Some soldiers are so terrified of the horrors of war that they intentionally harm themselves so that they can be transported away from the battlefield and receive priority medical treatment. I am very sympathetic to soldiers who have been prematurely deployed to the battlefield. A properly trained soldier has accepted the responsibility of defending citizens, which may require the ultimate sacrifice of death.
The Government encouraged us to prepare for our old age by making National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions and investing in pension plans. We were told that we could confidently invest in our future this way because the NIS Board consisted of eminently qualified persons.
The NIS Board has one main responsibility, which is to protect the money that should be paid to us in our old age. The NIS Board decided to lend our money to the Government. The Government had difficulty in repaying what was owed to us. As lender acting on our behalf, the NIS Board could easily have allowed the Government to repay our money over a longer repayment period, given the state of the national economy. That would be acting in both our interests and the Government’s.
Shockingly, our eminent NIS Board members voted to allow the Government never to repay approximately $800m of our money. What could have possessed them to harm us like this?
If they were intimidated by having their families threatened, then I could understand why they appeared to betray us. However, once they were forced to vote against our best interests, they should have resigned. If they are already compromised, then why are they loitering on the NIS Board pretending to represent our interests?
The banks managing our pension plans knew that voting against our interests would harm us financially, but they did it anyway. However, unlike the NIS Board members who may be subject to intimidation, all of our banks are foreign owned. What possible reason could they offer for acting so cowardly?
Their decision to vote against our best interests means that they also voted against theirs. Why would they do something so lunatic? How can that level of cowardice inspire any confidence in their banks? Why would anyone want to deposit money in cowardly banks which chose not to fight for depositors or themselves?
The banks are now recouping their losses by greedily charging us higher banking fees, but none of that money goes to our pension funds. Based on their politically partisan behaviour during the last general election, the only rational reason for their decision to harm us financially, appears to be that they are still politically compromised.
The NIS Board and Barbados-based banks would not have had to make the decision to financially harm us if the BLP administration had the courage to fight for us, rather than critically wounding us by defaulting on foreign loans.
Once the BLP administration had economically ruined us, they rushed us to the IMF, who made a quick decision to operate. Now they have the gall to boast about how fast they got the doctor to see us – after they figuratively shot us in the gut. Are they serious?
The seemingly politically compromised radio and newspapers have lost all journalistic integrity as they defend every irresponsible action of the BLP administration as brave and caring. Are they mad? What is so brave about defaulting on a loan? Any idiot can do that. It takes courage, creativity and perseverance to make those payments, especially after losing your job.
What is so brave and caring about laying off people? Any simpleton can do that. It takes intelligence to properly manage people to be productive, and there seems to be none of that in BERT. What is so brave and caring about raising taxes? The most incompetent among us can easily do the same. It takes bravery to lower taxes, and intelligence to provide an enabling economic environment where low-taxed persons can thrive.
Unfortunately, BERT’s demonstrated incompetence appears to be just the start of things to come. Despite being fully aware that there are non-austerity alternatives to their severe austerity plan, BERT refuses to consider any of them. That would normally be front page news of a media outlet committed to truthfully informing the public; but not our news media.
Our news media refuse to report on any non-austerity plan, including Solutions Barbados’. Instead, they continue to mislead the public that the mass suffering of Barbadians is the necessary and only solution. They are dead wrong and cowards of the highest order.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at [email protected]