The picture above shows the price of light crude as of 10 March 2008, 2.30PM settling at USD107.90. It is no secret that the onset of a recession in the US economy which is occurring against the volatility of oil prices in the world market should be of great concern to the Barbados government and Barbadians in general. Why should we be concern? Barbados is an economy which is ultra-dependent on the tourist dollar to support our economy. The increasing price of oil will have the affect of increasing the cost of air transportation to Barbados, along with the looming recession in the USA which will dampen travel by Americans abroad; Barbados maybe in for a rough ride.
Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr is the 117th richest man in the USA and the 369th in the world. He has made his fortune as a Texan oilman. His business acumen as an entrepreneur who is able to sniff out companies ripe for acquisition has become legendary. His background in the oil industry makes him an expert, therefore when he gives his opinion on the oil business, the world sits up with ears pricked. Recently in a CNN interview T.B Pickens predicted that the price of oil will fall below USD100.00 in quarter two but his best judgement projects that the price of oil will shoot to USD200.00 later in the year.He is so confident that oil prices will increase and make it an unrealistic raw material as a source of primary energy that Texas of all places has started to invest significantly in Wind Power Energy.
Just a month ago BU published an article which highlighted the issues preventing Barbados from pursuing wind, solar and geo-thermal as alternative sources of energy. We are grateful to Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Worme for his willingness to respond to Barbados Underground on this important issue. We are on record as complimenting the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) as a well managed company. We however strongly disagree that BL&P should be leading the thrust to develop alternative sources of energy. It definitely does not suit the current business model of BL&P that this would be a strategic objective of great priority. It is no secret that the government of Barbados continues to subsidize the price of oil at the ridiculously low level of USD65.00 which is a continuation of the policy of the former government. With the world oil price continuing to increase the time will soon come when the government will have to address the issue of the oil subsidy.
One of the issues which resonated with the Barbados public during the just held general election was the high cost of living. Again it is no secret that a significant amount of taxpayers money is spent by Barbados to fund its energy bill. If oil continues to skyrocket it does not take an Economist to figure what will happen. If Texan Oil Billionaire is correct in his prediction, then Prime Minister David Thompson is about to get a migraine headache. We applaud his effort to buffer the impact of the rising oil prices on the cost of living but if the price of oil continues on current trend and the US recession kicks in, there is very little the government will be able to do to shield Barbados from the shock it will cause. It is as simple as that and there is not one damn thing Prime Minister Thompson can do about it.
We conclude this blog by restating an earlier position. The small and open nature of our tiny economy makes it a top priority for Barbados to rationalize and unfold a serious national energy policy. Whether it is to be wind, solar or both we don’t care but we need to stop talking and start implementing. The petty arguments need to stop and bold decisions taken to shape the energy policy of Barbados. Our current standard of living rests on it and equally the rich legacy of good governance practiced by Barbados looms under threat.
Prime Minister David Thompson promised Barbadians in January that he would be their Knight in shinning armour by rolling-out policies to curb the runaway cost of living. How can he do that with oil price projected to reach USD200.00 by end of year? Will this be another empty promise similar to his promise to stop the Neal & Massy/BS&T merger?
David, you are being far too simplistic by believing that the increasing price of oil requires BL&P to investigate other sources to supplement electricity generation.
Oil is just not electricity, it is food (fertilisers and pesticides, tractor fuel etc), it is plastics, it is transportation (from jets to Corollas).
Basically, as we come to the end of cheap oil, every facet of our lives, economy and earning capacity will undergo a quantum change in order to survive.
Once again I say our priorities as a country should be towards the very basics of life: self sufficiency in food, water and energy.
It may already be too late, but there is no harm in planning towards these sensible ideals.
I had heard many of the promises with regard to cost of living and had wondered how they would be implemented in the global economic environment.
However I just would like to point out that Barbados is already a model case for the use of solar energy in Solar water heaters (I think we are 3rd in the world for per capita usage) but it gives a good example of what works in these areas. Enlightened public policy with tax concessions to defray the cost of taking up the new technology. The government should find a way to use similar mechanisms to promote alternative energy rather than simply leaving it to BL&P.
