Barbados Public Debt to GDP 1980 to 2012

by Amit Uttamchandani of

The objective of this post is to locate, explore and compare/contrast historical public debt to GDP data for several Caribbean countries.

First, we have to find the data: The Google query “debt to gdp imf” brings us – ironically – to the IMF (Barbadians take note). In particular, this page: “A Historical Public Debt Database.” The IMF’s data set contains public debt to GDP data for 170+ countries going back as far as 1692 all the way up to 2012. The second step is to extract Caribbean countries that are of interest to me (including Barbados) and a time period of interest to me (1980 to 2012). The third step is to pull the data into Excel and build a few charts.

Here is what 32 years of public debt to GDP, expressed as a percentage, looks like for Barbados:

Here’s the same chart but with red and blue lines added in at specific years (WARNING: Correlation does not imply Causation). I will leave it to the reader’s imagination to infer what these lines mean.

My next post will look at several other Caribbean countries.


119 Comments on “Barbados Public Debt to GDP 1980 to 2012”

  1. John November 29, 2017 at 10:36 AM #

    Debt became an issue after independence.

    Prior to independence, Barbados was if not debt free, then close to it.

    I stand to be corrected if anyone can.

    Where GDP growth is concerned, look simply at the sugar output subsequent to slavery.

    A 20 fold increase.

    We know the difference, we have been there, done that.

    Seems like after independence we have become more dependent.

    To think we have a place named “Less Beholden” in St. Andrew to remind us of a basic core value.


  2. Bush Tea November 29, 2017 at 11:56 AM #

    @ John
    Barbados was debt-free before Independence because all the damn white people owned all the assets and all the black people were sucking salt.

    With independence, LOANS were sought to bring black people up to some level of HUMAN DECENCY – you know…
    ..With water toilets, shoes, houses that did not leak, basic education – at least enough to know who you REAL enemies are…

    But then the Black politicians became infected by the bribes of the albino-centric and wanted more and more and more.. and they took the easy way of getting their fill ….MORE LOANS.

    Grenville is again right that 40% is a SENSIBLE maximum limit of such exposure… (Bushie says 25% for BLACK people borrowing from albinos)

    Instead of following Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs and moving on to HIGHER LEVEL needs (such as cultural and spiritual), these low-class JAs kept on with the ORGY of borrowing to buy shiite trinkets …like BMWs and Benzes….

    …and listening to albino-centric red men like John, bizzy and baloney…

    Now our goose is cooked….


  3. Hal Austin November 29, 2017 at 12:03 PM #

    John November 28, 2017 at 6:33 PM #
    The question we face is “How do we get the GDP to increase?”

    Easy, increase productivity.


  4. Bernard Codrington November 29, 2017 at 12:05 PM #

    Amit at 10:10 PM

    You are welcome.
    You do not need to apologise for not being an economist. I wish there were more Barbadian citizens, such as you, who are prepared to research matters when they appear to be at variance with common sense. Keep up your search for truth and understanding.
    Financially/economically it does make a difference if one’s debt is domestic or foreign. Your brother is unlikely to put you in jail if you do not or cannot repay him. He is more likely to forgive the debt or give you a life long moratorium on your debt.
    At the national level, provided the rate of return on GOB paper is higher than the inflation rate,the domestic debt will be rolled over by present holders of that debt or taken up by new domestic investors.

    International debt requires that it be repaid in foreign currencies. .If the country is not earning an excess of foreign income over foreign expenditure ,there is likely to be a debt repayment default. This ruins the country’s ability to borrow in the international market. In an attempt to bring about equilibrium between exports and imports the Barbados dollar will have to be devalued. For us it will be a continuous series of devaluations,a continuous spiraling down. It is extremely difficult to get out of this trap. Just imagine what effect that will have for the majority of Barbadians.

    I hope what I have attempted to say ,helped you.


  5. Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 12:10 PM #

    Bushie@ 11.56 am

    Chuckle… usual a stranger to the truth……hmm….The Wards,Deans,Tudors,Redmans,Bovells,Marshalls,etc,etc… mention a few who owned plantations,businesses,etc.

    Their is a definite attempt to show that between emancipation and independence,Bimmers did not achieve anything……why?


  6. Hal Austin November 29, 2017 at 12:12 PM #

    International debt requires that it be repaid in foreign currencies……

    International debt is repaid in the currency in the agreement.


  7. Bernard Codrington November 29, 2017 at 12:43 PM #

    @ Vincent Haynes at 12 :10 PM

    I wonder why there is this conspiracy to undervalue our achievements as a people. Do they believe that by repeating these lies a million times that lies will be turned into truth and the majority of Barbadians will believe them and act on them. Never !


