Friday, April 12, 2024

THE PEP COLUMN: Cost-U-Less and economic dependency


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The politically incestuous black oligarchy that has developed in Barbados over the past 50 years and exercises control over our system of national governance possesses little or no confidence in the abilities of the Barbadian people and is constantly looking “outside” to the white American and European foreigner for Barbados’ economic salvation!
A case in point is the current Democratic Labour Party Government’s embarrassingly fulsome embrace of American multinational company Cost-U-Less. Apparently every conceivable concession is to be given to encourage Cost-U-Less to come to Barbados and sell consumer items.
Why, after nearly 400 years of Barbadian people’s engaging in the import-based distributive trade, we need to virtually pay an American multinational company to set up a supermarket and take their profits out of our country is beyond comprehension!
Our Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler prates on and on about the supermarket’s constituting a “foreign investment” in our country, but does not seem to realize that [this leads] to an overall entrenched system of economic dependency and the exploitation and poverty of spirit that such a system engenders.
By all means, let us have foreign investment where the foreigner is bringing some new high technology enterprise, but surely we don’t need to entice foreign investors to grab chunks of an industry we are intimately familiar with.
If our Government felt that Barbados needed a new mega-supermarket, then surely the correct approach would have been to assemble a group of strategically chosen Barbadian businesspeople possessed of the relevant expertise, sell them the idea and work with them to establish the new enterprise. But unfortunately, this type of self-respecting independent thinking seems to be beyond the capacity of our nouveau riche oligarchical “political class”.
The People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) subscribes to the view that genuine development in any organism has to come from within that organism! Thus, we would like to see our country adopt an “indigenizing” approach to development based on our resources – natural, cultural, intellectual, human – and working with them to add value and in the process develop ourselves and our nation.
If we had such an approach to development, we would have long ago realized that we possess many national resources that are pregnant with potential for development! A short list would include our unique sea island cotton, solar energy technology, Black Belly Sheep, our credit union expertise, Barbados’ antique furniture, our literary, musical and visual artistes, Bajan hot peppers and cherries, our expertise in education, our style of tropical architecture, our Cricket tradition, Barbados’ sugar and rum, our “national” airline, and the list goes on.
Instead of looking for Europeans and North Americans to do something for us, we would have developed our national resources and sold them to the rest of the world!
• The PEP column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party.


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