The point of our article is that the over 300 million which Barbados spent on the importation of gas and bunker C last year, if the savings could have been directed elsewhere then the country benefits. Read this Advocate article which gives readers an idea of what the government is currently saying on the matter. Will they translate this into action?
I mentioned in an earlier post regarding Wind Power to generate electricity in the northern part of the island. I questioned the rationale of the objectors from that area who spoke of various Impact studies against the erection of these wind turbines. But if as a nation with no back-up resources to offset the spiraling increases in oil prices that are now at an all time high of $107.
My countrymen, we have to realise that we cannot continue to fret about frivolous matters because you might think that they are too near to your community. What about residents next to the power company on Spring Garden. What about the power exchange in Haggatt Hall. What about the Power exchange by the Globe Drive-in. Should the residence around these high power stations not be disadvantaged by these dangers? Are you aware residents in these areas are risking their lives to ensure your community receive electricity supplies? So why can’t you acknowledge the fact that by erecting these wind turbines your community along with Barbados in general would benefit, thus it would allow us to be partly self sufficient in the production of electricity.
We have to advance the cause in utilising our natural resources – Wind and sun.
This administration must embark on wind turbines for electricity along with Solar Energy with immediate haste, we must look at the positives to be derived from these two sources of energy.
Tomorrow will be too late if we don’t act now. Enough said.
The Texan Oilman’s predition may well turn out to be correct.His date is still some way off.
BL&P is not the prime user of energy, it is our transport system.
Imported fuel into Barbados will continue to rise because more people are becoming affluent.They drive bigger vehicles, the chattel houses are being replaced with a 3,4,5 bedroom home;many having air condition units, swimming poools, plunge pools,clothes dryers,dishwashers.
Condominiums are being built the length and breath of Barbados and each one is better equipped than the last one. From the cement being made, energy is used.
The Euro is strong and more foreigners are buying or looking to buy luxury homes. All this will lead to fuel increase for electricity.
Who is going to say to the foreigner to turn off his lights in the room if he is not using that room, or wash his dishes by hand or hang his laundry out to dry? He has more than enough money to pay for his electricity.
A ‘tier system’ similar to water can be implemented; who uses more pays more.
Straight Talk & NFM: you all have valid points. NFM, Barbados can go a step further than the solar water heaters. Adjacent to the water heaters, one can erect photovoltaic too. (They are available on the market).The new condos can have them too. Yes!but it seems legislation must be implemented to force builders to erect them and for BL&P to provide the necessary means to receive the electricity to the grid.
The sun can provide all the electricity we need during the day.
We are often making references to other countries like Europe and the USA. Why have they gone the route of wind turbines?(1) They have land space,(2) They have little sunshine,(3) They are given large government subsides for developers for wind farms. However, wind farms have failed to make any differece to fuel import or production of electricity. They are now opting to revert to clean coal and a new generation of nuclear power plants to provide the energy needs of those countries.
Reference : Prime Minister David Thompson’s Day Of Reckoning On The Horizon
I am not politically affiliated in anyway, however I think that the comment on DLP making empty promises is a little unfair as how can you determine at the time when they were campaigning that the price of fuel would rise to $200.00 a barrel. Its a projection, who knows what might happen over the next few months.
Governments are put in place to do what they must to assist the country and smooth any problems. Accurate forecast cannot be projected, I think that the Government needs to smooth any problems that might arise, we can only wait and see…. Just my comment
Paradox we have not stated that BL&P is the prime user of oil. What we stated was that BL&P should not be left with the responsibility to find alternative energy because the current arrangment suits them just fine. In response to Q the projection of USD200.00 was made a long time ago so Thompson would have been aware that he was taking a change making his bold promises.
Just saw on the net that oil this morning is at 109.00 a barrell.\Ummp!!
Is your header “Prime Minister David Thompson’s Day Of Reckoning On The Horizon” intentionally disingenuous?
