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Here below are Dr. Basil Springer Columns that missed our publication deadlines

Dr. Basil Springer


“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1 

In the realm of crisis management, experience is often the most effective teacher, as I recently found myself entangled in a travel debacle that spanned from Trinidad to destination Dallas via Miami.

I was reminded of the valuable lessons that can be drawn from such moments of uncertainty and chaos. The journey started with a delay on the Miami runway, induced by a lightning strike which closed the Miami airport for hours. 

This ultimately led to missing my connection to Dallas. Reports last Thursday revealed that stormy weather that swept across South Florida led to some real headaches at Miami International Airport, as thousands of travelers dealt with long lines, hundreds of flight delays and dozens of cancellations.

However, it was through this ordeal that I came to understand the importance of strategic planning, composure and the immense value of professional crisis communication.

As the hours ticked away on the Miami runway, a sense of frustration and helplessness began to mount. Missing a crucial connection was not only a personal inconvenience to me but to many others and a glaring example of how easily even the best-laid plans can unravel. It was in this moment that my son, who happens to be at the helm of Marketplace Excellence (MPE), a reputable PR and crisis management agency, took charge.

His actions were swift and well-calculated. Recognizing the need for a well-rounded crisis response, he efficiently navigated through the chaos to secure an alternative flight for the next afternoon and a comfortable hotel to spend the night, obviating the need for me to submit to the AA lines to find out what alternative arrangements their system had provided for me, if any at all. This experience reaffirmed to me the power of keeping a cool head in times of crisis – a lesson that holds true not only in personal matters but in the business world as well.

Marketplace Excellence, with its extensive experience in crisis communication, has mastered the art of effective planning, a practice that hinges on timeliness, the dissemination of accurate facts, selection of appropriate communication channels, crafting precise messaging, and meticulous post-crisis action. These elements form the cornerstone of a strategy that can either escalate a crisis or deftly manage it to a favorable resolution.

One instance that stands as a testament to MPE’s proficiency is their remote management of the crisis response for the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism during the twin Cat 5 hurricanes of 2017. With communication networks down in the USVI and chaos prevailing, MPE navigated, along with representatives of the department, both air and ocean evacuation plans, and clear and effective communication with the international media on the recovery efforts. This proved that even the most daunting circumstances can be managed with the right approach.

Moreover, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, MPE displayed its creativity by developing a travel screening portal at the recommendation of the Department of Tourism. The company showcased its technological and organizational resourcefulness, and ability to implement a 24/7 global customer service solution (for some 19 months!), reinforcing the importance of adaptability in crisis situations.

Back to my personal travel misadventure in Miami, I was amazed at how MPE transformed passenger chaos into a semblance of order. This incident reaffirmed that in any crisis, timely, strategic, and decisive actions are paramount in restoring a sense of normalcy, one passenger at a time.

This episode also reminded me of the recent crew crisis faced by Caribbean Airlines two days later. The situation called for a well-defined crisis management plan that addressed passenger concerns, provided accurate information, and demonstrated empathetic leadership.

Whether in personal or professional spheres, crises are an unavoidable part of life. Yet, our journey through them – guided by strategic planning, impactful communication, and unwavering composure – truly defines our outcomes.

Being a member of the MPE family fills me with immense pride. Together, we stand prepared to face today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and emerge even stronger.


“Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.” – Deuteronomy 4:9

I have recently been reflecting on the passage of time and the evolution of concepts that have woven their way into the fabric of economic development in the Caribbean.

It was in July 1993, after a visit to Singapore, when I first put pen to paper in a letter to the editor of the Barbados Advocate, musing about the potential of Barbados becoming the “Singapore of the Caribbean”. Little did I know then that this notion would germinate into an intricate framework of ideas, guiding the trajectory of small island economies for decades to come.

The cornerstone of my vision for economic growth has been the Economic Gearing System – a skeletal structure that has proved essential in nurturing and propelling economies forward. This system, like the gears of a well-oiled machine, fosters connectivity among business sectors, bolsters the growth of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and creates jobs that sustain livelihoods. Through these interconnected gears, the engine of our economy hums with vitality and progress.

Central to this evolution are the trailblazers we call entrepreneurs. They conjure up ideas with the DNA of an elephant, which start small but have intelligence in their seeds of grand visions that are not only colossal but are, in fact, powerful enough to shape our economic landscape.

