Governor Worrell Warns Barbadians

There is a need to improve labour productivity throughout the economy. A gap has opened up between the cost of labour and the productivity of the average worker over the past two decades – Governor Delisle Worrell

The Governor of the Central Bank […]has decided in his infinite wisdom the best approach to communicate with Barbadians is through press releases. Even more disturbing has been the low keyed reaction by individuals and other stakeholders to concerns expressed by Worrell in his statement placed in the local press last weekend.

Press Statement by Governor of the Cental Bank (09/8/15)

Press Statement by Governor of the Central Bank (09/8/15)

Two points to note from Worrell’s press release:

  • Barbadian workers must produce more if we are to maintain the current cost base  and;
  • Government will need to borrow to finance the deficit. (This is not good news given our junk status.)

Barbadians will need to engage in an honest conversation about the state of the economy and what is required to shift from its current path. It is evident to those of us who have the capacity to filter the truth that occasionally escapes the mouths of officials, our economy continues to be under distress.   We have seen growth in tourism numbers, some reduction in government expenditure but a lacklustre approach to stimulating growth especially in the export sector. The issue the government and relevant private sector agencies need to honestly discuss is what structural changes are required to sustain the lifestyle we aspire. There is the touted social partnership which seems a good place to begin the conversation.

After 7 years of austerity we must ask ourselves if we are on the right path. Are we seeing a country firing on all cylinders driven by a shared position? Are we seeing a country tapping on our education capital fuelled by the billions invested in the sector post Independence?   What BU sees is a fractious government comprised of a garrulous lot who have failed to lead at a time when the ability to collaborate to promote a conciliatory tone is required. There is been no change to our governance structure to address transparency in government and by extension private sector.    There has been no change to redesign our education system to make it more relevant to local and domestic needs to be competitive. There has been no effort to aggressively modernize the public sector by integrating technology and performance management systems to improve productivity and efficiency. And no amalgamation of statutory boards does not frontally address the issue. There has been no significant improvement to improve the standard of transportation delivery by eradicating the sub culture …

The social and economic ‘wellbeing’ of Barbados is under threat while we continue to be engaged in irrelevant political diatribe. For the first time in his tenure the Governor appears to want to lead a narrative which points to the real issues confronting Barbados. The improvement in tourism is not relevant if we are debating what needs to change structurally to propel sustained social and economic growth/development in Barbados. Our debt burden has assumed daunting proportion which gives the country little fiscal space for the government to drive the economy. The government has reached a point where savings bonds are being issued to pay tax refunds. Barbadians should be ever so concerned.


  • To repeat: we have a right to protect our borders and we will. Immigration is a big issue in the US and Europe, your attempt to trivialize the problem we faced in 07/08 is based on emotion. How can a country allow any Tom, Dick and Jane to enter without considering factors which will impact social and security well being of the country?


  • @ balance
    I have assisted such Guyanese in times of need but of which system do you speak? for these persons were exploited by unscrupulous individuals seeking to profit from the difficulties of another human being.
    This is WAY below your usually high level of contributions balance….one wonders why..?

    MOST whites back in the days of slavery probably said the identical thing about black Bajans. Until recently, one “John” came on BU talking shiite about how kind and supportive some whites (the Quakers) were in ‘assisting blacks in times of need…but that unfortunately the “system” forced them to keep slaves…
    Lotta shiite…

    If strangers are welcomed to our shores then we should treat them AL LEAST as we treat ourselves …and really we should treat them even better.

    It is only OBVIOUS that if our lazy-ass farmers can get some poor soul to work for 1/10th of the going rate, while still selling the produce at market prices, he is EXPLOITING that poor soul. …Wuh ANY jackass can ‘succeed’ under such circumstances, especially if it is possible to extent the arrangement for 400 years…

    Pinch yuhself and wake up man….
    Bring back the balance… 🙂


  • @Bushie

    Let us take it further – we are Caricom states with divided territorial air and sea space yet the LIMES now FLOW charge roaming fees with impunity. Why not insist these regional players for profit treat the Caricom region as ONE economic space IF we are serious?


  • @David, Bushie and Pieceuhderock,

    Can you remember anytime in the history of Barbados that a product,service or business was “boycotted” by Bajans?

