Economist Ryan Straughn Sees the Need for More Barbadians to Understand How the Macroeconomy Works

Economist Ryan Straughn

Economist Ryan Straughn

Arising from the blog  The Slide of the Barbados Economy: Pictures Are Worth a Thousand Numbers which utilized several graphs created by Economist Ryan Straughn, BU reached out to him via Facebook to get feedback on the several comments posted. Although he is not a fan of BU, to his credit, he offered the following perspective which provides food for thought.

I just spent the last 20 minutes wading through the post you sent. From what I gather from the contributions there seems to be a notion that either the data is corrupt or worse that I am corrupt. I can appreciate that a significant number of persons in Barbados genuinely don’t understand how the macroeconomy works in total and particularly how the public finances are affected or how it affects the system.

I must confess that I seldom read your blog because in my view it’s not a place for person truly seeking information and better understanding. I’m just a messenger but the message is in those charts for those who wishes to pay attention.

What is most unfortunate is that there is a 1-to-1 correspondence change in fiscal management and the change in government in 2008. I’m no psychologist but given that the electorate voted significantly for change there is a reluctance on their respective parts to accept responsibility for their own actions. Hence the questioning of data and of anyone that forces them to reflect on the choices they made. Further, this inhibits rational thinking and fosters inaction and all the while things are getting progressively worse because of it.

I saw a reference about bringing things to book and I smile every time I hear someone make reference to that. All public debt is recorded but what is admittedly messy is how it is classified. A few statutory corporations are able to service debt from their revenue and as such don’t require a transfer from central government to do such. It has been a longstanding debate amongst economic practitioners about how to classify public sector debt and particular that which central government is responsible for. Now government has a fiduciary responsibility for all public institutions and as such could be held responsible for all liabilities. My view is that once any institution is servicing debt on it own then that liability should be classified separately from central government. The long and short of it is that all debt however classified is recorded and provisions are made for its service. Therefore the notion of “bringing things to book” may score points amongst those who genuinely don’t understand how debt service works. As I said before, not enough people take the time to understand these things.

I’ll end by saying something as I said it to other economists very recently.

There are times when you cannot keep your job and put alternative explanations for data on the table“.

163 thoughts on “Economist Ryan Straughn Sees the Need for More Barbadians to Understand How the Macroeconomy Works

  1. There is no doubt that there is ballooning debt . inkwell u seem determined to conclude that this massive debt was excaberated and accumulated by present govt without factoring in cause . the BLP yarfowls are truly in indeed “Masters of PERCEPTION. however the populace would not be fooled.

  2. RU4REAL Inkwell?
    Bushie embarrassed to answer?
    Wuh that question is rhetorical… Because they are a bunch of brass bowls.

    As Bushie has tried to explain OVER AND OVER to inkwell, BOTH the BLP AND the DLP have shown themselves to be just like most of the rest of us Bajans….Bowls of Brass!!

    Those jokers came in and found the BLP bribing Bajan voters with GIMME dis and GIMME dat.
    Free school books
    Free health care
    Free education
    Free tax credits
    Free welfare

    So they came and back raised the freeness with
    Free Bus fares
    Free houses
    Free every shiite….

    …meanwhile the world experiences a 300% increase in FUEL….a basic input into EVERYTHING.

    The result is obvious…especially where we have a bunch of mendicants like Commisiong and his ilk who actually BELIEVE that such freeness is some kind of constitutional RIGHT!!!!

    This whole shiite started when Henry Forde REFUSED to take his rightful place and deferred to a man who admitted that he could not otherwise maintain gainful employment….and has continued with Thompson who sold his soul to CLICO in pursuit of his life dream and now Stuart who is as much a ‘leader’ as Inkwell is competent to challenge Bushie…..

    Bunch of Brass Bowls…leading brass bowls …..

    • @Bush Tea

      To bring you last comment to point, it begs the question why we have not seen a relevant response to the hike in oil price. Yes the RE strategy is being rolled out but this is medium term. Can we do more to attack food and oil import bill? The answer is probably no.

  3. @ David
    This is what Bushie has been trying to say…
    Your FUEL cost ALONE goes up by $400M in two years (This is $400M MORE for the SAME DAMN FUEL YOU PURCHASED BEFORE)…not to mention that EVERY SHIITE else has ALSO gone up in price – from food to toilet paper….

