Policy Performance and Outlook (Part 1)

General Election will be held in Barbados 19 January 2022. One expects a key issue of the campaign will be economic plans to move Barbados forward and the Mottley led government will be asked to defend its management of the economy since 2018 notwithstanding it must have been a difficult undertaking based on what the state of the economy was and then the pandemic. The following was shared with the blogmaster and now posted for comment – David, blogmaster

Context – How did we get here?

To judge them fairly, one would have to first look at the state of the nation upon the administration assuming office in May of 2018.  In 2018 the administration faced a debt to GDP ratio of 158.26% or 174% if you include arrears. These arrears were simply $1.9 billion the government refused to pay to ordinary Barbadians and businesses as opposed to money borrowed. This includes money owed to government contractors for work done or goods provided, income tax returns to individuals, vat returns to businesses, reverse tax credits to the working poor and $250 million in civil servant pensions Which government had stopped paying to the NIS.  Therefore, it is fair to add it to the total government debt as the current administration does. The total debt to GDP ratio of 174% was up from a ratio of 83.3% in 2008 when the Thompson administration took office. That is a staggering increase in the Debt to GDP ratio of any nation in just 10.5 years. For further context, when the Owen Arthur Administration took office in 1994, the country’s debt to GDP ratio was 55.93% an increase of 27 percentage points in 14 years in which Barbados; Rebuilt a Highway, Built a Cricket Stadium, built two new Secondary Schools, rebuilt a prison. refurbished an Airport and placed technological equipment in all schools through Edutech and built new Tenantry roads through the Urban and Rural Development Commision. The Mottley Administration also assumed office with less than $400 million in Foreign reserves with a foreign debt payment due in just over a month, very low to no economic growth for a decade, An economy headed back into recession despite the global economy growing at 3 percent at the time according to the UN Barbados was the third most indebted country in the world after Greece which is backed by the European Union, and  Japan which has the second highest amount of Foreign Reserves in the world after China. The question then becomes, Why did the Thompson/Stuart administration struggle so much to manage the country’s fiscal and economic affairs?     

Fiscal Management  

To find answers we cannot speculate but we will need to take a look at the Government’s accounts aka “The revised estimates” you can find here: Estimates and the Central Bank of Barbados data on Government operations. In order to be fair to the previous administration we can only examine the Fiscal Balance on the Current Accounts since this does not include repayment of interest on loans from the Arthur or Sandiford Administrations. The examination of this data does not paint a pretty picture. Since Grantley Adams Administration in 1952 Barbados had only recorded a fiscal deficit of it’s current accounts five times with four of three occasions being so small it hardly registered twice under Barrow, once under Tom Adams and Twice under Sandiford, with the largest being in the fiscal year 1988/89 of $20 million. The reasons behind this rule are two fold:

Running a fiscal surplus or balanced budget on the current account takes pressure off the Central Bank to print money to finance it . which in turn secures the fixed exchange rate since money printing depletes the foreign reserves.   
Secondly, It creates fiscal space by allowing the government to borrow for purposes which are desirable like to build roads. schools improve public transport and water resources.

Then in 2008 something happened, Barbados departed from an “unwritten fiscal rule” which we had followed for decades, we went terribly off track as the data shows in 2008/2009 we spent 189.4 million more than was received in revenue  2009/2010 486, millions more than tax revenue, in 2010/210 $638 million, 2010/2011 $266.2 million, 2011/2012 $614.3 million 2013/2014 was the worst year in which we spent $786.7 million more than was collected in taxes. Every year until 2018 Barbados borrowed to pay wages and salaries and to keep the “lights on” so to speak. This was not to invest in infrastructure or digitizatization or upskilling for the future but spending in the current period. In the financial year, 2010/2011 (page 27) Capital Expenditure actually fell by 41.2% and it never recovered throughout the life of the administration. This means that the administration which ran the largest deficits in the history of the country all invested the least in its future.  The administration also reduced investments in human Capital in the form of  higher education, by 2012, our government had racked up arrers to UWI to the tune of $150 million  and by 2013 Government officially announced tuition fees for Barbadian students after not paying the University for some time. This wasn’t during a pandemic, global flights were not halted and we had not been hit by a major hurricane (thankfully).  To be fair, there was a global financial crisis between 2008 and 2010, however the previous administration did not have a revenue problem. The 2008 budget which Thompson delivered ensured that tax revenue remained at 2008 levels despite the Canadian’s signing a tax treaty with Cayman which reduced our International business taxes.  In fact by 2009 the Government raked in 2.6 billion dollars in taxes, surpassing 2007 levels.  However, the country had a spending problem, driven by a category called transfers and subsidies, mostly going to State owned Enterprises. We were adding obscene amounts to the national debt not to build roads. bridges, schools, clinics. hospitals and to digitize and modernize the economy but to throw into a dark hole called SOE’s.  What happened as the years went on was those deficits lead to short term borrowing, which lead to credit rating downgrades which lead  to higher interest costs.  This spiral ensured that the country could not buy a single bus, leading to stories like this, or garbage trucks or upgrading sewage plants or fix crumbling school infrastructure or supplying water to parts of the island where people were suffering from dry taps. We simply had no fiscal space.  When the deteriorating credit rating scared off Institutional investors. We resorted to borrowing from the Central Bank (printing money),this money printing led to the Foreign Reserves plummeting even after we managed to borrow, at very high interest rates (10-13%) from Credit Suisse at.  

Fiscal Space and Restoring Credibility 

I don’t know much about politics, but as someone who thinks who has often derided politicians for trying to trick people, one thing that struck me in reading the BLP’s 2018 manifesto was the lack of “pie in the sky” promises and the honesty about the need for debt restructuring (page 8) and going the IMF , which is almost unheard of in a political campaign in the Caribbean.  To be frank, this style of candid campaign lead to the new administration being able to make the decisions it needed to upon assuming office.   

