The BLP Also Lost On The Facts

Submitted by Old School

Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler (l) Opposition Leader, Owen Arthur (c) Clyde Mascoll, BLP Spokesman on economic matters (r)

  1. Mascoll and Arthur made much of the fact that there was a difference between nominal and real GDP growth in 2010 and that the Central Bank was hiding the true picture.  Sinckler pointed out that it had happened in 2003 as well and there was no contradiction from Owen.
  2. Mascoll kept claiming that a major cause of the fiscal deficit was not the global recession but the DLP padding the public sector payroll.  He claimed the DLP had added about 4 or 5 thousand to the payroll since 2008, we now find out that is far from correct.  Instead of the 34,000 public servants claimed by Mascoll we find out we have less than 28,000.
  3. Owen made much of the fact that even though there was a global recession and we would be affected, that due to poor DLP management, Bim was falling behind its peers and was ranked 197 out of 217.   We found out that the same ranking of countries in 2002 had Bim at 181 out of 191, during a far milder recession than the current one.
  4. For me the ability of Owen and Clyde to portray themselves as Trained Economists espousing purely economic views based on their training has been shattered.

I had also begun to think that the DLP was not well placed to manage the economy during a crisis time.  However, the facts seem to suggest to me that the economic outcomes are not that different from the last recession in 2001/2002 when the BLP were in charge.

0 thoughts on “The BLP Also Lost On The Facts

  1. Here is another analysis done by Hal Austin a Bajan living overseas who peddles his views on the Internet:

    The 2011 Budget Statement: A Failed Opportunity to Put in Place a Dynamic Revival Plan for the Barbados Economy By the DLP Government
    By Hal Austin
    Introduction: A Global Overview:
     The global economy is in the throes of a major historic swing, with economic power moving gradually, but irreversibly, from the old developed economies to the newly Emerging Markets, led by China, India and Brazil, but including nearly all of the Asian, ex Japan, Latin American economies.
    This is evidenced by the interesting fact that while the old economies – the US, UK, euroland and Japan – are in terrible trouble, about to fall back in to a double-dip recession, the Emerging Markets are continuing to grow at astronomical rates.
    Read full article (see spreadsheet attached)

    • Have to admit this ‘analysis’ by Hal Austin has to be described as rambling at a very high level.

  2. BU can you please post Chris Sinckler’s wrap up speech for the budget debate. Every where in town yesterday people were talking about it but I have not seen it yet. I heard it was clinical and devastating. People say he had Arthur looking real frightened and sickly on TV. A woman in cave shepherd say that Sinckler gine get arrested for elder abuse. It was really that bad BU?

  3. The behavior of the political parties and their supporters is similar to two household fighting, while there is a hurricane warning, lots of thunder and neither of the houses are capable of withstanding the onslaught on their own. Barbados WAKE UP, there is a new order of doing business globaly,we can no longer depend on USA, Britain, since they two are struggling, let us forget party and see the big picture, put our heads together and work toward a better Barbados.

  4. A woman in cave shepherd say that Sinckler gine get arrested for elder abuse. It was really that bad BU?
    @ black rockian
    ….it was worser than dat!!!

    Sinckler was clearly guilty of administering corporal punishment to the BLP…… dat aint against de law???!! only reason Sinckler ain’t get arrest yet is dat the commissioner busy looking for more statistics – instead of criminals…

    • While some like Bush Tea seem to have enjoyed the theatrics around the exchanges between Sinckler and Arthur BU is left to wonder why Arthur would have sought to distance himself from the decision of the Veco technical committee.

      Something does not add up.

      Arthur is not that stupid to have forgotten that the minutes of Cabinet are a matter of record which can be checked by this government.

      Sinckler’s response that Arthur is banking on the cabinet minutes being protected by our secrecy laws does not cut it.

      BU believes it was an unforced error by Arthur.

  5. This all brings us back to the NATION newspaper.

    During the Arthur administration they bent over backwards to keep Bajans in the dark about the true picture of Barbados.

    They made sure that any news which showed the Barbados Labour Party in a negative light did not see the light of day.

    Hence the mistaken view of some people that “seethru” was some kind of maguffy which he was not.

  6. Now, while Arthur is clearly trying to distance himself from the Veco debacle….that he created…. there is more muck to follow.

    The whole of Barbados would be thrilled to follow the details of a meeting Owen Arthur attended at Pegasus Hotel in Jamaica with Veco officials.

  7. I find the whole Mascoll thing annoying. Starcom and Pat Hoyos have sought to potray this gentleman as an objective observer who can educate Barbadians on the finer points of Economics and economic policy. He is ever present on panels and call in programs as an Economist.

    I find most odd that if his role is to educate us on the finer points of Economics, that in his discussion of the difference between real and nominal gdp in 2010, he did not see it fit to mention that this had happened before as recently as 2003. He chose to potray this as the most unusual of occurrences in Bim and a clear case of the DLP administration and the Central Bank acting to mislead Barbadians.