    …and these nincompoops respond with a budget that AVOIDS touching Gas prices, Car imports, energy consumption….

    Avoids discussing the need for INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

    Avoids discussing COLLECTIVE belt-tightening

    …. they just institute some reactive cuts…..BADLY!!

    And the BLP is NO BETTER.
    NO counter plan
    No critical analysis
    No Damn VISION.

    Brass bowls….!

  4. @ Bush Tea

    Reasoned statements such as yours make illiterate people like me smile as to how you are able to put all the economic bibber gibber in lay and talk

    I unfortunately am a very crude fellow, devoid of such upbringing and only by association with the madam given any leeway or welcome.

    The labia of a young girl.

    Perfect symmetry on either side are quite easily likened to the mirrored incompetency of the BLP AND THE DLP on either side of the divide, c*nt lips that every five years bring new labial folds of equal symmetry to us c*nt hairs that so diligently surround these female rabbits

    For the most part labias are romped upon by “appendages” real or artificial (I did not say mottley) and, in the case on we the Bajan people, we are being f*c*ed royally and continue like obedient labias to open ourselves for such carnal usage every 5 years

    Cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them…….

  5. Bush Tea,

    My only point of disagreement with you is your contention that previous administrations managed the country’s finances in the same way as the current administrations. The facts say otherwise. You can have the last word.

  6. Good that we are seeing a convergence of opinion Inky…. 🙂

    The only difference in the methodologies between B & D has been the availability of money to waste.
    One wasted it in the time of plenty
    The next one – in the time of famine….

    What do they have in common…?

  7. AC my friend i would not dignify your reference to me as a yardfowl with a response but i would remind you that the Book of the Apocrypha cautions that ‘Salt and Sand and a mass of Iron is easier to bear than a woman without understanding’. Fool, Fool that thou art; i graciously besought of you to tell me one favourable policy implemented by this administration to improve the country during their term of office and you respond with things they did not do. Your answer indeed speaks volumes of your understanding. We all know that they promised much and delivered little.


    BUSHIE while i might not agree with all of your views, your comments generally come over as wellreasoned, thoughtproviking and most importantly genuine.
    Perhaps you can help me in identifying the time of this time of plenty and what informed the coining of the phrase.

  9. See u balance u are not being dishonest ur question ” what has the DLP done that has been favourable to the country” nothing about implementation of any new policies. ac answered accordingly U guys really tek people for jerks. Now let me ask u what vision did the BLP have in the forteen years for implementing policiies that would have sustain and maintain the growth of this country in hard economic times

  10. @ balance
    Many of us may have missed it by virtue of the fact that we actually LIVED through the period…..but Bushie would argue that the period in history from about 1990 to about 2006 will likely be recorded in history as the period of the greatest accumulation of global wealth in the entire history of mankind.

    Even in Bushie’s early childhood, it would have been TOTALLY in-comprehensive to even contemplate the level of affluence that we now see and take for granted in Barbados (and across much of our world).

    Practically everyone who wants one – owns a car
    Practically everyone who wants to have travelled
    Every Tom Dick and Harriette carries mobile communication capabilities… is breath – taking for a bushman who did not have two red cents to rub together back even in the seventies….

    As a country we could build billion dollar projects, import unlimited automobiles, and buy any amount of fossil fuels and even basic food…

    …and all this with hardly any serious WORK…!!!

    Shiite man! If THAT was not a “time of plenty” what possibly could be…? 🙂

  11. ac……you need a little break, your last comment was even more confusing than usual, i heard that your party is now on pins on needles, things are unraveling too fast and furious, but you cannot let that damage your mental faculties, we would not want to hear you have been institutionalized.

  12. “Many of us may have missed it by virtue of the fact that we actually LIVED through the period…..but Bushie would argue that the period in history from about 1990 to about 2006 will likely be recorded in history as the period of the greatest accumulation of global wealth in the entire history of mankind”

    Your comment seems to suggest you are speaking from a Global perspective and by extension we would have benefitted from the crumbs which fell from the table of the Global boom.

    The question is whether the benefits were translated to the improvement in the standard of living in the country.

    I suppose we might have to agree to disagree but methinks yes.

    Certainly for me I thought it nothing short of an economic miracle that so soon after the devastating economic crisis of 1991; from 1995 onwards to 2008 there was more disposable income in my pocket. Something akin to the period 69-73 and 82 to 86 even though the impact of the oil crisis in the early 70’s and the standby arrangement with the IMP in 81 was not as harsh.

