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Latest layoffs in Barbados too rushed

Like a storm brewing in the ocean just about to hit land, the latest layoffs in Barbados have caused its own disaster with dangerously swirling emotions of anger and confusion.

On October 14, Prime Minster Mia Mottley made the announcement that the government was seeking to send home around 1,500 public servants during her national address from the official prime minister’s residence, Ilaro Court.

The retrenchment exercise, as explained by Mottley was in an attempt to cut government spending, in line with the objectives outlined in the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) program, which has received backing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

News of the impending layoffs were not met with any great enthusiasm, despite the Prime Minister’s attempts to lessen the blow, by utilizing the last in, first out policy, saying that more than 80 percent of the people who would be affected by the lay-offs were those holding temporary positions.

However, even as she explained that those being handed their notices would not be leaving empty-handed, the lay-offs were met by resistance nonetheless.

Mottley said it was regrettable to have to lay off so many, and explained that to her it was important that those who were terminated, left with a cheque dealing with the severance-type payments as well as the notice and the termination.

“None of us would feel good having to go home without knowing where money is coming from and who is going to help us tomorrow or to come back next week or next month and be begging for money,” she said.

The Trade Unions, most notably the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) were not impressed by the news or how government has ‘rushed’ the layoff process and ‘kept them in the dark’.

On Tuesday it was revealed that most of the 955 central government workers who were to be laid off were female, and the largest public sector trade union described this move as ‘an attack against women’.

NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith told the media she was ‘a little bit disappointed in the way that things went’.

“Yes, we recognized that there will be layoffs, but at the same time, we believe that we should have had more time for consultation on such a sensitive issue . . . and when we look, we recognize females . . . as the householders. They are the single parents, they have to look after their children, they have mortgages and rents to pay,” she said.

Giving some credence to her words, many workers received their walking papers on Friday, October 19, less than a week after news broke about the layoffs, creating an atmosphere of anger and confusion.

Confusion because some of the workers were unsure of their employment status as they were terminated by word of mouth and then urged to continue to turn up for work by trade unionist Caswell Franklyn, furthering a very messy situation.

While Mottley said Government would be establishing a household mitigation unit to assist those now on the breadline to ensure that none of them fell below the minimal standard of living, the Unions are calling the exercise a ‘rush job’ and stating that they themselves were not given enough or proper notice of what was going to really happen or how to proceed.

 

 

 

Legal cannabis in Canada has wild reactions

On Wednesday, Canada did what it said it would and became the largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace, joining Uruguay to become the second country in the world to nationally legalise cannabis.

To the surprise of no one, sales began early Wednesday in Newfoundland with hundreds of customers lined up around the block at St. John’s by the time the clock struck midnight.

The atmosphere could only be described as ‘festive’  with some of the customers too excited to wait until they returned home, lighting up on the sidewalk and motorists honking their horns in support and they drove by the happy crowd.

Ian Power will go down in history as one of the first in line in the private store on Water Street to buy the newly legal national marijuana in Canada however, he told reporters that he has no plans on smoking it, instead he will frame it and hang it on his wall to be saved forever.

“Prohibition has ended right now. We just made history,” said the 46-year-old Power, who bought a gram. “I can’t believe we did it. All the years of activism paid off. Cannabis is legal in Canada and everyone should come to Canada and enjoy our cannabis.”

There was even more good news for cannabis aficionados, as hours before any retail outlets were opened, it was revealed that Canada would be pardoning all those with convictions for possessing small amounts of the drug up to 30 grams.

News of Canada’s firm decision to begin a national experiment that will alter their cultural, economic and social fabric in was met with calls for other countries to follow suit, expression of envy over Twitter and some backlash from other countries who are not willing to decriminalize the drug.

“Canada shows the way. When will the UK end the catastrophic prohibition of cannabis?” tweeted British MP Norman Lamb.

“Now that our neighbor to the north is opening its legal cannabis market, the longer we delay, the longer we miss out on potentially significant economic opportunities for Oregon and other states across the country,” said  Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon in a statement, urging the U.S Government to follow Canada’s lead.

However just as there were thousands of excited tweets coming in, there were those who expressed their distaste with the legislation.

One such instance came from the citizen group the Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, which said Canada had declared a winner in the war on drugs, tweeting,  “Congratulations Drugs. Better luck next time public health and saftey [sic]”.

