The number is 12!
A good news story after a rough period in the early part of this year when the number of COVID 19 infections spiked to an alarmingly level. Barbadians have responded positively to the call from the leadership of the country. Despite a few missteps the country has shown a level of toughness and poise throughout the ordeal that should inspire us to confront the many challenges still ahead with the right mindset.
Although the COVID Dashboard is encouraging to view given where we were earlier this year, Barbadians must continue to observe health directives, especially with the country increasing economic activity. After a year of lockdowns and curfews there is a sense of urgency to chart a plan of recovery to address rising unemployment and related challenges of a small island developing state.
The pandemic coming on the back of an aggressive domestic debt restructure has created a many whammies for Barbados. The current state of affairs supports the gloomy outlook for Small Island Developing States (SIDs) summarized by Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s during an IMF discussion yesterday. SIDs are also affected by climate change related issues, floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions and the like. We will have to perform at our best to maximize on economic and human resources.
Prime Minister Mottley’s call to the developed world to be sensitive to the plight of SIDs that adds a layer of complexity to managing our affairs is valid. It is a pity CARICOM has not grasp the opportunity to speak with one voice the urgent need to have international financial institutions modify loan agreements to include COVID 19 pandemic as a ‘disaster’ clause. The recent decision by G7 countries to pledge 1 billion doses of COVID 19 vaccine to the developed world by the end of 2022 exposes a lack of sensitivity of its moral responsibility to the global community. These are countries whose economies feed from the economic globalization. The interdependent nature of the global economy requiring movement of people demands the simultaneously rollout of the vaccine.
The time has come and gone the need to engage in a more mature, dispassionate national debates. We will always have bread and fish issues which concern the man in the street. The macro economic and social issues facing SIDs call for a more meaty public debate as it relates to crafting meaningful reforms to cope in the global space. Having this debate is necessary to build a shared understanding for Barbadians, important to deflating toxic narratives fuelled by rabid political interests and ignorance.
All must agree the pandemic layered on a poorly performing economy, operating in a hostile capital market, in an environment continually affected by climate change will be a challenge for the foreseeable future. At the same time we have to ensure we revamp inputs to our governance framework to root out corruption, timely delivery of justice, improve discipline in public finances and the like. Whither the role of the fourth AND FIFTH estates, trade unions, social partnerships and other key stakeholders in civil society?
Here is the IMF interview in which Prime Minister Mottley was a discussant along with IMF Managing Director Kristina Georgieva and Minister of Finance of Madagascar Richard Randriamandrato.