    What has made the difference in seeing light at the end of the tunnel in those time as opposed to now was decisive leadership.

  13. balance maybe u had ajob and was one of them who feast off the fatted lamb.hence the disposable income, so why are you crying! why aren’t u prepared to share some of your fortunes from the good old days to help, your countrymen. why are you so hell bent on asking the govt to continue a lifestyle of freenes to those like your self who have benefited from the good ole days .. i know your granma would be ashamed of you.

  14. Come on balance.
    What made the difference was that those recessions ended, and crumbs from the global tables started falling again.
    What leadership what?
    What creative initiatives did we launch?
    What long term strategic moves did we make?

    Man all we did was borrow and spend….something at which any brass bowl can excel.
    Now there is no more money left; no easy loans to be had; and no more crumbs falling…..and our behinds are totally exposed…..

    And our collective “leadership” is shown for what it REALLY is…

  15. Noticed in today’s Nation that the leader par excellence informed Torontonians that he expects that the Government will be able to meet the objectives of the budget without laying off any staff. That is very good news. However, it raises serious questions of brassbowlery on the part of the senior public servants and the MoF and perhaps even the Gov CB who were all singing an entirely different tune just a month or so ago.

    Wonder if he were in any another country where his unspoken words surely suggested the grossest incompetence of his officers across the board, if he would not have found the resignation letters of a few Ministers, the GCB, several PSes, nuff Analysts and the whole Budget Department of the Ministry of Finance on his desk on his return.

    Did he really understand the full import (to any thinking individual) of what he was saying? But you know all of dem will laugh it off and blithely present new data where activities based on non-personnel expenditure grinds to a total halt in the next few weeks and the IMF comes calling a few months earlier than expected.

    Will someone tell him to go back to sleep. T’were better for the country.

    • @lighthouse

      The leaders need to speak to their charges and guide them how to cut personal expenditure. Such programmes should be abundant on television nowadays.

      You said a mouthful!


      The cuts have started, 50 Rayside people gone home from the private sector and acting allowance gone. BU has stated we understand that cuts have to come, the government is broke. What is missing is the lack of proper communication coming from government as to its plan. it spells of dishonesty and chicanery.

  16. @Bush Tea “Thompson who sold his soul to CLICO in pursuit of his life dream”

    What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    Mark 8:36

  17. Balance and Bushtea;
    A most edifying debate on the origins of our current economic situation. Extremely good points on both sides.

    But, Fuh my one-one on the question of leadership in the times of plenty and now, I would have to agree with balance. Bushtea tell us in which country in the west, before the American led assault on world financing, was there enlightened non brassbowl leadership. Tell us which country in the west restructured its economy during their years of relative plenty and held strain to save up and tighten up on its citizenship when the false horizons were suggesting that there would be a steady state of the then current good conditions? Which country eschewed satisfying the now obvious ridiculous wants of its citizens for wider access to the goods of conspicuous consumption?

    On your analysis the leaders of all our western countries were brassbowls. Should they have acted as if they were in China or India and seek only to provide plentiously for their established rich classes? Why do you think that Barbados should have been different?

    Re. the current lot. Their sin was that they came in when the rot was already obvious and spreading and they did absolutely nothing to stop it and rebound. Those are the true brassbowls imho.

  18. Wait ..this is some kind of tag team thing now…?
    Bushie barely survived an assault from Inkwell, narrowly edged pass open warfare from balance and now the big gun ‘Checkit-out’ come in for the pin? 🙂
    ….careful yuh ….Bushie had a good deep sleep last night… LOL

    Checkit, it is NOT a defence – when Bushie argues that our leaders are, and have been for some time, brass bowls – to counter that ALL the other leaders from the western world are, and also were ……

    If you agree with balance that it was astute leadership that saved us in previous difficult situations, please help him to recall some of the brilliant strategies and creative solutions that they would have employed to do so….

    Bushie agrees that this lot’s sin was to come in at a VERY bad time with NO IDEA of how to respond effectively.
    Their brass bowlery was in allowing themselves to be put on such a position.