If these entrepreneurs embrace the spirit of shepherding (life coaching and business mentoring) the benefits will be to (1) avoid pitfalls as they traverse the rugged terrain of challenges; (2) understand the perfect mix of profitability, savings and equity (rather than loans); and (3) share the successes of their ventures to create a more inclusive prosperity. What a transformation this will be.

As I reflect on the transformation of Singapore, my mind inevitably turns to their triumphant journey from a modest fishing village in 1959 to a First World powerhouse by the turn of the century. The success of Singapore is encapsulated in the principles of Connectivity, Openness, Reliability and Enterprise (C.O.R.E.). These principles, woven into its very core, have propelled Singapore beyond its humble origins, inspiring Caribbean nations like Barbados to follow in its footsteps.

In the ever-changing landscape of economic discourse, Barbadian businessman Selwyn Cambridge’s insights have cast a spotlight on the nuanced difference between small business owners and entrepreneurs. His poignant comparison, shared in the Barbados Today online newspaper, has shed light on the distinctive paths they tread. It is through such discerning observations that we can chart a course for growth that acknowledges both paths, carving a space for each to flourish.

An undeniable truth emerges – the way forward for small island developing states lies in the symbiotic relationship between the public and private sectors. Collaboration, often in the form of public-private partnerships, unveils a path strewn with opportunities for success. Through shared resources, expertise and vision, we can navigate the intricate terrain of economic growth, building a foundation that supports both entrepreneurs and small businesses alike.

As I pen this column, 30 years after that initial letter to the editor, I am filled with optimism. The journey has been one of learning, adapting and embracing the ever-changing dynamics of our world. The seed of an idea planted all those years ago has blossomed into a forest of possibilities not yet realized.

The economic landscape of the Caribbean and, indeed, other small island developing states, while distinctive and diverse, holds the potential to emulate the success story of Singapore – not as a mere copy, but as a unique Caribbean tale of growth, enterprise and prosperity. 

There are a plethora of entrepreneurs in our countries but without shepherding they fail at an alarmingly high rate. My hypothesis is that if only our governments would understand and play that critical role of creating an enabling environment, what a wonderful transformation we would witness.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

As the sun sets on the azure waters of the Caribbean, it casts a shadow of anticipation over the future of West Indies cricket. A sport that has long been woven into the cultural fabric of these nations, cricket holds a special place in the hearts of Caribbean people.

Yet, recent years have seen challenges that have tested the resilience of our cricketing legacy. In this discourse, I embark on a journey to unravel the intricacies of the game’s future, drawing insights from various sources that the avid global West Indies cricket fan should not miss.

From the digital pages of Barbados Today, the voices of Keith Holder and Tony McWatt resonate with seasoned wisdom. Their insights provide a lens through which we can decipher the evolving landscape of the sport. We are reminded that cricket is not merely a game but a reflection of our unity, culture and identity. Their columns show us that the players who grace the field don’t just wear the maroon cap; they bear the dreams of generations.

Turning our ears to the airwaves, Andrew Mason ([email protected]) and his illustrious guests provide an inspiring auditory experience every Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. on the Voice of Barbados Radio broadcast. With every word, they kindle the flames of passion for the sport. The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd – these are the melodies that reverberate in our hearts. Their discussions make it clear that cricket is not confined to the boundary ropes; it resonates in every heartbeat of the Caribbean – indeed “beyond a boundary” as expressed by the legendary historian and writer C.L.R. James of Trinidad and Tobago.

CCN TV6 mounts the daily morning “Bowl Them Out” cricket show with host James Saunders. Barry Wilkinson’s “Line and Length” Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on the Caribbean Sports Channel, SPORTSMAX, and CNC3 TV’s Gyasi Merrique’s “Inside-Edge” at 8 p.m. on Mondays become our guides, painting vivid strokes of the cricketing panorama. 

As they unravel the nuances of the game, we are able to see that the future is as much about strategy as it is about passion. We are called to remember that success is not a destination but a journey paved with dedication and foresight.

The stage where significant transformation can unfold lies within the CARICOM Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket, led by Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. As chair, he holds the key to unlocking the governance issues that have threatened to destabilize the foundations of West Indies cricket. It is not only about addressing concerns but also channeling the collective spirit of West Indian nations towards a bold, united vision.

Cricket West Indies, under the guidance of President Dr. Kishore Shallow, has the potential to script a remarkable resurgence. Driven by deep thinking and unwavering determination, Cricket West Indies must orchestrate a symphony of development that elevates us from the shadows of obscurity. Our journey from new age minnows to return-to-glory champions requires more than talent. Meticulous planning, nurturing and investment in grassroots cricket must be the order of the day.

