Who Will Put the Genie Back in the Bottle?

Ryan Straugn, Economist

Ryan Straugn, Economist

The following article by Economist Ryan Straughn has been making the rounds in Barbados and is the source of robust debate because it highlights the perilous state of the Barbados economy. This week the hierarchy of the Caribbean Development Bank also noted concerns about the weight of debt which many Caribbean islands are presently burdened. We did not reach the current state in the last five years. Our consumption behaviour which is fed by two fickle economic drivers, tourism and foreign direct investment, will do it every time.

Dispelling Political Myths with Economic Facts
I wish to state at the outset as emphatically as I possibly could, that in a very, very, very small open economy (like Barbados) and in a very, very, very small open society (like Barbados) it is imperative that government’s current revenue always exceed its current expenditure in order to protect the social democracy to which we’ve become accustomed.

I sat down to write this article last week and got sidetracked with more pressing matters and so decided to finish it on reading Tony Best’s column in the Sunday Sun of February 3, 2013. The article shared the concerns of Charlie Skeete another Barbadian economist which are indeed very similar to mine. Elections have been called in Barbados for February 21, 2013 and the campaign has truly begun in earnest. As an economist, I eagerly wait to hear specifics from both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party on how they are going to deal with the small matter of the public finances.

Read full article @Barbados Economic Society Blog

87 thoughts on “Who Will Put the Genie Back in the Bottle?


  1. Thank you Mr. Straughn. Your article is well written and I daresay that, after reading the article, anyone with a modicum of common sense would understand that this country is in serious trouble which is not as a result of the world economic crisis as the Government would have us believe.

    Unfortunately, various speakers for the Government have repeated that lie so often that many persons believe and are actually repeating it. The article clearly shows that the task of managing this country’s economy is to large for this incompetent administration of bluffers, with Sinckler being the biggest bluffer of all.


  2. This might be off topic. While watching the CBC news tonight, I saw Jepter Ince, a former senior officer at National Insurance, on the platform divulging information he received in the capacity of a public officer who is bound by the Official Secrets Act. He should be aware that he continues to be so bound even after he has left the Public Service.

    These politicians continue to behave as though the laws don’t apply to them or is it that they don’t know.


  3. Ok so we don’t have a revenue problem but public expenditure is out of control. Government has ably demonstrated it CANNOT efficiently manage public expenditure hence the privatisation talk. We find a way to affect cost management or perish.

    Are we agreed?


  4. NO NO NO. Privatization has been and will always be about selling Barbadians as a market, to the highest overseas bidder with FOREX. The fundamental issue to me is and has always been about Barbados’ ability to EARN its way in the world and selling your people and your land is NOT a sustainable option.

    These tooth-less economists play hard on governments’ ability to fiddle with domestic figures and will always revert to the argument that such abilities affect the “confidence” that others would have in investing in the country. But I am concern with governments ability to develop and invest in its human capital to the point where such an investment is transformed into product that THE REST OF THE WORLD IS PREPARED TO BUY.

    Maybe some time in the not so distant future the author would see it fit to include such marginal issues in his discourse on responses that are required from his leaders… (who are to me btw just figure heads …)


  5. Is this the same Straughn who was critical of Arthur plan , oh he felt the tongue as well and now back tracking. Intellectual dishonest economist in barbados ALLL tainted by some political motive. Where is the independence . Wendell mc.clean must be crying in his grave, these guys get the benefit of free education and misuse it, no objective commentary .


  6. THU, NOVEMBER 01, 2012 – 12:01 AM

    Avoid context and specifics; generalize and keep repeating the generalization.
    – The late Jacob Theodore “Jack” Schwartz, American mathematician, computer scientist.

    THE AVOIDANCE OF SPECIFICS in grandiose political promises has come to be as natural as cou-cou and salt fish on Thursdays and black pudding and souse on a Saturday morning.

    So it was not surprising that Opposition Leader Owen Arthur did not give clearer details of his 15-point plan to improve governance in Barbados by 2016, if returned to political power in the upcoming general election. To be fair to Mr Arthur, it would have been tedious trying, and impractical to give specifics on all 15 points at the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) conference wrap-up on Sunday; but the details on a few of the major ones would have been a breath of fresh air in this silly season and mind-satisfying.

    If Mr Arthur is to be believed that he has the means with which to “rescue” us all, he must step above the mere labelling of what Barbados Economics Society president Ryan Straughn calls “pro-growth initiatives”, and present the specifics and how-to to the thinkers – and thinking – among us that we might assess the viabilities and probabilities of these new BLP policies.

    The Opposition Leader was said to have given his party faithful a taste on Sunday of a yet to be released manifesto of hope. We wager the manifesto, like all others, will be a list of further promises and intentions; not burdened by any profound explanation or details of the said.

    It seems Mr Arthur will need to engage the electorate in meaningful conversation – a talkback, if he will – on these proposals of his. The electors would like to see clearly, for example, how “tax-free allowances” will be reintroduced, when they have been shown to be currently illegal. Will there be statutory recourse, and how?

    VAT is to revert to 15 per cent under a BLP Government. How does Mr Arthur plan to take care of the shortfall in revenue as a result? There is the allusion to the reduction of taxes and to other fiscal incentives. How are these counterbalanced?

    Someone once remarked on requested details: “I can’t get into the specifics now. Someday, hopefully, I will.”

    That we should wait in wonder – or simply wait and wonder – cannot be good enough. We fault not Mr Arthur for having the dream of “rebuilding the economy and restoring Barbados’ tradition of sound, efficient, effective and stable Government”, but we yearn for the specifics of how it will be done.

