Dr. DeLisle Worrell will go down in history as one of the most visible and controversial Governors of the Central Bank of Barbados. He is certainly not a Kurleigh King, Calvin Springer or Winston Cox, perhaps closer to a Dr. Courtney Blackman.
Some Barbadians have become concerned by what appears to be virulent attacks directed at Worrell coming by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Attacks led by Arthur and Mascoll, which have reduced Worrell to an economist of lilliputian status. That Arthur, Mascoll et al would be so harsh about one of their own merits scrutiny. Bear in mind the Central Bank of Barbados has always been regarded as a respectable institution.
In the same way many believe governments managing world economies at this juncture in history are unfortunate so too Governors of Central Banks. All have to agree that the unprecedented challenges posed by the protracted global economic slowdown mean that modalities in boom times are not relevant at this time. It is in this context that we have to debate and evaluate the economic outpourings from Dr. Worrell since his appointment in 2009.
Dr. Worrell can easily be described as outspoken and unorthodox when compared to his predecessors. One manifestation is his preference to drive a Mini Cooper and not be carted about in a chauffeur driven Mercedes. However Arthur, Mascoll and others might suggest his most unflattering performances so far have been defending government’s economic programs notably a couple controversial positions he has taken.
In his first quarter evaluation in 2012 Dr. Worrell referred to the 30 million dollar loan payment due in January for the next 25 years. Many took issue with how he phrased his analysis of that transaction. The second issue was when he challenged the employment statistic produced by the Barbados Statistical Service, the agency sanctioned with producing employment statistical information. BU at the time criticized the Governor for adding to the volatile economic and political climate by engaging in an exercise when all the statistical experts agreed that the statistical weight of the Central Banks’ unemployment number was insignificant.
Even if we accept that the Governor erred in judgment we are left with the question whether Worrell was motivated by a partisan position. BU believes the Governor is a maverick of sorts and his positions should be seen this light.
What cannot be refuted is the rich bio of the Governor. He was weaned in the Research Division of the Central Bank of Barbados. This means he should have a good grasp of how the numbers are compiled and should be interpreted to paint a picture of performance. He rounded out his career by his exposure working at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Caribbean Centre for Money and Finance (CCMF). Along with serving several research fellowships he is widely published in areas relevant to small island economies – see Dr. Worrell’s Bio.
Barbados Underground (BU) has become concerned about the mash up culture which now pervades our society. We have to be very careful how we critique the performance of Governor Worrell (and others) and by extension the Central Bank of Barbados because the two are not separate. The analyses proffered by the Governor is translated from the work done by an army of central bankers who operate away from the glare of the public. The politicos need to be sensitive to the foregoing. We can by all means critique the Governor but professional courtesy and decorum should always be extended.