  8. Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 12:56 PM #


    Sad to say…but the lies are getting currency…..some misguided soul has decided to throw paint on Nelson and place a badly worded placard in the 12.30 news.

    We have all agreed that if a well worded placard is needed for Nelson then place it appropriately.


  9. Hal Austin November 29, 2017 at 1:12 PM #

    Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 12:56 PM #

    Further. sign of the retreat in to barbarism by .a once great nation.


  10. John November 29, 2017 at 1:21 PM #

    But then the Black politicians became infected by the bribes of the albino-centric and wanted more and more and more.. and they took the easy way of getting their fill ….MORE LOANS.

    Sir Edwy Talma was known as the cashier for the DLP in the 60’s.

    My grandfather told me he was approached by Sir Edwy and told he would have to pay $35,000 to get land passed.

    When my grandfather objected he was told … “cuh dear, the boys have to eat”!!

    I got the nickname from William Ince, now deceased, who told me it was standard practice and the same procedure happened with Frere Pilgrim and Sir Edwy.

    He arrived one Saturday evening and left with the obligatory cheque for $35,000.

    Lennie St. Hill who was Chief Town Planner on contract in the 60’s told me he adopted the policy that anyone applying for change of use got it swiftly once it fell under the Physical Development Plan, part of the Town Planning Act.

    That was until he was approached by one of his employers and told he was making it too easy for people to get permissions, they needed to have some difficulty so they could be persuaded to pay.

    When he refused, his contract was not renewed.

    The “Black Politicians” could claim as the fake doctor claims to have been infected by “white” DNA but the corruption is all of their own making whether they “self identify” as black, or white.

    COW was a little boy back then with a single caterpillar tractor!!

    The problem was, $35,000 was never enough, they wanted more.

    The rest is history!!!

    They must have realized the Modus Operandi left them open to prosecution and adapted in the 1970’s to become more legitimate …. kind of like the Mafia.

    COW came into his own in the 1970’s.

    The result however is the same, their blight is on tens of thousands of acres of land in Barbados.


  11. John November 29, 2017 at 1:22 PM #

    I think you will find that the corruption came out of the Penny Bank fiasco and is related to CLICO and Trinidad … that’s my gut feel.


  12. Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 1:24 PM #

    Hal @1.12 PM

    You are correct….the vandals are at the gates…..ably spurred on by the misguided soul from UWI of his own agenda fame.


  13. Hal Austin November 29, 2017 at 1:33 PM #

    Sadly, they are convinced of the rightness of their case. Oh what a poor state of national education..


  14. Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 1:36 PM #


    Take a look at the sign……latest is that govt has employed a firm to give it a clean.


  15. Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 1:41 PM #


  16. John November 29, 2017 at 1:42 PM #

    Actually, COW was not a little boy in the 60’s.

    He bought the trucks from Costain after the Deep Water Harbour in 1961 and was up and coming at the time of independence.

    He wasn’t any big maguffie though!!


  17. Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 1:42 PM #


    Try and blow up the sign and see what I mean.


  18. Hal Austin November 29, 2017 at 1:44 PM #

    How do you explain the decline of this once great nation? The second-rate thinking that passes as scholarship, the aggression, the anger, etc


  19. Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 1:45 PM #


    Keep posting these facts…..some I am aware of,others I am happy to learn and double check.

    Remember this is for posterity and not for those that know not that they know not…..or the others with an agenda.


  20. Hal Austin November 29, 2017 at 2:11 PM #

    Your historical contributions to the blog are very important. We need this social and economic history, which our academics are disgracefully neglecting.



  21. Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 2:35 PM #

    Hall @1.44 PM

    A good question…..Caswell has given some insights as to EWBs destruction of the civil service then we have John on how old corruption has been although I presume Edwy looked on it as redressing the imbalance…..our worst years were the last two terms of OSA when much was expected but nothing delivered.
    I have skimmed the surface but it does require some indepth research.


  22. Hal Austin November 29, 2017 at 2:40 PM #

    Edwy Talma was the God father of the St Lucian Mafia. It is .the corruption of the system. It is one reason why law is embedded .in our culture, because it gives a certain. amount of self-employment. It is one reason why lawyers have colonised politics.



  23. John November 29, 2017 at 2:42 PM #

    The irony is that Nelson saved Africa from French Invasion in 1798, 1st August in fact.

    Napoleon had already landed and defeated the Mamelukes at the Battle of the Pyramids.

    Funnily enough the Mamelukes were originally slaves, brought from Europe to Africa!!

    Napoleon aimed to get to India and attack the British there.

    One of the results of the French invasion and Nelson was that in building defenses at Rosetta to defend against Nelson, the French unearthed the Rosetta Stone.

    This allowed the translation of hieroglyphics on Egyptian monuments to be translated and understood.