    We leave Mr Arthur with the words of the inspirationalist William B. Given: “Details often kill initiative, but there have been few successful men who weren’t good at details. Don’t ignore details. Lick them.”


  7. THU, NOVEMBER 01, 2012 – 12:01 AM

    Avoid context and specifics; generalize and keep repeating the generalization.
    – The late Jacob Theodore “Jack” Schwartz, American mathematician, computer scientist.

    THE AVOIDANCE OF SPECIFICS in grandiose political promises has come to be as natural as cou-cou and salt fish on Thursdays and black pudding and souse on a Saturday morning.

    So it was not surprising that Opposition Leader Owen Arthur did not give clearer details of his 15-point plan to improve governance in Barbados by 2016, if returned to political power in the upcoming general election. To be fair to Mr Arthur, it would have been tedious trying, and impractical to give specifics on all 15 points at the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) conference wrap-up on Sunday; but the details on a few of the major ones would have been a breath of fresh air in this silly season and mind-satisfying.

    If Mr Arthur is to be believed that he has the means with which to “rescue” us all, he must step above the mere labelling of what Barbados Economics Society president Ryan Straughn calls “pro-growth initiatives”, and present the specifics and how-to to the thinkers – and thinking – among us that we might assess the viabilities and probabilities of these new BLP policies.

    The Opposition Leader was said to have given his party faithful a taste on Sunday of a yet to be released manifesto of hope. We wager the manifesto, like all others, will be a list of further promises and intentions; not burdened by any profound explanation or details of the said.

    It seems Mr Arthur will need to engage the electorate in meaningful conversation – a talkback, if he will – on these proposals of his. The electors would like to see clearly, for example, how “tax-free allowances” will be reintroduced, when they have been shown to be currently illegal. Will there be statutory recourse, and how?

    VAT is to revert to 15 per cent under a BLP Government. How does Mr Arthur plan to take care of the shortfall in revenue as a result? There is the allusion to the reduction of taxes and to other fiscal incentives. How are these counterbalanced?

    Someone once remarked on requested details: “I can’t get into the specifics now. Someday, hopefully, I will.”

    That we should wait in wonder – or simply wait and wonder – cannot be good enough. We fault not Mr Arthur for having the dream of “rebuilding the economy and restoring Barbados’ tradition of sound, efficient, effective and stable Government”, but we yearn for the specifics of how it will be done.

    THIS IS FORK TONGUE BE CONSISTENT
    We leave Mr Arthur with the words of the inspirationalist William B. Given: “Details often kill initiative, but there have been few successful men who weren’t good at details. Don’t ignore details. Lick them.”


  8. BY GERALYN EDWARD BUSINESS EDITOR | TUE, OCTOBER 30, 2012 – 12:10 AM

    The Barbados Economics Society (BES) says the Opposition’s tax concessions announced over the weekend “will just create a mess” in the economy and widen the deficit unless it plans to get rid of several state corporations.

    BES president Ryan Straughn told the DAILY NATION yesterday he commended the “pro-growth initiatives” of Opposition Leader Owen Arthur, but said that without “specifics” it was difficult to assess how effective the policies would be.

    Addressing the annual conference of his Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Sunday, Arthur announced a range of tax concessions in a 15-point plan for a BLP administration.

    Among Arthur’s plans were the reversal of value added tax (VAT) from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent, a reduced new middle-income tax rate of 25 per cent, restoration of allowances to their former tax-free status, reduced land taxes, and tax credits for people who bought medical health insurance and education savings plans.


  9. Watching the polital showdown it all seems to be who can throw the best party, Big Irie,Shontelle to Lil Rick stc. Remember each of those partygoers vote carries the same weight as a economist or a primeminister.So the fate of Barbados may not depend on sensible ideas as much as free drink and wuk-up.


  10. Mornin. Awright den see wa Pearlie tell wunna. I just open my paper today, and look even de paros dont want all dem stale recycle candidates dat Affah bring back. Not Wanted. Read it and see de BLP like one a dem old brekdown rust out Bedford. Murda! But hey, dem forget to include rust out Clarkie, Prescott and Cynthie too. Dem not wanted neither.

    Anyhow, Free hill tonight dear-hearts. Free Hill tonight. Millerthenooksie and Islandgyal today is Sunday lef out Bush Hill fuh a change and come up Free hill tonight instead and learn someting.


  11. Morning Pearlie et al

    Pearlie I leff Bush Hill some 30 sumting years ago to find fresher meat and I ent plan to go back and compete wid yuh! Go long and listen tah yuh lying stinking politicians in yuh party. Tek care dem ent arrest yuh fun skinning yuh botsy even doah ah tell yuh before yuh too ole fuh dat kinda ting! Yuh might ketch a lining cold. Tek yuh soft shoes and yuh limacol, yuh know how Frugabe does faint. Tek likkle sweetie fuh he eff get more light headed dan he normally is since he head does be in de clouds.


  12. But david, I recall the way this blog reacted when the policy of streamlining the drug service was being implemented. That was relatively mild expenditure cutting, but there was little support for it.

    To close the deficit in the manner being suggested will require major layoffs and possibly privatization which will hurt some people. I can support such adjustments, once we are prepared to accept that it will likely mean around 16 to 20% unemployment at least fro a while.


  13. @Trained Economist

    The fiscal program of the DLP assumes improvement in our key markets soon. It is not a sustainable position borrowing to pay salaries. The plan for this government to significantly cut expenditure in the next fiscal if reelected. The question for you is where will the cuts come from.


