Alternate Views – Put Barbados first

Kemar J.D Stuart, Economist and Director Business Development , Finance and Investment Stuart & Perkins Caribbean

Barbados on December 7th will be heading into another IMF program named BERT 2.0. The PM of Barbados said in a recent press conference that next 2023 will be hard for all of us.

Barbadians are in a serious economic pit as the global economy is set to run into turmoil and price inflation will push the cost of living /goods& services to higher as the festive holiday season kicks in.

Minister of Industry Davidson Ishmael recently recommended Bajan consumers to buy local as , as far back at October 2018, government placed VAT on online transactions to encourage local shopping. With NSRL removed local prices were supposed to drop instead they increased. While patriotic by Minister Ishmael the high cost of living in Barbados has been eroding paychecks and savings as people are shopping according to what’s affordable to their pockets.

In July, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced a Social Partners Food Prices Compact that would result in a reduction of prices on 47 items for a six-month period In September 2022 government minister Kirk Humphrey admitted that the Prime Minister’s compact has failed to provide an ease to consumers from price increases because businesses did not stick to the prices protocol that was agreed to with the private sector and government. The continued onslaught of price increases in Barbados was further highlighted by the Barbados Consumer Empowerment Network on Dec 2022 and with Christmas around the corner price gouging will be worse.

The Mottley government has collected the highest levels of tax revenue ever in the history of Barbados as a result of high prices. Since the pandemic the governor of the central bank said in publications that government has reaped significant revenues from what he termed an inflation dividend therefore tax payers should expect no tax relief. Before the 2018 debt restructuring government had the ability to raise money by attracting investment locally. The absence of this traditional money led to government using the taxation route to raise these funds instead hence the garbage and sewage tax, gas tax, land taxes , levies and fees . Unfortunately citizens should expect taxes increases as a condition of BERT 2.0 set to replenish the $1B hole on the central bank’s balance sheet , repair the NIS $1B debt hole. All attempts to raise money locally by government did not meet the intended targets for e.g BOSS , BOSS 2.0 nor the central bank 120 M bond offerings.

This inability to raise capital locally is very problematic and serious attention should be paid to it as money is needed to get projects such as Hyatt moving. The continued stalling of Hyatt should be questioned as Developer Mark Maloney said in November 2019 that details of this investment potential would be shared by the financial institution arranging the funding even as he and his team await Town Planning permission to start building. Since then Town & Country went under serious changes internally, A new planning and development act 2019 was passed , A planning & Development amendment bill was also passed , a new director of planning and development was appointed.

Further evidence of how problematic the situation is that in March 2020 PM Mia Mottley said that following meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the next two weeks, she was hoping to get a “relaxation” on the targets under the four-year Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation programme, and a stand-by “precautionary” financing facility. This, she said, would allow her 22-month-old administration to “move quicker” on other capital projects that would have otherwise not been accommodated. Back in November last year, Prime Minister Mia Mottley during the official opening of the Golden Square Freedom Park suggested that the construction of the proposed Hyatt Centric Resort could commence early in 2022.

To solidify my point of the seriousness of situation at play , In September 2022 Senior Minister in the Pm’s office William Duguid announced that work will start soon on the Hyatt he said: “I understand that the Hyatt had some setbacks with its financing but they are soon about to start the construction of the Hyatt.”

The inability of government to gain investment on the local market is severely impacting government’s ability to ease taxes despite having a surplus of revenue earned mostly by said taxes ,also it does not provide government with the incentive to intervene by shielding consumers from price increases. As taxation is charged as a percentage of price common knowledge would say that higher prices in stores and supermarkets gives the tax collector a higher rate of return.

In the face of a certain 2023 world recession Barbadian households will be paying an FTC & light & power agreed price increase in electricity bills , the privatization of the BWA and increase in water bills , the leasing out of GAIA airport for 40 years , demolition of non-contributory pension and an increase in NIS contribution rates ,job losses in government and further price increases in the supermarkets and government services. The income of the middle /low income earners is dwindling and the debt restructuring has caused market failure in local investment markets & repair of the trust with local investors is essential to providing an ease in the cost of Bajan living

The king of all monsters is the continuation of expenditure cuts in Barbados’ IMF program and by extension cuts in money to all government ministries , the pension reform, as currently happening in Uruguay are workers protest against government for increasing pension age from 60-65, Barbados’ pension age may go to 72. the downsizing and privatization of many government operations include Urban & Rural, CBC & Transport board and an end to covid expenses ,cutting of the adopt a family $600 program and ash program expenses which indeed will feature lay offs.