After 3.5 years what has been their Record?   A week after assuming office the Government announced that Barbados would be suspending Debt payments and entering talks with creditors and the IMF in order to stop the slide in the Foreign Reserves and get Fiscal Space.  This debt restructuring exercise was wrapped up in 2019 details: here.
Just over a week later, the Minister of Finance went to parliament to deliver the so-called “min-budget” which was just a set of adjustments to the Estimates presented by the previous administration in March. Measures in these adjustments were meant to close the still large fiscal deficit which the island struggled with by going to the root of the problem, Transfers and subsidies to SOEs. Government proposed taking a number of SOEs off of the Consolidated fund and forcing them to fund their operations using their own revenue streams. Some Measures included:  Airline travel and Development tax for tourists coming from outside Caricom to go directly to BTMI while taking BTMI off the Consolidated fund (partly privatizing it) Product Development levy on Tourism services to create more revenue stream for BTMI. Moving the SSA and the Water Authority off the Consolidated fund though the Garbage and Sewage Contribution. A PPP to let a concessionair run Harrison’s Cave so the Government can take it off the Consolidated fund, the entity which was later chosen was Chukka Caribbean. The Purchase of new garbage trucks and buses. The resumption of payment of tuition for students at UWI The increase in non-contributory pensions from $155 to $225.  

What were the results of these adjustments? 

To be clear, a number of these measures were tough, but they had a simple theme, to stop taking money from the consolidated fund and throwing into dark holes called State owned Enterprises like SSA, BWA, Harrison Cave, BTMI and BTPMI and Transport Board, The type of Spending which choked the country for a decade.  By March 2019 Barbados was recording a small fiscal surplus on the current account of $167.2 million.  During that same period the administration sought to address the infrastructural decay of the country with Temporary fix to the south Coast Sewage problems: New Garbage trucks arrived by January 2019 and more would arrive by December 2019: The purchase of new buses which arrive by mid-2020.  Reinvesting in primary and Secondary Education through repairs to schools like St Giles primary,  or St George Secondary  Establishment of the Education Reform Unit and the the upgrade the electrical wiring across all schools and fence to fence wifi connectivity. Bringing in Coding and Robotic kits to launch the coding and robotics programme in 2022.For a long time people have been crying for water relief in parts of rural Barbados and the administration spent money to fix water distribution issues facing them see: here and here. Residents in parts of St.Andrew, St John and St Joseph are benefiting as seen by this tweet.  The administration also repaired and rebuilt several roads across Barbados, the latest being in St. Phillip seen here and here.  

Arrival of Covid

Just as the country recorded a fiscal surplus current account surplus of  6%, the largest surplus in the Country recorded in decades.  The pandemic struck.  Note: In part 2 I will examine the Administration’s response to the pandemic and what I believe are the strengths and weaknesses going forward.  

94 thoughts on “Policy Performance and Outlook (Part 1)

  1. Read what was submitted, we can debate if the government should have selected defaulted BUT why saddle Barbados with White Oaks cost to restructure domestic debt and install the size cabinet supported by a bevy of financial consultants. In the opinion of the blogmaster it sent the wrong message from the start at a time the new government needed to make decisions to help with building consensus.

    • Hopefully part 2 will be made known on the campaign trail. The anticipation is government will be forced to enter a more stringent IMF program given the worsening global landscape as it relates to tourism.

  2. @ David January 2, 2022 12:56 PM

    We must finally accept that we live on a plantation with European and Asian masters and African servants. The whites and Asians dominate the business world; the blacks, in their naiveté, are happy with positions in politics and public service. They get the breadcrumbs that their masters drop from the table for them.

    “public servants” = “public slaves”

    It is also a fact that after the decline of the offshore business we have only tourism left. There the masses are allowed to work as cooks, swimming instructors and chambermaids. They will never become rich with it.

    So our government is operating under very poor and limited external conditions. It cannot improve the living conditions of the black masses because global capitalism does not allow it. Our government is only able to stage Caribbean operettas, such as the proclamation of the republic or snap elections, to give the masses the illusion that they have a say on the plantation. This, of course, is a daydream, not reality.

    Nevertheless, our government has done a good job. It has renewed the road network, the sewage system, stabilised the ailing state finances at a low level and calmed the masses with political fire magic.

  3. What ever gains govt achieved in its first year
    During the second and third year those gains were lost amidst the cries of those who were suffering because of the virus impact
    Also govt use of derailing the Constitution during Covid to control people lives did not help govt
    There are many mistakes govt made socially and economically
    Socially the nagging effect of crime on the island many would point to govt inability to drive an economy on the knowledge and skill of its people when global melt down occurs whereby accessing home grown skills to fill the void when employment too a nose dive
    The building of a park monies which at this time could have been better used to the economic revitalization of places like Baxters Rd and Nelson Street areas which could further improve quality of life and help drive business to the local communities
    Nothing wrong with a symbolic beautification of the city
    However priorities matters those can leave financial benefits to the city and help boost govt revenue
    Govt failure was its inability to help pushed hard working barbadians above the poverty level
    Most of govt plans and policies were geared to helping the tourism and other big corporations while the struggling Barbadian with knowledge in helping to build Barbados was left standing outside the door
    The mention of high paid consultants tells the depth and scope of a govt whose idea was to belive in outside help rather than its own people

  4. Mr.Blogmaster you have ‘high’ hopes.

    Effin you keep your mouth shut one cannot be accused of dishonesty?
    Remember that oft and long promised CBL “update” by Sink and Sealy? Shut your mouth.
    Now a buzzword like ‘financial reprofiling’ is appropriate, because not even it’s promoters understood what it meant. Remember Anthony Wood?
    A fancy, more appealing term than ‘structural adjustmens’ is required

  5. I am surprised this leaves out all of the parts where voters where shafted by being forced to take bonds and IOUs to maybe die in the process and pass on. Not to mention the football team sized Financial Minister and Consultant crew.

    The writer says “In order to be fair to the previous administration we can only examine the Fiscal Balance on the Current Accounts since this does not include repayment of interest on loans from the Arthur or Sandiford Administrations.”