    Nelson came to fame because of the Battle of the Nile and his contribution to our knowledge of African History is immense.

    What a bunch of idiots masquerading around as educated fools!

    They give Barbados a bad name and further convince us that independence was a total disaster!!


  24. Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 2:55 PM #


    Edwy was Grenada born.

    Our present educational system is about rote and frowns on thinking.


  25. Artax November 29, 2017 at 3:24 PM #

    “Grenville is again right that 40% is a SENSIBLE maximum limit of such exposure… (Bushie says 25% for BLACK people borrowing from albinos)”

    The Singapore example clearly proves the above comment is rubbish.


  26. Bernard Codrington November 29, 2017 at 4:31 PM #

    Artax at 3:24 PM

    As I pointed out earlier, some minds have a tendency to ignore data that do not fit in with their hypotheses. As Tom Adams would have said,’ let them wallow in their stupidity.’


  27. Bush Tea November 29, 2017 at 5:05 PM #

    Are Singaporeans black?
    Were they borrowing money to enfranchise previously ENSLAVED brass bowls?
    Were they led by hand-to-mouth ex-slaves who tend to be easily lured with bribes?
    Were they not actually MAKING PROFITS off the loans that they were making…?
    …rather than incurring GROWING interest charges like others?

    Apples and oranges.
    Lee could have borrowed any amount of money – it would only have made the country even wealthier… That is what PRODUCTIVITY means.

    Any more that 40% and a brass bowl self-destructs…. (25% where ‘economists’ are involved.)

    Perhaps you need to concentrate on dealing with ac yuh….


  28. Gabriel November 29, 2017 at 5:16 PM #

    Does anyone recall Barbados making a loan to Trinidad in the late ’70’s during Tom Adam’s tenure.
    I am sure most recall the $184million debt Guyana owed Barbados when the CMCF collapsed.I am sure BaSilva the dem can remember his contribution.Ask Barclays.
    I am sure Lenny mashed the crease when he approved a development called Trevena in a flash and it made the media.That was Lenny’s undoing.Some day he got some a lott ‘o benefit from it.


  29. de pedantic Dribbler November 29, 2017 at 5:29 PM #

    Be careful @ Bernard re “Do they believe that by repeating these lies a million times that lies will be turned into truth and the majority of Barbadians will believe them and act on them. Never “…don’t be so sure.

    You yourself wrote ‘eloquently’ about when the world was ‘flat’ and how that informed debate and actions.

    Let us not dismiss the rhetorical ‘accuracy’ that says (if I may take license): “I cud shoot a RH idiot down Trafalgar and not a fella wouldn’t vote fah me still’.

    It happened up north and frankly has happened here in various guises for donkey years… alleged woman beating leaders, alleged homo-homicidal leaders, alleged vagina biting leaders and alleged election vote buying witnessing leaders and the list goes on.

    We voted for them all.

    Never say never.


  30. Artax November 29, 2017 at 5:49 PM #

    Bush Tea


    You have been constantly arguing in this forum that Grenville Phillips II is correct to state that borrowing should not exceed 40% of GDP, also because the IMF said so, as is evidenced by one of your following contribution:

    “Bush Tea November 17, 2017 at 11:40 AM #: As to Artax exposing his weaknesses – Artax is talking shiite…. You forget he is one of those things called an economist (whatever the hell that is..) A little common sense tells us that being in debt EXPOSES your donkey to being exploited without vaseline….40% exposure, (or owing 40% of your annual earnings) sound even HIGH to Bushie as an upper limit of SENSIBLE exposure. That the IMF and Grenville agrees on this point seems to be no big deal – Shiite boss, Bushie would have said 25% is a more SENSIBLE upper limit – especially if your ass is black ….and you done KNOW that the damn lenders have a history of exploiting black donkeys…”

    The Singapore model proves your above comments are shiite.

    Rather than admit you’re WRONG and MOVE ON……. you shift to goal post by mentioning you were specifically referring to black people………. when the central theme of your argument has always been the 40% benchmark.

    Mr. Bush Tea…………don’t you think it’s best if you scroll past my contributions?


  31. Bush Tea November 29, 2017 at 6:40 PM #

    How can a clearly EXCEPTIONAL example – such as Singapore – an UNQUESTIONED outlier, prove anything?
    Have you ever hears that often, it is the EXCEPTION that proves the rule?
    Name another country like Singapore….