46 thoughts on “Alternate Views – Put Barbados first

  1. “Snoring”
    (from “Insecure, Season 5” soundtrack)

    Feel like I been running in place
    Toes on the gas, no brakes (No brakes)
    Bullshit calling, I’m ignoring (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
    Been that nigga, they been snoring
    Taking risks, I got a lot at stake (At Stake)
    I don’t see no need to play it safe (Ah)
    Bullshit calling, I’m ignoring (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
    Been that nigga, they been snoring
    Snoring, been that nigga, they been-

    Eyes on the prize, keep it going (Going)
    Full speed, I ain’t ever slowing (Never slowing)
    Stress on me, but I never show it
    Never show it (Yeah, yeah)
    Pressure makes diamonds
    I been looking for the silver lining
    These days it’s getting hard to find it
    But someday it’ll fall into alignment, yeah
    Keep it ten toes, that’s just how it goes
    I ain’t looking backwards, only moving forward
    Give me patience, I’m talking to the Lord

    Feel like I been running in place
    Toes on the gas, no brakes (No brakes)
    Bullshit calling, I’m ignoring
    Been that nigga, they been snoring (Snoring)
    Taking risks, I got a lot at stake (At Stake)
    I don’t see no need to play it safe (Ah)
    Bullshit calling, I’m ignoring (I’m ignoring)
    Been that nigga, they been snoring

  2. I minding my business. I have no Pm. I am not interested in Bs or Ds. All I need the good Lord will provide. Trust in the Lord and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.😇🙏🏿

  3. Unsure I read the suggestions/proposals for “putting Barbados first”?
    While making the IMF the ‘bad bogey man’ or ‘king of all monsters’ has been central to the DLP playbook for years, the alternative, emptying the cash reserves of the NIS and CBB, didn’t work out very well?
    Political parties and the CBB, are well advised to alter their ‘forever habit’ of forecasting private sector investment. They have minimal control, short of ‘giving them money’. And usually end up with egg on their face.
    And so the author knows, the Hyatt Centric was altered to Hyatt Ziva eons ago, hence the footprint change which required the Rams land. Ziva is ‘all inclusive’. By 2023 it could be Caption by Hyatt, Zilara or another brand completely. It en build yet?
    Any proposals or just criticism?
    The ‘food compact’ failed. Are you proposing price controls? Should the GoB become the sole importer of certain ‘essentials’ and then mandate the private sector to acquire from them? Should we ban the importation of certain items to reduce choice and force consumers to lower cost substitutes?

  4. @David
    The so-called ‘social compact’ was to limit ‘mark ups’ to 12-15% on 44 items?
    The list of items includes:

    Whole chicken, chopped mix chicken, stew chick and chicken backs
    Pork hind legs, stewed pork, knuckles and hocks,
    Beef stew,
    Breakfast oats,
    Sliced ham [VAT to be removed],
    Milo [VAT to be removed],
    Drinking chocolate,
    Evaporated milk,
    Baby food milk,
    2% milk,
    New Zealand cheddar cheese,
    Soya bean or sunflower cooking oil,
    Eclipse biscuits/Soda singles and multipack biscuits,
    Salt bread,
    White sandwich bread [only certain bakeries], Wholewheat bread
    Tuna [oil and water],
    Corned beef,
    Split peas [tinned and fresh]
    Pigeon peas [tinned and fresh],
    Blackeyed peas,
    Sunflower Margarine
    Black tea,
    Cream of wheat,
    Peanut butter,
    Toilet soap,
    Toilet paper,
    Sanitary napkins,
    Baby diapers,
    Single toothbrushes,
    Roll-on deodorant,

    It’s a bit of an odd list, in that some are brands, some country of origin, some product categories? Sanitary napkins but not tampons? Roll-on deodorant but not sticks nor spray? Cornflakes but no other prepared cereal? Macaroni but no other pasta?

    From the outset, the BPSA and BCCI said it could only apply to “their members”.

    Hence wouldn’t the professional act be, the BCEN to show a baseline price in July when the compact began, and then a weekly or monthly price thereafter from ‘member entities’ on the 44 items?

    It can’t be that difficult?

  5. Countries in our region will feel the inflation worst than those say in the USA. The reason is that we must freight these goods out of the same US market, then place our duty of roughly 20% on them followed by our VAT of 17.5%. All of which are calulated on the landed cost here inclusive of freight charges from the USA. Add to this the fact that the Bridgetown port is one of the more expensive ones in the region to ship through and one can get a feel for where that leaves us.