    Can other bloggers please confirm or disconfirm that Mascoll has been most persistent in his claim that the DLP has bloated the public service since coming to office. To me based on current information his comments on the size of the public seem to represent a blatant attempt to mislead the public and support his thesis that the fiscal deficit is largely due to the actions of the DLP and is unrelated to the global recession.

    I await the response of the main stream media on the credibility of this commentator, but I am not holding my breath.

  8. The whole Owen and Veco, and Gline Clarke and race leave me stunned.

    I think Owen’s normally excellent judgement and an otherwise wonderful presentation was blinded by his desire to get at Mia Mottley, Darcy Boyce and Glyne Bannister which led to this stunning attempt to do a Pontius Pilate and wash his hands of the Prison affair. He will have better days and nights.

  9. …however as we relish Minister Sinckler’s upbraiding of Arthur, the Government is apparently still poised to award the contract to build the marina to an individual that was much criticized by the DLP when it was in opposition and using a method of financing (BOLT) that the same DLP said is expensive and not in the country’s best interest.

    For taxpayers’ sake, I hope that in 10 or 12 years time, Sinckler will NOT be saying ” I wish I had been at the technical committee meeting that awarded the contract to that company that built the marina etc etc …” !!!

    PM Stuart in his contribution in essence indicated the futility and absurdity of Parliamentary debate. He indicated that the Opposition opposes because that is what they are to do. Nothing more, nothing less. He claimed that is what his party did (and did well) when in opposition. So the whole exercise is just political theater to entertain the ignorant masses.

    Arthur in his zeal to establish a “legacy” continues to only provide evidence that it would be in his party’s best interest to retire now.

  10. The question remains: Are the Dems still behind in all the marginal seats as the recent poll conducted by CADRES revealed?

    • @Enuff

      Why are trying to obfuscate the issue here?

      Whether the DEMS lose the next election or not does not mean the other issues are not worthy of discussion.

  11. Whether Arthur is trying to distance himself from VACO or not, we know the facts, what we also know that this government has fallen into the same trap; the result neither one is better than the other, alternative, they are both just playing up to the public while individuals from both sides are benefiting.

  12. David re. your post of August 20, 2011 at 5:17 AM where you indicated;
    “Have to admit this ‘analysis’ by Hal Austin has to be described as rambling at a very high level”.

    Looks like you didn’t find anything worthwhile in the analysis. I don’t think you could have read it. You were perhaps turned off by its length and by the fact that it found Chris Sinckler’s budget to be far from being a good one with all possible circumstances being taken into account.

    I think that it was by far the best analytical, wide ranging, non-political and prescriptive response to the budget that I have seen so far. It was far better than any of the BLP responses although I must admit that I have not heard most of them and it was definitely better than Dr. Francis’ and the Chamber of Commerce breakfast speakers reported statements. The DLP responses that I heard were in general, as usual in these cases by Government spokespersons, sub par and self serving, with the only bright spark being by the Minister of Agriculture.

    Barbados is at a crossroads and this topic merely seemed to have brought out the usual suspects trading cheap political points with a few exceptions. All of us should read Hal Austin’s take again, especially the politicians.

    • @checkit-out

      It was long yes and 2 members of the BU household read it.

      Where Austin’s analysis is flawed is that he never seriously attempted to articulate how the government should reduce the deficit in the near term while safeguarding the social landscape and protecting the foreign reserves given the protracted and uncertain economic climate/conditions.

      We can have pretty analysis but then there is the current economic realities which have to pragmatically confronted.

  13. As man David, did you not enjoy the theatrics of the debate?
    ..what you want the bush man to do? tek um serious?!!

    Years ago, when BT was raising the alarm over the ABC highway nonsense, the VECO scams and other O$A led schemes very few persons were interested…..

    …but day does only run ’til night catch it!

    All Bajans should be ashamed of ourselves! That we could have a situation where a man who CONFESSED publicly to having pocketed (Ok banked) hundreds of thousands of dollars that were not his – until exposed by Thompson….. could be standing in our parliament talking shi#@.

    He should be lock up!!!

    And then to have Gline Clarke bout there IN PARLIAMENT shooting off he mouth instead of having to enter a plea in some court??….stupssss

    Then we have the clear conspiracy between this government and CLICO which allows a known crook to, not only avoid being charged, but to continue to enjoy his ill-gotten gains. …

    and all the while, ministers of government making fun of the provable illegal acts of sitting members of parliament instead of PROSECUTING them…..

    What do you think will be the consequences for Barbados?
    You think BBE does mek sport?
    When unrighteousness and INJUSTICE reaches such institutionalized heights the consequences are inevitable …

    woe to the wicked! it shall be ill with him
    for the reward of his hand shall be given him.