  14. I once found a Mongoose in a raised closed protected chicken pen and it had killed everything ,destroyed everything and eaten so as to become so big as not to be able to get back out by the means it had entered by.
    Then when it saw reality and knew the game was up.Threw itself around frantically and ferociously in a panic to escape the retribution for its thoughtless uncontrolled avarice.
    It did NOT escape and it is now long Dead.
    Something about this current situation in Barbados seems to run almost exactly parallel.
    Barbados and EVERYBODY who has ever Governed it ,since Independance
    has led us inextricably to TODAY.
    Everything is in a state of destruction,Avarice ,mindless Governance,by haphazardly elected individuals,of little experience .
    Politicians,have paved our path to Hell with so called Good Intentions.
    While we the children of Barbados paid rapt attention to those we elevated to a position to be our protectors.
    For reasons of Party, Self engrandisment,Avarice,mindless decisions,our path has led downwards.
    Barbados became fatter and more entrapped,until we find ourselves as we do today, with out means of escape or salvation.
    The World economy is in tatters,countries engage in quantative easing( printing money) ,money is now worthless.Wealth used to be in Millions.Then in billions NOW in TRILLIONS. Just Worthless paper.
    Our morals and our our values have been subjugated to worship of worthless paper.
    Europe is on its knees,for the same reason as is Barbados.
    We in Barbados need to understand that there is NO ONE out there to throw us a life line .They are all too busy surviving them selves.
    Barriers are being errected to stave the flows of currency,in the Guise of “green” planet saving actions.
    Movements of Currencies are being controlled as being to stop Money Laundering,can you imagine that 5000US$ would be an amount of significance to a Drug baron .
    It is to control the average person..
    The masses.
    But I digress,Barbados is in a trap,that you all must know,if you ponder this state in which Barbados and the World finds itself currently, it is not escapable,.
    At least not in the time of us living at the moment.
    Like an old building that has been used and enjoyed, and ignored so much so that its actual structure is fatally flawed,only its demolition and rebuilding is the answer.
    Our way of living is FATALLY flawed,unsustainable,disintegrating.
    NO amount of POLITICING,sweet talking ,rearranging of STATISTICS ,will do it anymore.
    Barbados will disintigrate and then should rebuild,but in real life this will never happen .To many vested interests.
    To many grabbers of “All they can get”.
    NOT ONE politician able to LEAD only to TAKE.
    There are NO longer any HEROES.
    Barbados is sunk in the pit of corruption and floundering in the Morasse of self interest.
    No Saviours ,NO HEROES.
    Angry,frustrated and ferocious at EVENTS that were made for us by those we elected,exacerbated by World events, an unfortunate Duo,one that is about to Annihilate us .
    Copy this and print it and put it in an envelope and mark on the date,place it in a drawer and leave it for 3 years and then open it and read it again.
    I hope to be wrong but KNOW I am right.


  15. The IMF’s chief economist Olivier Blanchard has just released a study where the IMF concedes that they estimated the negative impact of austerity on gdp.

    What this means is that the declines in gdp were worse than expected when governments slashed expenditure to close fiscal deficits. You ironically ended up with some situations where because of the decline in GDP and falls in revenue that the fiscal situation got worse because of the expenditure cuts and the fiscal deficit and debt to GDP ratios got worse.

    If we want to go with this strategy of balancing the budget in quick time, thats fine with me, lets just be clear that its a very painful strategy, its no quick fix and we will have to be prepared to stay the course.


  16. @jus mekkin sport

    The BU family has commented a similar concern over the years.

    The Arthur and the BLP again stated that if they regain the government it will agree to public sector pay raise. Madness!


  17. David @Trained economist

    The fiscal program of the DLP assumes improvement in our key markets soon. It is not a sustainable position borrowing to pay salaries. .

    so what are the other options given that the economy is sluggish and the key sectors that once flourished are struggling. it therefore begs the question wouldn’t be the alternative of massive layoffs be worst since the govt would have to service the unemployed through social services and unemployment benefits. i contend there is good debt and bad debt and the latter prescription would also lead to higher debt and social dysfunction of our economy. At the present those employed are still contributing to the economy. while if massive unemployment occurs it would lead to further bleeding in the economy and the govt would be forced to stop massive bleeding burdening the small employed and may lead to higher taxes.


    • One would have thought Stuart being a man of history and philosophy has the capacity to appreciate the argument that the traditional pillars of global economic activity have shifted and Barbados needs to map a course of survival in a world which can be described as a new normal.

      The old stupid strategies which are predicated on the approach ‘live and let live’ on credit/borrowings and to gorge on consumer durables is gone with the wind.

      For crissakes!


  18. If you are talking about the govt sector.. Rather than massive layoffs could they not ,fill positions left open by retirement, cut down on the hours each week per employee, hold the line on salary increases and maybe implement some type of early retirement package.


  19. @baffy
    I have yet to hear the policy maker who can follow your line of reasoning regarding investing in and exporting knowledge and skills direct from people as well as generating hard tangible revenue from new alternative industries. Good idea but we’ll still need to cut some expenditure somewhere and in any case, we’re the culture that needs to see quick return on investments rather than plan for the long term…

    @trained economis
    What are your views on the current “holding pattern” strategy of this government? Any thoughts on the BLP’s theory that 70% of the economy is acutally domestic?

    @lawson
    So who do you feel can wuk up the best? Arthur or Freundel? Lol.

    @just mekking sport
    See ya in 3 years!!

    @islandgal and pearlie
    Lordie! Uh wud pay to see d two uh wunnah go head ta head unda d streetlight by muhcorner. Bassa bassa!!!!!!!

    Just Observing


  20. In an attempt to show sympathy for the author it must be said that any administration which would seek to create the biggest Cabinet in the history of the country and employ executive Chairmen in the public service is one that does not truly appreciate the meaning of leading by example.