    • Another loan, looks like @NorthernObserver is correct.

      $200M LOAN BID
      Govt seeking more financial support from IDB
      By Shawn Cumberbatch

      Government has applied for a $200 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to help Barbados counter the lingering negative health and economic fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic.
      In December 2020, the IDB approved a $240 million loan to support Barbados’ immediate response to the crisis.
      Now this additional borrowing under the related second loan programme is predicated on Government’s commitment to implement a suite of measures, including making financial resources available to “manage the health consequences of COVID-19, and attain the required level of health services to manage and/or suppress future COVID-19 cases”.
      Also proposed is the development of a plan to address capitalisation and structural issues of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS); and a review of the need to extend or terminate the deferment of employers’ contributions to the NIS in the post-pandemic period.
      Government also wants
      to “undertake comprehensive tax administration improvements to strengthen the Barbados Revenue Authority and Customs enforcement capabilities”.
      Details of the Programme To Strengthen Public Policy And Fiscal Management In Response To The Health And Economic Crisis Caused By COVID-19 In Barbados II are outlined in a 35-page loan proposal published on Wednesday.
      Additionally, Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Ryan Straughn wrote in a November 18 policy letter to acting IDB president Reina Irene Mejía Chacón that Barbados needed the $200 million in budgetary support because “in the short term . . . the lasting impact of the pandemic continues to weigh on economic activity, while the outlook remains uncertain in light of global economic spillovers emanating from the evolving war in Ukraine.
      “Barbados’ economy is expected to grow 11.2 per cent by 2022, supported by a recovery in tourism. Among the risks facing our economy are a further lengthening of the pandemic economic consequences, an intensification of the war in Ukraine that could further increase global commodity prices, and repeated natural disasters, aggravated by climate change,” Straughn said.
      “These issues continue to put pressure on our economic recovery and represent a major challenge for the Government in the medium term,” he added.
      The Barbados loan proposal said that the general development objective of the new programme is to “strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of public policy and fiscal management in Barbados in response to the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, through the design and implementation of effective and fiscally responsible policy measures.
      “The specific development
      objectives are to promote the availability and timely execution of public resources to respond to the health crisis caused by COVID-19; strengthen the countercyclical effect of fiscal policy through the temporary introduction of measures to protect the income of vulnerable households, and increase liquidity for businesses during the health and economic crisis; and promote economic and fiscal recovery during the post-pandemic period,” it stated.
      Barbados’ use of the first $240 million loan included spending on medical supplies, purchase of medicines, the Value Added Tax Loan Fund, the Small Business Wage Fund, Small Hotel Investment Fund, the Barbados Economic and Sustainable Transformation Programme, Agriculture Development Fund, Household Survival Programme, Business Interruption Benefit, the Home Ownership Providing Energy, the creative industries stimulus and the COVID-19 Relief Programme.
      The new $200 million loan, which the IDB said will be released in a single disbursement, once approved, has four components, the first one focused on macroeconomic stability.
      In addition to COVID-19 and health-related initiatives already mentioned, the second part will “realise any potential increases in health personnel to support COVID-19 efforts”.
      Thirdly, the programme is about “strengthening public policy and fiscal management to respond to the economic crisis”.
      It will include an assessment of programmes introduced to support Barbadians
      during the pandemic, and measures to support economic recovery in the post-pandemic period. These included a programme to support small and medium enterprises to help boost business continuity in an online environment; and a new Sustainable Industrial Development Bill
      approved by the Cabinet.
      Straughn said in his letter to the acting IDB boss that the fourth component was about economic and fiscal strengthening for the postpandemic period. This included implementation of the following measures:
      • A progress report of the measures prioritised by
      the Jobs and Investment Council.
      • Approval of a draft Customs Bill.
      • Legislative amendments to strengthen tax
      revenue take, reduce tax expenditures and update fiscal incentive regulations.
      • Simplifying the tariff structure under the
      Customs Act by Order.
      • Strengthening macro-fiscal management by
      developing a procedural fiscal rule.
      • Approval of an Excise and VAT holiday on
      electric vehicles for 24 months commencing April 1, 2022.
      • Approval of a Draft Climate Change and Fiscal
      Work Plan.

