Private Sector ‘Signals’ No Recovery Until After the General Election

There is a BU commenter whose oft-repeated refrain is that ‘there will be no recovery under Fumble’s fools’. The commenter we have come to know as someone who postulates the positions of the private sector. It therefore comes as no surprise that the commenter’s observation aligns with that of the head of the private sector agency Charles Herbert who expressed the view that with a general election on the horizon it is unlikely the private sector will unleash the quantum of investment required to arrest the 9-year free fall of the the economy to have a positive economic outcome [BU’s paraphrasing of Herbert’s position]. It is not unusual for governments during the last days in office to observe a minimum regard for political ethics by refraining from implementing significant decisions that would significantly bind the incoming government.

Interesting to read the recent review of the economic performance by the former governor of the Central Bank Delisle Worrell since being booted from office. He appears to be more lucid and truthful in his delivery now that the weight of the office of governor and being a creature of the minister of finance has been jettisoned.

In recent days we have also heard from Dean Straker the head of the Small Business Association (SBA) and Eddy Abed the head of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce (BCCI), both expressed disappointment and disagreement with government policies. It is worth mentioning the view of the head of the Barbados Hotel Tourism Association (BHTA) Roseanne Myers who was scathing in her criticism about the urgent need to improve the tourism product. More immediate, the need to fix the sewage leaking on the South Coast.

It does not require above average intelligence to conclude that if key actors in the private sector are uncomfortable with government’s policies made acute by a general election on the horizon, there is a valid case to be made of a lack of confidence in the government. Ministers of government like Denis Kellman and Donville Inniss to name two engaging in verbal sparring with leaders of the private sector does not help.

Battle lines have been drawn and there will be no significant investment by the private sector until after the next general election. Will the economy survive a few months if Stuart decides to let the election period run its constitutional course? With 500 million dollars reported in foreign reserves as at September 2017 and a 100 million foreign debt commitment in the pipeline plus the outflow of the last quarter of 2017- what is the state of the foreign reserves  at at January 2018?

Here is what the apolitical among us know.

There is a crisis of confidence.

There will be ‘there will be no recovery under Fumble’s fools’ with weeks to go before the next general election.

 

The Fight-Back Has Begun!

Submitted by David A. Comissiong, President, Clement Payne Movement
Akanni McDowall (l) Toni Moore (r)

Akanni McDowall (l) Toni Moore (r)

Barbados – as we all know – is suffering from a dearth of national political leadership, and is currently in a state of crisis and great peril. But the good news is that we are beginning to see positive signs which suggest that the “fight-back” to save and restore Barbados has begun!

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Barbados Economy in Neutral

Credit Photo:Bajanfuhlife Blog

Credit Photo:Bajanfuhlife Blog

Everywhere Barbadians on the Rock turn we are being bombarded by talking heads on the economy economists included. Many have forgotten it is the economists who are mainly responsible for the economic policies which have helped to wreck our economies.

After about six years of a stalled economy Barbadians are being warned to brace for more hardship to be delivered in the ‘Budget’ promised in a few weeks. We are told an IMF document has been circulated to stakeholders for comment, a process anchored by a 3-man committee headed by retired Permanent Secretary William Layne.  One important stakeholder, the public, is left to speculate the full content of the IMF document. We have become so use to NOT being embraced in the process by our government, it provokes little or no response by the majority of citizens.

BU’s position is consistent. If there is no confidence shown by key stakeholders in the economic policies of government we will go nowhere fast. A further point: all the focus is being placed on tweaking fiscal and monetary policy to reposition Ship Barbados but nothing about  a change in the conspicuous consumption behaviour of Barbadians.  Nothing about aggressively incenting export led projects. After the ‘pretty’ talk the Barbados economy is driven by consumption behaviour which soaks up scarce forex. It makes good sense to improve efficiencies how we do things in country to benefit from the cost savings but we have to earn foreign exchange to pay our bills if we want to maintain a reasonable lifestyle.

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Governor Delisle Worrell Repeats Himself

 Dr. DeLisle Worrel

Dr. DeLisle Worrel

The following statement was made by Governor Delisle Worrell in January 2011.

.“Barbados economy predicted to grow by 2%

The Governor of the Barbados Central Bank, Dr. Delisle Worrell says the island’s economy is expected to grow by about 2% this year [2011]. Dr. Worrell says the projected economic growth will result from improvement in the performance of key sectors including tourism. Dr. Worrell’s annual economic review shows that up to November 2010, tourism improved with increased arrivals from North America and Canada. He said beyond 2011, the economy is expected to achieve a 3% rate of growth. However, he added that this depended on a number of factors including a full recovery of the tourism sector”RJR News

State of the Barbados Economy

It is obvious the many prognostications on the rebound of the local economy from government, Governor Delisle Worrell and a few vocal local practitioners have reached a point where there is little credibility with the public. The cancelation of post economic review media briefings by the Central Bank of Barbados has been interpreted in many ways because there has been no official explanation from authorities. The decision therefore by the Central Bank to host a 15-part series on CBC TV8 and Voice of Barbados to be moderated by David Ellis to start on September 3, 2014 titled ‘The Barbados Economy: Consolidated and Growth Strategy A special Economic Discussion Forum is interesting. Panel participants will be Dr. Delisle Worrell, Tracey Shuffler, Andrew Brathwaite, Jewel Brathwaite. BU welcomes the Central Bank change in communication strategy because the media briefings had become uninformative and an embarrassment to the Fourth Estate. However the switch should have been more seamlessly implemented to avoid  the political debate that followed which helped to politically polarised the country as well as to dent the reputation of the Central Bank..