    BTW…can you honestly outline any strategy that would be guaranteed to address the challenges that governments (globally) currently face?
    THE REALITY is that our world is TERMINALLY ILL and is currently confined to its death bed.
    Even GP can’t help…. LOL

  19. @ checkit-out | September 24, 2013 at 6:57 AM |
    “Re. the current lot. Their sin was that they came in when the rot was already obvious and spreading and they did absolutely nothing to stop it and rebound. Those are the true brassbowls imho.”

    Well argued, checkit-out!
    Now let’s see how Bush Tea either circumvents the issue by not responding or inveigles his way out of the brass bowl he finds himself entrapped. LOL!!

    What can also be said is that the current lot of the brass bowls marked “D” seem to be much more incompetent than those brass bowls marked “B”.

    Just look at the recent announcement of the Minister of Finance and the Guv of the CBB linking up to be on a road show in London and USA to attract FDI to Bim. Isn’t the Minister of International Business more crucially important in this area of his expertise?
    One wonders if Minister Inniss has washed his hands of any thing relating to foreign investment or finance.

    What is the position with the US$500 million bond flotation to shore up the foreign reserves and reschedule debt? What about the financing of the myriad projects announced in the budgets of last year and this year?

  20. BUSHIE another statement which boggles my mind is the one which laments the purported NON-RESTRUCTURING OF THE ECONOMY IN TIMES OF PLENTY.
    My first question would be – What is meant by re-structuring of the economy especially one like ours as we all agree dependent on the crumbs which fall from the global table ?
    How will we embark on this prpolicy of restructuring?

  21. Bushie before we deal with the wastage of the BLP administration between 1994-2008, do you not think that it would be informative to hear the views of others with respect to how the economy should have been restructured?

    and the advantageous difference it would have made to our present predicament

  22. @ balance
    ‘Restructuring of the Barbados economy’ would have meant the conceptualization, implementation and management of a long term sustainable development plan for the place.
    It must be obvious that tourism would not last forever
    …that economies undergo cycles….
    …that hard times would be somewhere in our future…shiite man, it is called a RAINY DAY….

    During times therefore when things were good COMMON SENSE should have guided us to:

    1 – draw up a long term national strategic plan (and not the nonsense about first world status or graduates in every house)

    2 – set aside savings while the sun shone to implement the strategic plan and to deal with anticipated rainy days

    3 – work to bring Bajans on board with some kind of common vision of their future

    4 – establish SYSTEMS (such as a meaningful university, national bank, Agricultural Agency) to support the common vision


  23. 1. Bush Tea| September 26, 2013 at 7:20 AM |
    Thanks Bushie for your as usual erudite response but here is mine.
    ‘Restructuring of the Barbados economy’ would have meant the conceptualization, implementation and management of a long term sustainable development plan for the place
    It must be obvious that tourism would not last forever
    that economies undergo cycles….
    …that hard times would be somewhere in our future…shiite man, it is called a RAINY DAY….
    Are you saying that tourism is our only major foreign exchange earner and even though I will concede that the only thing that has proven so far to last forever is Christ and death itself; I wish to know why the other Caribbean tourist oriented countries some considered in structurally inferior to us performed much better than Barbados despite the recession. If I may go further and posit the question- Was not some form of re-structuring performed with the introduction of legislation to facilitate offshore banking in the form of a proliferation of International business companies and SBC’s? Didn’t the revenues from these purported money laundering activities positively impact on the economy?

    1 – Draw up a long term national strategic plan (and not the nonsense about first world status or graduates in every house)
    What do you mean by a long term national strategic plan?
    If you mean like what is pasted below. Well I do not have much faith in such adventures. I have been around long enough with the opportunity to have been involved at some level to see those documents for what they are worth just documents for public consumption from both sides.
    But there is your strategic plan covering 2010-2025 and one prior covering 2001-2009. Whether the goals were attainable or achievable or sustainable is another matter but indeed there was a plan.
    And closer to home was there not “a medium term strategic fiscal plan when the present administration assumed office to bring down the deficit and balance the budget? Is it still in place? Plans remain just what they are, plans unless implemented.

