“Beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses, but in the abundance of love and care that God has for you; which is a treasure that does not corrupt.” – Luke 12:15
Now that I am in the “retirement” phase of life, fortunately with my wits still about me, my lifestyle has changed and I seek a higher quality of life. I can easily survive with a smart phone, a lightweight laptop and access to the Internet. I no longer face the rush-hour traffic, my wardrobe is more casual, and my “office” is at home. The management of my time has changed to more optimally accommodate exercise, sleep, nutrition, touch, and peace of mind, leading to a better quality of life.
As a CARICOM citizen, I choose to move freely between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados with the occasional excursion for an extra-regional wash.
I have observed that the three scourges in our societies, which inhibit the attainment of a high quality of life, are: crime, corruption and the failure to establish a vision for sustainable economic development. Our leadership must strive to eradicate these scourges.
At the individual level the key is to increase the level of productivity so that the country can increase its competitiveness and economic growth.
Economic opportunities abound in the quintuplet of sectors “tourism, culture, energy, ICT and food” as was highlighted in this column on January 14, 2019 and subsequent columns. There are US$47bn in private sector savings in the Caribbean Community, which can be earmarked for economic growth. A high-level think tank is required to vision and implement.
We all embrace the concept that unity is strength, except for the “Brexiteers” who, in my opinion, have allowed their egos to get in the way. In the Caribbean, not only do we have to promote unity between the members of the Caribbean Community, but we must encourage partnerships between the Caribbean and friendly countries beyond the region.
The standard of living for the middle class is similar for Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados.
I have observed that the cost (US$ equivalent) of living in Trinidad & Tobago is significantly less than Barbados. Examples are electricity, petrol, fresh food, Rotary lunch, clothing and domestic assistance. Rental accommodation in the two countries is on par. House purchase is more expensive in Trinidad and Tobago.
The leadership in each country must strive to expand the economy and create wealthier countries in which all socioeconomic classes will improve their standard of living.
It is reasonable to assume that the populace of any country in the world would expect its leadership to create a vision for economic growth and development and follow it up with the implementation of an action plan.
In the Caribbean it is no different. However, there are resource challenges in small island states and coastal communities, which require innovative solutions to the problems which inhibit progress.
Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados should set an example to the region by working together in harmony towards an abundance of love and happiness.