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Barbados’ Economic Performance January to June 2014

Text – Analysis of Barbados’ Current Economic Performance
Audio – Analysis of Barbados’ Current Economic Performance

Tables – July 15, 2014 – Analysis of Barbados’ Current Economic Performance
Charts – July 15, 2014 – Analysis of Barbados’ Current Economic Performance

The Huff and Puff Is Affecting Me and Other Bajans! Let Us Deal With Some Facts – Part III

George C. Brathwaite

Indeed, it is not being openly said, although being quietly refashioned in other words, that the DLP-led government’s approach to privatisation and divestment is very much a policy option for reducing the burgeoning costs of public expenditure should the party retain its majority in the Barbados House of Assembly. Privatisation and divestment are terms which form part of the DLP’s main post-2012 general elections economic formulae. That the DLP is investing in following particular policy prescriptions from elsewhere is only problematic when they do not gel with the things required in the national interests of Barbados. However, it is the obtuse temerity that the DLP engages for using those two words – privatisation and divestment – that is getting lost amidst the executive’s choice to confuse and keep Barbadians in the dark.

The leadership of the BLP is clearly upfront in its efforts to trigger debate on issues of privatisation and divestment, and putting into the open ideas that can generate innovative waves of thinking in order to progress Barbados. Mindful that Chris Sinckler makes the familiar but distorted and incorrect charge that “it was the choice of the last administration to squander the opportunities of the boom years and not restructure the Barbados economy,” the current Minister of Finance readily admits that there is a requirement that the DLP has to function in a way that makes the Barbadian economy “more diversified and resilient to economic shock.”

See related link:

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The Huff and Puff Is Affecting Me and Other Bajans! Let Us Deal With Some Facts–Part II

George C. Brathwaite

As Owen Arthur has contrarily to Sinckler but rightly said that, “growth and development are also best promoted through sound policies which have a clear purpose, and which carry with them a strong probability of successful incidence.” Sometimes lack of accuracy and variance from objectivity by sweet-sounding and boastful politicians in government can boggle the mind enough to cast any pronouncement they make into a grotesque category more suitably considered to be a blatant lie.

Like me, many believe that the constant blame-game regarding the commissions and omissions of the BLP and its 14 years in office has lost much of its earlier punch with Bajans and their everyday realities. The fast growing poor and diminishing middle-classes need to see an administration that can deal with the biting issues of the day, and find workable options and solutions. The out of work and underemployed need a government that would innovate, and seek out policy directions that can make things at least bearable rather than going from bad to worse on a day-to-day basis.

Bajans do not feel it is right or a panacea for the DLP administration to fret, day in and day out, about what the BLP did or did not do during its term of office since the well-being of the country was evidenced in the fact that by December 2007, Barbados had risen to the status of being the number one developing country in the world. Nor do Bajans get any comfort in hearing about what Greece, Spain, or any other country that is experiencing self-imposed hardship which may have been exacerbated by the international economic recession unless it there are positive lessons to be learnt from those who now hold the reins to power and action.

See related link: The Huff and Puff Is Affecting Me and Other Bajans! Let Us Deal With Some Facts – Part 1

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The Huff and Puff Is Affecting Me and Other Bajans! Let Us Deal With Some Facts – Part 1

George C. Brathwaite

There comes a time when we must stand up to the challenges and fight. We need to show when enough is enough, speak boldly about our expectations, and act accordingly in order to remedy the situations. As far as I am concerned, this is the advice that can be best offered to Barbadians from all walks of life, inclusive of the Prime Minister of Barbados, and the many unemployed mothers and fathers that cry out for immediate help in the midst of our beloved Barbados. The current socio-economic climate indicates two puzzling themes, one seemingly daunting, and the other begging for a little hope to hold on to as rough times become even more difficult.

On the one hand, the Prime Minister of Barbados is repeatedly saying that “we [the DLP and its props] have faced challenges over the last four years. We came into government at a very difficult time – the most difficult time in the last 100 years – and the situation is now even more perilous.” Members of his Cabinet have said the same thing in various ways inclusive of ‘blowing hot air’ over the ‘bad hand’ that the DLP is supposed to have inherited from a BLP administration. According to Christopher Sinckler, there is some underlying penchant by the BLP that exhibits itself in a “hunger for office to waste another fourteen years” and to “squander opportunity after opportunity.” Is this a similar deception by the DLP that preceded the January 2008 general elections in Barbados? Many Barbadians have determined that the burgeoning quest of ‘time for a change’ was nothing more than a plan hatched in the orchestra George Street to gain the seat of political power in Barbados but without serious consideration for the citizens of the country given the ridiculous nature of outlandish promises thrown to an electorate eager for even better socioeconomic circumstances.

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Performance Of Barbados Economy Up To Q3 Falls Short Of Forecast

Review of Barbados’ Economic Performance for First Nine Months of 2011 (Text)