Privatization is inevitable. In Barbados, we simply cannot afford to continue to subsidize state-run organizations.
But how we go about privatizing our most critical public entities? In my opinion, the government should put measures in place to ensure ownership remains with the general population and not with one organization or family.
Essential services like water, transportation, sanitation, fuel, airport and seaport should not be owned by one organization or family for generations to come at the expense of the populace. What should happen is that there should be a tender for a management contract for a private enterprise to run these institutions. The contractor should be allowed to purchase up to a maximum of 10%-35% of the state own enterprise but the rest of the enterprise being offered to the public so that there is public participation in these entities.
There is a debate on now about the privatization of the Sanitation Service Authority. Why would we want to end up putting the collection of garbage into the hands of one family, irrespective of who is it? We have already done part of this on the water side, and in my opinion, this should not have happened. Barbadians have a lot of savings in banks, and we effectively have been paying taxes to build these state enterprises so why not offer the same taxpayers the opportunity to own a stake in what they have effectively contributed to over the years.
Let us not be blindsided by the present, especially in this our 50th year of Independence, but be cognizant of the Barbados we are creating for generations to come.