The U.S has set up its own wall against the legalisaiton of the plant based drug by revealing that those who use marijuana legally in Canada could be banned from entering the country for smoking a single joint.

On the eve of Canada’s big day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection executive assistant commissioner Todd Owen told journalists, “Admission of illegal drug use are grounds to be found inadmissible into the United States.”

“It’s now legal in Canada, so a lot of it comes down to … whether the officer believes they may engage in the same activity while in the United States,” he said. “If somebody admits to smoking marijuana frequently in Canada, then that will play into the officer’s admissibility decision on whether they think on this specific trip they are also likely to engage in smoking marijuana in the United States as well.”

There are still many things that have to be resolved around the national legalization of the drug, including health and public safety as well as the threat of addiction and the effects it will all have on young people, including social pressure similar to what many already experienced with alcohol use.

 

Corruption to be purged from Barbados

The Government of Barbados is on a mission to ‘purge’ the country from the ‘stain of corruption’ in all instances that it may be occurring.

Attorney General Dale Marshall, joined the Prime Minister, Mia Mottley on Sunday as she addressed the from her official residence, Ilaro Court and explained that while the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) was in opposition, they were not totally aware of the levels of corruption in the island by the then ruling Government.

He explained that it was only now that they were in power that they had made various ‘startling’ discoveries and were meticulously gathering information to clean up the messes made.

“It was difficult for us to make a clear assessment being in opposition at that time… We’ve gone through file after file and have found a number of startling things.” He said.

This address to the nation of Barbados was not the first time that the now ruling party had leveled accusations towards the now out of power Democratic Labour Party (DLP) who lost the 2018 May elections by a landslide.

Read about why Barbados must vet foreign institutions more deeply here

In fact Marshall, had revealed that just three months after going into office, they had uncovered several instances of corrupt practices on a seeming daily basis, including those made by the Central Government, by state-owned enterprises, by Ministers and that all of the decisions pointed towards personal gain being a motive.

The Attorney General (AG) told reporters at that time that government would be reviewing the books of two statutory corporations who he believed played in creating the ‘stain of corruption’ within the island, but that the process would be slow and ‘painstaking’ since they were looking over a decade of government and political activity.

On Sunday the AG highlighted a case where a million dollar invoice was settled in one day, which fell on the eve of the general election and asserted that the previous administration had lost many millions of dollars because of corruption.

“In many instances, contracts were awarded without any tender… There was another glaring set of circumstances and it related to the matter of exorbitant professional fees and legal fees which could not be justified by any reasonable measure…” He said.

“It was clear to us that this was all part and parcel of a whole attitude where Government was there not to benefit large numbers of Barbadians, but a chosen few.” He continued.

In light of this, Marshall said that there was a variety of efforts being utilized to address this issue, including allowing people to provide whistle blowing information, where they can come forward, speak to the authorities and even admit their ‘ part in the misdeeds and hopefully be able to purge themselves from the stain of corruption.”

Prime Minister Mia Motley reinforced her administration’s position on the issue by also urging Barbadians to play their part in ridding the island of the corruption cancer.

“We will need to be disciplined, we will need to engage in sacrifice… because corruption is a cancer that literally takes away money and resources, that takes away from spend on those people who actually need it.” She said.

Cannabis to be legalised nationally in Canada

Canada is poised to become the largest country to legalise cannabis in the world and the second after Uruguay to have a legal national marijuana market place.

After years of planning and research, Uruguay launched their legal sales last year, however for Canada; October 17 becomes a very historic day for marijuana producers within the country.

This social shift promised by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is one that Hannah Hetzer, who tracks international marijuana policy for the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance called ‘extremely significant’, especially as there are at least 25 other countries who have already legalized the medical use of marijuana or have decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug, while a few others, including Mexico have expressed interest in regulating recreational use.

dried kush cannabis on a table

“It’s going to change the global debate on drug policy,” she said. “There’s no other country immediately considering legalizing the non-medical use of cannabis, but I think Canada will provide almost the permission for other countries to move forward.”

Last year, Trudeau’s government introduced legalization to allow recreational use of marijuana after a poll by Forum Research Inc., found that 53% of Canadians agreed that they would like the plant to be legalized.

