In the face of the Russian war, climate change and the global pandemic, Barbadians are being urged to economize more.
That plea has come from Senior Minister and Minister of Energy and Business, Kerrie Symmonds, who spoke at the Calvary Temple Community Church on Sunday.
The special service was in tandem with the Occupational Outreach for all Six Roads Small Business Entrepreneurs, at its Groves, Six Roads, St. Philip location.
Minister Symmonds warned that life as many knew it is no more and that not only households must be conservative with their finances, but businesses as well.
“It cannot be business as usual … because the world is in a state of crisis and quite frankly the world is bordering on war,” he said.
“We have to find ways of working around the problem as best as we can. It lies within all of us to make adjustments and I have said before that households can function better if households can find ways of economizing and businesses can function better if businesses can find ways of economizing, and conservation is one of those ways.”
The Energy Minister also pointed to the importance of conserving fuel.
He spoke of the possibilities of car pooling, while drawing on an ongoing experience of students living on the same street going to the same school but using different vehicles to get there.
“I suspect it has not dawned on [people] that if we start to carpool then you help each other to ease the pain at the petrol pump because you do a little bit less driving. Yes it is a time of COVID-19 and you have to be careful … but we have to start in the spirit of working together to get us forward as a community,” he added.
Above and beyond the issue of conservation, Minister Symmonds said that investing in a business is critical, as is having Black businesses survive the test of time.
“Too many Black businesses in Barbados fail and do not go past the first generation. We have to ask ourselves why this is the case because businesses must continue to the next generation. They should be encouraged to be passed on to the son and the grandson and we see this happening in the Asian and European community but we are not seeing that in our community and we must fix that.”
He said that Black Barbadians must be re-educated on how and why some businesses survive past the first generation.
“You can’t be the spendthrift who spends all and wants all. You have to be prepared to take out a piece and re-invest it and our people have to be taught that and why that is important. You have to be taught how to manage your accounts [as well]” the Senior Minister added.
While touching on the issue of the climate crisis and water scarcity in particular, Symmonds recalled that his Government had to finance the desalination plants at a cost of $60 million, because “people just don’t have access to running water” like it was before.
“This country is facing some severe challenges, as part of the global arrangement in part of a world that is confronting unprecedented challenges-the first crisis being that of climate change…”
Meanwhile, Bishop Andre Symmonds, who spoke to the spendthrift spirit of the prodigal son, within his brief sermon, warned the congregation to use that parable as an example to never follow.
He touched particularly on five points that the prodigal son could have used including saving, investing, sowing and sharing.
“The text said he spent it all. The word prodigal means wasteful and this young man best represents our cavalier culture and greedy generation. Our children are hardly taught the importance of saving, putting down something for a rainy day. The importance of saving something – it might not look like anything but it has a way of adding up,” he said.
He made the point too that many people these days carry a spirit of entitlement, but if everyone shared some of what they have – food shortages would be unheard of.
“If we took this parable and lived by it we wouldn’t be talking about food shortages, famines and rationing and supply chain disruptions, because if everyone shared some with those who don’t have, would there be a shortage or ration? No! Because everyone is making sure the other fellow is sorted out,” he said.