In recent weeks the country has been consumed with the news about an IDB/Barbados government survey administered by some schools to 11 year olds without the consent of parents. Yesterday Member of Parliament for St. Michael North West Neil Rowe was charged with rape and is scheduled to appear in Court this morning to formally answer to the charge. Not to forget his month the number of murders surpassed prior year.
These issues should not make us lose focus of the perilous state of the economy. Despite the narratives being pushed by talking heads about improved credit ratings, reduced debt and the security blanket BERT II affords, there is reality that has not changed. The Barbados economy is almost entirely dependent on tourism and to a lesser degree international business. How many Barbadians are aware there is a negative outlook for the global economy by the IMF for 2023 with growth predicted to slow to 2.7%? To quote the IMF – “2023 will feel like a recession for millions around the world”.
Yesterday one of the blogmaster’s favourite talk show moderators Dr. Kristina Hinds hosted an interesting program which focused on the BERT II plan. The blogmaster suspects many Barbadians would have preferred to discuss other matters. A important distinction was made by economists on the panel to separate fiscal management and performance of the economy. The 2018 debt restructure executed to reduce debt to GDP, implementation of BOSS programs, BERT II etc are fiscal initiatives designed to stabilize the economy by creating “fiscal space” (the most used economic term since 2018) that hopefully enable a climate for the economy to grow.
- See BERT II Plan
The stark reality after all the pretty talk, the Barbados economy is over reliant on tourism as are several countries in the Caribbean. The political and economic challenges being played out in one of our key tourism markets do not augur well to spur growth in the local economy. What have we done in recent years to engineer a more resilient economy given the many learnings coming out of the pandemic? The blogmaster is not unsympathetic to the enormity of the task to breath life into other sectors of the economy to create economic opportunities AND foreign exchange. That said, there isn’t the urgency to explore, adopt and execute non traditional projects. Take for example the slow rate of execution of of a Renewable Energy Plan highlighted several times in the media by BAPE President Trevor Browne.
BAPE has the unfortunate responsibility to advise that unless urgent and fundamental changes are made to the current progression of the Barbados Sustainable Energy transformation, the brilliant vision of converting Barbados to 100 per cent sustainable energy by 2030 is doomed to join these other outstanding conceptual masterpieces in the recycle bin.BAPE call for urgent changes to energy plan
If energy is critical to having a measure of control on a key cost driver in the economy as well as create NEW economic opportunity, why are we not executing with haste a relevant energy plan? There is a deer in headlights approach to managing our affairs that is depressing. If Barbados is to transform to a model small island developing state (SID), a reputation it enjoyed in the 70s and 80s, the Social Partnership will have to wheel and come again. Believe you me!