      Source: Nation

    • Mottley, Cuban President to talk
      The status of bilateral initiatives between Barbados and the Republic of Cuban will come under review when Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and President Miguel Díaz-Canel meet tomorrow.
      The Cuban leader will be in Barbados for a state visit and to participate in the Eighth CARICOM-Cuba Summit on Tuesday.
      Both events will commemorate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Barbados and Cuba, as well as CARICOM-Cuba relations which were established on December 8, 1972, by four CARICOM member states – Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
      Healthy relations
      Barbados and Cuba have maintained healthy and productive relations. Cuba has operated its embassy in Bridgetown since 1994, while Barbados inaugurated its embassy in Havana in September 2010.
      With the recent announcement by the Cuban government that foreign majority participation will now be allowed in the areas of wholesale and retail, two key areas of priority for cooperation are biotechnology and trade and investment.
      Mottley and Díaz-Canel are also expected to jointly host the laying of wreaths ceremony at the Cubana Monument in Paynes Bay, St James, in remembrance of the 73 passengers and crew of the Cubana Airlines flight that perished on October 6, 1976.
      It is scheduled for Tuesday,
      following the conclusion of the summit.

    • Tribunal ruling against Sandy Lane
      Last month the Employment Rights Tribunal delivered a decision regarding a claim of unfair dismissal made by Alfred Branch against Sandy Lane Hotel Co. Ltd. It ruled that Mr Branch was unfairly dismissed when Sandy Lane summarily dismissed him from employment on February 4, 2014.
      Before you rush to judgement and say the tribunal always rules in favour of employees (which is not true), let me give you some context.
      This is the second unfavourable ruling Sandy Lane received this year regarding an employment claim made by former employees. Earlier this year, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled against Sandy Lane and upheld the findings of the Barbados Court of Appeal and affirmed that three former employees – Cato, Johnson and Poyer – had been wrongfully dismissed from the hotel. The CCJ ruled it was unlawful for Sandy Lane to dismiss these employees without following its own disciplinary procedures, adding that it cannot arbitrarily choose when to adhere to or ignore its own procedures.
      Now, let’s speak of the tribunal’s decision. Mr Branch was summarily dismissed because of a letter he issued to the general manager, the tone of which the general manager did not like and which contained a statement the company deemed threatening. In 2010 Mr Branch received a written warning for poor performance, to which he objected on the ground that the company’s rules stated that in the first instance of poor performance a verbal warning (and not a written one) should be issued. Despite several efforts to challenge the written warning and have
      his concerns properly ventilated, no meeting was convened to allow this.
      As a last resort, Mr Branch decided to escalate the matter to the chairman based on a 2008 memorandum which advised employees “about any actions that might publicly affect the company’s good name” . . . that “if anyone has concerns they feel are not being dealt with, the internal procedures must firstly be followed, after which the director of finance, myself and the chairman are always available to resolve”.
      Mr Branch issued a letter dated January 27, 2014, advising the general manager of his intention to resort to the chairman and ended it with the words: “I intend to entertain the chairman’s plea to make him last resort before taking the good name of Sandy Lane Hotel into disrepute.” The company viewed this last sentence as a threat and instituted disciplinary proceedings against him.
      Not only did the company refuse to allow Mr Branch to discuss the written warning, which was the very reason he had written the letter for which he was now being disciplined, but it rejected his explanation that his last sentence was not intended as a threat, but that he meant he wanted to consult with the chairman rather than take the hotel’s name into disrepute.
      During the hearing, he was repeatedly questioned as to what action he would take if the chairman did not agree to his views and Mr Branch replied: “I am not prepared to go there. I have not met with the chairman as yet.” The hotel deemed this response unsatisfactory and terminated him on the ground that it had lost all trust and confidence in him.
      In its decision, the Employment Rights Tribunal rejected the submission of Sandy Lane that Mr Branch had been given a fair disciplinary hearing.
      “The tribunal does not accept the submission . . . that the formalistic ticking of boxes for the purposes of compliance of Part A of the Fourth Schedule meets the requirements of the Act. Certainly, the restriction on what could be discussed by the claimant at the hearing undermined the contention that he was provided with a full opportunity to be heard.” The tribunal found that Mr Branch’s letter was not a threat and that, as a result, the dismissal was unfair.
      Employers should be careful not to fetter what matters an employee wishes to use in his or her defence. The tribunal also included in its judgment some useful advice for HR professionals.
      Michelle M. Russell is an attorney with a passion for employment law and labour matters and she is a social activist. Email:

      Source: Nation

  6. David,

    Am I on the list of those who can mash up but cyah build back?

