The Politics Of Smoke And Mirrors Fuelled By 1.9% Margin Of Error

Chris Sinckler, Minister of Finance (l), Owen Arthur, Opposition Leader (2l), Clyde Mascoll, BLP spokesman of economic matters (3l) and Delisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank (4l)

BU has defended the need for the Central Bank of Barbados to zealously guard its reputation.  The Governor of the Central Bank has suffered from the tongues of fellow economists Owen Arthur and Clyde Mascoll over his method of communicating on the economy. In light of the recent decision by the Central Bank of Barbados to depart from the trusted approach of using statistics produced by the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) – in this instance the unemployment number – it has inflicted serious harm to its reputation.

In the current climate the decision has provided political fodder for the struggling Barbados Opposition Party to raise it’s voice. What we have in Barbados these days is smoke and mirrors politics. On the government side we are witnessing the distasteful promotion of the late David Thompson’s memory to deflect focus on its economic performance to date. On the side of the Opposition every opportunity to gain political mileage is being seized. The political scientists explain that this is Westminster politics at its brilliant best, others suggests the counter view that extraordinary times call for extraordinary action by our leaders; a no show to date.

The decision by the Central Bank of Barbados to report a lower unemployment figure to that of the BSS was mischievous to be generous in description. Whether the number is 11% as reported by the Central Bank after completing its additional research or the BSS’s 12.1 %,  the statistical methodology used by the  BSS number is a margin of error +/- 1.9%. The conclusion therefore is that the revised number by the Central Bank falls within the range of 12.1% +/- 1.9%. More and more very simple issues are becoming highly politicised at the expense of the national interest. The Governor using a modicum of commonsense should have anticipated how his decision to depart from the BSS reported number would confuse an already fickle political climate in Barbados. What value has the Central Bank’s decision lend to the economic performance of Barbados?

In the same way our import cover has taken a one week dip so too the reputation and integrity of the Central Bank. It must be said that an error in judgement by the Governor of the Central Bank in this instance could have been ameliorated if our media practitioners and  political animals would have taken the responsibility of apprising the public of the statistical possibility both numbers could be correct given the margin of error. Instead what we have witnessed since the economic 9-month review is smoke and mirrors stuff. The people like sheep assume party positions and in the midst of it all the truth of the matter is sacrificed at the altar of political expediency.

Could it be the Governor felt some political pressure to intervene given the political stakes?

127 thoughts on “The Politics Of Smoke And Mirrors Fuelled By 1.9% Margin Of Error


  1. @ Checkit-Out:
    Let them put our money where their mouths are!!
    The much touted housing programmes across the Island and office complex in the Warrens new town are not indicative of this vision. The “highrise” housing project at Valerie might ha its attraction in terms of use of limited land space but the other “green living” credentials are very much suspect.The Warrens commercial development was a product of Tom Adams thrust to “modernise” Barbados.
    It is only fitting that if the BLP is returned to power the new town is befittingly renamed the “Tom Adams Town Centre”. Warning to the DLP:
    Don’t come (haunted by the ghost of LP main man) to honour the memory of DT by renaming it the “DJHT Memorial Business & Shopping Centre”.


  2. An engine would have to be properly sealed at those points where the ingress of water is likely. i.e . Air cleaner/intake, other breather pipes, oil filler point and the exhaust would also have to be properly sealed and an exhaust stack fitted with an outlet well above the rising level of water.
    Believe it or not, one of the cheapest and most effective material for sealing against the ingress of water , is GREASE. So commonly used on tanks and personnel carriers when wading through rivers.


  3. @ CHRIS HALSALL

    So, are you telling me that “TOWN & COUNTRY PLANNING” is an outside “UMBRELLA” organization with the power to call shots by dictating social policy and is somehow bigger than the “BARBADOS GOVERNMENT”?

    We always thought T&CP was an “ORGAN” (again no pun intended) of a democratically “ELECTED” government – i.e. in this case, “THE BARBADOS GOVERNMENT”!!!