  21. For the last 7 years people have preached the above scenarios to both parties and were subjected to snobbery for their efforts, I am glad that the message is, though digested way too late, finally beginning to slam home. The present devils-in-office seem quite unconcerned unless they lose the elections and are rendered jobless,no more free taxpayers money for doing very little. Everyone keeps forgetting THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS!!!


  22. Any Fontabelle lad would tell that you can’t go next door to FCIB and borrow money to pay salaries nor would the directors of the bank issue such….. unless you name Jasper the CH and the Bank is NIS ….
    This ting was a conspiracy of epics…..could anyone believe we had such foolish men wid access to the Treasury? When a Goose could get 14 in Maths on the Hill and say dah ent important., and annuda talikn bout a physical deficit…..speaks volumes… BWT D captain..whea he ?….snnnnoooree ! Now all ya could jest….


  23. @ jus mekkin sport | February 10, 2013 at 7:30 AM |
    *************
    AMEN!
    ….this is what the bushman has been preaching for many years now….Only difference is that there IS a solution.

    Unfortunately, it requires a sensible look at the REAL PURPOSE of life and the REAL potentialities that exists….as opposed to the meaningless trivialities about which we have been pontificating so strenuously here on BU….alas…

    …SENSIBLE analysis of meaningful concepts are not compatable with bowls of brass.
    ….so it seems that (as you have concluded) we are dead!


  24. @David | February 10, 2013 at 7:44 AM |
    “@jus mekkin sport: The BU family has commented a similar concern over the years.”

    I warned Ryan to expect those types of responses and reaction to his “telling it like it is” contributions. Facts and figures with a dose of non-partisan truth are the only way to fight lies and personal attacks.

    One would not be surprised if Ryan and his family are being targeted and the subjects of threats to their jobs, verbal derogatory remarks or even threats to their physical safety.

    Attack the messenger instead of the message in the modus operandi of the current DLP and its operatives.
    Again Ryan, hang in there. There are thousands out here supporting you. The fair-minded ones here on BU have your back also. The Truth will out!

    @ David:
    “The Arthur and the BLP again stated that if they regain the government it will agree to public sector pay raise. Madness!”

    Madness indeed! How can you offer public sector workers an increase in salaries when privatization is a “sine qua non” inevitability? Unless he plans to sweeten the payout offer-based on the most recent salary figures -to those who can’t fit into a private sector culture of work and productivity.
    What Arthur should be offering is a possible reduction in electricity cost and other indirect taxes to help ease or reduce the COL.


  25. “JAM TOMORROW”
    The cry of ALL politicians.
    Can all of you just shut the lid on your laptops ,GO and open the FRONT door and get some fresh air.
    While you are out there, first ,ascertain which PLANET you are on , and then when that sinks in, ascertain,which EXREMELY small Island on that Planet you are on.
    RIGHT now we are real.
    get in your Rolls royce and drive to the HILTON for Dinner.Put it on the tab and leave for Sandy lane for cocktails.
    ARE YOU CRAZY??
    What Rolls Royce ,What Tab at the Hilton,How you afford cocktails at Sandy Lane??
    BUT you still insist on talking as tho Barbados can do ONE DAMNED thing about its condition.
    Like you dreaming , or pretending,like you REALLY have a Rolls Royce.

    IF.Such a small word .
    BUT from all I read here IF is the saviour of Barbados.

    IF we did this, or IF we had that.
    OR EVEN IF we HAD someone capable!!
    Then we have IF’s BROTHER ; MAYBE.

    WOULD the shock kill you IF you recognised the truth, MAYBE,then you would see the real problems.
    Barbados,is a Mote in the Worlds eye.
    WE are only important to ourselves .
    Imagine tomorrow ,that Barbados ,had just SUNK under the sea,less people would have gone from the Globe than die in India in a week.
    Anybody in the WORLD worry about that?
    One days reporting in the Worlds press.
    One report on CBC or BBC.
    Then GONE .BARBADOS what Barbados??
    WHEN are you going to realize that in the scheme of things we DO NOT MATTER. Only to our selves.
    How many people got killed in the Hutu and Tutsi conflict in Africa?
    600,000 ,YES SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND.
    YOU CARE/
    YOU EVEN KNOW????
    So where that leave BARBADOS????
    BLP or DLP, you just are not getting it are you .?
    Barbados has EATEN ITS SEED CORN.
    We got FAT on the back of the World economy NOW the world economy is FAILING.
    We are getting THIN.
    NOW I got NEWS for you ,the FAT get THIN and
    then the THIN get DEAD.
    On what basis the DLP conclude that things are improving??( maybe they look and see their record, and say WELL IT CANT GET ANY WORSE?)
    Social Dysfunction??
    Sounds a little “Spin Doctored” to me for “we are screwed”
    But then thats way of the world these days,”double speak”
    We do not have DRUG ADDICTS we have “Chemically Dependants”
    We do not have Murders(Its Bad for tourism) we have manslaughters.
    We do not have truth, we do not have REALISM.
    We are living on a small, very small island called “CLOUD CUKCOO LAND”
    We do not matter to the World and we act as tho the World does not matter to us.
    Is it not about time , we ALL woke up.
    What do we have to sell the World apart from What God gave us.
    SAND SEA and SUNSHINE.
    Yes OK smart ass, I will say it for you RUM and NICHE markets.
    Yes well lets see how far we get with that.
    BUT of course we have to have AN EXCUSE dont we?
    I do not recall Government ANY Government ,EVER,talking about Tourism as tho it were REALLY what it is .OUR BREAD and Butter. OUR PUDDIN N SOUSE. Also acting like is was.
    So now the GOOD times have ROLLED and gone and we spent every cent.
    Pocket filling ,grandiose,gestures and NOTHING lasting or of consequence.
    So as Ye shall sow , shall ye REAP.
    The World economy is NOT improving ,Yes the Rich are getting richer .
    YOU RICH??
    No ;then you aint got nothing to be Joyous about.
    You got an Election.
    For whom?
    To do WHAT?
    With what?
    Like you got a choice of SUICIDE either by the Gun or the Knife.
    But of course you would not be REALLY dead Just
    “Life impared”
    Somebody Somewwhere SOMEPLACE got you convinced that all this SHITE is really CHOCOLATE.
    Well eat up Boys plenty more to follow.!!


