Along came some would-be investors in chicken a industry seeking government protection. The Prime Minister of Antigua Vere Bird saw it as: You can produce your chicken but I am not going to protect the price of chicken for you. At present my people eat imported chicken at .99 cents a pound and they have to eat at $5.00 E.C. a day.”
“Employment!” Screamed businessmen and also Tim Hector, head of the socialist movement Antigua and Barbuda and Caribbean Liberation Movement, ACLM.
People eating or people working do the mathematics, the economics and the finances? Since in 1987 the question has been posed to politician and revolutionaries. Finally Robert D. Lucas, PhD food bio-technologist gave the answer in Daily Nation December 21th:
“A democracy is supposed to be government for the people by the people. I see that more and more special interest groups are usurping the democratic process. The BEPA [Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association] is a special interest group. The industry it represents if truth be told, is only operating for the benefit of its member who, due to the extraordinary level of protection reap tremendous profits.
“There is very little saving of foreign currency outflow. The continual protection of this industry is based on the fact that it employs 2,000 persons directly andanother 4,000 are dependants of those employed, giving a total of 6,000. This figure represents 2.3 percent of the population of Barbados.
“Something seems to be radically wrong with the developmental strategy of this country that despite the miniscule benefits being derived form an industry, government persists in protection for fear of an increase in unemployment.”