As Horace said “memento nomine, de te fabula narratur”. This is not a story about David. It is really about us. Frankly, I feel that when we forget that the price of an item provides a powerful signal to consumers, and we attempt to alter that signal for shortsighted political purposes, we are already on the wrong path.
I don’t agree that wind power or solar, or any other modes have failed. All modes are valuable, most especially ones that use enrgy of nature like wind and solar, always with us.
The market should be opened by legislation to allow all modes to add to the grid.
If not now when?
“Today (yesterday), crude oil soared to finish at a record US $ 2.75 to US $ 107. 90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Stock Exchange after setting a trading record of US $ 108. 10 during the trading session” – MSN Money, 10th March, 2008.
If world oil prices continue to soar to even greater disturbing levels, for instance, on the basis of OPEC declaring at any point in time that it will NOT be producing the amount of petroleum that is required to help bring about the lowering of these these prices, and on the basis of oil speculators continuing to invest in oil/stocks as a great hedge against the persistent and serious weakening of the US dollar which helps brings about lower yields in dollar denominated assets, then it will only be a matter of time before such astronomical world oil prices begin to have VERY SERIOUS social, material, production, import, and financial consequences for Barbados, unless the country CAN come up with the relevant state and private sector programs and projects to proactively and effectively deal with any big and possible fallout on Barbados from such skyrocketing world oil prices. What is so ominous though is that we in PDC are observing views by some commentators on some internet news based websites such as CNN.com, MSNBC.com, that such world oil prices are currently being projected to go even higher in the forseeable future in the context of the US economy currently facing the spectre of recession and of the world economy presently facing a slowdown.
Whereas, this DLP Government HAS BEEN STARKLY FAILING SO FAR to create any substantial projects and programs of its own to safe guard itself and wider Barbados from experiencing the worst that may come the country’s way from such current dangerous oil price levels, we in PDC have long been purposefully telling thousands upon thousands of Barbadian people, businesses and other entities about some of the measures any future PDC Government of Barbados SHALL be putting in place to NOT ONLY cushion the worst that may likely befall Barbados as a result of any serious disequilibria in global social, political, material, production, financial and currency arrangements, BUT ALSO that are absolutely necessary to assist Barbados in capitalizing on the best that such arrangements would be offering in such a government’s quest to help make Barbados become a more productive, investment-friendly and export-oriented jurisdiction.
Three of these measures are:
1) Making sure that IMPORTS of goods and services into Barbados are Zero-“priced” at ALL points of entry;
2) Making sure that EXPORTS are paid for in local currency/” prices”; and,
3) Abolishing ALL Exchange Rate Parities with the Barbados Dollar.
Please see our Pre- Election Manifesto@ http://www.somassfreedem.org for further information on these measures.
All modes are valuable, most especially ones that use energy of nature like wind and solar, always with us.
This is the same point that I am making. We are not pushing alternative energy since this is the way forward for countries who enjoy this free power. Government must ensure that we get these wind turbines in place to reduce our oil import bill.
The oil price scares me. Our current gas price has remained at the level it was set when the oil price was US$65 a barrel. I hate to know what it is going to be when a Minister in government realises that government cannot subsidise this cost any longer.
I think the quote is: Mutato nomine….”change the name, the story would be about you”
Specs, you are right of course. I was mixing “mutato nomine” with “memento mori” , which may be Freudian since we are all going to die whether we change the name, or not.
Let’s say we are aligned in the necessity to create the alternative sources ASAP then. You are saying for Light and Power/Government to do so; I am saying that all contributors should be welcome.
Which of us, given the opportunity, do you think can react faster? I propose additional areas where wind farms could be placed, and solar cells on homes.
All this with hefty tax incentives… and the highest remuneration for the product generated to make it feasible in dollars and cents.
You want action? That’ll get you action.