  26. the dlp strategy seems to built around sound key points.

    1. Growth based on domestic consumption is not sustainable and will drain the foreign exchange reserves. I cannot quarrel with that view, and I do not buy this argument that we can use some of the reserves for stimulus. A spike in international oil or food prices can wipe out a week or two of reserves. So I don’t buy that argument. I would love some growth, but i will not quarrel with a view which says do not gamble with the reserves.

    2. maintain social stability by keeping public sector jobs and social services. While the social benefits are undeniable, the problem with this is the level of the deficit and the level of borrowing. My concern is that if we engage in massive expenditure cuts to balance the budget, with weak demand in the foreign exchange earning sectors, we could see the worst economic effects of austerity, where the declines in revenue and gdp outweigh the savings from the expenditure cuts. This is what the IMF is now admitting as the fall out from austerity in an already depressed environment. Even in the domestic sector there is a real risk that attempts to put money in people hands may not generate the benefits because people might save the money rather than spend. If they spend the spend will be on imports largely with forex consequences.

    Is there a growth strategy to get some forex lead growth to help get the growth targets in the medium term fiscal strategy

    Have the efficiency in the public sector been explored. should we

    is it time for some means testing


  27. @Miller the nuke

    it is owen who gets people fire from their jobs. he went after reudon eversely. only yesterday i was talking to a lady twho told me that she voting against owen because he got her fired from an off shore company after three months. she is the one who brought up the subject after we were talking politics.


    • To the Point

      I am now only seeing your comment posted at 10:36 am.

      You always seem to miss the point. Even if I divulged information that I gained while employed at NUPW: it is not a crime. However, I believe what Jepter Ince was tantamount to a breach of the Official Secrets Act, and if I am correct, he would be exposing himself to jail time.

      You get the point yet.

      Sent from my iPad


  28. I am sorry for those who are trying to pick sense out of the Stuart administration. At least Sandy at the start of his first term challenged the private sector to start earning its own foreign currency. He was firing… then he hibernated. Stuart just hibernated …!


  29. massive expenditure cut in the public sector will cause have to our social structure hasnt greec tried that and what are the consequences of such action, hasnt the uk tried if and what happened. When we privatised wouldnt we have an increase in umemployment.?

    part of our solution is import substitution; that is growing to subsituew for those things we import, why cant we have breadfruit or yam or potato or cassav flour to mix with the imported flour to use for specific case.


  30. @ TO THE POINT | February 10, 2013 at 10:33 AM |

    There you go again attacking the person or the messenger instead of dealing with the issues or message being delivered.
    So Owen did what you claimed and what did now and you see what happened in January 2008. What about February 2013?

    We want you TPP to really get to the point and refute any of the facts figures or conclusions reached by Ryan Straughn.
    Try analyzing what Ryan has written and comment sensibly thereon; and forget about the ad hominems, if that is possible.


  31. just mekin sport
    Well said…
    What you have to sell besides sun sand and sea is safety,. When my kids get on a plane to Jamaica or Mexico I have an uneasy feeling in my stomach that doesnt go away till they come home.But Barbados over the years has been different because I always thought of it as safe. But lately with the rapes and murders and the way the govt tries to hide or deal with it I am not so sure.Safety is your way out of this mess, because you have nothing else to sell..


    • @Miller

      To the Point’s comment paints a picture of where we are. We keep thins steady for as long as the reserves allow full stop.


  32. @ TO THE POINT | February 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM |
    “.. part of our solution is import substitution; that is growing to subsituew for those things we import, why cant we have breadfruit or yam or potato or cassav flour to mix with the imported flour to use for specific case.”

    It’s a downright pity you waited 5 long years to offer such sound advice to a beleaguered administration now on its last knees.

    Let the government lead by example.
    During the last 5 years Sugar production dropped from approx 35 000 tonnes to less than an est. 19,000 tonnes for 2013. How do you think the demand for local consumption was met? From the disappearing honey bees as a result of the extensive use of insecticides and pesticides?

    Why didn’t the government put a stop to the allocation of gas-guzzling irrelevant ML & MP vehicles to its employees or servants of the Crown in order to conserve forex?

    Why did this DLP administration have its election campaign materials allegedly printed overseas with the importation of foreign artistes at a time when forex is the number one asset to save?

    What happened to the importation of cheap fruits and vegetables from Dominica instead of processed GM foods by Cost–U-Less-Now-but-More Later?


  33. a dramatic austerity programme to balance the budget will endanger social stability.

    thye dlp’s strategy is far from perfect but lest not pretend that its lacking in nay merit and that there are painless options out there.

    the fiscal numbers are terible, but we do have more than a modicum of stability, which is not to be sniffed at.


  34. lawson don’ get fool. When stats on crime are brought to the public, the presenters have traditionally been clear to point out that numbers are about “reported” crime. I blog on Tennis.com and we had a conversation two days ago about the Hassling that goes on in places like Bali and the Mediterranean. I put a plug in for Barbados and the responses ware that though they have not been here they have been told that it was a safe place to be. Of it was best to leave it at that.


