Stan Reid: Work not in proportion to wages
“Bajan workers are paid too much, says Professor Stan Reid. The director of the Centre for Management Development of the University of the West Indies, said if an examination of salary scales in Barbados was done that would be the picture.
“If we look a the quantum of what we produce in relation to what we earn then we would readily arrive at this conclusion.” Reid said
While stressing that he was not against the principle of collective bargaining he name unionisation as a major culprit in declining levels of per capita output
“When people who took pride in their work found themselves being paid at the same rate of those who didn’t care about theirs, then these same people obviously took a lackadaisical approach to their work”… The university lecturer said the issue of improved productivity was one of dire importance since it will affect our standard of living in the medium to long term.” … Sunday Sun Newspaper
“The unions are bankrupting this country.” The Prime Minister said “I have to find $30 million to pay the pay increases for Civil servants and I do not know where I am going to find the money.”
Barbados is desperate for money. In the euphoria that followed independence in 1966 this tiny island of 250,000 people went on a borrowing spree – borrowing everywhere and everything. The country borrowed an enormous amount of money for its small size. The borrowing continued until the island plunged deep into debt. Today Barbadians owe more money per person to the international community than any other people.
The upwardly mobile segment likewise did the same in the sure and certain knowledge that inflation would take care of most of their borrowings. They reached a Mediterranean standard of living. Some borrowed in order to bequeath a head start to their children. Many squandered; some acquired assets – building, land, housing - some threw theirs into education; some solidified their new status and some sank back into poverty and deep abiding jealousy. The result of all this borrowing on the country was that its hopes for creating a pure democracy and the chance of equality for all died stillborn and they lost control of their island. They do not run it anymore. Under many names and under many guises: the IMF, the Colonial Development, the Inter-American etc; the many faces boiled down to an organisation known as the industrial North. These lenders had but a single purpose in mind; as always and everywhere, they become the controllers of the society, the politics and the economy and the politicians do what they are told to do.
The foreign investment value is high. A large sector of the island is sold to foreigners. The West Coast - golf courses, hotels and big houses are foreign owned and controlled. A fifty-yard walk along the South Coast will demonstrate that that side of the country is a holiday centre for citizens of North America. Barbados worships the money coming from the north and pandered blatantly to wealth.
The money does not trickle down through the society. It is skimmed off and as new millionaires appear their crash commercialisation is not softened by any consideration, manners, social conscious, man’s fellow man to man, no respect for the little people, love of neighbours, love for family and service has gone through the eddoes.
The old social structure has collapsed. Self-centeredness, expediency, pretentiousness, oppression, and flaunting are the order of the day. The old values of altruism, caring, daring, elevated morals, friendship, greatness of character, kindness, loving, magnanimousness, stateliness and manners – consideration to other people, human decency and politeness - are seen as slowing things down. We can no longer disagree and be human still. Etiquette was put in the first place to keep the distinction between the classes i.e. the working class do not know how to conduct themselves at the dinner table.
Up until the fifties, the middle-class - mainly white, browned-skinned and a few prominent black families - did not marry into the working class. The introduction of adult suffrage in 1951 meant that the politicians had to listen to everyone, not just the few people who could vote previously. Along with education, the expansion of business and the expansion of the civil service there was a build up of a large middle income group. This middle-income group became dominant. They dominated the public service and turned it into an army of occupation. Money and not manners define them. The life of the labouring class from which they came forbade tradition. There was no time to reflect, to read, or to follow the higher principles. Families broke-out of substance living. Their off spring grasped for education firstly for financial gain and secondly to find a better way of living.
“If you got a car, you can go far.”
It is a life of materialism. A belief that there is no point in acquiring manners if manners are going to get nowhere. Nor is it understood that there is a vast difference between taking the easiest road and keeping on the straight and narrow path. Without moral ability they have produced sons and daughters like themselves. They do what their politicians want.
The politicians are middle-income yet they live in splendour. They have divided, separate out and put themselves above the workers with awards, schemes and empty promises - exercising power without responsibility they do what is expedient. Their authority comes by blarney: empty-talk, propaganda and ripping off the working class votes every five years. A new law allows people with qualifications from any university to enter unhindered whereas people without a qualification need permission. Another class has been created; the gap widens.
