In a sea of red, glitz and glamour to rival Cohoblopot at its peak popularity, Reggae on the Hill or any of the popular entertainment events, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) launched its 2018 Manifesto in the heart of the southern belt of the island. – see link to BLP Manifesto website. The manifesto launch followed a similarly styled event to introduce BLP candidates at Weymouth pasture on the outskirts of the city last weekend.
In the coming days the blogmaster and BU family will discuss the promises listed in the BLP manifesto, however, of interest to the blogmaster is the reference made to the IMF by Mia Mottley. In a guarded statement, she indicated that after assessing the state of the economy should the BLP win the government, going to the IMF may be an option. The other political parties as part of the cut and thrust of political debate and tactics will predictably respond to the position taken by the BLP. The blogmaster is of the view the perspective shared by the leader of the BLP regarding the IMF could be a defining moment in the campaign, not dissimilar to when Owen Arthur in a similar position dared to introduce the privatization issue during the 2013 general election.
It will be interesting to observe how the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in particular responds. On January 2018 the International Monetary Fund issued a press release which outlined the Executive Board’s Assessment based on its annual Article IV consultation. It is standard procedure for the government to approve the release of the full report for public viewing in the interest of being transparent. Four months later, the public is non the wiser about the details contained in the full report. It is unlikely the report will be released two weeks from a general election gien the current state of the economy. Especially following the unflattering review of the performance of the economy in the first quarter by Governor of the Central Bank Cleviston Haynes. The DLP strategists have a decision to make. If they attack Mottley’s position which leaves the door open to go to the IMF, it forces the DLP to answer questions about withholding the full report from the public.
Minister of Sports and Culture Stephen Lashley explained on his Facebook page a couple weeks ago that it is not unusual for a government to delay approving the full report to accommodate final corrections and clarifications. Four months after the IMF released the Article IV summary statement, it is a reasonable conclusion to make that the contents of the full IMF report is as unflattering as Governor Haynes’ review of the first quarter performance of the economy. To use the economic jargon, clearly the government of Barbados needs to create some ‘space’ with significant foreign loan payments to meet in the next 12 months. To continue to borrow at high rates on the open market because of our junk credit rating is unsustainable. Equally, the selling of national assets to shore up the foreign reserves is also unsustainable, AND, idiotic.