  35. @ David | February 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM |

    Since we are not earning forex at a rate needed to keep the tank top up to the 18 weeks imports level (excluding remittances of profits and management fees and overseas education payments) we can expect another 6 months of steadying the sinking ship before the shit hits the fan. We can then do like the first class passengers on the Titanic and sip imported champagne, drive around in Mercedes and dance to the fiddler’s music while the flame is lit under poor Bim.


  36. if the blp is not going to privatize as they now seem to be saying how are they going to pay for their growth strategy.


    • @Trained Economist

      Haven’t you been following the BLP campaign? They have said it over and over that they plan to allocate 300 million of forex to use for developmental programs/strategies which will give them time to fix tourism?IB/FDI etc.


  37. @Jus mekkin Sport
    Can all of you just shut the lid on your laptops ,GO and open the FRONT door and get some fresh air
    *******************
    And while they are collectively enjoying that whiff of fresh air they should all join together in unison and shout “Kung Hei Fat Choi”. They may not feel obligated to say it but somewhere down the road their descendants may be repeating it.


  38. @Miller
    During the last 5 years Sugar production dropped from approx 35 000 tonnes to less than an est. 19,000 tonnes for 2013.
    **************
    Was the 35000 tonnes enough to support local consumption or did B’dos have to import sugar even at that level of production?


  39. Arthur promised everything to everybody hoping that some gullible voters will take the bait. However he has not said where the expenditure cuts have come from.Once again Arthur is insulting the intelligence of Bajans.


  40. Murda! Dis blessed Sunday next before Lent, I get back here from communion and turn on my internet and de frothy forna girl pon here cussin and carryin on. Murda! Observing dear-heart you would neva see me and dat red skin one from down de islands in nuffin under nuh streetlight. She could guh head tuh head wid sheself, or wid miller. Pearlie got too much class fuh dat.

    But I like I touch a nerve though. Or is because nobody in paying Affah campaign na mine dat de Bees gettin jittery? Da fa lick wunna. Um woulda neva be so if Mia was still leading de Bees! Murda! Ah gone!


  41. @ Trained Economist | February 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM |
    “if the blp is not going to privatize as they now seem to be saying how are they going to pay for their growth strategy.”

    Since you are the perceived appointed propagandist on all matters of the economy for the DLP both on the radio call-in programmes and on this blog we would wish you to address the following:

    The same question can be asked of the DLP. Economic growth appears to be the needed option to bring some order to the public finances and stop us falling off the so-called fiscal cliff thereby ending up in the hands of the IMF.

    How will a DLP administration (if it continues on its current path of economic management) achieve this needed growth without a programme of privatization and stimulation of the private sector?
    The utterances of the current Minister of Finance in Parliament seem to be at odds to those expressed in electoral campaigning circles and even in contradiction to your objection to any privatization programme.

    Please don’t talk about bringing immediate efficiency to the public sector. It will not happen under our present two-party political system of patronage.

    A “Do Nothing” strategy will not work. Waiting on an upturn in the economic fortunes of the UK and USA is equivalent to watching your horse starved to death while waiting for the grass to grow in a waterless field of inedible cactus.
    Tourism and FDI are not horses to bet all your money on in the race where the track has taken a paradigm shift in its course leading down a circuitous critical path to self-sustaining homegrown development.

    BTW, the miller respects your views, style of argument and methods of analysis. Moreover, you don’t dwell on people’s personal or private lives and for which I express my genuine respect.


    • What is evident is that voters will have to chose between the conservative polices of the DLP or the more aggressive economic package of the BLP. Some will say it doesn’t matter given our economic model that is heavily dependent on the UK, US and Canada and a cost of production which is high given our level of oil imports.


  42. @ Sargeant | February 10, 2013 at 12:14 PM |
    “Was the 35000 tonnes enough to support local consumption or did B’dos have to import sugar even at that level of production?”
    The BLP was more focused on building out a services sector than being any great friend of the sugar industry. And for which it paid the ultimate price through its January 2008 electoral defeat.
    However, the DLP offered hope to resuscitate and improve the industry. The following extract from its 2008 Manifesto: “Pathways to Progress” clearly confirms this promise.
    But remember that during the rough economic times brought on by a so-called international financial recession the Commodities Markets were booming and offer great opportunities for countries like Guyana and Mauritius to benefit from their own sugar industry.

    AGRICULTURE
    When the DLP demitted office it left behind a
    carefully crafted and financed programme for the
    rationalization of the sugar industry. Its primary
    target was to increase sugar output from the current
    level of around 50,000 tonnes up to 75,000
    tonnes. This target was based on the availability
    of the European Union preferential market and
    domestic demand. It envisaged bringing land back
    into sugar production through price support and
    other incentives for farmers. Sadly, this programme
    was abandoned and the now trumpeted
    BLP alternative to rescue the industry involves a
    mishmash of elements – energy and ethanol production
    from “fuel cane”, coupled with 30,000
    tonnes of raw sugar at an investment cost of $400
    million.
    Clearly, a DLP administration must revisit the
    current plans for the sugar sector, and determine
    their viability in the light of the continuing loss
    of sugar lands, the high costs of production in Barbados,
    and the need to obtain firm commitments
    from farmers to participate in any project for a
    sugar cane industry that may materialize. The
    Democratic Labour Party is convinced that sugar
    cane production is essential to environmental and
    ecological sustainability in Barbados, and will
    apply its best efforts to ensure that the maximum
    benefit is derived from the production of all the
    products and byproducts of the sugar cane plant.