As we gaze into the horizon of West Indies cricket, we see a tapestry woven with threads of history, passion and aspiration. The energy of fans, exuberance of youth, and legacy of legends converge to create a mosaic that transcends boundaries. The path ahead is not without challenges, but every obstacle is a stepping stone to progress.

As we embark on the 2023 version of the CPL, let us all buy into this vision and embrace our cricketing destiny with open arms, committed hearts, and a resolute spirit. The West Indies will rise again, not merely as cricket champions, but as an example to the world.

As the Jamaican proverb teaches us: “Wi likkle but wi tallawa”, and as David Rudder exhorts: “Let every voice be raised. Everybody give praise. Rally, rally ‘round the West Indies, now and forever.”


“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37: 4

Walking around Nelson Mandela Park in Port of Spain, as is our wont in the early post-dawn morning hours, my partner Judy and I not only engage in important regular physical exercise and verbally ventilate issues important to us, but we also observe the behavior of those with whom we come into contact.

Normally, we peacefully exchange greetings as we walk past a happy looking football coaching clinic.

One morning, we observed an aggressive, acrimonious verbal exchange between two of the coaches. I felt as though I had to intervene. I exclaimed “Love and compassion” three or four times. The response was: “It is not me; he is the one at fault … he has to show love and compassion.” We escaped without much further verbal intervention.

The next morning as we walked past, they took time to greet us as usual, but this time with the words “Love and compassion”. We felt that the intervention the day before had contributed to their happier state.

I recall as a scout, in school and in Sunday School, saying the Lord’s Prayer by rote. As I became more mature and reflected on the meaning of the prayer, the concept of “forgiveness” had an impact on me, in the context of a purpose-of-life contribution to happiness.

I have been a Rotarian for more than half my adult life and this practice of helping others, which is at the core of the Rotary spirit, has contributed greatly to happiness which may be described as a holistic feeling of well-being, joy and contentment.

Love, in its many forms, is a universal force. It goes beyond the romantic realm and encompasses the love we have for family, friends and even strangers. Love nurtures our souls and fosters connections that transcend boundaries. It is through love that we find fulfillment and meaning, creating a harmonious existence.

Compassion is a virtue that allows us to empathize with those who are less fortunate. It is through compassion that we recognize the struggles and hardships faced by others and extend a helping hand. As Caribbean citizens, we have a rich history of compassion, rooted in the fabric of our diverse cultures. It is this compassion that enables us to build a society that uplifts the marginalized and creates a more inclusive future.

Forgiveness, though challenging at times, is a transformative act. By forgiving others, we free ourselves from the burden of anger, resentment, and negativity. It is a reminder that we are all flawed beings who make mistakes. Forgiveness allows us to heal and move forward, fostering healthier relationships and promoting harmony within our communities.

Helping others is not merely a selfless act; it is also a way of appreciating the precious gift of time. In a world where time seems to slip away effortlessly, lending a helping hand to those in need becomes an act of gratitude. By giving our time and resources, we create a ripple effect of positivity, making a difference in the lives of others and finding purpose in our own.

Ultimately, the pursuit of happiness is an integral part of our journey. It goes beyond fleeting moments of pleasure and delves into the depths of our well-being. True happiness is an all-encompassing state of mind, where joy, contentment, and a sense of fulfillment intertwine. It is a holistic approach to life that embraces love, cultivates compassion, forgives, and extends a helping hand.


“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26

As I review my journey through life which began in 1941, I benefited from many blessings which laid the foundation and created opportunities for me to be molded into a useful individual, as a teenager, higher education student, family man, in my career, and as a Rotarian.

As a teenager, there was parental guidance, mentors, Montessori, primary and secondary school, along with regular attendance as a Sunday school student reinforced by a stint as a Sunday school teacher.

I was fortunate to have been introduced to the international best seller “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale. Dr. Peale’s powerful message of faith certainly helped me to lay a foundation for fulfillment in my life.

I participated in many sports, was an avid photographer, and was engaged in the boy scout movement, which was responsible for my first trips out of Barbados to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Canada.