    Still here and reading the blog but sometimes one has nothing to say that one hasn’t already said.

    I seldom offer my solutions here because they all have to do with changing mindsets. Most of you guys seem not to be interested or even believe that it can be done.

    But when has a serious attempt been made?

    Bad habits are not changed by occasional speeches, lectures or remark-dropping.

    • @Donna

      It is a general comment referring to our prevailing and pervading culture. BU simply reflects at a micro level who we are as a people.

  7. There is a time lag for enlightened thinking on Bu
    first people will read someone else’s intelligent thoughts
    then they will pretend they didn’t notice the original
    then they will think about it
    then they will adopt and disguise the idea and pretend it is their own
    David is an alien collecting good brains to put in his suitcase

  8. Now play the Dubwise excursion version
    silently whispering the lyrics in your mind
    letting the sound vibration ripple resonate
    in your mind body throughout all chakras
    energetically spiritually consciously heartically

  9. David,

    Not my culture to blow up anything unless it needed to be blown up. And my mind is always awash with ideas to build up.

    But what I have discovered is that people want to jump in with some quick fix to a problem. They don’t want to start at the very beginning, which I have long said on BU, is “a very good place to start”.

    Anyone who has been programmed needs to go through a process of deprogramming.

  10. @JohnA
    You have explained how a 50¢ (cost) can of apple juice from NA ends up costing $8
    in a retail store in Bim.
    Yet, this is an import story, which hasn’t changed.
    The GoB attempted to temporarily stem price increases on 44 items.
    Recall, the BCEN was formed at approx the same time as the announcement on duty/VAT temporary changes on 44 items. Mid July ’22.
    The claim made by BCEN
    “The price of goods and services has increased, while a few large players remain in control of the market”
    The latter is true
    The former may also be true, yet, the list only covered 44 goods? Not a service was on that list?
    The GoB was attempting to stem temporarily increases on a few commonly bought goods.
    If the consumer chooses to buy steak, coffee, herbal teas, whole milk or anything NOT on the list, expect increases.
    So under the banner of “consumer advocy” and without concrete examples, we read this
    “The group is asking Barbadian shoppers to put their October and November receipts with names and contact details in the collection box”
    A repeat of the computer test? A name and contact details?
    Maybe I’m off base, but this has a strong odour.

    • @NO

      The pricing in the compact was based on stock in hand not so? The BCCI was clear to point out pricing may change based on the cost of stock to replenish. We need some credible sources to unravel this to remove the political moves. One would have hoped the ministry of commerce was equipped to do this job.


    • @David
      Given it’s immediacy one would think so. The old ‘duty drawback’ regimen known to DF sellers?
      The 👿 is always in the details.
      That would also stop me ordering a year’s worth of corned beef to benefit from no duty.
      How eager I would be to participate, would depend on the current state of GoB payments.
      Wouldn’t want them to get ‘misplaced’ like the tax refunds 😜 And I don’t want any J-Bond either 😂

  11. @ NO

    Yes the problem is that based on the high cost of doing business here no retailer can operated on a 10 or 15% markup indefinately. The kind of sales at this margin required to generate a break even point would mean an increase in sales roungly of 150%. Just do the maths and you will see this.

    Plus remember government is asking the retailer to operate on a 15% markup, yet their fees when compunded on importation say of a 20 foot container comes to over 40%! Yep add the 20% duty the 17.5% vat and the handling fees at port and you over 40% of the landed cost to Barbados.

    Yep we expensive as tail!

  12. No Way To Treat A Lady
    Demographically Bu needs more women and also more younger people (under 50)

    Not the Way / Gregory Isaacs
    Go and tell her you’re sorry
    You ain’t too big to apologize, no
    If you care that much about her
    You gotta treat my sister nice, yeah

    I heard you kick her in the bum even though she’s still your baby
    But that’s not the way to treat a lady
    If she is wrong try show her the right
    No need to quarrel, no need to make a fight
    Beca’ the daughters take a little longer
    To sight up the Father, yeah
    I said the daughters take a little longer
    To do the works of Jah Jah
    Never let her go astray, yeah
    Try show her the right way, yeah

    I heard you kick her in the bum even though she’s still your baby
    But that’s not the way to treat your lady
    If she is wrong try show her the right
    No need to quarrel, no need to make a fight
    Beca’ the daughters take a little longer
    To sight up the Father, yeah
    I said the daughters take a little longer
    To do the works of Jah Jah
    Never let her go astray, yeah
    Try show her the right way, yeah

    She’s your sister
    So don’t mistreat her
    I said the daughters take a little longer
    Daughters take a little longer
    She’ll learn one day
    Never let her go astray, yeah
    She’s your sister
    So don’t mistreat her, no
    She’ll learn one day

    • The report in The Economist did not mention Barbados Central Bank, the Blogmaster asked if our central bank was also stockpiling.

