Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson Second Budget Speech – More Questions Than Answers

Open letter to Prime Minister David Thompson 

Dear Sir,

Everyone who was remotely interested in what you had to say in your budget speech yesterday in Parliament was eagerly looking forward to you addressing the issue of the high cost of living affecting the working class, middle class and quite possible the upper middle class. Atlas that was not to be. Not only does the monopolistic, interlocking directorship distributive sector have this country in a stranglehold, the union also have this country in a somewhat lockdown. Whilst the man in the street is somewhat ‘bewildered’ as to why Government’s hand are tied in addressing the high food prices, a list of comparative prices at various supermarkets published in last Friday’s WEEKEND NATION did not have the full impact as it should simply because they was no previous prices to compare with. Yet again the consumer is shortchanged because of inefficiency on the Government’s part.

Whilst the union is pointing fingers at the distributive sector,  for the high cost of food prices, the sector is in turn pointing to the union for its inefficiencies of handing cargo at the port for the end result. Simply put our eyes are gouged out by these two entities. The food cartel sector do get discounts on volume purchases and commissions which they may or may not choose to pass on to consumers. (One supermarket owner even stated publicly that he have to pay for his vacation -justifying high prices). In excess of 400% profit can be made. The union on the other hand are still operating on an archaic work system from the 50’s that sees a man offloading, let’s say 10 cars a day, anything over that is overtime. Workers can carry home thousands of dollars weekly without even breaking a sweat. Even though a  40 tonne capacity Liebherr gantry crane was introduced to speed operations at the port, we are heavily losing our cargo business to countries like Trinidad and St.Lucia, who by the way does not have a gantry crane (by my last check) but is able to  offload  cargo in a day or a couple of hours using manual labour compare to Barbados minimum two day’s delay!

And so whilst the union would continue to boost of the exceptional awards it have received over the decades, the fact of the matter is that these awards are mainly for cruise ship business. One can easily see this from their website ( and we all know the emphasis is on cruise ship business).  This is what is propping up the port. This is reality. A few years ago a study funded by the Inter-American Development Bank for the management,  operational and planning tasks on the Port Authority did not return favourable results. It listed Barbados Port as the worse in the Caribbean. The report was never released to the public. The Port and the union image was at stake. A check  on the net brought up the study. An overall view of what the consultants were hired to do is found here.  Some recommendations were implemented but the competitive edge of the port is still sorely lacking and the consumer is paying for it still today. So who will bell the cat? Sucessive governments are aware of this situation. No government have the balls to go up against the union to stop the fleecing of consumers from that end. Why? Because the union will shut down the port, thereby shutting down the country? Then is there no way out? Bring in the Defence Force to run the port until the union gets its act together. Political sucide? Maybe. But one man sacricfice for the good of many will alaways suffice.

 Budget At A Glance 

  • Discount rate to be reduced effective June 1st  
  • Introduction of a repurchase facility
  • NIS loan facility to private sector in an effort to curb layoffs
  • 103 new housing units across the island.
  • $10 million facility to finance retraining of  major renovations of that institution or the build of a new institution
  • $15 million to ensure swift payment to small businesss that are under government contract
  • Government to take control of sale of CLICO assets
  • Major legislative changes for international business sector including Property Transfer Tax Act and Stamp Duty Act
  • Increase in rebate for new car dealers
  • Duty Free sector to seee a 25 per cent point reduction fro in-bond scheme
  • Shipping Act to be amended
  • Increase from $75 to $500 for first-time gun users and a %200 for renewal
  • Launch of Financial Services Commission by frist quarter of 2010
  • Decrease in senior citizens’ driving license feees from $50 to $25
  • Increase in water rates from July
  • Waiver of interest and penalties fro employers and self-employed persons re: NIS, Income Tax, Land Tax, VAT



One Response to Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson Second Budget Speech – More Questions Than Answers

  1. BGR says:

    Yes, the above comment was written by this blogger.

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