Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Keeping trust and confidence


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WHEN YOU TRUST SOMEONE and have confidence in them you tend to be satisfied, generally speaking, with their actions. This is so whether the relationship is an intimate one or is with a relative, friend, colleague and organization.
What keeps you believing in that person, group or organization is the confidence you repose in them to do right by you. That is, to do things which would redound to your benefit, and those things you hold dear. Your assurance comes from mutual affection and/or shared ideas. This conviction also helps to build loyalty and allegiance.
That’s why it is so devastating when a partner has an affair. From doing the I Confess column since 1988, I have heard the pain and feelings of rejection and have seen how such disappointment can turn to anger.
Politically, I have also witnessed how actions regarded as reneging on support have caused strong emotional responses. We speak here of Dr Richie Haynes (now Sir Richard) and his three colleagues splitting from the then ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in 1989, and in later years the move by Clyde Mascoll from dethroned DLP leader to a Minister of State in a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration.
In both cases, these individuals were ostracized by diehard Dems, in particular, who felt they had committed the worst possible sin by leaving the fold.
Getting into people’s lives and gaining their trust should not be taken lightly. Therefore, those who have been accorded such a privilege should recognize the awesome responsibility they have been given.
For this reason, the actions of our politicians, both in Government and in Opposition, are critical to the confidence people have in what is happening in the country.
I chose this topic because wherever I go people continually engage me on the economy while expressing concern for the future. They can see things are not improving in the outside world and are fearful that bad times are ahead for this country. Yet their “partner”, the Government, having been given their trust afresh in the February 21 general election, is not talking to them about their deepest concerns.
These, in essence, are the four most asked questions:
• Does Barbados have a plan B to overcome any shortfalls in tourism earnings if the worsening situation in Britain, our major tourism market, leads to a reduction in visitors over the next year?
• How can Barbadians in their early 40s, with another 20 to 25 years to work, be sure that the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) will still be viable then, given the high borrowings from the fund by Government and our demographic conundrum of reduced numbers contributing to the NIS but increased demands on it because of our ageing population?
• Is the Medium Term Fiscal Strategy (MTFS) no longer the focal point of Government’s thrust to stabilize the economy? And if it is, how does the $600 million stimulus programme, due to start within months, fit into it?
• As the MTFS was supposed to reduce the fiscal deficit and improve the country’s credit rating leading to reduced debt service costs, does the fact that these things have not happened mean it has failed in its objectives? Or, is it the case that because Government has not followed the dictates of its own plan, it has failed to achieve its objectives?
Most people would like Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler or Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to explain in detail, and in simple terms, their vision for returning the Barbadian economy to buoyancy in spite of the international challenges. And they don’t want the partisan ranting or chest beating – just the facts.
I am sure the administration’s organizers on the ground must be hearing what I am hearing and are aware of the seeming uncertainty amongst the population. So, hopefully, Government will soon take the country into its confidence on these matters.
Quite frankly, I thought that following the DLP’s success in the recent poll, we would have seen a more proactive regime with Stuart leading the charge.
As earlier noted, when people trust you and have confidence in you, they expect you to properly look after their interests. The only way to let them know what is happening is by communicating to them often, as that reassures them. Government needs to start having such conversations with the public if it hopes to motivate everyone to get on board to help keep Barbados afloat. I live in hope.
• Sanka Price is an editor at The NATION. Email him at sankaprice@nationnews.com.


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