    As for my people, children are their oppressors .
    and women rule over them
    Oh my people, those who lead you cause you to err
    and destroy the way of your paths

    Trust the Bushman!! the coming economic meltdown will be the least of our worries….

    UNLESS of course…we are wise enough to realize that..

    If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

    JUSTICE and righteousness are KEY to long term national success. ..else the whole thing just funny!

  14. David, I find people do not want to engage facts.

    I am retired so i ahve time to worry about these issues.

    But how can owen’s credibility survive this. I ahve never seen a party leader so exposed as lying to the public in parliament. I ignored Thompson for years after the Queens park debacle and then the kola syrup debacle.

    How can mascoll’s credibility survive his false claims as to the size of the civil service?

  15. I see Peter Boos on Barbados Today talking about joint economic team.

    Boos and others seem to want to ignore what is becoming a very clear argument to me. Despite all the talk by Pat Hoyos, Boos and others the evidence seems to point to the fact that when there is a global recession barbados suffers whoever is in charge. Based on the data from 2001 and 2002 there is absolutely no evidence of any superior capacity in Owen and his team to pilot the country through a global recession.

  16. @Stre8up

    BU can only post the vid if CBC upload it.

    @Old School

    Several issues are at play here; to name a few:

    The credibility of Economists at Cave Hill must be scrutinized. We want good debate from our academics/intellectuals. Here is where the BES should play a role.

    There is the issue of why has the DLP gone with Glyne Harrison in the Marina Project given his VECO legacy. We can only live in hope that our media will chase this matter down.

    There is how Mia will react given Arthur’s possible side swipe in the VECO matter.

    More importantly is to listen to the next public reaction by Mascoll very carefully in response to the errors pointed out in his public analysis. Let us see if the financial acumen of our media improves to ensure Mascoll is held to account.

    @Bush Tea

    You are correct about being at the forefront of the debate when VECO and 3S were being waged on the blogs and mainstream media had the stories on ignore.

  17. Is there any merit to Minister David Estwick’s position that the targets originally listed in the Medium Term Fiscal Strategy document can be adjusted because of the protracted nature of the global economic slowdown? The pro-BLPites led by Hoyos, Mascoll et al believe the MTFS has no credibility because the government has been missing the listed targets.

  18. Interesting. Owen stated that he was not at the meeting of the Technical Sub-committee which made the recommendation for the Prison. He did not say he was not at Cabinet which made the decision. I did not see how you can say he lied . He may have been naive to say so but theere is not evidence that he was untruthful. Ameeting of the Technical sub-committee is not a meeting of Cabinet as I understand it.The hullaballo which the govt made was that they got wrong but so intent was the govt to make a potlitical point that the govt was not interested in the truth. This is not the first time and it would not be the last.

  19. the mtfs is being used to stave off another rating downgrade due to the increase debt by missing the target the rating agency are far more likely to downgrade, slowing to the global economy plays not part in slowing the rating agency decision infact in can hastens the downgrade due to no near positive futures.

  20. Scout and tony stop fooling yourselves Owen was caught lying bigtime his hand was stuck firmly in the cookie jar . The PM and Sinclker embarrased and defrocked Owen like never before Owen should take his bitter miserable self and ride off into the sunset no way he can handle Stuart, Sinckler et al they have his number. The only person of stature in the labour party who could assist Owen is Mia but after he backstabbed her with Payne and Gail Marshall she rightly openly sides with the DEms.

  21. Owen made a tactical error. He must be getting old.

    Is he saying that MIA was so powerful he could not over rule her decision to give a contract to Veco?

    He should have gone back to his previous position of “all roads lead to me”.
    Then do a smoke and mirrors dance around the issues.

    • There is a conversation taking place in the US.

      Is it not interesting that in the US Obama was elected to the White House riding a left of centre coat tail.

      Then the American voters, galvanized by tea party sentiment sent a whole lot of right wingers to the US legislative assemblies.

      What this now means is that we have a president with a support base which is left leaning having to reach across the aisle to right leaning people representatives.

      This is where Obama finds himself an anomaly of the US system of government?

      Conversely we have a parliamentary system in Barbados and it is adversarial all the same.

      In the meantime the politicians earn their growing reputation and the people continue suffer.

  22. @Enuff
    The question remains: Are the Dems still behind in all the marginal seats as the recent poll conducted by CADRES revealed?