    I mean come on CHRIS* – tell me this is some kinda’ JOKE*?

    Anyway, let’s back up a bit!!!

    So, in the interest of technological advancement, “CHEAPER” fuel cost & “BILLS”, private sector job creation and the future “ENERGY” needs & requirements of a growing economy – all that stands in the way is a “CORRUPT”, “INEPT”, “DYSFUNCTIONAL”, “ABYSMALLY TYRANNICAL” (non-entity) called: “TOWN & COUNTRY PLANNING”….

    WOW!!!

    Unbelievable!!!


  4. @ DAVID

    Some commentators on this “THREAD” are beginning to argue that somehow we have lost the essence of what the “PIECE” was originally intended to discuss and ultimately produce – however, as much as CF et al may feel that way (and rightly so) the evidence is clearly showing that our DEAR* ELECTED POLITICIANS are mere mortal men who need to listen to the voice of their people and stop “ASS_UMING” that they know what’s best for us as a nation…

    No one can deny the importance of “ENERGY” and with the escalating cost of “FUELS”, the rise in transport cost due to global predisposed factors – notwithstanding, the savagely incremental monthly cost of “FOOD” production & other physiological essentials are having on households is creating undue hardship for the poorest in societies around the world – not just BARBADOS…

    As a result, the wind of strife are blowing across the land in all directions as the “NEO-PROTESTANT” Movement gains in strength of numbers and momentum…

    It won’t be long before there’s a real “BITE” on the backsides of average “MIDDLE-CLASS” Bajans who like those on the “POVERTY” line and will frankly say – “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”… “WE WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT” and above, “NAKED RESISTANCE TO ALL FORM TYRANNY IS OBEDIENCE TO CONSCIENCE & TO THE FREEWILL OF ALL MEN”…


  5. @TB

    There is an urgent need for us as a people and country to reorder priorities. As always a la Occupy Wall Street, it will have to be initiated by the PEOPLE.

    There is an interesting discussion on the National Insurance Blog, hope you are following.


  6. I wonder about the following scenario:

    April 2011, the nation newspaper reports that Port ferdinand has closed, several hundred workers laid off.

    May 2011, CBC reports that Courts has closed several branches across the island, several hundred workers laid off.

    June 2011, Advocate reports that two major South Coast Hotels have closed, several hundred workers laid off.

    June 2011, the NIS reports a noticeable increase in unemployment claims.

    Septemmber 2011, the Barbados Statistical Survey issues the results of its quarterly labor force survey. The mid-point of the confidence interval is 9.1 percent.

    October 2011. The Central Bank governor issues his nine month review for the year. He reports that the unemployment rate is 9.10%. he is grilled by the media and various pundits as to how this could be given the other evidence. He then says, the rate could be as high as 13% as thats within the confidence interval, but it does not really matter as 9.1% is alos within the confidence interval. Besides, the BSS uses an acceptable international methodology, they are independent professionals and the BSS is the only authorative source of unemployment figures in Barbados, therefore we should all accept that the economy added 1,100 jobs during the period April to June and the unemployment rate fell from 10.6% to 9.1% for the period.


  7. @millertheanunnaki

    Missed you post for| October 19, 2011 at 6:57 PM |

    Most of it goes back to bntcl to pay for future purchase. The part that get to esso , texaco and sol. can reenter the local banking scheme thru their us bank accounts


  8. @Trained Economist

    You do understand that for the BSS to claim that you are unemployed then you had not have had any work for the past 3 month not even a day. The the bss is correct and those employment number would go the q3 report..

    p.s. you know showed where the 1100 job came form :). In-between there should be stories of other businesses expanding. Do you understanding if court fired all their staff and hired all new staff. that the unemployment figures of the month would reflect that unemployment had dropped by amount of courts employees. the following quarter if nothing change would go back to the old rate ?


  9. I think I have a decent understanding of the methodology for counting unemployment. I think, you are deliberately missing the question I am trying to raise.

    The question I am trying to raise is, If the unemployment numbers from the BSS had gone contrary to expectations would commentators have been as inclined to insist that the number must be based on the outcome of the BSS’ methodology?