Tomgram: Michael Klare, The Permanent Energy Crisis Hits Home
Back in January, on his trip to the Middle East, the President all but begged the Saudi royals — the New York Times referred to his requests as “entreaties” — to put more oil on the global market and so lower prices at the pump in the U.S., essentially saving his “legacy.” In April 2005, in his previous meeting with then-Crown Prince, now Saudi King Abdullah, Bush was also fretting about oil prices. A barrel of crude was then pegged at $54. This time, the President who, in his seven years in office, has told the leaders of more nations more times what they “must” do, approached the Saudi king with the sort of diffidence (by his own description) that a needy vassal might employ with his liege lord.
No surprise there. By this Tuesday, the price of oil had crested above $109 a barrel, more than doubling since 2005, and a gallon of regular was already averaging $3.22 at U.S. gas pumps with the latest price leaps yet to register. Estimates for oil at $130 a barrel this year and $150 in 2009 are now common. Something else had changed as well — the mood of the Saudis and the leaders of many other petro-powers. Last week, OPEC officially rejected the President’s entreaty to immediately increase the oil supply without even a polite nod, instead suggesting that the Bush administration was mishandling the American economy. Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, couldn’t have been blunter. There was no need, he insisted, to increase global supplies by “even one barrel of oil.”
In fact, the global resource landscape is changing fast and the “sole superpower” on the planet is looking ever more forlorn. Over the years, no one has caught this changing landscape better than Michael Klare. Once again just ahead of the curve, he has produced a new book (to be published in mid-April), Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy, that lays out the resource and power map of the planet, which is morphing in startling ways. Over the coming months, Klare will be producing a series of articles for Tomdispatch.com based on the findings in his book. This is the first of them. His are words worth heeding. Tom
The Bad News at the Pump
The $100-plus Barrel of Oil and What It Means
By Michael T. Klare
On Monday March 3, the price of crude oil reached $103.95 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, surpassing the record set nearly 30 years ago during another moment of chaos in the Middle East. Will that new mark prove distinctive in the annals of world history or will it be forgotten as energy prices drop, just as they did following their April 1980 peak?
When oil costs are plotted over time, the 1980 oil crisis — prompted by Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iranian revolution — stands out as a sharp spike on that price curve. Both before and after that moment, however, oil supplies proved largely sufficient to meet rising global demand, in part because the Saudis and other major producers were capable of compensating for declining Iranian production. They simply increased their output substantially, dumping a surplus of oil onto the global market. Aided by the development of new fields in Alaska and the North Sea, prices dropped precipitously and stayed low through the 1990s (except for a brief spike following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990).
Nothing similar is likely to happen now. For the present surge in prices — crude oil costs have risen by 74% over the past year — no such easy solution is in sight. To begin with, we face not a sudden spike, but the results of a steady, relentless climb that began in 2002 and shows no signs of abating; nor can this rise be attributed to a single, chaos-causing factor in the energy business or in global politics. It is instead the product of multiple factors endemic to energy production and characteristic of the current era. There is no prospect of their vanishing any time soon.
Three factors, in particular, are responsible for the current surge: intensifying competition for oil between the older industrial powers and rising economic dynamos like China and India; the inability of the global energy industry to expand supplies to keep pace with growing demand; and intensifying instability in the major oil-producing areas.
We thought that this blog would have encouraged some good debate because of the affect this matter is sure to have on all Barbadians. We know that it is being read but why it has not evoked any more comments we are absolutely clueless.
Just start a thread on a really important topic, you know, like some speculation on Rihanna’s love life and you’ll get lots of comments and probably more hits than you can count.
You sure you are clueless? You who managed to carry two hair threads now pretending you are clueless? I doubt ya!
You telling me that you never realised that people like trivia? Serious issues cause persons to look at themselves. The energy issues are way complicated. They are about greed as usual and consumption and the universe unfolding as it should. And other things I am not qualified to speak on I imagine. How about that!
Look at your red highlighted comments. Poking fun ain’t ya!