    So far, EVERYONE was talking about Barbados, Bajan brass bowls, and countries of that ilk… NOT about outliers like Singapore and Norway…

    It is the same as with Bushie… rich as shiite – AGAINST all the odds.
    Bushie could borrow $200M tomorrow …and the ONLY effect it would have, is that by next year the Bushman would have made about $5M profit on the whole deal – while paying back all due instalments, plus interest, making charitable donations of $500,000

    …Lend you $200M tomorrow and the police looking for your donkey by Easter…
    …Lend ac $20,000 ..and by Christmas all the weaves in Barbados sold out…
    ha ha ha


  32. Bush Tea November 29, 2017 at 6:43 PM #

    @ Artax..
    Mr. Bush Tea…………don’t you think it’s best if you scroll past my contributions?
    Then who would flush…?

    It is the least that the bushman can do for David’s blog …after whacking up the place.


  33. Vincent Haynes November 29, 2017 at 6:52 PM #


    History speaks of the poor colonial back water called Singapore…..that description suggests to me that it could not compare to the jewel in the crown called Barbados……but then again truth has nothing to do with Bushie’s agenda.

    I have been to Singapore a number of times and listen to the stories of how the Chinese and Malay Indians got together after WW2….the rest is history…..again that does not suit Bushie’s prejudiced agenda.

    The facts that Bim has always had a non european wealthy society from before emancipation does not fit his ignorant agenda either.


  34. Bernard Codrington November 29, 2017 at 8:25 PM #

    @ dpD at 5: 29 PM

    Thanks for reminding me that one should never say “Never”. There is always an “out liar”.


  35. Artax November 29, 2017 at 9:03 PM #

    @ Vincent

    Bush Tea would tell you that I’m not at his high level of intelligence to understand his agenda………..

    ………… that’s why I’m scrolling past his contributions.


  36. Fractured BLP November 30, 2017 at 5:28 AM #

    Is PM Stuart or MP Sinckler responsible for the economy…..being referred to in the above story ?

    Is the NSRL to be blamed for what is stated in the story ?


  37. David November 30, 2017 at 5:35 AM #

    Do you believe Barbadians and Barbados regarded not too long ago as the model in the Caribbean give two rassouls about the performance of the TT economy?


  38. Gabriel November 30, 2017 at 9:45 AM #

    I recall in 2007 a Trinidad senator on a visit to Likkle England marvelled aloud and carried by the press,expressing his wonder at Barbados so efficiently managed and well run by the OSA led government while his country with all its wealth was to all intent and appearance,at a standstill.
    I recall too the anancy stories peddled by David Thompson of a Kola Syrup scandal trying to bring down Mia and a Hardwood scandal,trying to bring down Clyde,both scandals dying a natural death for won’t of truth.


  39. Gabriel November 30, 2017 at 9:51 AM #

    Not to forget the letter OSA had sent to the IMF in ’94 and which was to be read at a big public meeting in Queens Park by none other than David Thompson on the night before the election.I know one Dem who was so disappointed when he wasted his time going to that meeting that he vowed never to believe anything Thompson said again.
    Thompson took lying to a new height from which the current Dems cannot separate themselves.


  40. Bush Tea November 30, 2017 at 10:10 AM #

    Cuh dear Gabriel
    Using David Thompson as a benchmark of virtue against the DEMS is like referencing the Devil himself… in a bid to show that ac is a demon.

    We have long established that Thompson was a lying, dishonourable, scamp – of biblical proportions. Yours is therefore an unfair debating tactic….

    In other words, Just because ac is ‘better than Satan’ does not mean that ac is not demonic…
    Likewise, just because Owen is better that Thompson, does NOT grant him sainthood…

    These were all demons of various degrees of brassbowlery…
    You are therefore supporting William Skinners debating stance …that our best bet is to dump BOTH sets of scamps.

    Why not show us how your BLP is RIGHTEOUS in outlook, and earnest to promote justice, transparency and equity – RATHER than trumpeting the FACT (indisputable) that they are ‘better’ than the DLP…

    Boss, right now, ‘jobby’ is ‘better than the DLP’ …. or as Bushie’s mother used to say often ‘they ain’t worth what Paddy shot up…’


  41. Enuff November 30, 2017 at 6:14 PM #


    “Looking at the charts now, people like Gabriel and enuff will do dixie, but William’s and Grenville’s are the correct prognoses here…”

    You mean the same Grenville that benefited from the borrowing to renew/expand our infrastructure?


  42. Fractured BLP December 8, 2017 at 2:26 PM #

    Chris Sinckler stay strong and press on .


  43. NorthernObserver December 8, 2017 at 3:07 PM #

    I observe you frequently post links to Trini sources. I appreciate they have become the real owners of Bim, and even today when Min Estwick in discussing the south coast situation, said, a T&T firm was looking into it.
    You sure you ain’t a Trickidadian? Or ya jus a wannabe Trini?


  44. David December 8, 2017 at 3:13 PM #

    At the mention of T&T we note that there is a shootout going down between Hard Rock and T&T Cement.



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