Friday, April 19, 2024

Separating our wants from needs


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IF?THERE?IS?ONE WORTHWHILE?VOICE coming from across the divide, it is the sound counsel to all of us Barbadians that we must be careful and responsible in what, as a people, we do.
And in the current global economic and political turmoil, it is nothing short of class having our opposing party leaders of similar mind with their words of wisdom. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Opposition Leader Owen Arthur are to be commended for their fusion of view.
Of course, we are not blind to Mr Arthur’s little barb at the Government: that “no clear nor discernible path to growth, stability and sustainable development has been revealed by those responsible for governing our affairs”; or that “public institutions whose functioning is vital to the preservation of stability are now being made to assume roles which will not best serve our national interests”; or that the Government’s “tinkering will not get the job done”.
But we are mindful of his advice that resolution of the national problems that confront us “will require sacrifice from all of us, and the bringing to bear of a strong spirit of innovation in the discharge of our public affairs” – nothing more, nothing less.
Like Mr Arthur, we are in no doubt that once the people of Barbados are presented with “the image of a path forward in a credible and forthright manner”, they “will respond positively and constructively to any challenge that stands in the way of our nation’s progress”.
Prime Minister Stuart is not of dissimilar mind. He too recognizes the potency of clarity, prudence and sacrifice.
Mr Stuart – not unmindful of the tightening of the belt before – would have all Barbadians exercise even more restraint in these very trying times for our island state, which he and Mr Arthur are agreed has been impacted by worldwide negative economic developments. And the Prime Minister’s parental word is not to be taken lightly.
We must indeed place emphasis – for our children and for ourselves – on our needs, and much less on our wants, as Mr Stuart has advised.
“You have wants and you have needs. We can do without our wants; we should not be expected to do without our needs,” he has declared.
In the circumstances, we will expect a frugal mind to “put on hold, unless you can afford them without inconvenience, the things you just want but can do without”.
We are heartened thus by the Prime Minister’s own resolve that it will not be business as usual, and that so far as Government expenditure goes, one thing that will be falling under the hatchet is ministerial and public travel – unless, Mr Stuart swears, it is linked to the “achievement of our national goals”.
We will hold the Prime Minister to that. So, we believe, will the Leader of the Opposition.


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