    TELEPHONE: (246) 436-6435 FAX: (246) 228-9330
    JUNE, 2005
    The Rt. Hon. Owen S. Arthur
    Prime Minister and
    Minister of Finance
    And Economic Affairs
    The forces of change unleashed by globalisation and
    The uncertainties of international politics today make it
    Imperative for all countries to plan strategically for their future.
    This is all the more true for small countries like Barbados.
    When historians come to review our time, they will no doubt
    Be interested in how we viewed our present circumstances
    And conceived of the way ahead. The National Strategic Plan
    Of Barbados 2005-2025, the country’s first, will without doubt
    Constitute their principal source.
    This Plan articulates a very clear vision for Barbados in 2025.
    This vision is:
    “A fully developed society that is prosperous, socially just and
    Globally competitive”.
    But no vision or plan will be successful unless the people fully
    Embrace it and commit them to its realisation. That is why this
    Plan places people at the centre of our development efforts.
    Accordingly, all the people of Barbados must pledge to work together
    To transform Barbados into a fully developed country; a model
    Democracy that is prosperous, productive, peaceful, socially just and
    Inclusive; and a centre for high quality services whose standards of
    Excellence are global and, at the same time, rooted in the best of
    Barbadian traditions.
    As a nation, we can realise our vision and achieve our strategic goals.
    We have a solid foundation on which to build. We have the confidence
    To take on tough challenges. Thirty-eight years of independence have
    Served us well.
    Indeed, we have crafted this National Strategic Plan around the
    Inspirational words of our National Anthem, from which has flowed
    Our six broad strategic goals. These are:
    1. “Inspired, exulting, free”: Unleashing the Spirit of the Nation.
    2. “Firm craftsmen of our fate”: New Governance for New Times.
    3. “Strength and unity”: Building Social Capital.
    4. “These fields and hills”: Strengthening the Physical
    Infrastructure and Preserving the Environment.
    5. “Upward and onward”: Enhancing Barbados’ Prosperity and
    6. “Strict guardians of our heritage”: Branding Barbados
    These broad goals embrace the essence of what we as a people need
    To accomplish in order to realise our vision.
    We, the people of Barbados, out of an oftentimes brutal history had
    The resilience, adaptability and creativity to forge a unique Barbadian
    Nation and to fashion a post-colonial society as famous for it’s political
    Stability as for its economic viability.
    We, a people accustomed to a process of gradual, orderly change, are
    Now confronted with the need to cross, in one determined leap, a global
    Chasm of progress.
    We, a people steeped in tradition and cautious in our approach to
    Change, are now being called upon to modernise our Constitution,
    Cast off the last vestiges of colonialism and take full responsibility for
    Ourselves as a Republic with a Barbadian Head of State, and with the
    Caribbean Court of Justice as our own highest court of appeal.
    We, a people nurtured largely within the confines of a small island,
    Now have to merge our singular identity in the widening circles of the
    Caribbean, the Americas and the global community.
    To do so, Barbadians of all generations, classes and races, wherever
    Located, must come together to unleash our full potential and make a
    Wholehearted commitment to building a more prosperous, just and
    Peaceful society.
    We Barbadians have all that it takes to continue to prosper in the world,
    But in doing so we must never lose our soul.
    Can we invoke the courage and wisdom that inspired and guided our
    Forefathers in order to undertake the most unprecedented and historic
    Transformation in our economic, social and physical landscape since
    Independence in 1966?
    We can, we must, we will!
    The Rt. Hon Owen S. Arthur
    Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
    And Economic Affairs
    The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is grateful to the
    Coalition of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, led by Sir
    Leroy Trot man; the Private Sector Association, led by Mr. Chris Deceives;
    The Non-Governmental Organisations and the officers of Government
    Ministries, Departments and Statutory Bodies for their very valuable
    Assistance in the preparation of the National Strategic Plan of Barbados
    2005-2025: Global Excellence, Barbadian Traditions. These organizations
    And institutions provided extremely useful oral and written inputs during
    The drafting of the Plan.
    The Plan benefited immensely from the intellectual advice and guidance of
    The academic community, particularly Ms Kim Tudor, and Professors Frank
    Alleyne, Hilary Beckles, Andrew Downes and Michael Howard.
    The Ministry is indebted to Dr. Peter Laurie who not only made valuable