There is of course a long list of federal, provincial and municipal regulations that dictate to stores selling now legal marijuana. These include the requirement of frosted windows and product vaults; sales staffs are not allowed to promote products as having medical benefits or inducing certain feelings. Small jars of cannabis will be permitted for customers to sniff, but then the contents must be properly disposed of, to discourage anyone willing to dig the samples out of the trash and smoke them.

For many who are afraid that legalization will mean easier access to the plant by their youths, Canada has placed strict regulations on packaging to avoid appealing to the youth and there is a ban on various marijuana advertising, especially any that could be viewed by the youth or includes depictions of celebrities. Also some of the licensed producers are in fact huge companies and the Canadian federal government will be regulating the producers which so far have 120 licensed growers.

Canadian law sets a 30 gram limit on how much a person can buy at once or possess in public, however, there is no limit on how much Canadians can possess in the privacy of their own homes. Additionally, the law allows for residents to grow up to four plants at home, however, Quebec and Manitoba are the only two provinces that have opted to forbid home-growing.

This cautious yet bold move in their approach to legalization may ultimately set the course for the rest of the world, who will be observing how this process changes the landscape of the Canadian economy.

“Canada is leading the world on this paradigmatic change, taking this plant away from the bad hombres and putting it in the hands of the good men, the authorities, the regulators.” says former Mexican President Vicente Fox, who sits on the board of Vancouver-based cannabis company Khiron Life Sciences Corp.

 

Goop opens pop-up store in the UK

Gwyneth Paltrow is no stranger to the public eye, and with her company Goop, she catapulted even further into the limelight. She’s brought the goodness of Goop back to the UK for a short time, with a new pop-up store that opened its doors on September 25 in Notting Hill, London.

If you’ve no idea what Goop is, here’s a quick rundown: Goop is the widely successful lifestyle brand conceptualised by the actress. It started a decade ago as a newsletter in 2008, and has since evolved into a thriving lifestyle site, imprint, clothing line, with multiple products, and an estimated 150 employees as of 2018. Brand loyalty is impressive, and most Goop readers have an average annual household income of around $100k.

It is no surprise then that some prices found in the pop-up store may not match every budget. For example, you could pick up a few pretty shells from the beach or, get the “Goop Medicine Bag” for £76.99.

What’s in the bag? Eight healing crystals.

If you’re looking for something nice to catch your beverage sweat, why opt for any old coaster set when you can get a pack of four for £40?

Clothes shopping for the fall and winter seasons?

You can get anything from jackets to bras for as little as £90 or well over £1, 000.

Whatever catches your fancy is up for grabs if you’ve the budget to back it up.

Though the prices may be deterrent for some, that didn’t stop Goop fans, and interested shoppers from popping in throughout opening day, and making purchases of various products. This has continued and it’s safe to say that this could be the case until the pop-up store closes its doors on January 27.

Paltrow and her Goop brand have come under fire over the years from medical practitioners, and consumer advocacy groups to name a few, but this has not stopped customers from purchasing, enjoying, and promoting the brand’s products.

Some criticism was placed on the fact that many of the healing treatments and options purported by the brand, may be more a danger to users than help. This includes complaints that efficiency of these products is backed by no scientific proof and, they are not recognised or promoted by those in the field of medicine.

Some products that have raised eyebrows and can be bought in the UK Goop pop-up store are the £65 The Yoni Egg, which the brand recommends as a vaginal muscle toner, and the £40 “Inner Beauty Powder.”

Wherever you think about the Goop brand or its products, the store isn’t anything to sneeze at. Well laid out over four floors boasting pastels, coppers, and other colours and materials that match the brand’s theme, it offers other UK brands in the mix as well. Experience the Goop lifestyle, carefully sectioned into health and beauty, houseware, and clothing (fitness attire and closet essentials). This gives shoppers a wide range to choose from, while still getting all their favourite Goop products.

Barbados must vet foreign institutions more deeply

Barbados has recently joined the ranks of countries, who must adequately vet foreign institutions setting up campuses around the world.

Managing Director of the Washington University of Barbados Gopi Venkat Rao was arrested on charges of fraud recently, when the institution’s treatment of students and staff was called in to question. Rao had recruited students with the promise of gaining entrance to universities in China and USA.