    At least this is fair. Arthur presided under one of the most booming economies in recent times and did ABSOLUTELY nothing to restructure it, crisis proof it or prepare for the future. Thompson and Stuarts’ style of leadership and financial management were completely different so the DLP were destined to fail in the economic sphere given their political issues.

    Any nonsense about strides in education and growth in the public sector is just that. Nonsense.

    The question is, are we better off as a people now than in 2018 other than buses (augmented by private sector), garbage trucks and sewage in the sea? I understand the need to shift the narrative to the economy, but, the economy isn’t reaching the average man, and, the lack of promised governance and transparency stinks to high hell. 6 is half dozen yes, but I can easily stay home and eat fruit for breakfast rather than eggs.

    The current Prime Minister once said that we should not blame a worldwide recession for where we find ourselves. I wonder what’s her view now.

    Just observing

  6. This subject is a bit too high brow and dry for the average Buer to vent away to.
    But the synonyms and soundbites such as
    Better the Devil you know
    Vote for the best of the worst party / evils
    seems to hold weight that BLP should be given another term to continue the debt management programs that have been started

    China help is a good thing despite the western propaganda oozing out of their grey lizard pores

  7. The SSS these days really do not have any time to type on her beloved blog. However. the SSS stand on her promise that if Mia Mottley prove her wrong concerning prudent, fair, transformative and progressive leadership, she will apologise to Mottley and embrace her as a good leader. So let me start.

    A. Barbados needs Mia Mottley as its Prime Minister. Putting aside all the things that I do not like about her and the fact that she started her Prime Ministerial term taking care of friends, pappy, and pardoning merchants of taxes owed, she, since that time, has provided enough impetus to show Barbadians that she is thinking outside the box and that she intends to move Barbados way pass its stagnant status.

    B. She has attained international recognition and much respect. And, contrary to popular criticisms and ignorant talk, that alone has paved the way for known and unknown, developed and undeveloped countries to pay interest in either investing in Barbados or peaking the interest of new tourist markets to visit Barbados.

    C. Mottley has shown that she is willing to take risk at the expense of losing popularity. or make unconventional decisions that though might might augur well for some, is the decisions nonetheless that has to be made. This is a very important move by her. Risk taking is what Barbados need at this time, As to unconventional decisions and losing popularity, what is the sense of keeping burdens or persons with personal agendas who operate contrary to the vision that you are trying to obtain. Having a cadre of thinkers is far better than having a collection of achievers that recycle the same old ass nonsense or peddles the same backward ideals.

    Now the SSS will chastise Mottley for not doing the following:

    A. Providing the Auditor General with powers to go after ministers, heads of departments, Permanent Secretaries and other high ranking government officials that operate contrary to the financial rules and or depict gross mismanagement of government funds that suggest serious corruption.

    B. Providing a ministerial code of conduct in the form of legislation that places serious penalties or punishments on a minister that under performs or functions in a manner that brings his office into disrepute.

    C. For not reforming the civil service towards a highly productive entity by holding all government workers accountable for patterned absenteeism, low productivity, breaches of the general orders or getting jobs and positions base on your political allegiance or friends to big ups. In other words, if you can hire easy you should be able to fire easy. That will wake up these civil servants who just draw money but hardly do anything.

    And last but certainly not least, Mottley must move steadfastly on backing up all of her talk with less explanations and showcase a lot more action in suitable time frames where the outcomes become self explanatory and well understood.

    Mottley might not be liked by a lot of us base on what we know about her, but at the present moment, she is in the best position to market the interest of Barbados on the international level thus getting that much needed help Barbados desperately needs to pull itself up and get back on a progressive curve towards building back all that we have lost.

    Mottley has the skills, the knowledge, the thinking and the articulation to get Barbados there.

    I, the SSS, have given Mia Amor Mottley the benefit of the doubt and will look pass her previous ridiculous doings to embrace her as the visionary Barbados needs at this time.

    That said, I will still light in her ass when she does shite, and if the time permits, get a poster done to depict her nonsense.

  8. “synonyms “
    was not the correct word to use
    slogans would have been more apt

    but the 2 slogans / sounbites could well be used for 2022 BLP election campaign summarising politics

    Vote BLP
    better the devil you know
    the best of the worst on offer

    in fact as incumbents they could get by with no campaigning or manifesto

    the onus is on DLP to state their case

    which should be about their own policies
    and not just criticism of Government

  9. A balanced view of Mia from SSS. As Barbados first female Prime Minister, she brings energy and qualities to her role. Her biggest impact is her presence on the international stage. We have a population of less than 300,000, yet amongst the international media she is a known entity. This is unquestionably a great achievement. And should assist the growth of Barbados economy.

    My problem with Mia is her divisive, destructive, prime ministerialship with a penchant to be dismissive towards and antagonist towards Barbados majority population. Her subjects are sacrificial collateral damage in her quest to build a new Barbados with a predicted increase of 80,000 in Barbados population made up of foreigners.

    Hence, this is why I would prefer this government to win 50 percent of the vote. Mia could and would be a tremendous asset to Barbados if she shares government with the opposition. Should her party win another landslide victory it will unhinge her and we will have a dictator to deal with. One who cares little about procedures, law and fairness.

    Can Mia rise to this challenge and leave her ego at the door in order to build a truly great and equitable Barbados with opposition parties. I pray for a hung parliament. This is why Barbadians need to go out and cast their vote.

  10. @TLSN
    “she shares government with the opposition”
    You ever known any majority government anywhere to ‘share government’? They are only forced to coalesce when in a minority position, which has never happened in Bim. Even then, many do not enter a formal coalition, but deal issue by issue with opposing members.
    FJS had 16-14, didn’t phase him. He did as he desired.

  11. NorthernObserver

    You ain’t realize yet that TLSN is one of the biggest jackasses on BU that duz bray nuff nuff shite?

    I don’t know how one man could be so blasted ignorant.