    Inputs but assisted in the editing process.
    The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs expresses special thanks to
    The Working Group on Strategic Planning, chaired by the Hon. Reginald
    Farley. This Working Group drafted the “Vision Statement and Broad
    Strategy-Barbados 2021 and Beyond: Global Excellence, Barbadian
    Traditions” which was approved by the Cabinet in 2004 and was the
    Foundation on which the Plan was formulated.
    Mr. Carson Browne, in his capacity as Permanent Secretary, Economic
    Planning, Ministry of Economic Development spearheaded some extremely
    Valuable preparatory work between 2001-2003.
    The Ministry also wishes to thank Sir Courtney Blackman who’s “Towards
    A Barbados National Strategic Plan, 2001-2010” was a very useful reference.
    Acknowledgement must be made of the assistance provided by the staff of
    The Government Printer, especially Mr.DurandoToppin, the Government
    Printer and Mr. Steven Massiah, the Graphic Artist, who designed and
    Prepared the document for printing.
    Finally, the Ministry expresses appreciation to the staff of the Research
    And Planning Unit, particularly, Chief Economist, Mr. Patrick McCaskie,
    Senior Economist, Mr. Derek Gibbs, and Senior Economist, Mr.Fabian
    Griffin for their tireless dedication to the drafting of the National Strategic
    Bentley DeV. Gibbs
    Permanent Secretary
    Economic Affairs Division
    Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs
    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ………………………………………………………………………. 8
    I. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL OVERVIEW ……………………………………… 11
    III. THE THEME ……………………………………………………………………………… 25
    IV. CORE VALUES………………………………………………………………………….. 26
    V. THE VISION ……………………………………………………………………………… 27
    VI. STRATEGIC GOALS………………………………………………………………….. 29
    UNLEASHING THE SPIRIT OF THE NATION ……………………………………………………………..31
    NEW GOVERNANCE FOR NEW TIMES ……………………………………………………………………..32
    BUILDING SOCIAL CAPITAL …………………………………………………………………………………… 34
    AND PRESERVING THE ENVIRONMENT…………………………………..….. …. 35
    BRANDING BARBADOS GLOBALLY….………………………….….. ………. 38
    VIII. FINANCIAL RESOURCES ………………………………………………………………….90
    IX. IMPLEMENTATION ………………………………………………………………………….91
    X. PLANNING MATRIX……………………………………………………………………….. 92
    The Plan first presents an economic and social picture of Barbados
    As it sets out on its journey. This picture, sketched from the last
    Twelve years, shows a Barbados that has achieved remarkable economic
    And social progress. One defining indicator of this performance is its
    29th ranking among all countries in the world in the United Nations
    Human Development Report 2004 and its designation as a leading
    Developing country.
    This picture further highlights Barbados’ strengths, weaknesses,
    Opportunities and threats. The analysis supports the firm conclusion
    That Barbados can secure its desired place in the world as a fully
    Developed society that is prosperous, socially just and globally
    The Plan embodies the theme “Global Excellence, Barbadian
    Traditions”.This theme conveys the message of a Barbados that is a
    Successful and globally competitive society, fully integrated into the
    World economy, but at the same time capable of preserving and
    Strengthening its own identity, enterprise, national sovereignty, and
    There is also a set of core values that provides an ethical framework
    For the transformed Barbadian society we envisage.
    The Plan advances six strategic goals in pursuit of the national vision
    For 2025.
    GOAL ONE speaks to a cultural transformation that will reinforce
    Barbadian values and national identity and act as a catalyst for
    Propelling Barbados into the 21st century as a fully developed society.
    This goal will seek to create greater equity and social justice, while
    building an inclusive society with opportunities for all.
    GOAL TWO envisions vastly improved governance. It foresees a
    Barbados with, a “fully Barbadianised” constitution free of all vestiges
    Of colonialism; a modernised parliamentary and electoral system;
    Greatly enhanced political participation and the empowerment of all
    Communities. It also envisions a radical overhaul of the administrative
    Machinery of government as a catalyst for change, while also
    Strengthening civil society as a critical part of the governance for the
    21st century. It further envisages that there will be higher levels of self-
    The National Strategic Plan of Barbados 2005–2025: Global
    Excellence, Barbadian Traditions provides the blueprint for the
    Realisation of Barbados’ vision of becoming a fully developed
    Society that is prosperous, socially just and globally competitive by
    The end of the first quarter of this century.
    An excerpt From the IMF BOARD Concludes 2005 Article IV Consultation with Barbados reads thus- “The Barbados government encourages development in; Financial services, informatics, e-commerce – forms of re-structuring in my view.

