Barbados Reform Agenda Threatened by Anaemic Growth
Detailed in the recent IDB Caribbean Region Quarterly Bulletin – Volume 8, Issue 4| December 2019 is a cautionary tale. Barbados continues to meet all targets as part of the IMF Extended Fund Facility and Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation plan – the objective to achieve fiscal consolidation. HOWEVER the other story to be received from the IDB report is the fact the economy is contracting although all targets set under the IMF programs have been met.
The big challenge for the government as it was for the last government is the ability to mobilize projects to spur economic activity. In order for the fiscal consolidation activity Barbadians have had to suffer not being a vain effort, 2020 must be the year of implementation of projects currently wedged in the investment pipeline. We do not have the luxury of time fed by our procrastination paralysis malady.
There is a legitimate concern the majority of the shovel ready projects AND prospects are in the main tourism related. The expectation is after a successful implementation of the projects – detailed by the prime minister in a recent address to the nation – to float the Barbados economic boat from the rock of austerity, talk of transforming the Barbados economy shifts to building a new economy – a new economy modelled to be sustainable in a global economy Barbados has become disconnected in the last decades.
Unfortunately after years of economic and social inertia Barbadians appear to be walking the predictable path which includes being mired in unproductive partisan political discourse and a reluctance to let go of irrelevant economic and social models.