It was this foundation that facilitated my smooth transition to the world of higher education for the next eight years in the ‘60s. First, at the University of the West Indies (UWI) at Mona, Jamaica, where I felt like a Caribbean person for the first time, mixing with other students from the length and breadth of the English-speaking Caribbean. I played cricket for UWI at the Senior Cup level and participated fully in extracurricular activities on a beautiful and diverse Caribbean island, 25 times the land size of Barbados.

These experiences and my interest in cricket were expanded in Wales and England, as part of the Caribbean student diaspora.

I was 40 when I played my last cricket match. I was now well established as a married man with a family and in the world of work. The concept of responsibility set in and there was a yearning to define the purpose of life.  

There was one thing that influenced change in me at that time. My aunt, the late Iris Haynes, introduced me to the book “The Ten Demandments of Prosperity” by Stuart Grayson, who was the pastor of her church in New York at that time.  

This reinforced Dr. Peale’s message: Think positively and you will achieve positive results; think negatively and you will achieve negative results.

I began my career as a faculty member at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad in 1968 and was relocated to Barbados in 1974, where I opened my own business in 1977.

This was a brave move. I nourished the business for 23 years and then sold it. I enjoyed it tremendously, gaining experience in investment, forging partnerships with international organizations, and working with public and private corporations. The Caribbean Development Bank and the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management allowed me to travel extensively in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

In 1986, I was invited to join the Rotary International community, through the Rotary Club of Barbados South, which exemplifies “Service above Self”. I am still a Rotarian today in the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain. This has been a very fulfilling experience and contributes significantly to fellowship, camaraderie, service, regional and international travel in the Rotary International fraternity, and greatly facilitated my shift in CARICOM residency when I returned to Trinidad in 2013.

There has come a time when – beyond professional achievements, material possessions and being recognized by your peers – I understand that the purpose of life lies in embracing love, exhibiting compassion, extending forgiveness, helping others, and ultimately finding happiness.

The purpose of life will be the topic of my next column.


“It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.” – Luke 13:19 

Even though the business world is replete with successful business ventures, it is useful to remember that these businesses began with one or two entrepreneurs with one idea, albeit with massive-sized DNA.

My focus for over the past 25 years has been to reduce the high failure rate of startups in SIDS (Small Island Developing States) economic environments.

If we can reduce this failure rate and nurture to the fullest other “DNA of an elephant” ideas, there will be a positive impact on society as a whole and these remarkable potential achievements of SIDS should not be ignored.

SIDS embody the principles set forth by E.F. Schumacher in his book, “Small is Beautiful”. They have embraced appropriate technologies and innovative approaches to overcome their inherent limitations in size and resources. These small states have shown that working smarter, not harder, is the key to unlocking their potential. 

There are several innovative factors that are associated with a thriving SIDS culture. They include entrepreneurship and startups with shepherding paving the way for business success; and global female leadership as exemplified by the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, who has demonstrated that nurturing and caring for the environment go hand-in-hand with economic development.

SIDS understand that addressing the climate crisis is not just an obligation but an opportunity for innovation. By championing climate action, they have become beacons of hope in a world grappling with environmental challenges.

Not to be outdone, SIDS have also witnessed exceptional male leadership, exemplified by the late Lee Kuan Yew. His vision of developing human capital echoes throughout island nations. 

SIDS understand that their people are their greatest asset. By investing in education, skills training, and empowerment to fulfill market demand, they have created resilient and adaptable workforces, capable of driving economic transformation.

SIDS have consistently punched above their weight on the global stage. In 1994, the UN small islands conference in Barbados marked a turning point for these nations. The Barbados Program of Action laid the foundation for sustainable development and highlighted the importance of diversity. Today, SIDS are not only recognized for their picturesque beaches and vibrant cultures but also for their unique tourism attractions and services that promote environmental conservation and community development.

Moreover, SIDS have leveraged their strategic geographic locations to become trade facilitation hubs. They have capitalized on their prime geographical positions to serve as gateways between regions, connecting global markets and facilitating cross-border trade. Their efforts have stimulated economic cooperation and opened opportunities for businesses worldwide.

Singapore’s trade networks are within 12 hours flying time from Singapore in every direction. The Caribbean islands have the potential to be a natural trading bridge to and from North America, South America, Europe, and via the Panama Canal, which was constructed primarily with Caribbean labor to facilitate trade between the East and the West.

As we witness the rise of SIDS, it’s crucial for us to celebrate their achievements, learn from their experiences, and collaborate with them on a global scale. In doing so, we can forge a brighter future where economic progress and environmental stewardship coexist. If SIDS win, we all win.


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