By David Tapfer
The well known process used by folks who start a business with good ideas but limited resources is called boot strapping. Apple computer, Harley Davidson and Ford Motor, all started in garages, are US examples. There are hundreds of thousands more. Look around, they are right here in TCI as well
David Tapfer is a retired, US-born engineer and management executive. He is the former chairman of the Middle Caicos Branch of the Peoples Democratic Movement
Liberal governments expect citizens and private business owners to pay for their functions through taxation. Conservative governments gradually grow the economy by opening the door for local business. Liberal minded politicians know nothing about boot strapping.
Big liberal government also requires massive borrowing, usually due to mismanagement. This also results in heavy taxation. Children grow up expecting government to take care of them but money runs out. Drugs and crime result from failed expectations.
When laws, regulation and taxes on business and citizens escalate, boot strapping, the freedom to do your own thing, is all but killed. Boot strapping was alive and well in the TCI prior to the 2003 by-election. PNP entitlement expectations and high taxes all but destroyed the concept. Government was smaller in the PDM years and the economy grew from inward investment.
Unfortunately the left over PNPs that earned only 44 % of the popular vote have learned nothing, despite facing the debts and financial obligations of their own previous government. In Britain, the same problem exists -- 13 years of liberal Labour government in Britain created massive debt and they decided in 2009 they could not afford to pay off the PNP bills.
By 2010, the British voters had enough and moved to a Conservative-led government. They included the Liberal Democrats so the entitlements the voters insisted on would not disappear. This put Prime Minister Cameron between a rock and a hard place. Now the PNP is in the same position. They have inherited their own mismanaged mistakes.
History shows PNP has never managed well. In the 1980s they needed the drug money. In the 1990s they just could not get it right. Then for eight years PDM boot strapping paid down the PNP bills and approved valid developments from inward flowing capital. That was halted by six years of Misickism. Failed resorts, NHIP obligations and TCI Bank bankruptcy are prime PNP examples. The $260 million loan, huge hospital mortgage and Interhealth Canada will be with us for 20 more years.
Now we hear about “Made in TCI”. Raw material imported from The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. What materials and what products? It was under the PNP that we got electrical fuel surcharges and now electricity costs five times the normal mainland. Fortis sends $10 million-plus home to Canada every year.
We hear our premier tell the EU to keep their $15 million. The only school improvements came as a result of the interim government and only in Grand Turk where the governor lives. That $15 million Rufus refused could build a Provo school long ago planned by PDM. The developments now coming in from the British interim years might be stalled after listening to our premier and this minority government.
There is little or no capital in the hands of TC Islanders but boot strapping is the way folks can grow a related business. However, the high taxes and continued mismanagement of the PNP could cause us to eat our boots and their straps.