Medical students and staff attending the ‘ for -profit’ Oldbury campus, situated at the Casa Grande Hotel in St. Phillip, lamented about their accommodations, with staff and students being left with inadequate air conditioning, food, water and other amenities since utility bills had gone unpaid for three months.

The onsite administrative and consulting staff was not paid for their work during their employment at the institution for the last 5 months and to compound matters, their work visas were never renewed.

Executive secretary, Tricia Newton, explained that the staff had yet to be paid and many  felt ‘defrauded’ by the man they had trusted and left India to work for.

“It is a dire situation, I watch people at work every day crying [and] begging,” Newton revealed.

She also explained that the Indian staff was routinely replaced in an awful cycle when their work permits were expired, instead of being allowed to renew them.

“They did not pay the persons for months. People were just around here begging; [management] would get rid of those and bring in another set,” Newton said.

After news broke that Gopi Venkat Rao was arrested, on charges of fraud many of the students were left both confused and concerned, especially upon the realization that their hard work was for nothing and their dreams of a better future smashed.

One student, Sowjanya Racharla, 23, spoke to the Barbadian press and said she felt ‘broken’ and ‘betrayed’, especially since she was the ‘hope’ for her parents.

“I came against my dad; my dad said, ‘Baby you already have a degree why do you want to go back there?’ and I said, ‘Dad I want to become a doctor and this university is saying they can send me to the United States where I can get placed better than India’,” Racharla explained.

University education is valued by most people because it holds the promise of a better life, which is the reason many enroll into any tertiary level institution.

While most have access to their choice of accredited colleges and universities around the world, some are lured in by the misrepresented opportunities touted by many ‘for profit’ schools which  usually gear their content towards students who may be single parents- usually women and are of limited means.

For-profit colleges and universities often create a grey area for students in Canada, the USA and most recently Barbados, which casts doubt over whether they were vetted for their accreditation in the same vein as traditional public, and private institutions and trade schools.

In the wake of this latest defrauding school scam, a consultant for the Washington University was questioned about the vetting procedures for the unaccredited institution, since staff was shown videos of a fully functioning school which supposedly met the local health and educational requirements.

Several of the students, who have lost money, simply wish to return to India however, some students may be given access to education at another facility.

The current  Minister of Empowerment and Elder Affair in Barbados, Cynthia Forde and other officials from the Ministries of Health and Wellness, Labor and Education reassured staff and students that they would be given access to the resources that they require.

Honorary citizenship revoked for the first time by Canada

History was made on Tuesday, when Aung San Suu Kyi became the first person to be stripped of honorary Canadian citizenship, following an investigation by the United Nations.

On Tuesday the Canadian Senate unanimously passed a measure revoking the Myanmar’s civilian leader citizenship and declaring the treatment of the Rohingya by Myanmar’s government to be nothing short of genocide. Last week, the upper house also followed a similar unanimous vote in the House of Commons.

These votes were prompted in large part by a United Nations fact finding investigation, which reported in August that the Myanmar military had systematically killed thousands of Rohingya civilians, burned hundreds of their villages, engaged in ethnic cleansing and mass gang rape. It also called for six top generals in Myanmar to be investigated and prosecuted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Sen.Ratna Omidvar, who introduced the motion to revoke Suu Kyi’s citizenship on Tuesday explained that Canada needed to recognize the ‘atrocity for what it is’, which was genocide and to call it as such.

Suu Kyi who had the symbolic honour bestowed on her in 2007 for her pro-democracy work, was stripped for complicity in the atrocities committed against the Myanmar’s Rohingya people.

The reports coming from the United Nations were nothing short of ghastly, and claimed that more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims had fled across the border to Bangladesh since August 2017, when Myanmar’s Buddhist-majority security forces began a violent campaign in Rakhine State, killing around 10,000 people among other heinous crimes.

Suu Kyi who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner and now leads the Myanmar government was accused by the UN of failing to use her ‘moral authority’ to protect civilians.

She has steadfastly denied reports of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar calling such reports ‘fake news’, has restricted access to international investigators and journalists, defended the military and denied humanitarian aid for Rohingya.

In fact it was her response to the Rohingya crisis that has dramatically transformed her global reputation as a democracy icon, with many on Twitter calling for her to be stripped of her honorary citizenship and her Nobel Peace prize.