Barbados is an Anglicised island. The island drives on the left side of the road while the rest of the world drives on the right. It plays cricket and the Queen of England appoints its judges. It is not a working class game. Like Bermuda, the Azores and the Ascension islands the country is classified as of strategic importance: unsinkable aircraft carriers. The less fuel an aeroplane carries to make a long distance flight the more weapons and heavier bombs can be loaded. The idea is to fill up at the last gas station – Barbados, the Azores, the Ascension Islands and Bermuda, fly over Russian and hit China from the west. Refuelling like this a stealth bomber can reach Baghdad from Barbados.
Next door the Cubans are suffering after forty years of Castro’s rule. They are cowed or sympathetic to the west but their government maintains anti-Americanism in order to excuse its economic inadequacies and to pander to envy of America’s wealth. Castro has to keep up the anti-American propaganda. Cuba has a few more years at the maximum before civil unrest. The plans are drawn up; the excuse is there. If Serbia can be attacked then Cuba can be invaded for crimes against humanity.
The Americans have said that US law can be broken in any country no matter nationality and will be regarded by them as subject to prosecution. The stated intention of the U.S. government in the 1950s was “world peace through world rule.” Within five years they stopped boats, which did not belong to them on the high seas and turned them back. This was an unlawful act but no other country was powerful enough to bring them up for international piracy. The boats were Russian carrying legitimate rockets to Cuba. It was not the business of the US neither what the boats were carrying nor to whom they were being taken. Yesterday they do not like Russian boats carrying rockets tomorrow it could be Barbadian boats carrying bananas.
Cuba does not manufacture weapons. Fidel suppliers have disappeared: the Russians are protecting no one anymore except other Slavs and China only supplies to countries that lean their way. Depending upon the sophistication of the weapons needed, three countries do not ask for political leaning in the sale of arms, South Africa, France and Israel. Cuba needs international currency - gold or U.S. dollars.
The organised criminals, the money launderers, the betters and casinos and otherwise with the Cuban exile community – the same combination that tried to kill DeGaulle and ordered and organised the assassination of John Kennedy - wait and watch with their satellites strained on Castro puffing away on his cigars. The only thing that keeps them alive is the return to their Shangri-La. During the coup d'état the U.S. will be friendly in the same way as they did with the coup in Haiti where the Tonton Macoutes and the generals were overthrown with American assistance to put in a more popular person who is not pro American.
These forces are difficult to go against because the society is in pursuit of the fast buck and full of uncaring people. Nobody cares. Anyone who bucks the system is fired if not cut off from pensions, house and land is stolen and if independent isolated with scandal and gossip and left amongst people who are unable to give comfort to a dissident who has been given a beating.
A taxi driver and earnest supporter of the Party was made the chairman of the tourist board; one of the first of those who would take over in the name the island’s new independence and of black power was praised recently by and ex-minister for his contribution to the tourist industry but he was an embarrassment on the Board’s first promotional tour to Europe. Lacking in manners and rude, the tour satisfied his desire to pomposet. The days were saved by the private sector.
As the tourist industry grew in the 70s, political patronage appeared at every level. Party patronage mirrored the rise of the middle income and corrupted the postcolonial bureaucracy. In the early seventies they were no tour companies and a few six-seater vans used mostly to transport airline staff; taxi-men transported passengers from airport to hotel and took them on tours in two by threes and fours.
A charter airline brought most of their guests to hotels on the south coast, a tree lined semi-residential area and saw the need to transport large numbers; they ordered tour coaches and solved the immediate problem by renting buses from the government’s transport board. The airport taxi-men objected and surrounded the first bus. The Minister of Tourism solved the problem; he banned everyone expect the airport taxi coop from importing tour coaches because the airport taxi-men represented big votes for the party.
Many people felt that it was a bad career move on my behalf to leave BWIA where free travel was unlimited for employees and their family to move to Caribbean Airways, which had not flown a flight. When the hard work was over, the airline made money and its prestige assured what the writer Franz Fanon called the black national petty bourgeois expressed the opinion that a black man should take over management and lobbying began. One of the black party boys on the rise with less than three years airline experience from a job at a storage company and no idea of the functioning of the airline wormed his way in. He came just as the airline had increased the British tourist market by 30%. Britain has continued to be the island largest market.
He took the opportunity to make things uncomfortable and hostile for me. He claimed he did so because the English manager treated him like a boy and was always courteous to me. It was a veiled expression of hatred of working for a white man.
He gave problems from the start: he did not call when he was late; he did not notify of his whereabouts neither did he continue the inexpensive “pull” method of advertising of sending sales letters to agents and offices - the corner stone that had been the corner stone of the airline’s marketing. He used “push” marketing - the more expensive media advisements and stopped the office maid who had very little to do for her half day job from sticking stamps on the letters because he said the maid was not paid to do such chores. His concern was not about exploitation but about keeping the maid, who was glad for the office experience, in her place. When the newspaper did write-ups he took centre stage. Next he insisted on hiring all staff.