  10. @Trained Economist

    No you missing the point in creating a situation that could never exist. If bss report low number people would question it. people are questioning the methodology of question of bss numbers only if they are high. Public perception of unemployment is also of the view that job are being lost

    Going back to the situation people may question the central bank but they wouldn’t have done another survey stating this is actual unemployment. Fact is given the situation that unemployment number is possible once job have been created in Q2. Q2 unemployment only goes up if people are out of work for all 3 months. They are counted as employed if they work a single day in the 3 months.Q3 unemployment would reflect those job losses if they are still unemployed


  11. 1. The unemployment rate had essentially been unchanged for the six or even nine month period prior to the second quarter of 2011.

    2. Anthony, how all of a sudden you are interested in the details of jobs added and/or lost during the quarter or previous quarters. The basic argument on this thread has been that those possible details are irrelevant, the BSS is the authority charged to come up with unemployment figures, they have been consistent in their use of an accepted methodology, hence their number should be accepted as the unemployment rate.

    3. In terms of my previous scenario, the Courts hiring would have been a news story as well.


  12. Well we will get nowhere on this.

    The point is that people have a well known tendency to latch on to research findings that support their own prior convictions and resist, ignore or rubbish ones that go against such.

    Parties of all kinds are guilty of this. Methinks the BSS and central bank would have been accused of fudging the numbers in the scenario i outlined. I suspect we would have had a long debate on where the jobs were added and how no one noticed these new jobs.

    I look forward to when such an outcome occurs to see if the pundits will then insist on the purity of the Bss’s methodology.


  13. Q3 repot 11.2 Q4 report 10.5 Q1 report 10 Q2 report 12.1 or 11. that hardly unchanged. like i said their basis of unemployment meant the report is justified and won’t be reflected till Q3 report


  14. TRAINED ECONOMIST I REFRAINED FROM COMMENTING ON THE LIGHT AND POWER DEBATE ON THE FORUM BECAUSE TO QUOTE MR BARROW I DO NOT EXERCISE MYSELF IN MATTERS WHICH ARE TOO HIGH FOR ME; BUT YOU SEEM TO TO KNOW A LOT ABOUT THESE THINGS AND I NEED YOUR ADVISE. RECENTLY I BEGAN TO ANALYSE MY LIGHT BILLS AND AFTER AN ASTRONOMICAL BILL FOR THE LAST PERIOD I WENT INTO THE COMPANY SEEKING EXPLANATIONS. A VERY NICE EMPLOYEE DEALT WITH ME AND EXPLAINED TO ME THAT OUT OF A BILL TOTAL OF $909.57, ONLY $252.70 WAS GOING TO THE COMPANY; THE REMAINING $544.67 IN RESPECT OF FUEL CHARGE W AS GOING TO THE BNOC. IS THAT TRUE AND IF SO SHOULDN’T THE PROTESTS BE FOCUUSED IN THAT DIRECTION AND NOT THE LIGHT AND POWER?


  15. MILLERTHEANNUNAKI, I HOPE YOU CAN HELP ME BECAUSE MY REQUEST TO TRAINED ECONOMIST SEEMED TO HAVE FALLEN ON DEAF EARS. IN CHECKING ON MY ELECTRICITY CHARGES I WAS TOLD BY A CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE THAT THE BIGGEST COMPONENT OF MY ELECTRICITY BILL GOES TO THE GOVT THROUGH THE BNOC. IS THIS SO?


  16. @balance: “IN CHECKING ON MY ELECTRICITY CHARGES I WAS TOLD BY A CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE THAT THE BIGGEST COMPONENT OF MY ELECTRICITY BILL GOES TO THE GOVT THROUGH THE BNOC.

    WELL, DUHHH!!!

    You do understand the maths. Don’t you?


  17. How much longer you going play dis game on po bajan peoples? Time you come clean Dr.Flangdingo. People ent got no mo money to pay taxes…time to change ur game. We bellies to we back den !

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