Senator Ratna Omidvar, said that while the military wields considerable power in Myanmar, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is not without power herself, in fact hers is a post that is comparable to Prime Minister.

“Stripping her of her honorary citizenship may not make a tangible difference to her, but it sends an important symbolic message,” Ms. Omidvar said.

She continued, saying that Suu Kyi was “complicit in stripping the citizenship and the security of thousands of Rohingya, which has led to their flight, their murder, their rapes and their current deplorable situation.”

“We need to send a strong signal here in Canada and around the world that if you’re an accomplice of genocide, you are not welcome here. Certainly not as an honorary Canadian citizen.” stated Omidvar.

While Suu Kyi was stripped of her citizenship, she will retain her Nobel Peace prize award, which she won in 1991, ironically for campaigning for democracy.

Lars Heikensten, the head of the Nobel Foundation, explained that it made no sense to withdraw awards in reaction to things that had occurred after they were given ‘as judges would constantly have to discuss laureates’ merit’.

Barbados making moves to bolster infrastructure

The Government of Barbados is determined to boost the island’s natural disaster readiness as well as its ‘woeful’ infrastructure.

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Kirk, which dumped heavy waters over the island from Thursday evening well into Friday, leaving many parts of the island inaccessible due to heavy flooding, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, is set to implement strategies aimed towards national preparation.

The Prime Minster, who cut her attendance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York short, and arrived in the country early Sunday morning, took to the streets with several of her Cabinet Ministers to assess firsthand, the damage Kirk had inflicted to several flood-affected communities around the island, including Bayland and Chapman Lane, St Michael; Wotton, Christ Church; and Ruby Tenantry, St Philip.

During the tour, she revealed that Barbados would soon be engaged in a national preparation exercise, once the current hurricane season was over in November and that a simulation exercise would be launched in early 2019 for affected communities.

“We are not waiting until next June because these things are affecting too many people and in ways that are substantive,” she said.

Barbadians she noted, needed to be better prepared and educated on how to cope and respond after being impacted, as well as how protecting the environment also enhanced their safety.

Suggesting that the  recently launched national clean-up Many Hands be conducted every quarter to improve the situation of garbage negatively affecting the island’s drainage she called for Barbadians to join in the clean-up efforts to further protect the environment thereby enhancing their own safety.

Water, sewage, drainage and roads were the biggest claims to the country’s infrastructure and the Prime Minster explains that while Government did not have the finances available to deal with all the issues following the passage of Kirk, they would be prioritizing critical needs.

“Our country’s infrastructure is in a woeful state and we need to be able to deal with it. We don’t have the money to deal with all at once but we have to prioritize what we need to and between the various ministries we are going to go after it systematically” she said.

She further added, “When we say sometimes to people that we are focusing on needs, and not wants, it’s because we understand that the needs of the country in terms of public spaces is able to avert drainage problems . . . able to avert flooding . . . able to avert problems with the roads . . . . All of these things are as a result of a lack of attention to detail and not prioritizing how we spend public money,” Mottley added.

Mottley noted that the problems facing the country in terms of its infrastructure were not ‘insurmountable’ and in some cases, there were fixes that could be immediately resolved by the Ministry of Public Works and the Drainage Division; however other challenges she noted would need to have more ‘medium to long term solutions’.

“If we don’t take care of each other in preparing for this, then what happened in other jurisdictions will cause too many people regrettably to die. Most people don’t die from the water itself, they die from the consequences of it,” Mottley said.

The Prime Minster also revealed that she would like to meet with Cabinet to discuss how to have a better ‘decentralised system’ where all residents worked to keep Barbados clean and safe.

Canada to discuss rift with Saudi Arabia

Ministers from Canada and Saudi Arabia are hoping to meet this week to discuss the rift between the two countries.

This headline making announcement came from Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who on Tuesday announced her plans to meet and discuss the diplomatic dispute with her Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York.

The goal of this meeting is to begin mending fences between the two powerhouse countries following Canadian criticism of the kingdom’s arrests of human activists, which lead to an explosive dispute over the summer.

The global headline making rift between the two countries began when Ottawa called for the release of activists who were detained for urging more rights for women in the kingdom, including women’s rights campaigner Samar Badawi on August 2nd.

Samar Badawi is the sister of well known detainee Raif Badawi who is serving a 10 year prison sentence. His wife and children however are Canadian, thus making Samar the sister-in-law of a Canadian citizen.