    What is wrong with having a graduate in every household? Isn’t there a certain pride in their voices when the grassroots man/woman proudly tells everyone ‘My son/daughter at UWI, yuh knows?
    Wouldn’t there be an opportunity for these graduates to export their services elsewhere like doctors from India years ago.
    Would you have preferred to hear a Prime Ministerial announcement indicating that University places would be cut because we do not want to have a graduate in every household?

    2 – Set aside savings while the sun shone to implement the strategic plan and to deal with anticipated rainy days
    Savings from where. We barely make ends meet and all of our major capital works projects -Abc highway, Dodds, Gems, Greenland, Airport expansion, Blackman- Gollop school, Baob Towers, Coast Guard station, Sherbourne, Seafoods ltd. Carsicott, carib west are financed by borrowing but excerpts from an ‘Analysis of Economic and Social development in Barbados’ 1965/66 – 998/1999 prepared by officers of the central bank reveals the following
    Wages and salaries have traditionally been a major component of the government’s current expenditure, between 45 and 60 % and my words (would of a consequence be from savings)
    Capital works projects financed out of savings generally occur in an election year my words (to buy the electorate/votes)
    But to be fair all is not negative, it positively reports that “fiscal policy has been directed towards enhancing the economic development process and providing for the social welfare of the population lest you forget my words (we punch above our weight). It further reports that through the tax- expenditure mechanism (my words- in my view aform of restructuring) the Government has been able to engage in social and economic engineering as it sought to manage short-run economic changes and provide provision of social services’ It goes on to say “The expansion of the social and economic services provided by the Government has contributed significantly to the improvement in the socioeconomic welfare of the population. (Wasn’t the above making hay while the sun shines?)
    Restructuring can take many forms and one is the shifting of tax policy such the switch from direct to indirect taxation with the streamlining of the direct (personal income) tax system and the indirect tax system with the introduction of a VAT in 1997 and the removal of several indirect taxes.
    The provision and expansion of free education could be another form.
    Surely the Tenantries Act certainly one of the most or the most farsighted pieces of social legislation which empowered a vast majority of the lower classes in Barbados as a new landowning class must be viewed in the context of re-structuring.
    And how would you view the Conversion of Casual Posts to Public Officer Posts in the 1997 budgetary presentation making all casual employees public officers and giving thousands of Government workers the same pensionable rights under the Pensions Act, Cap 25.
    Prior to the enactment of this legislation, casual employees like workers attached to MTW/ General workers /Artisans were only entitled to a year’s salary on retirement until NIS kicked in. In my view another great piece of legislation which would have as a consequence not only transforms the country socially but structurally by enabling a group of persons to engage in more constructive planning for the future.
    The reverse tax credit to minimize the negative impact on the loss of disposable income by those at the bottom as a result of the implementation of VAT must be some form of re-structuring.
    Re-organization and changing the income tax bands so lower income workers working for under $25,000.00 would no tax thus taking thousands of lower income workers off the tax payroll and placing more income at their disposal for circulation in the economy.

    Exempting to my mind hundreds of persons like myself from paying land tax by making land at a value of $190,000.00 tax free and offering persons over 65 tax rebate is a form of restructuring because it places more income at the disposal of the average person
    The rainy day was taken care of by borrowing to keep our foreign reserves intact and this much maligned policy apparently according to the experts was what kept us floating even if dangerously in these purported perilous times.

    3 – Work to bring Bajans on board with some kind of common vision of their future
    Bushie- this is idealistic to say the least when our system of governance is fuelled by entrenched political partisanship and patronage and stifles vision unless seen from a partisan eye and no one wants to lead the charge to dismantle this iniquitous system which encourages cronyism and sycophantic behaviors to the detriment of the country. How therefore under our present system of governance can this vision be promulgated? I can understand your point about vision but in a different context because where there is no vision, the people eventually perish.
    I hold no brief for Mr. Hilary Beckles but when compared to previous Principals, would you not describe Mr. Beckles as visionary?
    4 – Establish SYSTEMS (such as a meaningful university, national bank, Agricultural Agency) to support the common vision
    What do you mean by ‘a meaningful university- hasn’t the UWI produced outstanding scholars of world repute in medicine, law, economics, engineering- Can the university be blamed for their lack of progress and/or contribution after passing through the doors of the UWI.
    What can a national bank do that the credit unions cannot do? They operate more stringently than the recognized commercial banks. They no longer offer generous concessions. A national bank under our system of governance would fall prey to the same cronyism to the detriment again of the taxpayers and those familiar with the workings of our former National bank and the Barbados Development bank know that only too well. “Tell so and so I send you”. Other than the nostalgia which something indigenous represents and its popularity probably stemmed from a desire to patronize an institution Bajan but surely not good service. The BNB never influenced banking in Barbados.
    There was once an institution in Barbados called ‘the Agricultural Credit Bank’ created with the noblest of intentions to facilitate agriculture. Guess what happened. The politicians and their cronies raided the coffers by taking advantage of the concessions offered and some hardly repaying and some not at all.
    Alas, what a vision!
     .
     With regards to wastage, it occurs under all Administrations. Even our own best laid plans formulated with the best of intentions sometimes cause us grief.

