Crime and Credit Ratings
In recent weeks Barbadians have been greeted with the good news our credit rating for local debt was upgraded by two credit rating agencies S&P and CariCRIS.
In recent weeks Barbadians have been greeted with the bad news that violent and gun crime appear to be on the increase.
The question we must answer is whether the solutions to our problems are to be found with our political masters only. The blogmaster shouts NO!
We have the political games being played depending on which side of the fence one sits that credit rating agencies are deemed to be important. There is sufficient evidence to show that not having an investment grade rating does more harm than good as it affects financial decision-making. The previous government was heavily criticized because of the unprecedented number of downgrades Barbados notched during its tenure. The expectation is that when the foreign debt restructure is completed inyternational credit rating agencies will respond favourably as well. It is important to achieve an investment grade for the financial and intangible benefits it lends to any country.
However one spins it, an inching upwards of the credit rating is good news for a country gripped in the throes of economic fatigue for more than a decade.
The good news about the northward movement of the credit rating has been tempered by the public perception that crime is on the increase. In recent weeks there has been a spate of gun crime linked to drug activity and a lawlessness element. Some will say to ignore the lawless while they shoot at each other. However commonsense supports the view that a country must maintain law and order to accrue obvious benefits.
The rising crime activity has seen minister Edmund Hinkson being demoted with responsibility for the Royal Barbados Police Force, Forensic Services Centre, Criminal Justice Research Unit and the Police Complaints Authority reassigned to Attorney General Dale Marshall. Hinkson’s diminished portfolio he has responsibilty for the Barbados Fire Service, Immigration, Post Office, Government Industrial School, National Council on Substance Abuse and the Prison Service – creates the opportunity to resign from the Cabinet in the coming weeks. It signals to others in the large Cabinet that the prime minister will jettison non performers soon once the ‘opportunity’ appears on the political radar.
The reassignment is an admission by government that it has to improve in the area of law enforcement and delivering justice. Our slothful court system has been a bane for both political parties in government. Coincidentally, the Attorney General has responsibility for Barbados Courts, he now has responsibility for the Police and support units. What should be obvious is that an incrementalist approach has been shown not to be effective over the years.
The blogmaster has been critical of the large Cabinet appointed by the Prime Minister. Her defence of the large Cabinet will not resonate in a climate where workers are being retrenched from the Public and Private sectors. It does not matter how hard the prime minister and Cabinet are working, commanding the support of the public requires she adopts leadership positions which co-opt the support of the public.
The blogmaster was also critical of the prime minister when videos surfaced on social media during the last political campaign with her ‘styling’ with certain actors. It is important our leaders appreciate the importance of leading by public example.
A word to the wise should be enough!