“You do not hire someone who can do your job.” He said and excluded the middle class and better-educated applicants. He started an affair with a new employee and the once happy office was full of tension: he called it his “information network,” said that tactic was taught to him in a course. Meanwhile the airline was taken over by the government. In the ensuing years he got rid of every middle class or fair-skinned member of staff; he opened a grand office in town; he hired thirty staff were once there were ten; he spoke of first class seats and men who knew nothing of airline business became directors. The airline was a plum handed to the politicians who ran up millions of dollars in debt. When labour won the election the secretary of the party became a director just after he was held on a serious marijuana trafficking charge and won on a technicality: the law, which has been changed since had named the female cannabis plant as illegal but there was no way to differentiate the sex of the plant at that time in the island.
Caribbean Airways was bankrupted and cost the government $30 million dollars a year. It closed but retained the name and became a duty free shop - an airlines in name alone. Eventually the Chairman, a labour minister and the director with the marijuana charge were made to resign over large spending, and a shady deal to sell its route concession to a Santo Dominican airline.
“…Board member Ms. Elaine Gooding who is also Dr. Cheltenham’s secretary, was away on holiday when this newspaper tried to reach her. …Apart from financial details published yesterday, our investigations also reveal that the identities of members of the airline’s (Caribbean Airways) full board of directors were not known b government until after the Advocate’s report was published. These directors include the secretary [Miss Elaine] Gooding] in Dr. Cheltenham’s law office … “ The Barbados Advocate newspaper 08th June 1995.
“A bizarre Caribbean Airways financial scheme has been uncovered committing the Barbados Government to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for empty seats flown to this island by Birgenair and a German tour operator. However, as a result of an on-going investigation, the project appears to have been aborted before take-off. Nevertheless questions are being raised as to why this island’s representatives considered saddling Barbados wit such a top-sided deal … the entire Caribbean Airways board resigned recently in the wake of allegations of inappropriate and excessive spending by the board.” The Barbados Advocate newspaper 15th June 1995.
Through a Barbadian community organization in London the airline arranged block bookings using "affinity" fares from London. The organization behaved a dishonest way even with its own people. but one of its heads, a big party member, was given a big job in an embassy. Even the chauffer was a joke. He had a culture block and did not want to know anywhere in London but the black ghetto areas.
“He took me once to Kensington Palace and when we reached outside the gates he pushed his head through the car window and said ‘Princess Margaret live ‘bout here.” The Prime Minister complained but he wanted votes and the driver was given a Queen’s honour and spoken of in later years as a true servant of the country.
Christmas Eve night’s dinner and the food was horrible and the service worse and the restaurant was five star and so to the hotel in which it was located and owned by a big British corporation. Dinner was at seven and soon after we arrived a cat fight broke out. One cat ran another screaming cat through the whole length of the bar. A young waitress took the order and shouted it to the barmen at the end of the bar. Drinks served, the barman moved to a computer screen on the bar and proceeded to work.
“Where you from?” Another barman chatted patronizingly and offered the information that this was one of their chain of five, five-star hotels on that coast. Refused conversation he paid no mind to the empty glasses. A waitress called across the room to come over because it was too much trouble for her to walk. She did not know Perrier water. The food was little and dressed with fancy titles: two mussels in ravioli with a sauce that tasted as if it were a combination of remains. The onion soup had soggy bread and red-herring, which also made it taste cheap. The steak was tasty but miniscule with half of a carrot cut in two, two small inch pieces of squash and seven sweet potato chips. The fruit sauce for the ice cream was two lines of decoration drawn on the plate. This is an example of how foreign companies skim of the wealth of the country
A white British ex-patriate appeared in normal clothes did not identify himself and asked if the meal was fine. The dining room was full of English tourists who did not complain; their children jumped on the dance floor and there was a baby in a pram in a five star restaurant at dinner.
The British tourist are the newly-arrived; they are not the kind from years gone by, these ones know no better because they are being treated the same way in Britain. They have saved-up for years and want to say they vacationed and stayed at a five star hotel. The American who used to flocked to the shores have understood that they no longer get value for money and have moved elsewhere.