  43. Word on the street is that the DLP campaign against privatisation has been resonating quite well and many BLP candidates are getting nervous. Now after the Prime Minister has catergorically stated that the DLP will not engage in privatisation of Transport Board,BNOC,etc the BLP is running around saying “Chris Sinckler was promising it too”.Please!
    The Prime Minister has made the DLP position clear. Arthur needs to tell Bajans especially after he made nearly 1 billion dollars in promises at Carlisle Bay Car Park, what is the spending to be cut.
    What the BLP is promising will lead to the decimation of the social services and charge bajans for education, health and education,garbage collection and much more. You cannot have it both ways. The BLP cannot promise giveaways and not tell the people where the money is to come from.


  44. David | February 10, 2013 at 12:53 PM |
    @firefox

    Have not heard your report however it was widely reported in the traditional media that Sinckler was booed at Deacons on Nomination Day. BU hastens to add that we do not support this behaviour from our primary school children.

    My brother teaches at Ellerslie he say booing Sinckler did not occur students were in class when his team arrived. Nicholls arrival cause uproar because he came during lunch period. Upset parents call my brother wanting to know who direct their kids to boo Sinckler. The media should be more responsible and not fabricate lies to curry favour with the BLP.


    • @Baffy

      Feeling you especially after listening to Arthur’s promise that a BLP manifesto pledge will be to setup a Business Facilitation Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office.


  45. @ BAFFY
    “Fees for Professional Advisers”……please read
    “Payback for political yardfowls…”

    @ Onions
    …..why you don’t leave Bushie and go and tear down some DLP posters or something useful nuh…?!


  46. but David forex is not money sitting down that you can spend yu know. let us be clear that forex is not money owned by the government of barbados that is lying in some account that the government can spend as it pleases. any stimulus has to be financed otherwise.

    what the BLP is saying is that they know that any stimulus will lead to a leakage of forex but because the reserves are at 16 weeks instead of the accepted minimum of 12, they have some wiggle room in terms of forex. but they have to finance their stimulus from somewhere else.


  47. but miller, the do something cannot be a consumption led growth strategy. the side effects of that treatment plan is likely to be worse than the current strategy. The put money back in your pocket may appeal to the middle class but they have the most to lose from social instability and devaluation.

    yu might get money in your pocket, but if its at the expense of policies that promote social stability then you might end up spending that money on guard dogs and security systems. A devaluation will wipe out the real value of your savings and property investments. protecting the fixed exchange rate and social stability must be the priority.

    let us work on developing a forex led growth strategy rather than this short-term, feel good consumption led growth approach, or any slash and burn austerity approach


  48. @The DLP
    “The BLP cannot promise giveaways and not tell the people where the money is to come from”………………………..

    Barbados’ economy would not be in so much trouble now had you lying incompetent people not promised so much in 2008 and came in and did so much nonsense for the last five years.

    By the way, I did not hear you Dems tell the electorate in 2008 where the money was coming from to give duty free cars and all the other giveaways that you lying people promised and then could not fulfill.


  49. The PM told the Chamber Luncheon last week that he will be looking at financing flights from South Africa. To me, this is not a good idea, a waste of foreign exchange. Have they not learnt any thing from the waste of money spent on GOL. Spend money in the sure markets and sure up the arrivals. The Brits are still travelling as well as the Germans. They are going to other countries in the region. What wrong with our product?

    We need a serious clean up of this country and some investment in attractions to beef up the tourism package.Harrison’s Cave cant be the sum total of our tourism product.


  50. the reserves cannot help finance a stimulus program. are yu saying that the blp plans to simply print the money, which ishat borrowing from the central bank is. i don’ t accept that, there are too many good economists in the party.


  51. The public sector, lead by the Central Bank of Barbados, is packed to the seams with highly Certificated Economists of every shape, size and complexion. All of a sudden I am to believe that it is up to the silly few among them that have made the decision to enter public life to determine right or wrong with the policy that is to be undertaken. Why are the others then still drawing salaries …?


  52. LAFF-IT-OFF has planted its feet squarely in the camp of the BLP … disappointing since I hold fast to the view that participants commercial Creative activity should be apolitical in their depictions. The crew made a mess of Thompson, Freundal, Jones, Boyce and Sealey and took major stabs at Broomes and Green Verbs of CLICO fame who they referred to interestingly enough by his initials only. Hey all of that was fine until they decided to Big Up Mia Mottley. Now that was a little too obvious and low.

    If Foo Foo was still around he would have made Arthur shite …!


  53. @baffy
    So ya telling muh dat even de comedians want ta get rid of de dems too?? Wuhlosssss. Um hot in hey!

    Just Observing


  54. this video is obviously not a continuous sequence of words. It would be good if we get the date of the speech being referred to.


  55. I posted on the BES blog and i will post here. This article is somewhat misleading as it does not tell the true story. Yes there is a deficit since 2007 but it did not go into possible reasons that expenditure increased so dramatically.
    One of the reasons could be that government changed its method of reporting from cash basis to accrual basis in April 2007. Anyone that knows anything about accounting would know that accrual basis accounts paints a better picture in that it not only reports expenditures that were paid for but also expenditures incurred. Some of these expenses that would now be recorded that were not before would be interest expense on debt obligations.
    I would urge people to do the research for yourself on central bank website before accepting these figures thrown out by both parties as gospel.


    • @Brian

      One of the reasons could be that government changed its method of reporting from cash basis to accrual basis in April 2007.

      You suggest that ‘one f the reasons ‘could’ be – are you being speculative with your comment?


  56. @ Brian | February 11, 2013 at 4:03 PM |
    “Anyone that knows anything about accounting would know that accrual basis accounts paints a better picture in that it not only reports expenditures that were paid for but also expenditures incurred”

    We would strongly advise you to listen to your own advice and stay clear of things you know little about.

    It’s only a matter of “Timing” that makes the difference. What does not show up today will show up tomorrow once spent or incurred; if you get the drift. It’s all done, in principle, for the sake of matching expenses (or even expenditures) with revenues or the other way around.