I for one know that people prefer other persons to take responsibility for them hence the general expectation that the gov’t is going to do it all. Like if the gov’t decided what type of car one should buy, or if the gov’t issues credit cards and encourages persons to live above their means. I am not sure who among us on this planet can really afford the true cost of affluent living. This planet may very well go up in a ball of fire because of how we insist on living.
Obviously the world is in economic turmoil but the individual does not want to know how that impacts on him per se, or what he can do to weather the storm that has to come. Instead we are going to rely on the gov’t. What a sick joke.
Or maybe the persons reading are like me, just not informed enough so they feel restricted in making any comment. What I do know is that somebody has to foot the bills. Ain’t much free in this world other than air and salvation.
I don’t know who telling the gov’t that they should subsidise everything they can think of. No one can afford that but I have to live in whatever situation I find myself.
Furthermore, Straight talk called it right from the get go. Couldn’t agree with him /her more.
This is the end game David. As I have said, it won’t long now before a lot of difficult ‘truths’ become painfully clear to all of us…
The long and short of it is that our ‘Project Earth’ is coming to a wrap up phase…
Of course this will be extremely distressing to those of us who are about to live through the experience.
On the other hand, for those that understand the objective of the overall project, it should reflect the culmination of the most fantastic event imaginable.
From a more mundane perspective, we are about to reap the fruit of the seeds that we have sown.
It will indeed be David Thompson’s day of reckoning – having chosen to take on the role of captain of a leaky ship which is about to run into a major storm. But more importantly, it will be ALL of Barbados’ day of reckoning – (actually all of this region and world’s).
It is too late to talk in terms of restoring the ‘years of plenty’ that are coming to an end. At best we must learn to adjust to the extremely difficult, dangerous and chaotic times ahead.
The REAL correct response would be for us to seek to understand what the whole ‘project’ has been about…. I suspect that it is also a bit late for that…
David, our start a negative blog about Owen and you will see WIV, Jerome, Adrian one and two, and a host of Anonymous none de plumes et al.
I was making a statement, that BL&P was NOT the prime user of imported fuel.
I am also in total agreement that BL&P should not be left with the responsibility to find alternative energy.
People have voted for a change of government because they felt it might be better than the last.
Most of us seem to panic at the sudden increase in the price of oil. There is no war or threat of war by the nations that matter. The price of oil has increased mainly through psychological means. Yes China and India are in great demand for oil. The oil producing nations refused to increase production, thus providing a shortage on the world market. Those 2 countries are still pressing ahead with production and exports to drive ‘its people’ a stage closer to the developed world. What’s wrong with that?
Climate change was caused by the developed countries while the developing countries were still on bicycles and in donkey carts, up until a few years ago. (The same people who appear concerned at the threat of global warming are still not leading by example).
The USA is not too phased by its low dollar. The travelling US person gets little for his dollar abroad but the USA can export more.
The USA tried to persuade China to revalue its currency so as to allow more flexibility between the two currencies, making it easier for trade but China has stood firm.
The Thompson’s government has just taken the reigns of power and although we are concerned at the state/price of crude, we must not panic. One has to approach this with a ‘level head.’
The previous government spoke but refused to act concisively in implementing policies. The government of the day made a number of statements in an attempt to ‘rid’ the previous administration. No one knew until the votes were counted which party would resume power.
Every one needs to conserve energy.The ordinary public cannot be left to decide. The government must take a lead and then legislate accordingly.Throwing money at a project that doesn’t work will certainly do more harm than good. One has to STUDY, PLAN and IMPLEMENT.
The government cannot just jump to a decision because the price of crude has gone up and likely increase. The government holds the public’s purse and must spend wisely, so it is important the correct decisions are made. It must assess all the ‘alternatives’ and act accordingly.
To panic and make the wrong decision could doom the party for many many years to come.
When the price of oil began to rise, we saw more SUV’s, heavy lorries and other big engine vehicles being imported into the country. The deregulation of the transport system with out proper assessment, now competing against each other. Vast taxi service sitting idle waiting for a fare; one passenger per car travelling in and out of the city; the grid-lock of the roads– stopping and starting of vehicles use more petrol; car racing uses fuel;the untuned engine uses more fuel–no wonder that so many of us are suffering from asthmatic symptoms.