    Something (someone) tells me that the best is yet to come from Hon. Stuart and Hon. Sinckler, so you be the judge…………….stay tuned

  23. Idiots like myself thrive well on matters of economics by looking at them this way. Follow any big time murder case and see how the EXPERT WITNESS for the defence takes the very same evidence that the EXPERT WITNESS for the prosecution placed before the court and when done, their EXPERT Conclusions sit on opposite sides of the legal spectrum. Economists behave similarly. On a more serious note I ask this question of anyone who supports the B L P on this site. Do you really believe that Bajans would ever again take Clyde Mascoll seriously ? You make the vaunted claim about the bountiful rewards of the Arthur Years.That’s the same man that spent the vast majority of his time in public life telling all who would listen that those policies were flawed.Every flaw he pin pointed vanished along with his friendship with the Dems. In the eyes of thinking Bajans,the very strong twine of common sense binds them all together…..Flaws,Friendships and Credibility. Like O’brien Trotman Clyde Mascoll’s worth to the party has been relegated to internal matters.

  24. It is high time that Clyde Mascoll be exposed for the political opportunist he is. To this day, he has never been asked how come he could so easily defend the BLP that he exposed, as corrupt, over the GEMS/JAWS issue. His main object was to get back at Thompson and the Dems. He could not even win his constituency although Arthur put his full weight behind him. Now the BLP/Arthur faction is looking to place him in a safe constituency.
    Mascoll is the biggest political opportunist we have had in the entire history of Barbados. His belief that he alone is bright and knows all is also a big turn off. It is time that he be called out- his mission has failed and now his credibility is rightly being questioned.

  25. @Old School
    politicians are liars, full stop. We’ve come to expect and accept it.

    @W. Skinner
    no exposing necessary. Mascoll and opportunism are synonyms

    Will a discrediting of Owen be enough to swing the mood of discontent nationally? or to siphon enough votes from the BLP? Any more “dirt” only plays to the independents since BLP and DLP supporters are already fully entrenched, the DLP however being the more “wavering” in both turnout and support. I suspect in a national debate a better argument than “Owen is no good” will be needed. Having said that, if Owen makes as Hants mentioned a “tactical error” like the one this week and in St. john earlier this year then he will hurt rather than help his party.

    • @Observing

      The question you need to ask is whether discrediting Arthur will mitigate the consequences of hard economic measures which gives rise to the electorate believing the DLP is mismanaging the economy and or lets give the BLP a chance attitude.

  26. It seems that some people set up a straw man to knock it down. Owen Arthur is not dis credited over this. .Listen, he said ihe was not at the Technical Sub committee and now amount of folly can maake that change Truth is truth hwe did not say he was not at cabinet when the decision was made . Make another charge. This is simplistic nonsense. look for another horse to ride. .

  27. At the end of the day, what matters most to the general public, is an ease in the cost of living. The DLP promised that ease, if they cannot deliver, they need to come to the public and explain why not, waiting until the full term and when the 2.5% increase in VAT is removed, then promise a whole lot in 100 or 500 days will not go down well with the voters. Right now neither of the two parties in their present state look capable of leading this country out of this crisis. Maybe we need a Barrow duppy.

    • @The Scout

      Are Barbadians that stupid not to have figured out in the current environment what is reasonable or probable?


      Let us accept that Arthur is telling the truth, he was not at Cabinet when the decision by the technical committee was made, why would he want to stress this point?

      Doesn’t he have the final say in Cabinet?

  28. @Cornwell
    The question still remains though. Will discrediting individual persons be enough to sway the independent/disgruntled voters nationally?

    Also, this election more than any before may be fought almost totally in the trenches (i.e. constituency by constituency, vote by vote) and this is where candidate/MP strength will have to play. Any national swing to the left or to the right will give either party the literal nose home.

    Let me of course add the disclaimer though, “a day in politics is a long time.”

  29. @ Observing
    You are a very perceptive BU regular so BT will drop a little sprat to see if you have eyes to see and ears to hear

    You said “this election more than any before may be fought almost totally in the trenches (i.e. constituency by constituency, vote by vote)”
    What do you want to bet that the challenge for the coming election will be to find suitable candidates willing to be nominated…?

    …a word to the wise is enough.

  30. I can’t wait for the next elections, the DLP waging war about the Dodds prison with Glyne and the BLP waging war war about the Pierhead marina with Glyne.

    I wonder who will be able to prove who was more corrupt. If the Pierhead marina results in lawsuit of dozens of millions of dollars, then the DLP is going to be in real trouble over the award of that project.

  31. Cuddear David, do not put any more on them. 3s, Barrack, now questions all over again on Veco, and CLICO would not go away. I shall ease up and wait and see; just as they are doing.
    I hope no one tries to silence me when I return to Barbados end of October, but like you, I have to ask hard questions sometimes.

  32. With all these blunders, it is the taxpayers who will have to pay. Right now we are not benefitting from the low oil prices because a few “bighead” men/women, sat at a table and tied us into these high prices, the average bajan driver is the one to be punished, while these same individuals are driving around in their luxury company cars. How many more blunders can this country take?

  33. Bush Tea | August 20, 2011 at 8:05 PM |
    @ Observing
    You are a very perceptive BU regular so BT will drop a little sprat to see if you have eyes to see and ears to hear

    You said “this election more than any before may be fought almost totally in the trenches (i.e. constituency by constituency, vote by vote)”

    What do you want to bet that the challenge for the coming election will be to find suitable candidates willing to be nominated…?