    So, for the life of Brian the messianic miracle worker’ don’t blame what was brought to book in 2007 on what occurred in subsequent years and vice versa.

    Rubbish, little boy!


    • I’m not going to reduce this to a name calling match nor am I going to say that i’m an economist. However, in analyzing the figures for those who cared to go look them up. Could you tell me why in the same year the method changed from cash to accrual basis, government expenditure saw a 35% increase from the previous fiscal year. The only other year that came close to to that sort of increase was 1981/82 year which was 26%.
      A further analysis of the figures also would reveal that after that dramatic increase in 2007/08 fiscal year, expenditure rose 3% the next year and 2% the year after that.


  57. BARBADOS TODAY!!

    ANARCHY or FREEDOM?
    an·ar·chy
    [an-er-kee] Show IPA

    noun
    1.
    a state of society without government or law.

    2.
    political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control. Synonyms: lawlessness, disruption, turmoil.

    3.
    anarchism .

    4.
    lack of obedience to an authority; insubordination.

    5.
    confusion and disorder: Intellectual and moral anarchy following loss of faith in the Democratic system.
    Synonyms: chaos, disruption, turbulence; license; disorganization, disintegration

    DOES THIS NOT SUMMERISE OUR DAILY EXISTANCE IN BARBADOS.

    ANARCHY = SLAVERY
    SUBJUGATION OF FREEDOM

    ARE WE NOT FREE IN BARBADOS TO SPEAK AS WE WISH ?
    AS LONG AS WHAT WE SPEAK MEANS NOTHING.

    Ergo:
    Barbados Underground


    • @Jus Mekkin Sport

      At least we have freedom to speak so the possibilities are endless. Why don’t you point your comment to the Nation newspaper.


  58. @mekking sport
    A spoken word has all the value in the world. Don’t underestimate the power of free speech provided here on BU. What’s needed is for real leaders to tap into that power and use it for the national good.

    Just observing


  59. @ Brian | February 11, 2013 at 8:44 PM |
    “Could you tell me why in the same year the method changed from cash to accrual basis, government expenditure saw a 35% increase from the previous fiscal year.”

    Brian, you have identified precisely the reason for the sudden jump in reported expenditure: the change over from the cash basis to the accrual system. The application of the accrual method would no longer allow the non-reporting or deferment of known or recognized liabilities to be settled or paid in the future and then reported. The debt must still to be paid and recorded or to use “accrual speak “, recorded and then paid.

    You could probably use the accounting analogy of changing the method of depreciating a fixed asset during its useful life. The amount of the periodic depreciation expense and accumulated depreciation would change either up or down depending on the method employed but the market realizable value of the asset remains the same.

    What you should seek to explain to us non-economist and armchair accountants here on BU is the subsequent increases in the current account deficit from 2008/09 to 2012/13.

    We would allow for the nominal increases due to inflationary price movements even in an economy beset by so called recession. But you need to focus on the effects of the significant increases in interest expense as a result of the associated massive increases in debt to pay for current expenditures.

    We await your response and appreciate your warning not to engage in name calling or ad hominem.


    • I highlighted the change because the way in which the article was written, it would seem that that government expenditure ballooned under and because of the DLP administration.

      I already said i’m not an economist nor an accountant. But I was hoping that a real economist would say what was the primary cause for 35% increase in government expenditure in the 2008/09 fiscal year.

      I also sent a message to the author of the article to find out how much of an impact this would have on the figures.


  60. @miller

    You said the current account balance increased from 08/09 to 12/13. Where did you get your figures from? I’m only seeing up to 2010 on central bank website and they show a decrease in the current account deficit from 2008 to 2010.


  61. Brian, a part of it is the change in accounting method. the government moved from cash to accrual accounting, and a number of off budget entities were brought on budget.


  62. the deficit is too high, but if we debate it in a political context we should also say that part of the reason it is higher is because more itens are now on budget that pre 2008.


  63. @ Brian | February 12, 2013 at 10:36 AM |

    What are you saying here, Brain?
    Are you stating that the fiscal deficit both on the c/a and overall has been the same or reducing since 2008/09?
    If so why has the national debt moved by almost $2 billion since the DLP came to office? Why borrow from the NIS to pay salaries and to meet transfer obligations to the statutory bodies like the TB?


  64. @ Trained Economist | February 12, 2013 at 10:51 AM |

    Sorry Trained Economist, but we cannot debate the fiscal deficit in a political context by reference to any change in any public finance accounting methodology.

    Off budget financing in previous periods (pre 2008- to use your implied phrase) would only have an impact in the year the method of accounting for public expenditures was changed. Future year increases in expenditures cannot be hinged on the book-keeping adjustment or reconfiguration that took place in any previous year whether in 2007/08 or 2008/09.

    The problem is that the government has been spending on current account (including transfers to statutory and other non-central government bodies) more than it has been earning in revenues. This situation has been ably pointed out by Ryan Straughn; unless you want to say he is talking nonsense, technical or otherwise.


  65. The majority of Barbadians don’t know anything about economics, all the working class people, and those not working is how to get along day by day, to feed their families, to send their children to school, and to pay the rent, don’t even talk about the electric bill & water bill, which we have to juggle. So don’t feed all these figures to us, just help us, so we can meet our needs on a daily basis. The DEMS has made a mockery of our taxes, we want some one in there who can ease our situation, and take this little country forward to prosperity again. Things are really ” dred ” . No one even seem to be thinking of pensioners, we certainly need help, and if OAS can help us we going with him.

  66. Pingback: Confidence or NO CONFIDENCE | Barbados Underground

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