Government has to find a way to remedy the situation and all of us must do our part; all sections of society, but no one should be disadvantaged in the process.What’s the sense of throwing money at tried solutions when it has been proven useless.
TELL ME WHY:
You gave the impression the people from the North of the Island are short sighted and to equate wind turbines with spring garden and other power exchanges.
After reading your post, I remembered an old school friend from the North and I rang him to relay your questions to him. He did not live in that part of the Island, but contacted some one who did.
He recommends you should study the Environmental Impact Assessment(You should find it on the BL&P website), and also research all the documentation on wind turbine syndrome/vibro-acoustic disease. Take a look at http://www.ninapierpont.com>Wind energy>Articles by other authors.
He said, MEDICAL DOCTORS in all of Europe, including the ‘French Academy of Medicine’; doctors in USA, Australia and New Zealand have stated clearly. Those countries above are countries with installed wind turbines,(many of them recently installed), and meticuolous research carried out with thousands of people. He asked that I should convey to you that if some one is ill he would likely visit a MEDICAL DOCTOR, the only qualified person who can diagnose a medical complaint.
Also that no one he has spoken to, is against wind turbines or any form of renewables. He would like it be clear, that problems with health ONLY exist if wind turbines are sited too close to dwellings, and proven by those doctors who have researched in this field.He went on to add that the German manufacturer of wind turbines recommended they should be sited no less than one mile away from dwellings…’A recommendation!’
If you have any evidence to prove that the generating stations would cause the same health problems as the wind turbines, you should produce that evidence and warn all parties, that those residents should be relocated immediately.
Please reply, I shall certainly inform him.
While it’s true that speculators and concerns over Middle East wars and turmoil are playing a role in driving up oil prices, the fact is that the world is reaching the point where more and more production from the easily available and cheap to produce oil fields has peaked. As time marches on, increasing numbers of major oil producing countries find their own oil production has peaked and they have to spend more and more money and resources to produce less and less oil from what were, only a few years ago, bountiful oil fields (eg North Sea).
Once overall production peaks worldwide, on average each additional barrel of oil pumped is going to cost more in monetary and energy terms to produce than the previous barrel. If you are one of the remaining oil producers with large stores of still easily accessible oil (and not much else but sand, rocks and date trees) and your country is one of the rapidly dwindling number still in pre-peak production, I would not doubt the feeling is, shouldn’t we be conserving and safe guarding our country’s future energy independence and financial nest egg, rather than opening up the pumps and having one big blowout session today. Increasing production might might bring in some extra bucks and keep Uncle Sam happy in the short term, but it could leave us holding the bag down the road. We could very well find that our surge in production has kept the price down and thereby stifled energy conservation measures, encouraged more overall consumption and in the end hastened our own production peak. Once we have hit our peak and gone into production decline, we could then find ourselves unable to meet even our own energy needs, also as our production declines, we could find we can no longer bring in enough revenue through oil sales to fund our infrastructure and social services. To these still oil rich countries, oil in the ground today could be viewed as their money safe in the bank for hard times tomorrow.
Well, it looks like our chickens and cows will be worth more than just a meal in time to come.
Will we be using the natural burn to make fuel at some point to come? Will we now have more woes?
Many, many Barbadians must certainly properly be recognizing that yesterday – Tuesday, March 11, 2008 – represented a very dark and ominous day in the life of the parliamentary financial affairs of this country, when for the third consecutive sitting of the House of Assembly, since the reopening of the Parliament of Barbados, this Thompson Administration has been seen to be routinely bringing forward a supplementary resolution requiring approval for the meeting of a specified amount of government expenditures to cover the cost of particular activities.
Indeed, the first such supplementary was for BDS $ 182 239, on the first sitting of the House of Assembly on Tuesday, February 26 2008, and was essentially about meeting expenditures related to two ministries – The Ministry of Social Care and the Ministry of Commerce – (Daily Nation, February 26, 2008).