    …a word to the wise is enough.

    I have a feeling you may be right.

    Politicians are parasites and don’t like hard work.

    If there isn’t any easy life left to suck out of host a parasite will move and try and find another.

    Whoever gets into Parliament in the future will actually have to work and will not have the freebies this current set and past politicians had.

    The freebies are drying up quickly.

    None of these clowns seem too suited to any hard work, but it is hard work and leadership by example that are required.

    They just get fat and accomplish nothing but talk.

    In time to come there will be less and less to make a politician, or any of us fat.

    Hopefully real bloody minded Bajans and those who make Barbados their home will step forward, not only in Government but in all spheres of activity and try and repair the damage that has been done, not because they are being paid to do it but because it is the right thing to do.

    Unfortunately, the worse the damage becomes the less likely it becomes for a person or persons to come forward to fix it. He or she just walks away.

    … and you are right also about Justice and Righteousness too. If they are not present and have no chance of making a reapparance, walking away is the most likely option no matter how bloody minded the individual.

    Bloody minded so and sos who grudgingly give respect only when it is earned and who fight every day to earn it themselves are what we need at all levels, like we used to have.

    Somehow we need to provide work for youngsters that will cause them to crawl into bed when the night comes and sleep.

    The basics work as they have done for generations, not the unsustainable high flying lifestyle and self indulgences.

  34. David

    You wrote,
    “Arthur is not that stupid to have forgotten that the minutes of Cabinet are a matter of record which can be checked by this government.”
    Are Cabinet discussions and papers secret? Are you saying that it is ok to breach long established conventions for party political gain.

  35. @BT
    Your sprat has been seen, heard and observed for a little while now. I’m still watching as the fuller picture unfolds on either side.

    Are people who are not looking for freebies actually willing to come forward? Politicians by nature are made of ego and self interest.

    Pray tell, what will we the independent minded electorate do when we walk into that booth and realise we don’t like or trust any of the names on the ballot? Do we choose the six or the half dozen?

  36. Didn’t Owen make a statement that he took responsibility for all the things done in the name of the Gov’t during his time as PM? Did VECO build the prison when he was PM? Why would he try to revive the VECO debate at this time? The short answer is to try to discredit someone and since it can’t be a member of the DLP perhaps his intent is to disgrace someone in his own Party.

    I don’t think that the final chapter has been written on this subject, there are more revelations coming down the pike and many of us will be shouting “I told you so”.

    The other issue about the debate is that it removed the aura of genius that certain politicians and their supporters sought to project on their abilities, a few of us had always known differently.

    That Barbados had downgrades before who knew? The comments after the most recent downgrade suggested that the country had entered unexplored territory, that we were charting unknown waters but the truth comes out.

    To the well know Party stalwart who is concerned about the jobs of the academics who are safely ensconced at Cave Hill one would ask where were their voices before? Surely they must have disagreed with the Gov’t on occasion but we will never know. If that Party stalwart was paying attention he would know that the critics of the past Gov’t faced far more scrutiny and persecution under that regime and he can ask a call in moderator or some journalists about the harassment they faced at the hands of the leader of that Govt.

    We don’t say that Bajans have short memories because we lack for conversation.

  37. @ Sargeant

    If you only knew for the first time that Barbados had downgrades, you are either living a lie or you have just began to follow your country’s business. Anyway, better late than never.
    The same holds true if for the first time you have heard economists disagree with the position taken by a government. If my memory serves me correct, there are currently 2 former moderators that are senators with one leading government business in the senate; another is the resident political analysts at the nation’s lone television station, at least 2 more are chairpersons of Boards in Barbados. These persons that I speak of were all noticeable critics of the last administration who did so on a day to day basis. Perhaps you deliberately ended with the ‘Bajans have short memories; stories because your bout of amnesia will only allow you to see, remember, and talk what you choose to remember. Hence, even with all the political fodder that you may want to dig up, the reality is that unless the DLP begins to grapple with the issues that are mostly affecting the lives of Barbadians and deal with the issues that confront the country, its life will expire in under 24 months and I am actually forecasting that the DLP’s leadership may likely declare or foreclose on its own hand.

  38. Observing | August 20, 2011 at 10:47 PM |
    Your sprat has been seen, heard and observed for a little while now. I’m still watching as the fuller picture unfolds on either side.

    Are people who are not looking for freebies actually willing to come forward? Politicians by nature are made of ego and self interest.

    Pray tell, what will we the independent minded electorate do when we walk into that booth and realise we don’t like or trust any of the names on the ballot? Do we choose the six or the half dozen?

    One way is to join a party en masse and take it over!!!

    However, there is no way I am joining either one of those organisations time has proven to be corrupt so I would not expect anyone to do so.