  24. A well argued case, balance, in refuting the charge that the previous administration did nothing to restructure the economy “in times of plenty”. The facilitation of the massive growth and contribution of the offshore banking industry and Foreign Sales Corporations stands out as a major plank of those efforts, along with with major tax reform as you have pointed out.

    Reduction of corporation tax and the setting up of various funding agencies to facilitate private sector innovation and expansion are other facets not generally recognized.

    A Government’s mandate is to put in place an infrastructure, a framework and an atmosphere of confidence in which the private sector can operate and expand. With growth in the private sector, there inevitably follows growth in Government revenues. Increases in taxation achieve the opposite, stagnation and contraction in the private sector.

    Given the charges of wastage and poor governance against the former Government, why would the present administration proceed on a five year program of outspending revenue by such massive amounts. “Misguided” is perhaps the most charitable comment that can be applied.

  25. @ Inkwell
    All you and balance have demonstrated is that the governments that we have had in the last generation are exactly reflective of our population – characterized by mendicancy, lack of wisdom, and no vision. Wunna would have done exactly as they have done…amen.

    A people always get exactly what they deserve.

    Clearly neither of you are capable of grasping Bushie’s position… So let us agree to disagree in peace.

    • Fyi…please note BU asked Ryan Straughn to comment on the incongruity of his graphs caused by below line items included. He has not responded to date but BU remains hopeful

  26. It isn’t that neither of us IS capable of grasping your position, Bush Tea. It is that people like you who think that they know everything are really, really annoying to those of us who do. LOL

  27. @ Inkwell
    “It is that people like you who think that they know everything are really, really annoying to those of us who do. LOL”
    No doubt.
    Some of us have even been crucified for that shit.
    However you may note that even when crucified, the TRUTHS that were the source of such ‘annoyance’ continues to be established as intractable.

    …besides, how do you explain Bushie’s overflowing cup 🙂

  28. “So let us agree to disagree in peace”
    I could live with that but was just beginning to enjoy the rumble. but just one further elucidation before I take my seat on the backbench and i am not professing to know everything but rather searching for information myself- this talk about ‘wastage’ which we attribute to both parties and use as an election mantra.
    Now I sincerely believe and I might be naïve but I do believe that projects and policies are conceived firstly with the expectation that the concomitant political mileage would redound to the benefit of the administration and political party if the project is successful and consequently to the benefit of the party.
    I think that that the failure of most of the above mentioned projects would have been as a result of poor policy decisions perhaps as a result of bad advice.
    Yes, there are some projects particularly those initiated through STATUTORY CORPORATIONS where accountability from birth to completion of the project can be manipulated to suit the interest of the primus inter pares Minister who controls the grants and subsidies and the partisan appointed boards ; but the systems for manipulation of expenditure obtained through loans from international organisation or for large sums of money from the CONSOLIDATED FUND are more complex and strident as Hammie-la would attest.
    It is far easier to pressure the accounting office of a STATUTORY CORPORATION to pay ten thousand to cut down a tree that to obtain those funds from the consolidated fund. ask barrack or persons whose land is acquired compulsorily from Government.
    I would concede that since the introduction of the iniquitous 1974 constitutional amendments ascribing to the political directorate the power to appoint and disappoint; the system of governance has suffered through lack of quality either because some of those appointed at the highest levels in recent times at the behest of the politician has not been sufficiently schooled in the nuances of government administration to offer their political masters that quality of advice or in an effort to please their political masters serve up what is politically expedient rather than what is necessary for effective and efficient governance.

  29. You’re so cool! I do not believe I have read through a single thing like that before.
    So nice to discover somebody with unique thoughts on this subject.
    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is something
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