As for the second supplementary, this was for BDS $ 5 million, on the second sitting of the House of Assembly on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, and was essentially about recapitalization of the Enterprise Growth Fund – ( Midweek Nation, Wednesday, March 5, 2008)
Now, with regard to this third supplementary, certainly it was observed by thousands upon thousands of Barbadians that this resolution was tailored to meet government expenditures that totalled a whopping BDS $ 62 million – about 12 times the total amount of the first two supplementaries, and that it was related to far more activities than the said two first supplementaries, e.g, BDS $ 33 million to the Ministry of Finance for amortization purposes; BDS $ 13.9 million to cover costs for the redevelopment of Harrison’s Cave and associated sites, and gratuity payments to 12 former constituency assistants of former Members of Parliament, and to 4 former members of staff of the office of Opposition Leader – ( Daily Nation, Tuesday, March 11, 2008).
Finally, ever since the shock discovery that the first sitting of the House of Assembly was to, among other things, deal with an ill-timed supplementary resolution, we in PDC have been predicting that this DLP Government will NOT ONLY be engaging in the handing out of a great many subsidies to various corporate interests in many commercial and industrial sectors of Barbados, BUTwill ALSO be herding through the Parliament of Barbados an enormous amount of parliamentary supplementaries. What this badly signifies is that this DLP Government will be prepared to STEAL (TAX) as much as they can – appalingly atrocious it is – from people, businesses and other entities in Barbados. And to excessively and recklessly borrow to finance many government expenditures, just like the former BLP Government did throughout the course of their 13 year reign. The people of Barbados certainly deserve better than the BLP and DLP!!
PDC comment makes a strong case for the conduct of a public expenditure review as a matter of urgency.
Cheap food hopes not looming large
Published on: 3/24/08.
OVER THE YEARS Barbadians have been encouraged to plant more of the food we eat if only to reduce a high food import bill, which last year stood at $432 million.
However, we have now reached the stage where there is more than an ordinary sense of urgency over our food security.
One reason for this is that we are not alone in voicing concern about rising food prices or of obtaining adequate supplies in the years ahead. We are hearing that even if we could find the money for food imports we cannot take it for granted that we will be able to find the food elsewhere to import.
The forecast is that higher food prices are inevitable because there will be scarcity worldwide of basic foodstuffs, notably wheat, corn, rice, soy and meat. We have already seen how our leaders in CARICOM have gone into a huddle in an effort to find ways of reducing the price of food throughout the region by removing various taxes on imported food and by providing other subsidies to cut food costs.
In spite of all that, we have been warned that this policy of governments in the region supporting agriculture and food production through suchvarious strategies, is not an approach that can continue ad infinitum.
We need to grow more of the food we eat and resort to import substitution wherever possible.
In an effort to encourage this, Barbadians are being urged to do more backyard gardening; to put under crops every available plot of agricultural land now lying idle; and use our initiative by planting food crops in old tyres and container gardens where land is not available for planting.
It boils down to a call for all hands on deck as we endeavour to increase food production and rely less on food imports.
This call has not come about by accident. It is a result of factors the experts tell us are putting pressure throughout the world on the need for more food.
They tell us that population growth, expected to be more than nine billion by the middle of the century, will mean more mouths to feed and will also trigger the need for more resources including land, water and oil.
Our problems are compounded since the more oil we use the more we increase the conditions that lead to climate change, already causing floods, drought and desertification on the planet. To limit the problems posed by climate change more countries are turning to biofuels, produced from food crops.
This creates the vicious circle in which more demand for food crops will not be easily met because the food crops will be partly used to produce the biofuels. What, however, is certain is that these food crops will cost more all over the world.
It is estimated that ethanol production will account for 30 per cent of the corn grown in the United States by 2010, pushing up the price of corn flour. We already know how the price of wheat flour has been steadily rising
The forecast is that we are entering an era where cheap food will be no more.