  13. @NO
    I drafted a reply to your point of information but did not post it.
    🙂 I had started to believe NCCI statement that BCEN claim of increasing prices was “Ridiculous”.

    I was surprise when you informed me that the price increase was real. I took it to mean that
    Mia Mottley’s Mysterious and Magnificent Monetary Manipulations and Machinations
    were unsuccessful in halting price increases.

    I am now reading that our Central Bank may be stockpiling gold. 🙂

    You cannot make this stuff up.

    • @TheO

      You seem to be taking a very broad interpretation?
      The GoRoB (for you ❤️) deal with BCCI members was on 44 items.
      Hence the intent was to halt/delay the inflationary effects on those items ONLY.
      All else was ‘normal market conditions’.
      I don’t know about NJ, but my regional govt has done nothing to intervene in food prices.

  14. @ NO

    The gold issue is amusing for sure! So we are allegedly using borrowed FX to buy gold to hedge inflation. So how will that be booked pray tell?

  15. @JohnA
    The accounting is quite simple.
    It only gets complicated if they are buying derivates, and then hedging that too.
    Buying assets with borrowed money is what drives the 🌎.

  16. @ NO

    M point was buying gold in USD when you are tied to the USD in our case is pointless in todays world to fight inflation. The bulk of our inflation is imported in one way or another. Plus we have to pay the inflation cost in USD. To therefore take a chunk of liquid reserves out to park them in gold, when that can not be accessed to work the economy in our case is pointless.

    Yes big countries with surpluses like Russia, or those who can just print more money like the USA, i can understand, but with the bulk of our reserves being borrowed money and us running a sizable deficit, one cant help but ask why take actual currency out of circulation to buy a “sleeping commodity” like gold?

    To each their own I suppose.

    • @ No

      Also remember gold was trading in January 2022 at $1827usd and in December of 2022 so far its at $1769. So with inflation cooling now the flavour for gold should soften.

      Of course that is assuming Putin dont catch a vapse and fire a nuke at his neighbour!

  17. @JohnA
    It was NOT stated the CBB WAS acquiring gold as a hedge?
    But you could examine their “Statement of Condition” over time ‘for amusement’.

    • No quick fix’ for high prices

      THE CHALLENGE OF HIGH FOOD PRICES in Barbados is not likely to be fixed in the short term, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has cautioned.
      Speaking to the media yesterday at the Eighth CARICOM-Cuba Summit
      being held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre,
      she said that with no immediate end in sight to global supply chain issues for key inputs in the making of feed, such as corn, the country’s best bet for lower food prices lay with CARICOM’s plan to reduce the region’s food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
      The Prime Minister disclosed that work is scheduled to begin next year on the promised Guyana-Barbados food terminal, a move which is expected to be a game changer in food security.
      “The deeper issue in terms of being able to reduce the price of corn and the price of other inputs for poultry production and pork production, will require us taking a longer approach.
      “Guyana, for example, set itself the goal that by 2025 it will have enough corn and soya production to deal with all of its domestic production for livestock rearing, but also would be able to contribute to the region’s needs. It takes long to be able to bring that scale of production on and it’s not going to happen overnight,” Mottley said.
      In recent months Government has had to step in and reach an agreement with the country’s sole livestock feed manufacturer to keep rices in check, which at one stage were heading
      for a 19 per cent increase.
      Recently, a newly formed consumer protection body has been crying out over what it has deemed to be “astronomically high” food prices in Barbados.
      Rationale ‘not good enough’
      The Barbados Consumer Empowerment Network complained that based on information from an exporter in the United Kingdom, it was not seeing a good enough rationale for the high prices on the supermarket shelves in Barbados.
      It pointed out that Barbados had no legislation controlling the various mark-ups by retailers or that stopped them from taking advantage of the opportunity to profit from any event, be it a natural disaster or some other occasion.
      While Mottley did not directly respond to claims of the consumer group, she said Barbados needs to get beyond the stage where prices are dictated by economies of scale, noting that with the addition of agro-processing, Barbadians can access costeffective alternatives. She also said that based on the current global challenges, the region may need to go beyond its original marker of 25 per cent reduction within the next three years.
      “In our case you have heard us talk about the Barbados-Guyana Food Terminal and we are at the stage now where business plans are being reviewed. Therefore, we expect come 2023 to be able to see that construction start and that will be able to help facilitate,” she said.
      “We also need the equipment to have the level of agro-processing so that Barbadians are not only forced to access products imported based on our small population, but by the reason of us being able to get involved in agro-processing, we are in a position to ensure
      that more is available to the country, and therefore the prices can drop in a way that is sensible and realistic. So this is a work in progress and most countries did not have the structure for production to meet the national need,” she added. (CLM)