The political class tightened its political and ideological control of society through a consumer culture of sex, drugs, alcohol and music, dressed up to look like a material boom. Freedom and independence are a choice of soft drinks, beer, lotteries and hire-purchase deals. Progress is measure in terms of a higher standard of living. A traditional white company elected black directors; the largest family run enterprises, out of a board of eleven has five blacks. The chief executive of the largest corporation in the Caribbean is a black Barbadian and is allegedly the highest paid chief executive in the island. He is not only the Chief Executive officer but is on the board of all of their companies, which included a string of hotels and supermarkets. Poor black boys make it quick and easy through the Party for many reasons. A man who can hardly read or write can hardly understand the most elementary fundamentals of political situation, less a thing about politics, ran for a seat in the north. He narrowly lost the election and was made a senator. He was an orphan that nun’s found outside of their door. He sold bread from his home, expanded in a business and opened several outlets. A city journal gave him the Spirit of Enterprise Award.
World Bank boss: Too much corruption.
World Bank President James Wolensohn said yesterday that corruption has become so pervasive in poor countries that it was prompting rich nations to balk at providing development aid. Industrialised countries “don’t want to give money for development assistance that ends up in offshore bank accounts.” Wolfensohn said. …He said that corruption could only be rooted “from the inside” through structural reforms, starting from the top. … The Nation Newspaper, October 1999
These are a few examples starting in the 1970s. The Prime Minister liked his white friend who gave him permanent use of a small wooden beach cottage and after the Prime Minister’s death he gave it to the Prime Minister’s daughter who sold it.
A number of questions arise with regard to Government’s participation which must now be examined. These questions fall under three broad Heads:-
1. Why did the government agree, so readily, to guarantee a loan of U.S.$3,29700.00 for a private enterprise, which was owned and controlled by three persons, notwithstanding the concern express by the Financial Secretary Mr. Osbourne.
2. Why did the government purchase the shares of Mr. Kyffin Simpson and Mr. George Ferguson at par value for $1 each when the Company was insolvent and the shares appeared to have no market value?
3. Why did the Government assume the responsibility for the payment of approximately Bds$4 million, which it had not guaranteed?
Looking at the Company’s Balance Sheet and accounts it seems clear that in the year 1976 the shares were worth practically nothing. Mr Harcourt Lewis, who was then the Permanent Secretary (Finance) and is now the President of the Barbados National Bank, stated under oath that he would have paid $1.00 for all 125,000 shares. Mr. St. Clair Stuart, formerly the Chief Accountant in the Ministry of finance and who is now the Managing Director of International Sea Food (ISL) state on a strictly commercial basis “I don’t think they would find anybody to buy those shares.” At the time the Government agreed to buy the shares the Auditor’s report on the current financial position of the Company had not been completed nor had Captain Sayers’ valuation of the boats been completed. Not a single witness who appeared before the Commission admitted taking any part in the valuation of the shares – not Mr. Barrow – not Mr. Taitt (the minister of Trade) – Not Mr. Emptage, not Mr. Lewis, not Mr. Stuart. How then were Mr. Simpson and Mr, Fergusson so fortuante as to be able to get their asking price of a value of $1 per share, without a single voice raised in protest. Both Mr. Barrow and Mr. Taitt were of the view that there was nothing wrong and that Messrs Simpson and Ferguson deserved to get back what they had put into the company as they had worked hard and kept the company going in spite of its problems. … From a purely legal viewpoint it was not compulsory for the government to assume responsibility for the debts it had not guaranteed to pay…. It was obviously a policy decision of Cabinet to assume full responsibility for the entire indebtedness of ISL to Citibank. … Report of the Duffus Commission of Inquiry of 1976
Simpson, and Fergusson, son of one of the first democratic ministers and a jockey, started a sea food business in the early seventies, with $250,000.00. The government guaranteed a loan from a bank of 3 million. The sea-food company went bust and was in debt, in debt for nearly $7,000,00.00 only a few years later. The Prime Minister reimbursed them $250,000.00 and signed as a guarantor for the seven million to the bank, which has been paid by the tax payers. Simpson went on to become one of Barbados’ richest men, eventually founding the largest automobile dealership in South America and the Eastern Caribbean, and is a born again Christians with a Zionist wife.