  12. @Sunny Sunshine ShineJanuary 2, 2022 5:15 PM

    I agree with you except for two points. Where I dissent:

    First, ministerial accountability: corruption is a national sport in Africa. Why should it be any different in Barbados? You cannot turn field potatoes into tasty apples within two generations.

    Second, civil service reform: the civil service per se cannot be reformed. Of course, the public sector is only so big and ineffective because our island is totally overpopulated and the majority of the masses would rather be lazy than slave away in the private sector. What do you want Mia Mottley to do? Sack half the civil servants? Mia Mottley faces 30000 overweight, rebellious slackers, organised in unions – plus their families and friends, together half of the local population. Laziness in the state sector is part of the Caribbean DNA. No one can change that. Not even a slave driver. Or is Mia Mottley supposed to educate civil servants to be more productive? How are you going to do that in a country where working 40 REAL hours a week is considered slavery and relaxing at work is part of national culture?

    In reality, you are not criticising our Supreme Leader, but the local mentality, which cannot be changed.

  13. Forget PART II, Wily’s waiting for the Requiem Mass, also known as Mass for the dead. Question is when are the Bajans going to discover/realize their a DEAD STATE. The final question is who will conduct the MASS, mother overseer(QUEEN) booted, other small players of Continental AFRICA not capable, leaves only the YELLOW giant from the FAR EAST.

    PUDDING & SOUSE for thought.

  14. A very interesting article looking forward to part 2.My question to the writer is what are the ramifications of the reduction in the rate of corporation tax from 30% to 5% and the effects that measure has/had on tve revenue stream of the government?

  15. I really don’t understand why we are still focusing on the past. At this stage here is my question. The same question I have been asking for over a year.

    In the post covid economy of 2022 with revenue down and spending up along with a growing deficit, what is the plan to run this country on say 20% less revenue ?
    When we couple this to a commencement of debt repayment due to an expiration of the debt payment moratorium, where is the additional cash flow going to come from?

    When the plan for our financial future is being discussed it is then we should pay attention.

  16. @ John A January 2, 2022 9:25 PM

    Of course, we are on the verge of another national bankruptcy. What do you expect with our overpopulation, our mental slavery, called welfare state, our low productivity and our total dependence on tourism? We are just as economically advanced as North Korea, only with sun, rum, and natives who like to sing instead of work.

    We must finally jettison human ballast in the public sector and reduce social benefits to the masses.

    10000 civil servants would be enough for this small island. Instead, taxpayers have to feed around 30,000 lazy bums, half of whom are unvaccinated and almost all of whom suffer from strong obesity because they are glued to their chairs.

    Furthermore, we finally need a general accounting at the NIS. In view of the bad government securities, pension payments will have to be halved or permanently suspended. If you don’t want to starve, you can work instead of complaining.

    The rich, the businessmen and the high performers on this island have fed around 270000 permanent sleepers since 1966. This must finally come to an end.

  17. @David
    Did it in 2018?
    You like you taking this wishing upon a 🌟 thing to extremes.
    My recollection it was post election details appeared in dribs and drabs. Some still hiding. Others withheld in the interest of National Security. (I just hear them sayin so, but doan know what it means)

  18. Bank ‘can do more’

    Researchers see room for it to help businesses in pandemic
    by SHAWN CUMBERBATCH shawncumberbatch@nationnews.com
    COVID-19’S CRIPPLING IMPACT on the economy, and policy responses in other countries, show there is room for the Central Bank to consider guaranteeing more funding for businesses during the pandemic.
    Two of Barbados’ economic researchers argued this in a new study, concluding that credit guarantee schemes (CGSs) could help firms avoid significant unemployment during such a crisis.
    Central Bank research officer Shekira Thompson, and University of the West Indies economist Professor Winston Moore, also found in their new working paper, Expanding The Central Bank’s Tool Kit: Credit Guarantee Schemes In A Small Island Developing State, that “reducing financial constraints for firms could potentially result in more than $24 million in additional investment in Barbados through expenditure on research and design alone”.
    In CGSs, a third party (the guarantor) pledges to repay some or the entire loan amount to the lender in case of borrower default.
    The guarantor assumes part or all of the credit risk, reducing the risk faced by financial intermediaries and thus making it possible for firms to obtain credit or improve the terms and conditions under which they can borrow.
    The Central Bank has operated CGSs since 1979 and currently offers several, including the Enhanced Credit Guarantee Fund (ECGF) established in 2016.
    Thompson and Moore observed that unlike other countries around the world, the Central Bank did not use any of its guarantee schemes “as counter-cyclical tools during the COVID-19-induced economic crisis”.
    “Instead, the Central Bank deployed macro-prudential policies by lowering the securities ratio for banks from 17.5 per cent to five per cent and eliminated the 1.5 per cent securities ratio for non-bank deposit taking licensees,” they explained.
    “The Central Bank targeted the securities ratio in their lender of last resort function by allowing banks to access liquidity from their securities if they wished to do so,” they added, noting that “the
    only change made to the ECGF was to allow guarantees for short-term loans”.
    Thompson and Moore suggested that “in a crisis, a CGS could shift the liquidity from the banking system to the corporate sectors suffering from credit rationing to potentially dampen the negative impact on the real economy and prevent widespread disruptions.
    “From our analysis, firms would have been able to increase their workforce by about 84 per cent over the long run if they were not financially constrained. This supports the argument for CGSs, particularly during a crisis, to help firms maintain their workforce and avoid significant unemployment increases within the economy.”
    Their study also suggested that guarantees would permit relaxation of credit constraints, and “drive turnover and investment with the greatest impact on micro and small enterprises”.
    “The results suggest that reducing financial constraints for firms could potentially result in more than $24 million in additional investment in Barbados through expenditure on research and design alone,” they stated.
    “In small economies which are usually unable to benefit from economies of scale, research into innovation to better design and produce products that improve product effectiveness and efficiency could result in an increase in greater competitiveness for firms, particularly those who export goods and services.”
    Thompson and Moore recommended emphasis on the design of the CGS to reduce the Central Bank’s exposure to risk, firstly by following best practices established by schemes in other countries.

