We were happy to read Professor Michael Howard letter in the Nation of 21/08/2007 which demonstrates his willingness to enter the public domain to challenge the anointed successor to Owen Arthur on questionable and unproven economic theories. Clyde Mascoll’s latest pontification which appears to have been submerged in the overload of news about Hurricane Dean paints the need for Barbados to increase its population. We commend Irene Sandiford-Garner who in her usual articulate delivery on a talk show of last week challenged the position of the man dubbed “Malik wid teet”. The interesting point raised by Irene is the quiet way this creepy policy has been foisted on Barbados. Where has this policy position come from out of the blue?
Now back to Michael Howard’s letter. Although he has refused our request to respond to a previous BU article we still commend him again for using his expert knowledge to challenge the theory riddled Mascoll. Barbados is a country which is currently drowning in social and economic incohesion, yet Mascoll would have us believe that the solution to the problem is to create more pressure to our stressed infrastructure by adding more immigrant bodies to our 166 square mile land mass. Mr. Howard in his strongest attack to date on government policy, brands Mascoll a neo-liberal. BU agree with Professor Howard’s assessment and wonder how Mascoll could expect a small economy with an immature financial structure which depends so heavily on government as the major institutional investor to mobilize activity in the economy, would espouse such a theoretical view. Anyway we are not trained in economics so we defer to Professor Howard’s comments: “I believe that his statement does not address a complex set of issues relating to population growth. Remember that our country is already one of the most densely populated countries in the world.”
Forgive us Mascoll if we appear to be simplistic in our understanding of your policy. We say “your” because we have not read or heard from Prime Minister Arthur that this is a government policy position. Then again it could be a case of action speaking louder than words. We have written exhaustively on the “open door policy“ of the Arthur administration. The Trinis, Chinese, Guyanese, Jamaicans, Africans and others are all flocking to Barbados the land of opportunity. Our transportation is inadequate, our school system is overcrowded, the inability of government to process garbage efficiently, poor physical development has given rise to flooding but equally as important is the unattractiveness of Barbados as it transforms from an island of fauna and flora to a “concrete” jungle. Last but not least has been their inability to deliver housing to the poor and destitute which has given rise to squatting in water zone and other critical areas areas. This current trend has deep implication for Barbados as a tourist destination. These are issues which Mascoll should be strategizing to fix!
This is the second intuitive and provocative public communication which Professor Howard has written to the Press. BU sense that Professor Howard, the wise Economist that he is, has yet again challenged Barbadians to understand the implication of the current government policies by the untested and impetuous political neophyte Clyde Mascoll.
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