      Source: Nation

    • Cuba to help with food security
      THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY’s (CARICOM) push to reduce its food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025 has received a boost, with Cuba agreeing to help with the food security initiative.
      This was among the key areas of cooperation signed off on before the curtain came down yesterday on the Eighth CARICOM-Cuba Summit, which was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
      Speaking during the post-summit press conference, President of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel said that because of the 60-year financial embargo on Cuba by the United States, his country had ensured its food security through science, so their expertise could be invaluable to the region as it seeks to lower its food import bill.
      “In our case, we indicated that we had some experiences that we can share. We have a policy in place for food sovereignty and education, and we have supported this policy with a government programme. We also have a number of technologies that we have developed on the basis of scientific facilities, and we have implemented science and technology for the purpose of food production. At a time when US blockades have been flared up, preventing us from accessing financing in order to import inputs required for agriculture, we are relying on things such as bio-products and other organic products which give us the yields we desire,” he explained.
      Priority crops
      The implementation of the CARICOM Agri-Food
      Systems Strategy In The Member States is expected to help achieve this target by giving special attention to priority crops and products such as poultry, corn, soya, meat (goat, lamb, beef), rice and niche vegetables which are highly imported products in the region.
      Miguel Díaz-Canel said the process also needed to include food sovereignty.
      “Agriculture was addressed very comprehensively in our meeting. We not only talked about agriculture but the need for food sovereignty in our nations, which is a more comprehensive concept and goes beyond just the development of agriculture.
      “Further to the discussion we held, I found that there is political readiness and understanding among our nations of the strategic importance. There is a proposal from the president of Guyana [Dr Irfaan Ali] to set up a ministerial task force and we have agreed to be members of this task force,” the Cuban leader said.
      The benefits were by no means one-sided as Cuba has been invited to participate in the soon-to-be-established food terminal, which will shore up the supply of food to that country.
      Chairman of CARICOM, president of Suriname Chan Santokhi, described the summit as successful, noting that apart from the new additions of agriculture and renewable energy, already existing areas of cooperation such as health and education have been extended and expanded.
      During the opening ceremony, the Cuban president gave the assurance of continued cooperation in the area of medical advancement
      while pledging to make available 140 000 doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, as well as other treatments developed to combat the virus.
      “Cuba has also offered great assistance in the area of disaster management as we both face the existential threat posed by climate change. We have also taken the opportunity to voice the Community’s strong rejection of the unfair, unjust and illegal embargo against Cuba. We assure Cuba of our unwavering support,” Santokhi said. (CLM)

      Source: Nation

    • @John A

      Yes but we heard it all before? Guyana was targeted to be the breadbasket of the Caribbean?

      Also in the one hand we welcome Cuba’s assistance but our young people qualifying as doctors and dentists in Cuba have to jump hurdles to qualify to practice in Barbados.

      A contradiction if there was one.