    Source: Nation

  19. @ David,
    Consensus politics is the answer to our decaying Punch and Judy political system. We simply lack the talent and international experience to govern the country with one political party

    There is a real danger our country will become an autocracy should we have a similar result to the last general election. The tribalism that exists on BU is proof of that.


  20. @DAVID

    “Will the stewardship of the economy not come under review in the next two weeks?”


    Listen to MM’s critic/lover, TRON. The only corrective item Tron fails to bring up is “Devaluation” as he knows its a sore point and big bone of contention, he does mention another upcoming DEFAULT though.

    All the government distraction tactics, “Republic”, COVID back slapping, ELECTION etc cannot put the countries finances in the BLACK EVER. The day of reckoning is coming closer and shortly your going to see the RATS running up the gangway ropes and fleeing the island to save themselves from drowning. COVID has driven a LARGE SPIKE into the countries dubious financial management philosophy and death is imminent.

  21. 16 days to go
    This election campaign is a walk in the park
    a holiday

    Last day to register candidates deadline looms

  22. Inner Alchemy
    Your head and spine is the altar to God.

    This practice is not just about stretching tight hamstrings, or relieving tension in the neck and shoulders. This practice is designed to increase brain health.

    This is a practice for the nervous system and the brain too.
    In this session we create open space for new discoveries.
    It will require your attention and focus, so start with your breath.
    I don’t have many rules in practice, but one I do have is this:

    The breath always comes first.

    Open your mind,
    Open the window.
    Open the door!
    Open up to the innocence that you were born with.

    Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open. Rumi

  23. @ Tron
    @ David

    My point is when all the tra la la done with elections, the economy will have to be faced. It is my view that the PM called the elections early because she knows with the moratorium on loans coming to an end she will have to find money to start servicing them. So the question is if we have such serious cash flow challenges now before we have to make these payments, where the money going come from to meet them going forward?

    Em is one little word called TAXATION

    • We will not have long to wait. Unfortunately the majority of the electorate becomes intoxicated by the ‘pageantry’ of the campaign with no regard for the substance and the role of the citizenry.

  24. And David that is the problem right there. Instead of using this time to demand answers to issues like the ones I have identified, we prefer to allow the comedy on the platforms to pass as a campaign.

    • It is a time for party faithful to dust off partisan narratives, talking heads to grow reputations, business community to donate to ensure loyalty, the media to fill time slots with meaningless chatter AND to make money…

      We have established financial literacy is limited which means many who want to appear intelligent have no choice to allow themselves to be immersed in vacuous positions.

  25. @ David January 2, 2022 1:42 PM:
    Hopefully part 2 will be made known on the campaign trail. The anticipation is government will be forced to enter a more stringent IMF program given the worsening global landscape as it relates to tourism. (Unquote).

    Are you coming around to the real reason behind MAM calling ‘snap’ elections?

    Why would a government- with such a handsome majority to make whimsical Constitutional changes at will and with a popular leader, both at home and abroad- make such a hot-headed political move in the midst of a pandemic and dangerously high levels of unemployment unless there is much more serious stuff in the economic mortar than a simple irritant like a weak and still unpopular Opposition on the local political playing field?

    Isn’t the nurses’ cock-up just a mere distraction which could be easily resolved even with Caswell’s being a mere fly in the ointment?

    Did the increase in the minimum wage or moving to a republic create similar scenarios to trigger such a ‘premature’ decision to call elections in such an uncertain tourism season?

    Maybe the IMF bosses saw an early draft of the Estimates showing a massive increase in the deficit and said: ‘Fc***k that for a game of soldiers’.

    Wheel and come again dear MAM, if Barbados wants to continue to be on financial life support to avoid any pending debt default and credit-rating downgrades leading to a currency adjustment aka further devaluation of its Mickey mouse dollar.

  26. Pop Populism Pop Music
    There is only one person with lyrics to beat Mia and the means to save Barbados
    It is not John Kingsland Knox the useless dumb son of a former plantation owner
    It is Rihanna / Full name Robyn Rihanna Fenty / Barbadian singer

    Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)”

  27. Since Barbados was formed it kept meticulous records of their subjects properties and assets and hence the Eligible Voters list is complete with all people who can now run for office if they file the necessary paperwork forthwith, which includes those home and abroad. Jah know who feels it knows it the living is hard .

    Half Pint – Living Is Hard

  28. @DAvid
    “. Unfortunately the majority of the electorate becomes intoxicated by the ‘pageantry’ of the campaign with no regard for the substance and the role of the citizenry.”

    Therein lies the problem. One which is masterfully exploited by the political class with capitalist backing ever 4-5 years to the detriment of the masses. Round and round the mulberry bush we go

  29. News at 10
    Status Update
    A little Island in the Caribbean Sun is claiming economic hardship and poverty, especially among African Slave Descendants who are not blessed to be in the top percentile which includes wealthy whites and nouveau riche.

    (Move Along…. There Is Nothing To See Here… (Acronym: NTSH))


  30. @ David:

    “. Unfortunately the majority of the electorate becomes intoxicated by the ‘pageantry’ of the campaign with no regard for the substance and the role of the citizenry.”

    Welcome to the club! For years now those who don’t drink the Duopoly’s cool aid have been saying that campaigns were like extensions of Crop Over.

    Deal with it now: How did we expect to plant peppers and reap corn.

    To all the apologists:
    If we have to live with COVID, would it not have been basic common sense to plan a General Election first, with this in mind, rather than call an election and create more chaos within the environment and challenges , that COVID would obviously induce.
    But, you are so blinded by party loyalty and maximum leader ignorance , that you are here on BU and elsewhere , intellectualising and shamelessly trying to defend pure BS.

    • @William

      You are aware this behaviour is not unique to Barbados. There is a global apathy which seems to be affecting how we regard civic responsibility.