    Scratch one.

    Another way is to make life so uncomfortable for MP’s by insistent demands for transparency and accountability that there must be a change …… that hasn’t worked so far.

    Scratch two.

    A third way is for more independents to present themselves to the electorate. That has not happened yet.

    Scratch three.

    Looks likely that the example set by Britain may be followed here.

    I hope not.

    But, something’s got to give.

    William Duguid’s imminent departure is an indicator of things to come.

    He is a cut above the rest where education is concerned but he really has not made an impact.

    He has is own business and has survived in it for years.

    He and his wife have built a family.

    Being a member of Parliament while it may be financially rewarding for him can’t be a matter of life or death.

    It appears to be a drain on him, keeping him from the far more important pursuits in life which would give him the strength to contribute as an MP. He is not happy in it.

    Ok, he may not come across as a forceful character but he should be making a bigger impact than he has given his education and proven ability in a far tougher environment than politics.

    O$A, Glyne Clarke, George Payne etc. are all nothings yet they seem to have a far greater effect on events than can be logically explained.

    His leaving isn’t a good sign for persons of ability who want to come forward and make an impact.

    Things are not looking bright for Barbados.

    Something’s gotta give.

  39. @john
    I agree something’s gotta give. Like you I’ll continue to hope for the best all things considered. I still don’t think the people have (or will) put enough pressure on our leaders for accountability or transparency.

  40. @George C Brathwaite

    Perhaps the previous downgrades were not secret among the political cognoscenti, but if you asked the average Bajan whether they were aware of these downgrades the response would be negative, thus when the Leader of BLP tried to earn political capital about the issue one can be forgiven for having thought that it had not happened on his watch.

    I wrote that the voices of dissent out of Cave Hill were muted under the BLP and you responded that X & Y were now Senators etc. which does not really negate the truth of what I said but tells me that you are keeping score about who is pro or anti Party A or B.

    Whatever David Thompson’s shortcomings one thing his election served to do was to open up the lines of Communication between the Gov’t and the media. He was not afraid of being challenged by journalists about his Gov’t’s policies and did not look at them as potential foes. The same cannot be said about the relationship between the Gov’t and media during the BLP’s term in Office.

    An unbiased commentator would not write “the reality is that unless the DLP begins to grapple with the issues that are mostly affecting the lives of Barbadians and deal with the issues that confront the country”. I would expect to see that from some one with a political axe to grind, and although you may not agree with their course of action, I thought that their last budget tried to deal with these issues.

    If you have a different collection of issues, you should identify them for us.

  41. @ Sargeant

    I am happy to see you respond in what I consider to be a civil and understandable manner. However, I do not share your optimism nor do I share your sentiments that the budget dealt with the nucleus of specific problems confronting Barbados. If anything, the issues were spoken around or otherwise avoided.
    On the matter of me wanting to discern who is Bee or Dee is absolutely untrue. If truth be told, I know my people, my members, and my supporters. I know those of the Dees as well. What I need to know is whether the persons that are unassociated by dint of membership will decisively tell politicans what they expect of them rather than politicians always seeming to write their stories. I like debate, I like to consider issues from several perspectives, but I will not flog a man just because you are a DLP member or supporter. This is Barbados! In saying that, please bear in mind that when it comes to the issues I will advance, defend, and position my arguments accordingly knowing that the development and progress of Barbados comes first.
    You speak of unbiased commentators, the last place I recall their location is in the various cemeteries and tombs. Do not get carried away, we all bring to the table our biases which are usually formed through our various socialisations and interactions. Never doubt that. As far as I am aware, BLPites such as Noel Lynch, Atherley, Mia, and Owen himself never stood away from the press. Perhaps opne may accurately suggest that David Thompson had an unusually good relationship with the media, and one would also have to admit that his successor is less inclined to speak with the media with any regularity. With these things, I accept your opions and hope that you do respect mine. We may have our differences and opposing outlooks, but we are all in this together. Do not support blindly (just a caution for self preservation) less you find that the whip you flog with today turns on your own ass.

  42. @GCB

    Why would I not be civil? That’s how I was nurtured but it’s not my nature to turn the other cheek according to the ancient Chinese proverb “He who turns the other cheek gets slapped twice”.

    I am very circumspect in any relationship with politicians even though they need us and we need them I wouldn’t trust any as far as I could throw them. I guess the term one would use is “symbiotic relationship”.

  43. @ David BU
    “Have to admit this ‘analysis’ by Hal Austin has to be described as rambling at a very high level.”