“We feel a particular obligation to women who are fighting for their rights around the world, women’s rights are human rights,” said Freeland.

“And we feel a particular obligation to people who have a personal connection to Canada. A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”

To this Saudi Arabia responded by freezing new trade with Canada; blocked grain imports; ordered thousands of Saudi students on government scholarships to leave Canadian universities and relocate to other countries or return home; placed a ban on Saudi flights to Canada, along with orders to brokers and bankers to suspend transactions with Canadian entities and finally, expelled Canada’s ambassador from the kingdom.

At the height of the dispute, it was al-Jubeir who appeared to lecture Canada on its responsibility to defuse tensions, saying at a news conference, “Canada knows what it needs to do. Canada started this, and it’s up to Canada to find a way out of it.”

However, Canada has not back down and Freeland has made it clear, prior to the hoped for meeting that the country would not be changing its fundamental position of standing up for human rights.

The Saudi side has relented to some extent, and has quietly dropped at least one of their more extreme measures, where the medical students and interns who were ordered to leave Canada by August 31st, were allowed to continue at their posts for the time being.

However, at least 7,000 non medical Saudi students were forced to interrupt their studies and some have chosen to file asylum claims in Canada instead of returning home.

Leading up to the hoped for meeting, Freeland disclosed that she was in regular touch with al Jubeir who she disclosed was working very hard to also soothe the rift between the countries.

“He is very engaged on the issue … we are hoping to meet in New York this week and I think that’s a good thing,” she told an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Both Canada and Saudi Arabia have chosen to allow their foreign ministers, rather than heads of state or heads of government, to deliver their country’s addresses to the General Assembly.

That means under UN protocol they must wait until later in the week to speak as Freeland will speak on Saturday morning, and  Jubeir will be the final speaker to give his presentation on Saturday afternoon.

A whole new digital money world for Barbados

A new digital currency pilot project may just be the thing to stop the potential standoff between Bitt -a financial technology (fintech) company in Barbados and some of the commercial banks, while allowing Barbados to move further onto the world’s digital money stage.

For years tension has run deeply between the commercial banks and newer fintech company,  Bitt, where banks have faced the ongoing dilemma of whether to collaborate with this company, or to develop their own in house, money transfer systems.

As pointed out by Bitt CEO Senator Rawdon Adams, the company has had to deal with  commercial banks in Barbados being ‘obstructive and anticompetitive’ while conversely they were developing more partnerships in the rest of the Eastern Caribbean than in Barbados -the country that ‘arguably needs fintech the most’.

At this year’s Bitt  annual blockchain conference, held at the Hilton Resort, Adams, spoke about the reluctance of some of the local commercial banks to embrace Bitt’s proposal to partner with them in introducing blockchain and distributed ledger technology to facilitate secure peer-to-peer transactions in moving money between clients.

In a call for Barbados to not be “stuck” in time, Barbados’ first female Prime Minster, Mia Amor Mottley, has stepped into the fray and announced her plans to launch a mMoney pilot programme. This pilot will be between Bitt, the Central Bank of Barbados and the Financial Service Commission (FSC) that facilitates electronic and digital payments for those on the island.

Mottley spoke at the annual conference which was held under the theme Central Bank Meets Blockchain: From the Ground Up, saying there was  a need for Barbados and Barbadians to bring an end to ‘this unfortunate debate and tension between those who want to hold onto a status quo and those who want to move forward’.

“Our people want digital money and …want the ease and security of electronic payments, and as a result, what must happen is face to face discussions with urgency…such that we can launch the Barbados mMoney Pilot,” she told those who had gathered for the conference.

Mottley also soothed the concerns of the commercial bankers about the new programme, after one of the bankers referred to the mMoney wallet as a ‘potential danger to the financial system’ claiming that she would be leading the program herself and that the legitimate concerns of this new payment method from all sides would be addressed as they were not going to launch this pilot project recklessly.

Mottley explained that Barbados would not be held to their old ways of banking due to the fear of the unknown, rather they would be looking to improve development because Barbados would not be left behind as the wider world continued to evolve.

News on when the planned mobile wallet pilot project would be  officially launched has yet to be presented, however Mottley assured that Barbados would remain in agreement with anti-money laundering laws and customer fairness guidelines.