    There seems to be a disease in Barbados. I call it Mustconsumititis.


  • St George's Dragon

    “Why not insist these regional players for profit treat the Caricom region as ONE economic space IF we are serious?”
    Because we are not serious. Caricom is a sham. No Caribbean country does anything more than pay lip service to it. There is no political will to progress Caricom or integrate the countries further. There is no will in society to do this either.
    Politicians are happy to do nothing because it means they remain in charge, rather than have to give away some degree of sovereignty (control) to a “higher” body.
    The only way Caricom will become a reality is if outside influences make it happen such as external funders making it a condition as a result of Chris Sinckler’s debt relief call. Even then, politicians would find a way of obstructing it.
    Part of Caribbean countries’ problem with debt is that they all like pretending to be first world countries. We all have to have our own High Commissions around the world; we all need to write our own versions of the same laws; we all have separate (but similar standards for imports etc. There are efficiencies to be gained by greater integration, which means less tax or less debt. I can’t see anything changing for a generation, though.


  • Dragon, the unification or as you have put it, the further integration of the Caribbean is a real possibility I do believe. The pages of the history books give us many examples of this that stretching from as far back as Roman-Empire to the American Republican form of governance. But it would be a monumental-task for any political scientist to attempt to unify the Caribbean given what we know of the Caribbean people and their attitude towards each other today.


  • Well said Dragon


  • I do not consider my opinions to be devoid of criticism. Healthy criticism in my view is acceptable because we can learn from others but I see no emotion in my remarks and one needs not get hot under the collar if another person sees an issue in another light.. Yes, countries big or small ought to have systems in place to protect their security and other national interests but it is my strong belief emboldened by a conversation I overheard between a MInister and party faithfuls at a funeral that the policy was politically motivated rather than holistic and born out of the electioneering euphoria of which the issue of Guyanese migrants to our shores was very much a part. The statistics from the immigration department at the time would not have supported the fashionable contention that Guyanese were emigrating here en masse. I again wish to point out that there are laws under the treaty of Chaguaramas devised by Caribbean Governments governing the entry of persons into the respective countries and the circumstances under which persons breaching these laws can be denied entry or deported or prosecuted. Exploitation of others seeking domicile elsewhere is another issue and persons exploiting others should when caught be punished in accordance with the laws of the land. so there is no need for lynching.


  • Three points: First, Governor Worrell has lived a life of air conditioned luxury. Now he wants all Barbadians to work like dogs (“improve their productivity”) so that his extravagant pension is not in danger. Take a hike, pal. It’s hot out here. I don’t want to see Barbados become a rat race like New York and Toronto.
    Second, a system of arithmetic democracy cannot be expected to produce exceptional political leaders most of the time. We get people of average ability in leadership positions because they are “relatable” as regular guys. The best and the brightest are not electable, and they usually have little influence because they threaten insecure leaders of average ability.
    Barbados is already maxed out. We have a financial services industry based on billions of dollars of fugitive capital from North America and a tourist industry that rakes in hundreds of millions from visitors. There are no better ideas out there for making money. We do not have the strategic location or the demographic assets of Singapore so forget the stuff about the S Model.


  • He is not asking Barbadians to work lie dogs he is simply asking them to be more productive. There are too many government workers yes too many. Some workers do less than 20 hours of work and lollygag for the rest.


  • Imagine both parties have bloated the public office to pursue narrow self-interest to promote their popularity and the whole country must pay for it. When Sandiford was forced to trim the public service and implement the 8% cut what happened? Successive governments have cancelled the effort of 92-93.


  • “When Sandiford was forced to trim the public service and implement the 8% cut what happened?”

    If Mr Sandiford had managed the economy properly; there would have been no need to trim the public service or cut salaries. When Mr Sandiford was warned about his profligate spending and possible negative effects of an economy sliding into recession; his response in his own ‘like it or lump it ‘ style was to refer to those concerned as ‘prophets of doom and gloom’ and announce in his own words that the economy was ‘ batting better than Gary Sobers’.

    In addition the circular of 31/12/81 from the Chief Personnel officer to Permanent Secretaries/ Heads of Department with respect to the instructions from the Prime Minister re- Employment of Substitutes does not support the view that Governments ‘bloated the public service to pursue narrow self-interests’.