  31. Therein lies the problem. One which is masterfully exploited by the political class with capitalist backing ever 4-5 years to the detriment of the masses. Round and round the mulberry bush we go





  32. People down with Covid are most probably from both sides of the fence
    (Anti-Vaxers / Conspiracy Theorists may be worst affected)

  33. The PM has exposed her political Shameful nakedness for all to see
    Decides that such an important issue as Constitutional rights should be dealt with by novice govt officials
    A Constitutional issue that points in her direction to seek resolution
    Rather than approach the issues in a rightful and Constitutional manner she let’s the matter hangs as a political football to further divide the country
    As the rght Hon . Errol Barrow once said the day would come when Barbadians would no longer recognize their country
    The time has finally arrived as the PM hides in a place of comfort away from the cries of the people asking not for their rights to be taken away

  34. @ David
    Can you for once address the immediacy of what is happening in our country today. Don’t you think it’s pathetic and dastardly to constantly behave as if we all don’t know that similar problems exist elsewhere. This shit ass response to every single honest critique of our island state is puerile.
    In the USA, everybody knows there are attempts to disenfranchise Black people .What the hell this has to do with us planning a frigging election before we planned how to counter the challenges that COVID will obviously cause.
    It’s a frigging pity that you continue to join the politically inebriated clowns on BU that continue to address serious issues with this us and them BS.

    • No William, it is the point Pacha makes to you all the time. What happens in Barbados cannot be divorced from the reality of what is happening about us including economic considerations. We depend on tourism and international businesses which is externally driven. We are signatories to many international treaties that have ratified locally etc. Our economy is seriously impacted based on imported inflation AND many factors that influence our culture.


  35. @ John A
    What are you going to tax.? We are engaging in circular argumentation. Is the Barbados economy comprised only of those sectors producing for exports? GoB’s remit is to provide short term interventions that give the Private sectors time to reboot. What are you with your one door shop in the Bush doing post COVID ?
    BUT you are correct . This Election is a digression from the important tasks of managing the pandemic and devising a post COVID Economic Plan. It diverts the Public and Private sectors creative energies and achieves nothing except further unnecessary tinkering with trivia..

  36. @ David BU

    I agree with you. It is time to change the narratives. The current narratives’ shelf life has expired. They no longer reflect the realities on the ground. Moreover the political, economic and social environments have mutated or are mutating.

  37. Reality Check
    For two years now World Leaders have been managing Covid and putting normal life and business on pause and planning contingencies such as lockdowns, vaccination programs and extra health care required

    There is some thinking that peak Covid crises has been reached and after a two year uphill struggle the path forward may be flat or downhill and easier to navigate

    A snap election is a reboot and reset for a 5 year window for the new Government in the Republic of Barbados, although consensus believes it will be more of the same and another term for the incumbent regime with some minor changes in their team and Parliament and elected opposition

    Freedom from Being Caught in the Past or the Future | Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh,

  38. @ vincent

    Exactly the point. As we know they are only 2 ways to deal with our problem. 1 is to spend less the other is to tax more. It’s a case of pick your poison. There is nothing on the immediate horizon that will grow the economy other than promises of this project and hopes of that one starting. What we need is a firm economic plan shared with the populace so that all involved can plot their path.

    Last government we cuss for printing money. This one we could cuss for borrowing and running a large deficit with no plan shared for its reduction.

    6 of 1 and half dozen of the other one I say.

  39. @Skinner, u disdain it as an excuse to not address local issues when in fact it is simply a reasonable explanation of HUMAN psychology. It fits quite squarely into a variant of your other well worn ‘duopoly’ phrase to just say bluntly: we like it so!

    I too say it myself that “this behaviour is not unique to Barbados [that] [t]here is a global apathy which seems to be affecting how we regard civic responsibility”.

    I see it ​as a realization that we behave just as the many others we criticize whether in free US, communist Russia, former apartheid SA or any dictatorial regime !

    It’s NOT an excuse, brother. It’s the stark reality of human behaviour. You cannot divorce it from how we have been socialized in the last 50 plus years and thus how it has shaped our expectations.

    It has nothing to do with events is the US or others specifically because as we repeat ad nauseum all politics must focus on local issues. But of course we will mimic acts anywhere if we thing they will benefit us.

    Why do you think that several countries still only maintain 2 main political parties …. this is not a treatise on party structures but we really need to get over this fundamental and call the spade black and be done with it.

    Even in countries like Canada where there is a determined multi party structure there still is DOMINATION at the federal level of basically a 2-party reality!

    Canada offers too an excellent example (in very simple blog explanation terms) of 1) a 3rd party (Québécois) getting into the big time because they were delivering (literally and figuratively) a diametrically different political narrative and 2) other 3rd parties evolved via the maverick/disenchanted/ambitious persona from the other two party groups … like your NDP.

    Two parties are sustained in Bim for ALL the reasons the pol scientists advise … principally there is NOTHING different and distinguishing to generate great interest in offering a vote to another party! …. Definitely no French (Spanish maybe) separatist; or Green party activist in Bim.

    So you can argue your duopoly till the WI win a test championship again (not in our life time 🤔 😇) but it ain’t going to change reality bro: there is nothing or no compelling visionary to get behind!

    Incidentally, were you not part of our best alternative vision in Bdos years ago … it boomed and then fell flat … So why do you still try to square that circle so vigorously … how do you see the next alternate evolving!!!!!

    I gone.

    ​And yes @David … let’s get intoxicated with some ole Brigand and some puncha-creama on this “‘pageantry’ of the campaign”. Time enough to show “regard for the substance and the role of the citizenry”…. the deficits and that NIS hole will solve themselves, right!

    May the Creator Bless the Republic.! 😇


  40. @ John A January 3, 2022 8:07 AM

    Tax revenue? If I see it correctly, we have no possibility whatsoever to receive foreign currency through tax revenues.

    If you tax our locals, all you get is worthless Barrow dollars. Or do you want to curb consumption so that imports fall?