      By Shawn Cumberbatch

      Barbadian businesses and households are starting to borrow money again in a way not seen regularly over the last ten years.
      However, senior banker Donna Wellington believes it will take much more than the current upsurge in borrowing for mortgages, renewable energy projects, and automobiles to put a dent in the more than $14.1 billion deposited at financial institutions.
      ‘Turned a corner’
      Wellington, who is CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank’s managing director for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, said based on the growing appetite for loans her organisation was experiencing, “Barbados seems to have turned a corner”.
      “What certainly we have seen is that our clients want to borrow money. We had seen for at least the last ten years a real tepid environment with respect to lending, but now it seems like everybody has emerged and awakened to post-COVID scenarios, and I think it has a lot to do with how low the interest rates are now,” she said.
      “That is helping folks to think that this is the time perhaps that they can borrow for that car, maybe they can finally get that piece of land, maybe they can finally work on building their home, or improving their home, because the interest rates are as low as they are.”
      Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes recently reported that at the end of September average loan rates “remain on a downward trajectory”. He noted that mortgage rates “have followed this path, measuring 4.7 per cent, compared to 5.2 per cent recorded for a similar period in 2019 as rates on new mortgages fall”.
      With total deposits at commercial banks, credit unions and other entities rising from $13.7 billion at the end of last year to $14.1 billion at September 30 (3.2 per cent), Haynes said “excess liquidity continues to influence interest rates”.
      Wellington said borrowers were “ecstatic”, and, like the Central Bank, she reasoned that this was because “rates have never been lower and it’s because of how much liquidity we have in the banking system”.
      The Central Bank said at the end of the third quarter that “new mortgages for private dwellings have been rising, accounting for 16 per cent of total new lending to the non-financial private sector thus far for 2022”.
      Wellington also observed that mortgage loans in particular were increasing, adding that “we have seen an upsurge in mortgage lending like we haven’t seen in the last ten years and we’re very happy about it”.
      “I think you can see it as you drive around Barbados, houses are just going up everywhere with initiatives like the HOPE project, and when you look in places like Apes Hill and all the developments that are happening on the West Coast,” she said.
      The immediate-past president of The Barbados Bankers Association (BBA) also said an increase in renewable energy projects was also a significant reason for the rise in loans.
      Large systems
      “I don’t want you to think that we’re just talking about retail here and the average person who wants to put a system on their roof, we are also talking about large systems as well. These systems are on businesses that have large offices, as well as individuals, everybody is catching the fever,” Wellington said.
      But even with interest rates for loans currently low, Wellington said Barbadians were continuing to save in such large amounts that she did not see the financial liquidity abating anytime soon.
      “There is nowhere for it to go. The one place that it used to go is when the Government issued bonds and banks, individuals and corporations invested in these securities. The BOSS Plus bonds are out now, but that doesn’t suck all of the liquidity out of the system, we have way more deposits than we need,” she explained.
      Wellington said the situation was such that the current loan to deposit ratio of 50 per cent meant that “for every $100 we have, only $50 is lent out”.
      Efforts to get a comment from BBA on the issue across all banks were unsuccessful.

      Source: Nation

    • Minister outlines tourism strategy
      MINISTER OF TOURISM and International Transport Ian Gooding-Edghill has outlined his strategy to reposition Barbados as a destination of choice in a competitive worldwide tourism industry.
      In his first major address on his plans for reshaping the industry, he said it will be “a bold and aggressive approach for Barbados to regain its market share”, addressing issues such as airlift, source market expansion, marketing and promotion, and improvements in visitor experiences.
      Gooding-Edghill told stakeholders attending the Gallagher Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s (BHTA) 70th Anniversary Awards Gala at Sandals Royal Hotel on Friday night: “Our strategy will see us expanding in existing markets and developing new and emerging markets; developing a new thrust to broaden our foreign language skills; and utilising more of our data sets to gather market intelligence on the major source markets.”
      He added his ministry proposed to increase land-based tourism arrivals substantially by 2024, by “aggressively promoting our marketing strategies in the various source markets to attract new airlines and increase connectivity; improving our attractions and visitor experiences; and offering incentives to homeporting visitors to remain longer on island”.
      Barbados has traditionally recorded a pattern of bountiful winter seasons with high visitor arrivals in which the various tourism sectors have customarily reported satisfactory results, while summers have been virtually barren with a dearth of visitors and very low tourism activity.
      Gooding-Edghill said his mission is to ensure the island has a vibrant year-round tourism industry, and he appealed to all stakeholders for their collaboration towards achieving that goal.
      “The intention is to evolve Barbados into a year-long destination, moving away from the concept of shoulder summer and winter. It means that all stakeholders have to be in alignment with this vision, from the increasing airlift, to ensuring that the range of accommodation is available to support the demand; to ensuring that the Civil Aviation Authority is functioning to facilitate the enabling environment for increasing airline
      traffic; to building our attractions, to improving distribution and detail.”
      It was the first time since the tourism industry came close to being wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic that the BHTA was able to stage the event that recognises and rewards members at all levels for their contribution.
      Haniff Walcott, an employee of St James Travel and Tours, captured the coveted Employee Of The Year award, while retired hotel executive Jackie White shared the Lifetime Achievement Award with Sunil Chatrani, a veteran hotelier and former chairman of the BHTA and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

      Source: Nation

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