioritize. They don’t behave as though government deserves an endlessly larger share of other people’s money. They exhibit the courage to cut less important expenses to make way for more pressing ones. They don’t try to build empires. Instead, they keep government within its proper bounds and trust in what free and enterprising people can accomplish. Politicians think that they’re smart enough to plan other people’s lives; statesmen are wise enough to understand what utter folly such arrogant attitudes really are.

    Have you ever felt that in spite of a long campaign and lots of speeches, you learned essentially nothing from a particular candidate? That one was a politician. I prefer the statesman: the man or woman of substance who, win or lose, had the courage to lay it out straight.

    Politicians are characters, but statesmen have character. A statesman is a man or woman of integrity, honesty and candor. You actually learn something good from what he says and how he conducts himself. When a politician leaves office, he’s largely forgotten. When a statesman departs, we know we’ve lost something.

    Michigan doesn’t suffer from a shortage of politicians. First and foremost, it needs a citizenry that is vigilant about the nature of government and its proper role in a free society of responsible adults. That’s the sort of citizenry that then has the wisdom to produce statesmen.

    Lawrence W. Reed is president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

  5. I copied the above from Bahamas weblog. Don’t know if you saw it. Just thought it was interesting.

  6. Hi Syl:

    That is an excellent article. I wrote to Mr Reed requesting his permission to post it as a new article, and am awaiting his reply.

    Regards,
    Grenville

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