  41. Where is John…am watching a 2:26 minute TikTok video where they are using these tiny strips to test for Covid 19 in tap water in the US and all indications are that the water is positive for the virus…

    been telling people for years to distill or BOIL their tap water, stop drinking it cause ya never know..

  42. @ DPD
    All I ask for is a more focused look at ourselves rather than constantly trying to tell us what we already know.
    I honestly don’t think anybody on BU, is ignorant as to what goes on on in the “outside world”.
    In many instances, we are “ more developed” than the USA and elsewhere.

  43. Dribbler you are right about the Quebecois be a different party from the other two. They sit in parliament get paid by canadian tax payers and there only goal was and is the break up of the country . If you remember Lucien Bouchard the leader who lost his leg to flesh eating disease. all I can say about that guy is even the disease could only stomach so much of him.

  44. @JohnA
    if Mr Spot On was still contributing, you would hear of the “Inheritance Tax”. The tax I find most difficult to circumvent is the “Capital Gains” tax. The tax free status of dividends between incorporated entities is another. Etc Etc
    The partial default was exploratory surgery. Appreciate, as debt consumes society, any default or delay, is an indirect tax on those who have money. People/entities who don’t have money don’t own debt instruments.(other than credit cards or mortgages)
    It allowed continuation ‘as is’. While they set about discovering exactly the condition of various entities. And the obligations they had made, or committed to making. Every govt “hopes” revenue will rise?
    Now a re-set is required.
    Beyond taxes, there are several other tools.
    I am confident, the PM and her close circle know already what changes loom. But don’t expect them to be made public….yet. That will happen post election. Fresh with a renewed mandate from the people!!!
    And while @David would like discussion, this is one of the costs of the widespread failures to report and account.

  45. William…fixing incompetence should not be a battle and require so much time and long talk……because the long and short of it, outside of all the corruption and selloutism that requires some JAIL TIME TO FIX PERMANENTLY, ask Donville, what is holding the island and people back is incompetence leaking out of those sucking on the taxpayers….coupled with HIDING critical information from the population that would propel them forward….at least the people are on to the latter and they are not impressed, but based on what is being disseminated on certain platforms, many are providing the information needed, so woe unto those who believe they can continue to trap the people and BOX THEM IN…

    am very impressed with what am seeing…some very hard work has gone into all of it and BEARING FRUIT.

  46. “I am confident, the PM and her close circle know already what changes loom. But don’t expect them to be made public….yet. That will happen post election. Fresh with a renewed mandate from the people!!!”

    A young bull and an old bull stood at the top of a hill, looking down upon the valley below where hundreds of cows were grazing.

    “Hey! Let’s run down this hill and fuck one of those cows!” exclaimed the young bull.

    “No.” stated the old bull. After a moment he continued “Let’s walk down the hill and fuck all of them.”

  47. Maybe you need to think about it as they do?
    If those to whom you owed, had no right to claim against your assets. maybe you would think like them?

  48. I will put on my global bankers hat and take a brief pause for the cause to be a little bit more serious
    why have people got issues with Government issuing J Bonds to acknowledge creditors sums owed
    it’s better than giving them nowt to be stock holding creditors in debtors list behind secured creditors

  49. I will be going for 3 of the Holy Cows Batman I am respectful of the sanctity of the cow,
    the cow is representative of divine and natural beneficence and should be protected

  50. Waru
    January 2, 2022 5:50 PM


    SSS…pure shit…

    hope ya bambina is doing well…you also…

    If you can tell me amongst the collective of wannabe leaders and aspiring politicians that can command the respect of the internationally community the way Mottley did, I am all ears. Sometimes we got to look at the bigger picture and the bigger picture is that Mottley can make things happen for Barbados. more so than any other leader that went before her and certainly more than any other leader that will come after her. The woman has made an indelible mark in the international community and that is a community we need to attract to Barbados if we want the wheels of upward mobility to be properly greased again. It makes no sense going with the DLP because the Stuart stain remains nasty on the minds of nearly all bajans. Verla Depeiza is weak, full stop. The entire line up of DLP prospects are weak, full stop and the coalition of parties is simply a waste at this time because the dice will always land on B or D, full stop..

  51. Perhaps it is better to stop looking at Mia as a Barbadian
    but as a black person on planet earth
    (same goes for all of y’all)
    and, when you check it out
    colour is only skin deep
    and you need to go deep inside
    the interior of your energy brain

  52. (Quote)
    Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley says in the coming months, some tough decisions will have to be made to secure the future of Barbados. (unquote).

    Straight from the red horse’s mouth!

    Hobson’s choice indeed!

    V.De.P will be a fool to try to be the one saddled with the inescapable duty of having to go down infamy as the ‘mother’ responsible for administering the bitter economic medicine the Bajan children had coming their way for a long, long time.

    MAM! Here is a piece of advice involving the sacrifice of your own egotistical soul if you want to be the Joan d’Arc of the Bajan political landscape:

    Never let a crisis (especially one involving the perfect alibi called a pandemic) go to waste!

  53. “Straight from the red horse’s mouth”

    The Mia Motley Matrix Sequel
    The terms “red pill” and “blue pill” refer to a choice between the willingness to learn a potentially unsettling or life-changing truth by taking the red pill or remaining in contented ignorance with the blue pill.

  54. We all know Barbados Underground is BLP
    But, is BLP the Barbabdos Underground
    or. is it the CIA

    Slave master I am the shepherd of my pasture
    and if we don’t get what we desire
    we’ll set your plantations on fire


    According to unconfirmed reports, Canadians are suspending flights to Barbados because of the high rate of infection in our country.

    I hold the vaccination opponents from the DLP and BAMP solely responsible for this.

  56. De Government task with

    •   Providing public goods. ...
    •   Managing Externalities. ...
    •   Government Spending. ...
    •   Distribution of Income. ...
    •   Budget. ...
    •   Taxation. ...
    •   National Insurance 

    Barbados is a state without natural resources. De country will continue to borrow creatively.

