Time for Budget is Now
Amid the din of Covid 19 noise muted calls from the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the United Progressive Party (UPP) for the government to deliver a ‘budget’ have gone largely unnoticed by the public. The blogmaster agrees given the comatose state of the local economy the call is justified.
It is no secret the BLP inherited a sick economy in 2018 made worse by the ongoing pandemic that has negatively affected tourism – the key economic driver and contributor to foreign exchange earnings. Prime Minister Mottley is politically aware to know a budget at this time will encourage an uncomfortable national debate about the economy. She prefers to buy time to find ways to breath life into the economy, attack the high unemployment and more importantly ready the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) party for the general election due in 2023.
It is unfortunate that in our system of government the narrow interest of political parties always trump national interest. To apologists who posit that the majority of Barbadians prefer to enjoy the Yuletide season instead of listening and discussing a budget exposes the inability of Barbadians to assess the perilous state of the economy. The government of Barbados must be encouraged to constantly communicate to Barbadians its fiscal and monetary measures designed to kickstart the economy, the sooner the better.
Barbadians are described as an educated people, successive governments have allocated significant sums to the education Head amounting to billions of dollars – see page 599 of the 2021-2022 Barbados Estimates. Unfortunately we have not seen the investment translated to a vibrant, independent level of financial analysis and thought in the public space. We are a country mired in debt, locked in an IMF program with a junk status credit rating with key assets and institutions owned by non Barbadians. What more do educated Barbadians need to know to be galvanized out of a sense of civic responsibility to get Barbados back on track? What will it take for Barbadians to become strident about the inability of successive governments to implement transformative policies as they are about replacing the word God with Creator in a non binding document? What better time for the government to confide in the citizenry plans for improving the economy than during the month of November when we celebrate independence and moving to a Republic?
The last 15 years have been one of the worse periods of our existence as an INDEPENDENT nation. Let the election cycle begin – should we vote the same old B or the same old D is the question. What is that the Chinese proverb again?
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading – Lao Tzu