    I have read Mr. Austin’s analysis, and though it was long, it still presented some facts that are indeed worthy of discussion. Your response to his article was rather simplistic, which can be attributed to your limited knowledge of economic theory. This is evidenced by the fact that you have never brought any theoretical evidence to counter the views of other individuals who may present another view.
    However, you have been consistent in being critical of those economists and other persons, especially Clyde Mascoll, who have sought to bring another perspective to this DLP administration’s handling of the economy and their economic policies. From your responses, one can clearly see that you are sympathetic to the DLP, but that is your constitutional right. May I suggest that if you engage in economic debates, please accept the opinions of others rather than insult them, and bring facts to substantiate your points, instead of exhibiting the traits that are characteristic of the DLP supporters who contribute on this blog.

    • @Artaxerxes

      You are correct, BU rarely will quote theory and that is deliberate. So to suggest BU’s analysis was simplistic carries no merit.

      Austin’s submission clearly is more long term in focus and many of the issues highlighted can be dealt with outside a budget anyway.

      It does not mean that others in the BU family will not use theory, such is the freedom on BU.

      In your observation on Austin’s piece you have suggested that he “presented some facts that are indeed worthy of discussion” but have not elaborated. Why don’t you?

      Regarding personal attacks on Mascoll, please cite where BU has done so.

      It is our right to suggest that Mascoll’s credibility can be called into question given his turncoat arguments to date, all of which are well documented.

      Again Sir, BU is not an academic journal.

  44. @ David

    Stand your ground on the comments you made about Hal Austin’s article. None of the economic theories taught at universities worldwide are of any practical help in correcting the current global recession. I stumbled on the following article entitled ‘Macroeconomic Theory and Its Failings” while Browsing earlier today and thought I would share it with the family………..

    • @Chuckles

      Thanks, had to chuckle, pun not intended, when reading the opening page:

      The financial crisis that is spreading out from countries with the most ‘advanced’ fi nancial systems to the rest of the world has not been well served by economic theory.
      Jan Toporowski (this volume, Chapter 13)

  45. As the current recession unfolded, nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman said that the last 25 years of macroeconomic theory has been useless. Listening to the local economists respond to the budget methinks he is right. Apparently, the economist’s only treatment tool is expenditure cuts. Its a good thing medicine has gone further and can provide yu with options besides amputations.

  46. I am really out of touch. reading the papers today the general view seems to be that the budget was predictable and what was expected. For me, the measures surprised me.

    I did not expect a set of measure for the cultural industry to be the centre piece of a budget. I did not expect motor racing incentives to be prominent.

  47. @Old School: “Apparently, the economist’s only treatment tool is expenditure cuts.

    Are they wrong?

    When you are borrowing from Tom (or Chan) to pay Peter, does it make sense to spend more?

    Interestingly, each and every household is advised to spend less and save more by their financial advisers.

    But that’s not what the TV nor the governments tell us.

    Instead, we are supposed to buy more; or else we won’t “keep up with the neighbours” [TV] or allow commerce to continue [governments].


  48. Forgive my lack of sophistication but something puzzles me. The major mantra seems to be a call for greater cuts in government expenditure. If a large chunk of government expenditure is taken out of the economy what replaces it?

    Is private economic activity is Bim ready and waiting to step into to the breach?

    If not are we not courting a deeper recession and a worsening of the public finances?

  49. @Old School: “Forgive my lack of sophistication but something puzzles me. The major mantra seems to be a call for greater cuts in government expenditure. If a large chunk of government expenditure is taken out of the economy what replaces it?

    What you have to understand Old School is government expenditure must be paid for by taxation (or borrowing from future taxation).

    Having a top-heavy expenditure by government now simply means higher taxation on those who are actually producing value for many years to come.

    Again… Hmmmmm….

  50. Dr. Francis suggested at the post-budget analysis that Barbados needs to align with the emerging markets. Isn’t this what the government has been doing by appointing an Ambassador to China, creating air link to Brazil etc? The courting of China was started my Mottley in the last administration.

  51. Economists speak of the “Paradox of thrift.” This basically says that while we all applaud thrift if everyone is thrifty and saves relatively more, you have a situation where aggregate demand in the economy will fall.

    The paradox of thrift (or paradox of saving) is a paradox of economics, popularized by John Maynard Keynes, though it had been stated as early as 1714 in The Fable of the Bees,[1] and similar sentiments date to antiquity.[2][3] The paradox states that if everyone tries to save more money during times of recession, then aggregate demand will fall and will in turn lower total savings in the population because of the decrease in consumption and economic growth. The paradox is, narrowly speaking, that total savings may fall even when individual savings attempt to rise, and, broadly speaking, that increases in savings may be harmful to an economy.

    My question is simple. if the government cuts back will private activity take up the slack or will we have a slowing economy? A slowing economy also creates pressure on public finances.

  52. @ David BU
    There are no statements in my post that suggested I have accused you of personal attacks on Mascoll; I stated that you were consistently critical of him. Additionally, you accused Mr. Austin of “high level rambling”, but have not presented any fact or excerpt from his article to substantiate your accusation.

    I think the following points are worthy of discussion, do you think not?

