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.


  • Bernard Codrington

    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.’


  • Artax
    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….


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?


  • 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


  • @ 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.


  • Artax

    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.


  • Bernard Codrington

    @ dpD at 5: 29 PM

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


  • @ 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.



    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 ?


  • 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?


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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…’


  • Bushie

    “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?


  • @F-BLP
    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?


  • 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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