    Excerpt from the Circular reads thus;
    “All Ministries/Departments are advised in appropriate cases, to so re-organise their functions as to avoid the necessity of employing substitutes”

    ” You are required to include in each request for a substitute adequate justification for approval of the request ”

    “Any breach of this instruction may result in the officer authorising the employment of a substitute being surcharged if the period of employment is not subsequently approved”.


  • balance you have missed the substantive point: both political parties have engaged in indiscriminate hiring in the public service to inflate popularity. If you recruit based on a false position the process to sustain it is like building a house on sand.


  • Your substantive point though speculative might very well be true and is taken but the information I proffered indicates that there was a policy in place by Government at some time to avoid the prevalence of what you claim as fact.


  • Piece

    Might I reiterate to you once more sir that: whenever I attempt to post any information here on BU, is almost always factual, and not hypothetical as you seem to think.

    Now, as far as my point regrading the teaching of the Critical -Thinking -Skills prior to 1990 goes here is the evidence:
    William M. Bart from the University of Minnesota has stated that: ” Over the past three decades, the focus of education in the United States of America has changed from curricular content to outcomes, with a major emphasis on helping students learn to Think Critically.” He went on further and stated that: Most colleges and universities in the United States of America had included Critical-Thinking-Skills as an important educational objective in their goal statements, and many accrediting agencies included measurable gains in Critical-Thinking-Skills into their accreditation criteria in 1990.”
    Now, Piece, the emphasis on teaching Critical-Thinking-Skills necessarily leads to the need of some kind way of determining its effectiveness, and would you believe that the National League of Nursing here in the States, has mandated that all accredited nursing programs must teach Critical-Thinking to their nursing students and must empirically verify the efficacy of their instruction through testing. Old one you mustie tink I was meking sport or someting; man I was real serious as tail?


  • Get out yuh cheque book Bushie. Increase yuh Real Estate portfolio.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @balance

    What policy is it you have speculated was in place?


    There was no policy, the property market has changed that all. The financial institutions have become more aggressive in a climate of high delinquency and bad debt. Have you not been reading the story of the Canadian banks?


  • @David,

    Have you read the front page of the Nation?

    Is this a further sign of impending doom ?


  • @Hants

    The mid property market had been under distressed for some time. It us the middle lass (Black) who has born the brunt of a depressed economy the last five years. This is a middleclass with a high debt burden, like government. If is the risk of taking on debt in an uncertain time especially now the government has been instructed to trim tax benefits.


  • @David,

    One of my favourite columnist.

    Very interesting article.


  • Country’s financial system ‘stable’
    THE financial system in Barbados has been described as very stable.
    This is according to the latest Financial Stability Update for 2015, published jointly by the Central Bank of Barbados and the Financial Services Commission.
    According to the two Government institutions, the capital reserves that are set aside by institutions to protect them against unexpected losses are enough to ward off adverse occurrences of sizeable proportions.
    Additionally, they said that one of the tables in the report “suggests that in the event of a systemic crisis, the parent entities of the banks remain well positioned to assist their subsidiaries and branches; they remain well capitalised”.
    Commercial banks, finance houses, credit unions, and insurance companies are among the key players in the Barbados financial system. The joint report of the two agencies also stated that “evidence of a slowly recovering financial system emerged over the 12 months ended March 2015 as the loan portfolios of major deposit taking institutions expanded by just over one percentage point of GDP.
    They also reported that “regulatory authorities continued to build on efforts to enhance the domestic supervisory framework”.
    They added that the Central Bank of Barbados launched guidelines on measuring capital adequacy for controlling interest rate risks on the banking books.
    Both the Bank and the FSC are jointly responsible for the continuous oversight of the financial system, the assessment of vulnerabilities and the initiation of policies that increase the resilience
    of the system in the face of possible adverse events.


  • Referring to the growing cost of labour and underproductivity in Barbados, it seems that we have reached a classic Lewis Turning Point where the supply of inexpensive labour is no longer forthcoming from the agricultural sector for the modern sector. Growth, according to W Arthur Lewis will now depend on Barbados finding alternative and cheaper suppliers of this vital component factor of production . . . . We should ensure that if we must open our doors to immigration that it should be for the higher value-added sectors of the economy !


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