“Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realise that both come from God” – Ecclesiastes 7:14

The title of this article has been borrowed from a report by Robert W. Resek et al. of the Illinois higher education network.  The inspiration for the article comes from several sources: (1) the text above; (2) an address given by Barbadian Alan Smith of the UK Diaspora; (3) the parliamentary debate following the delivery of  the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals 2011;  (4) the monthly Board meeting and quarterly Club Forum of the Rotary Club of Barbados South; (5) personal physical fitness; (6) the proposal for a medical village; (7) the advent of another nonagenarian in the family; (8) further thoughts on the BEF mentoring pillar; (9) the refreshing of my home office complete with computer software upgrades ; and (10) a new look haircut.

In order to create socio-economic well being in any society we must not only build a sustainable economy, but we must also shape society that everyone can be involved. I suggest that the speech given by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, on Singapore’s National Day August 09 2011 (two weeks ago) is as good as any in promoting this twin socio-economic concept.

Over the years both emerging and developed states have witnessed prosperity and hard times because of an apparent cyclical effect due to global interconnectivity from which it is difficult to isolate ourselves. Bad management decisions in one part of the world can give rise to turbulence in our own bailiwick despite our best efforts to manage our own socio-economic space as best we can. Be reminded that: On a good day, enjoy yourself; on a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days, so that we won’t take anything for granted.

Alan Smith, a senior executive, based in London, of HSBC  which employs more people than there are Barbadians resident in Barbados, gave a well prepared, well presented excellent address  at the 9th BEF monthly Forum last week where he cast the vision “We are not just building an economy but a society”. His comprehensive dossier on “Opportunities for Barbadian Entrepreneurship in the Global Marketplace’’ was well received and was followed by a dynamic question and answer session.

The televised debate following the 2011 Budget presentation by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Honourable Christopher Sinckler, was informative and entertaining but it remains to be seen how well the implementation proposals are managed. The interesting aspects of the debate were the focus on shaping society (the Singapore Model should not be totally dismissed); the recognition that Venture Capital has a significant role to play in enterprise development; and the proposal from opposition MP Mia Mottley that we need a system of Governance which gets rid of the inefficient “tug of war” syndrome and replaces it with a system where our slender resources pull in the same direction for the benefit of the country. Please note that although in Singapore the same party has been in power since 1959, there are elections every five years.

Rotary is mounting an Inclusive Play physical facility in Barbados which will provide a safe, secure playground environment where “children with disabilities will continue to gain confidence as they interact more and more with both other children with disabilities and non-disabled peers.”  These vital interactions will also help parents overcome social challenges by providing opportunities to teach their children important social interaction skills. By extension, Inclusive Play will help the wider community integrate children with disabilities into Barbadian society. Rotary will continue to appeal to the general public through fund raisers where we offer you a service in return for your contribution.

I continue to relive the mantra “good nutrition, exercise and peace of mind”. Last week I had my regular visits to my osteopath and masseuse, practised a healthy diet and took every opportunity to de-stress.

I was invited to an information and investment opportunity meeting to learn about a private sector driven Medical Village concept consisting of medical offices, a state-of-the-art hospital with four operating theatres, an accident and emergency department plus all other facilities associated with a modern hospital and residential suites.  This will enhance the opportunity to shape society not only for Barbados but our Caribbean neighbours.

Congratulations to Aunt Sybil Barrow the only surviving sibling of the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow.  She signalled her advent as another nonagenarian in the family, last Thursday.

As the second BEF SUMMIT approaches on November 17/18 2011, not only are we focussed on the free Wi-Fi project 11-11-11 ON but, as Champion of the Mentoring Pillar, I am also engaged with my team in striving to achieve our objectives, namely: to register enterprises, to identify and train mentors, to match mentors with enterprises, to monitor their performance and to provide a user-friendly Enterprise Information System for the benefit of all.

Each of us has to manage the God given gift of 24 hours which is given to us everyday. We do it with varying degrees of efficiency. I was conscious of the need to increase my efficiency and decided to begin the process of refreshing my home office complete with computer software upgrades.  I am already beginning to experience an increase in productivity. Also, a carefully cultured shorter haircut had the desired effect in terms of a psychological boost. “Hey you looking younger, man!” We need all the help we can get as we manage the prosperity/hard times cycle.