In the Prime Minister constituency there was a stalwart democrat with whose daughter the Prime Minister carried on an affair. Two of his sons quit their job and opened a cargo airline. The youngest of the sons married one of the Prime Minister’s flings and he continued the liason after the marriage. The company failed:
The “private individuals in Barbados and the United States of America, who attempted to finance it, quite obviously, bit off more than they could chew. One can understand Mr. Barrow’s reluctance at the start to commit government to the heavy capital expenditure which would have had to be undertaken, but, the question must be asked why did he suddenly decide to participate in the venture at a time when it was hopelessly in debt and quite insolvent? … The evidence indicates that Carib West was totally insolvent. It would appear that the only asset it possessed was the permit from the Civil Aeronautic Board to fly in and out of the USA, which expired on the 08th May 1978. The Company owned no aircraft. In the absence of evidence to the contrary I would say that it had no ‘goodwill’. In fact, the Carib West Management Company was formed essentially to shield Carib West Airways from its creditors – vide the evidence of Mr. Went.
- It is therefore quite clear that the Government of Barbados on the sudden change of mind of its Minister of Finance and without knowledge of Parliament, saddled the tax-payers with a liability of over $1 million for which there was no quid pro quo.
- What motivated Mr. Barrow? In the case of Carib West there were probably less than half-a-dozen employees, who, with the exception of Mr. Went and Mr. Mayers were not working when there were no aircraft.
- Certainly the personal and private interest of Mr. Went and Mr. Mayers required it – particularly in the case of Mr. Went whose home was mortgaged and who was personally liable to First National City Bank under a guarantee to secure a debt owing by the Company of $310,000.00 for which on the 20th January 1976 he had offered the Bank a payment of $200,000.00 on the 6th March with the first cheque drawn on the new account with the Bank of Nova Scotia out of the $510,000 paid by the Crown Solicitor of the shares. It seemed that Mr. Went was so sure of his position that he was able to offer the Bank the payment of $200.000.00 on the day preceding the day of Cabinet’s decision to purchase the shares, which was the 29thJanuary.
- Fortune was eventually kind to Mr. Went, and his friendship with the former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, his frequent visits to his office and his persistent badgering to get him to aid his ailing airline were rewarded. The Edghills and the American shareholders were also extremely fortunate in being able to get back their money from the airline and they ought to be most grateful to Mr. Barrow and the Barbadian tax-payers.
- Carib West 100.000 at $10.00 a share. Cost $1,048,748 Debt Feb 1976.
… Report of Duffus Commission 1977
This venture cost the taxpayers one million dollars and after this the Prime Minister made the youngest brother a counsel for Barbados in the South of he USA.
A head of West Indies Cricket Board, was good looking, mannerly, rich, tall and light-skinned. The “boys” set up a company importing from Jamaica, bought land and erected show houses and started a lumber company. The “boys” were cricket. A world famous fast bowler was employed and given shares. Another fast bowler was given a job in sales. A Barbados cricketer was manager of the import section and was given shares in the lumber company. He travelled a lot and all the companies under his management collapsed. Although he had bankrupted the other company he still kept his shares in the lumber company. The government rented to them land at a prime location outside of town at peppercorn rent.
The Prime Minister bought a boat from the US for the purpose of transporting cement for a proposed cement company, a joint venture between Barbados and Trinidad. The boat was obtained at a low price. The lumber company bought hundreds of thousands of long feet of lumber, diverted the boat on the way; loaded the lumber, and the boat transported the cargo free of transportation cost and import duty saving several times more than the government charged for loading and docking the lumber. The manager was a loyal party member and was eventually made: a senator, a chairman of a national bank amongst other things. The head of cricket has been described as running a haughty arrogant, and inefficient board which has seen the demise of West Indian cricket dominance.
“I first met our late Prime Minister, Tom Adams in 1973. He was in opposition then. His government won the election in 1976. I was a night club doorman and supervisor back then. Club Alexandra’s was a place for the more affluent in society and the night spot for the famous local and international celebrities. At seventeen I looked rather grand in my tuxedo with the gold stud or diamond in my ear. It was the in thing in those days. … My first encounter with this would be Prime Minister was to refuse him a complimentary pass to the club. People in opposition didn’t mean much to us in those days. Unless of course the person was rich and well known. Adams’ fame came later. Amazingly this man would later hire me to be his butler to his official residence at Ilaro Court. I believe I have the hour to be the first to hold that position. It was 1983. …God’s Butler One by Steve Bell
The newly elected Labour Prime Minister wore hushpuppies; they were not the sort of thing suitable in a discotheque. After his election victory he and his friends arrived at Alexandra’s, one of the best discotheques in the world, sat at the honoured table, checked, looked, did not dance, cased the place and decided that it was the place for a casino. Upstairs at Alexandra’s became the Theatre Grill. The mediocre food, which was fine for a discotheque was given new names and new costly prices. When the Dean of a cathedral took up the cause against the legalization of gambling, Alexandra’s went bust. The original owner was drummed out of the island and one of the best discotheques in the world was lost. The building was abandoned, condemned and demolished.