    We can’t afford to burden de people with additional taxes to resolve our National Debt.

    Sugarcane gone, de Tourist Industry is your guess and de oil is wishful thinking. All we have is indigenous (smart) GreenMonkeys.

    Full circle, it doesn’t…Stop.

  57. @Tron
    While unconfirmed, it relates to the level of infections in Canada, most specifically amongst airline staff.
    They are also playing to Gov of Canada guidelines. When you have received untold millions in ‘economic support’ the recipients have to be careful, and potentially expectant of more?

  58. @ Really?

    “Never let a crisis (especially one involving the perfect alibi called a pandemic) go to waste!”


    We live in a Cinderella World. We’re all part of the same narrative.

  59. @Wily CoyoteJanuary 3, 2022 4:03 AM

    I am in no way criticising our Supreme Leader, the party or the state. Not at all.

    I am merely pointing out that our Supreme Leader rules in an underdeveloped country. With our laziness of the masses, poverty of resources, threats from forces of nature, cockroaches, rats, other pest and DLP, not even the best leader in the world can conjure up economic growth.

    We will never again have permanent growth that is sufficient, that significantly reduces debt.

    In 1834, personal slavery was abolished. The arrogant Barrow introduced financial slavery for the black masses through IMF and international banks in 1966. I seriously wonder why Nelson was removed but not Barrow the architect of the syndicate called DLP.

  60. @ Northern

    Well if we want the economy to pick up the first thing we have to do is to stop paying people with bonds and give them spendable cash!

    There is also no room left in the bajans wallet for further taxation. So that leaves one option. A shrunken state apparatus and some attempt to still try and pull a few more cents out the tax payers empty wallet.

    Anyhow I see the PM has admitted they are some serious decisions to be made so we await the news AFTER elections.

  61. @ John A at 8:40 AM

    There were serious decisions to be made since May 18 2018. After January 19 2022, there will still be serious decisions to be made. GoB is always in the Serious Decision Business.

  62. @ John A January 4, 2022 8:40 AM

    The civil service is unreformable in a country where hard work is considered slavery.

    In my opinion, a new debt cut is the most realistic option. For example, our government could replace the securities of the NIS and the domestic masses, which run at interest, with interest-free papers and extend the maturity to 100 years.

    This would allow our government to continue to maintain the illusion that we are afloat as a state. The indigenous masses will certainly believe this given the fact that they know nothing about finance.

  63. Sending enuff 🍺🍺
    I hear Mrs Ram got a washpan of JBonds to sell.
    Will be a race to see if Hyatt or whatever is built before the Bond matures 😃


    Private sector warns of likely closures due to Omicron impact on productivity
    By Colville Mounsey

    Barbadians are being told to brace for the likelihood of more business closures in the coming weeks because of major losses in productivity due to the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
    The warning comes from president of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Trisha Tannis, who said based on research conducted by her organisation, business entities (based on size) have already lost between $50 000 to $500 000 in the last three months alone due to the Delta variant.
    With a recent University of the West Indies projection showing that the proliferation of the Omicron variant could go as high as 3 500 daily cases at peak, Tannis said that it was almost inevitable that a number of businesses would buckle under the pressure.
    Possible peak
    The epidemiological model shows that on the high end, due to the presence of the Omicron variant, Barbados could peak at over 900 cases per hundred thousand daily, a 720 per cent increase from the Delta variant, which recorded 125 cases per one hundred thousand at its peak. The study shows that at three per cent, the peak in hospital would be 688, while at 1.2 per cent the peak in hospital would be at 198 people.
    “Even though we are still getting more feedback from our members, I can tell you that the early reports are showing us losses in productivity of $50 000 to $500 000 and that is per entity. Some entities lost just below $100 000 in productivity, while others, depending on their size, had losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. What is alarming is that our survey only covers a threemonth period,” Tannis said.
    The BPSA head further noted: “As frightening and as aggressively impacting as Omicron is to the community, businesses are feeling it in the same manner. It is a copy and paste; you cannot have an exponential increase in community spread of Omicron and not have an exponential increase and impact on the private sector. So we have to expect business closures as a result of this and all we can do is encourage the private sector to seek whatever legal opinion that they can at this time and to do whatever they have to do to protect jobs and their businesses.”
    Tannis said it was regrettable that a consensus could not be arrived at among the Social Partnership on the issue of safe zones or mandatory vaccinations, which would have offered some protection to the business sector during the coming surge.
    She further explained that it was for this reason that the private sector could no longer wait on a national policy on safe zones, making it clear that over the next six weeks businesses would be moving full steam ahead with their own operation protocols allowable under the law.
    “We have no choice at this time because we have to protect not just businesses but livelihoods as well. The reality is that if businesses are going to be failing, the livelihoods attached to those businesses are also at risk. We cannot sit down, and we can no longer wait, given the threat that Omicron presents at this time. So we will have to move ahead within the four corners of the law with our own protection measures,” Tannis said.
    Tannis pointed out this was an issue which the business sector had been flagging months before the arrival of the Omicron variant, contending that there was a failure to be proactive in the face of the threat.
    “We would have spoken before on the safe zone protocols and it is known that the private sector has been advocating for either mandatory vaccination or regular testing protocols in the workforce. The Delta variant has certainly caused tremendous reductions in productivity and increases in cost at the same time. You have to consider the cost of quarantining, the cost of absenteeism and the cost of keeping workers safe. Omicron has now taken this to a whole new level and for us it reemphasises the call for us to have, at the very least, proactive screening protocols in the workplace. So our position that we had then has not changed – it is only now more urgent and aggressive,” she said.

    Source: Nation

  65. Pingback: Policy Performance and Outlook (Part 2) | Barbados Underground

    • The point that is not stressed enough is the urgent need to establish a cohesive framework to generate relevant decision making AND precise execution. We can develop all these policies but it always seem we are dragging civil society actors along.

      We have to facilitate an environment that enthusiastically welcomes innovation and creativity in a world that has become super competitive.

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