Letters & Opinion

The Dollar-and-Sense Difference Between Breadfruit and Maple Leaves

Earl Bousquet
Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

I like Warren Buffet, who’s seen as having worked so-hard to make so-much-money so-easily, that he’s considered the go-to and must-watch guru for winning tips on where to plant your money safest to grow profits fastest.

He and I seem to have at-least one common bottom-line denominator: enough Common Sense to make sense of the common (but rarely understood) fact that there’s a plentiful-of-differences between Dollars and Sense.

The Berkshire Hathaway owner owns over 11% in Apple, but no one could’ve convinced him to even take a free iPhone from the company until his ancient ‘phonebooth’ (Blackberry-like) cellphone simply died from old age.

The Berkshire boss and late Apple boss Steve Jobs might have had the same attitude to old phones and new technology, the latter having publicly confessed, on his dying bed, that he never let any of his children near the instruments he led the way making the world happy with – and dependent on.

Buffet also made it a lifetime hobby to advise others in his top-dollar bracket that since they can’t take the cash with them in a coffin or an urn, they might-as-well invest in Doing Good instead of Breaking Bad, scoring big hits on that bet in China, which still produces more millionaires-per-year than the USA — or anywhere else.

You’d think the busy guy spends long hours sitting-down in front of a Wall Street stock exchange monitors watching his stocks go up-and-down, clicking his stitching switches from one new investment to another, even if from Berkshire to Hathaway.

But no…

Recently asked where he gets his ideas to invest in making money, he said:  “I sit and watch TV all day…”

Now I can’t (and won’t dare imagine) what TV programmes the wise and wily Warren watches, but I’ll surely bet that whatever or whichever, he farms knowledge on his screen to seed his businesses and feed investment tips to the millions who wake-up every morning checking his daily tips before getting out of bed.

I do spend more time than most farming knowledge following world news, but I’m no guru.

So, whenever I’m (too often) mistakenly referred to as a ‘Historian’, I remind the well-meaning bearers of beautiful bouquets that my brain is “no bigger” than theirs.

The only difference, I also suggest, may be that “I choose what to forget” — and store everything-else I see, hear or read on the endless hard-drive of my brain’s permanent memory board.

I have no idea how the Berkshire boss preserves his sanity between scanning the numbers and screeching the stocks in ways to beat the trading trends and maintain his reputation as an admiral in the captaincy of capitalism.

But, to preserve mine, I simply keep-on-doing more of the things I always love doing, including following regional trends globally, always looking for the commonalities between (or implications of) what’s happening out there, of and for here – and writing, writing, writing…

And talking…

My sanity-preservation mode also includes being absolutely very-choosy in what I watch and listen to, between deadlines.

As mellow moods go, this month has been a November to Remember, starting with my resolution of an old problem of deciding which of the first two days of the month represent what on the Christian calendar — until my old Guyanese friend, Auntie June, reminded me (yet again) that “All Saints Day is on November 1st, the-day-before All Souls Day, which is on November 2nd…”

Ditto her reminders of my “intellectualization” of a simply profound phrase her mother flashed her way whenever important decisions had to be taken: “Study your brain!”

Like every investor (in whatever) does from time-to-time, I rode this month on brooms and waves, balancing between reviving slower-than-usual from the latest (sixth) death in my family (in as many years) and yet always having to stay-abreast with what’s happening around me.

I also basked in the kinetic-powered pleasure of watching the usual suspects, beached naked on an imagined Island of Irrelevancy and talking to the high winds and low sea breezes…

For example, when I said before the July 26, 2021 that I was sure Philip J. Pierre could be “The best prime minister Saint Lucia never had”, some asked how I could ‘risk’ making such a bet.

Approaching halfway through Prime Minister Pierre’s term, I’m now hearing his predecessor being described (in some quarters) as “The most unintelligent prime minister Saint Lucia ever had…”

Now, with Saint Lucians sufficiently politically advances to have voted the way they did in 2021 to make me win my bet, they’re even-better-able today to tell the difference between what-was and what-is.

And it won’t take a Warren Buffet to advise voters on which of the two prime ministers (preceding and present) to bet on as “Better” or “Best”.


Having made my bet in 2021, I’ll bet again that come 2026, The Best will again win the next test – and yet-again, way-above the rest!


Because the ‘Little Black Boy From Marchand’, as Prime Minister, has done much to prove his most-valuable asset is that which wannabe replacement lacks most: knowing and telling the stark difference between dollars and sense.

Every beach vendor will tell you there’s a vast difference in value between a digital dollar and cash in their hands or pockets, but to most who’ve never worked hard for money, every dollar is a US dollar – and colonialism is as conscientious as our patrimony is in our pocketbooks.

After all, when the last Finance Minister can tell us that “a levy is not a tax”, I can well-understand why.

And here again, Buffet will never be asked by any voter here, today or on Election Day, for advice on who to butter or buffer their bets on as being better to guard their finances, today and tomorrow.

I dunno about you, but to me, it’s like mistaking a Breadfruit leaf for a Maple Leaf.

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