The Labour party has used millions of dollars to buy out candidates from the opposition parties. A gems of a deal is one of their biggest scams. In the commission on the financial malfeasance of the democrats, the commissioner stated all roads lead to the Prime Minister; today in this multi-million dollar project, all roads lead to three labour members; no one knows, except these three, who is getting what. This project is the biggest deal yet that Labour has paid to its members. What started-out as a project to save privately owned hotels has become a fund to support the Labour member’s hotels. A former Labour Prime Minister owned a hotel, which owed the national bank, one source estimates, $4 million, but no confirmation can be made as the amount has never been made public. The debt was written off and the hotel bought. The ex-Labour Prime Minister’s daughter left her job at his smaller hotel for a bigger job with the bigger hotel. An abandoned hotel set inland off the west coast was also purchased by the project from its owner the man who is married to the ex-Prime Minister’s sister-in-law. The hotel, now derelict is on stream for more money to be spent on it. A hotel owned by Labour’s Attorney General and his family debts were cleared off and bought by the project for more money than it is now proposing to sell it. The project is currently refinancing another $30 million. Its chairman is the Labour Prime Minister’s best friend who recently has been fired for mismanagement but given a large amount of money for his send off and no explanation to the public about why he has been given more of their money. This is not about ideology, but about money and corruption. The economic opposition shadow minister does not have the figures for the project nor does anyone in the opposition. The newspaper does not have the information.
In the United States food shortages are tolerated only during wartime. Their people demand to be fed at an affordable price.
“The fate of nations depends upon the way they eat. Let me know what you eat and I shall know all about you,” wrote Brillat-Savarin.
Real food is a luxury for the rich:. beans have reached a much as $6.00 a lb (US$3,00) and real food: vegetables and fruit, milk, nuts and protein are too expensive. A pound of homegrown sweet potatoes sells at sometimes $3.00 a pound, and carrots sometimes at $8.00 per pound. Before the Europeans, looking for a way to quell starvation back home brought West Africans the people of these islands ate a balanced, clean, healthy diet. They barbecued and they boiled stewed crab and cassava seasoned with tamaulin sauce. Tamaulin sauce is lemon juice, pepper and the green meat of the crab. They ate shellfish and fish, corn, beans and sweet potatoes. They drank ouicoud, a fermented cassava and sweet potato beer. They did not eat eel, fowl, pork or salt. There was no invitation needed to partake of food, be you known or unknown and no shortage of food.
The Prime Minister of Antigua’s basic economic tenant for the island which kept the population good natured was that Antiguans and Barbudians should be able to eat for the day on $5,00 EC/ $3.40 BDS/ $1.75 US. That was in 1987. Fresh fish, conch and lobster was inexpensive. Fruit was inexpensive and could be picked up off the earth in the country. The sea eggs were plentiful on the coast. Down by the pier where the locals go there was a clean restaurant serving rock fish stuffed with bread crumbs for less than a US$1.00. Most specials were under US$1.50. Chicken sold at $.50US a pound. Less healthy was the blood pudding available on the street every day for US$.50 cents worth. Bread was cheap and good quality.
Amarta Sen, the Nobel Laureate in Economics for 1998, states that shortfalls in food supply do not cause widespread deaths in a democracy because vote-seeking politicians will undertake relief efforts; but even modest food shortfalls can create deadly famines in authoritarian societies. Sen uses the Bengal famine in 1943 as a model, and shows that even though there was an economic boom in the city of Bengal millions of country dweller starved to death. The economic boom raised food prices and the millions of poorly paid workers in the country could not afford to buy food. The British ruled at that time and they completely ignored the famine.
Although Barbadians are not starving to death, they are instead becoming sick and dying at an alarming rate as a result diet related illness like diabetes, asthma, coronary illness, and high blood pressure. Barbados is known as the amputation capital of the world. In the first year and a half of the introduction of the Value Added Tax on food, which increased prices steeply, the hospital was swamped with diet related sicknesses, so much so prompting the Minister of Health to complain that Barbadians were because of their unhealthy lifestyles putting an unfair amount of pressure on the only hospital. Barbadians she said were too sick. The politicians ignore the plight of those on the verge of malnutrition because of the high price of food. It is a sign of their authoritarianism.