    • The point is that government is borrowing money to build social homes while at the same time giving away publicly-owned property. The reality is that the housing problem can be met by the private sector, but there is a mindset among policymakers in the Caribbean, and in particular Barbados, that the public sector must meet all social needs.
    • The minister’s decision to offer some low-income people an energy grant is an attempt to avoid confronting the Canadian-owned Barbados Light and Power.
    • The provision of electricity to residential premises is a service, along with water, refuse collection and basic banking which should come under special legislation. New Economy.
    • His thoughts on the Culture Industry.
    • The discipline of paying taxes when due is important and central to any properly functioning government.
    • The Transport Board should be restructured; then privatised through a combination of a staff buyout and household shareholdings.
    • It is not the role of government to rescue family-owned hotels and restaurants that are badly managed on the spurious grounds that they provide important tourism accommodation.
    These are just a few.

    • @Artaxerxes

      B stated that Austin’s analysis was long and rambling and tended to focus on long term. The comment does not mean that there was not some sensible points which littered his analysis.

  53. In today’s Advocate Business Section the Brian Francis chap is quoted saying St. Lucia, Trinidad and Cuba are outperforming rest of Caribbean and doing very well. He said Barbados is doing poorly. It made me research a few key indicators on those countries leading to the conclusion Francis is a liar a fool or both. St. Lucia’s unemployment rate is 17% and climbing. Trinidad with its Billion Dollars Heritage Fund now declared a state of emergency against reality of the calypso island about to claim the dubious honour of murder capital of the world. Cuba is a communist state with a command economy no one is certain what is happening there except we hear the Castro brothers pronouncing the economy is so bad they are allowing capitalists businesses to start.
    Barbados unemployment rate is 10% and falling. Barbados economy buffetted by recession is still growing by 2 and a half percent.
    Will guru Michael Howard and the Cave Hill school of Economics explain what Francis is saying.

  54. Dr. Estwick in his budget presentation listed St.Kitts Nevis ,St.Lucia as countries in the hands of the IMF. Is Barbados in IMF hands.

  55. @Old School (OS): “Economists speak of the “Paradox of thrift.”

    Some old economists speak of this.

    Some “modern” ones, such as Hayek (in 1929) et al argue there is no such paradox.

    If people don’t spend, then the prices fall until the “curves cross”.

    What you seem to be arguing, OS, is there is a need for there to be “punters” to keep the economy going.

    Why must the consumers always be the little people?


  56. Musing
    Trinidad not doing well is to Barbados’ disadvanrage, remember who owns our biggest corporations?

  57. As far as my limited knowledge goes increased govt spending hurts the economy by the government borrowing from the scarce pool of capital and crowding out more efficient private activity.

    Christopher underlying my question is what private sector activity is currently being crowded out by government in BIM at his time.

  58. @Old School: “As far as my limited knowledge goes increased govt spending hurts the economy by the government borrowing from the scarce pool of capital and crowding out more efficient private activity.

    Kinda weird then that you would submit an article which was accepted by BU.

    @Old School: “Christopher underlying my question is what private sector activity is currently being crowded out by government in BIM at his[sic] time.


    That wasn’t made clear; as far as I could tell.

    Perhaps you could explain to us all exactly where that was made clear?

  59. @BU.David: “B stated that Austin’s analysis was long and rambling and tended to focus on long term. The comment does not mean that there was not some sensible points which littered his analysis.

    But you are the owner of this Blog. And therefore what you have to say is important.

    So, then, what do you have to say?

    If anything.

  60. The crowding out of more efficient private investment by tapping in to the limited pool of capital is the often unstated argument behind cutting public expenditure and smaller govt.

  61. We all realise our only T.V station is bias towards the DLP, however, what has happened tonight right after the CBC.TV8 NEWS is pure campaign tactics by the CBC. P.M Stuart was not addressing the nation, he was not addressing a national event, he was addressing his party supporters. Why then would bajans, who don’t care about the DLP party, be subjected to a DLP speech in its entirety? These blatant bias attitude, can turn right thinking voters away from the party. I wonder if the CBC will grant the BLP the same when their conference comes up in october.

  62. Francis has serious a credibility problem for me though:

    1. he commented at length on a budget he had not heard and appeared to have scanned at best;

    2. he refers to a non-existent embassy in thailand as a waste of money;

    3. He speaks of a focus on raising revenues, but I can see no revenue raising measures in the budget. maybe he was commenting on the last budget;

    4. he speaks of an absence of expenditure cuts when he works at uwi which has had a 25% cut announced in june, and a number of other bodies have had similar cuts;

    5. he singles out constituency councils which have cost less than $5ml in three years as breaking the treasury; maybe the explosion of lower level matriculation students at uwi (students with no sixth form or bcc)since 2003, costing $30,000 per year has had more of an impact on the public purse.

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