DeLisle Worrell: Strengthening Health Systems to Tame Pandemics

Reproduced from

On July 13, McKinsey & Company, one of the agencies of the famous global consultancy, issued a report entitled “Not the last pandemic: Investing now to reimagine public health systems”. The lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic is that there are basic flaws in the health systems of many of the world’s richest countries, countries that boast the most sophisticated medical facilities. Their clinics, hospitals and equipment are the best and most advanced, and they are staffed by the world’s leading experts, but the system which delivers health services has serious weaknesses. As a result, the Covid-19 pandemic has had devastating consequences for some of the world’s richest countries. The McKinsey study identifies five areas that were crucial for those health systems that were most effective in saving lives in the face of the pandemic.

The first feature of the successful response systems is that they are always alert for the emergence of contagious diseases, and ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. The contrast is with systems that have to be mobilized afresh for each new event. Health systems in Uganda that had coped with the Ebola virus, or in Hong Kong that had been effective for SARS, were more successful in suppressing surges of Covid-19 infections.

A second useful health system characteristic identified is a strengthening of mechanisms to detect infectious diseases, at the global, national and local levels. Health workers in clinics and hospitals around the world should be equipped and trained to identify infections from their early symptoms, and there should be swift and reliable systems of reporting, to national and regional centres for disease control, and to the World Health Organisation. The countries where the incidence of Covid-related deaths are lowest are the ones where the detection, reporting and coordination mechanisms were in place and working, as soon as the virus was identified.

Thirdly, the McKinsey study notes the value of administering existing vaccines more widely, taking special protection measures in areas where there is risk of animal-to-human transmission, and other preventive measures. The report states “Recent outbreaks of measles, for example, show that places with lower vaccination rates are more susceptible to diseases that vaccines can prevent. Achieving full global coverage of all the vaccines in our arsenal would save millions of lives in the coming decades.”

The fourth insight is that the most effective health care systems are those that are designed so that personnel, equipment and facilities can be rapidly provided for a surge in infections, without compromising essential health services. These systems have invested in training, equipment and facilities for epidemic preparedness, to enable the creation of temporary care facilities, field hospitals and the like.

Fifthly, there needs to be a large boost to research and development on infectious diseases. Medical research is conducted through global networks of collaboration, as has been demonstrated in the trials being conducted in the search for a Covid-19 vaccine. There are opportunities for all health systems, including our own, to take part in this research.

In addition to these health system features, the strength and cohesion of local community and neighbourhood organisations is important in supporting effective emergency measures to suppress surges in infections. Media reports have shown the important work of community volunteers in delivering food and necessities to persons at risk and people in self-quarantine, in cities as widely dispersed as Sao Paulo, Brazil, Denver, Colorado and Wuhan, China. In Cuba, the effectiveness of their community-oriented health system is demonstrated by the health care teams seen touring neighbourhoods on foot, to check the status of everyone in their homes. This aspect of Cuban health care is unique, in a world where health care in the home is mostly unavailable.

As our countries beef up health systems to help us to overcome the Covid pandemic, our Governments should invest with a view to incorporating all five of the desirable features identified by McKinsey & Company: emergency responses that are always at the ready, early detection systems, measures to reduce the risk of pandemics, standby staff, equipment and facilities, and participation in global trials and research. At the same time, we should all recognise the value of getting to know our neighbours, and of participating in and strengthening community networks. They can prove invaluable in an emergency.


Prosperity May Be Restored, With the Right Policy Mix

Thanks for the assist Amit– David, blogmaster

As we embark on the third decade of the 21st century, Barbadians look to our economic prospects with a mixture of hope and trepidation. Our hopes are grounded in our economy’s inherent strengths: our highly regarded tourism services, good transport and communications, reliable public services, and our resourceful and well educated work force. In order to realise our full potential, there are a number of policies which government might consider.

Barbados’ strength in tourism is the quality and variety of services and activities which our island has to offer. Government incentives for tourism should be biased towards continuing to improve quality and variety. The emphasis should be on food, culture, heritage, sports and other niches. The private sector should be encouraged to embrace Barbados’ high-end reputation, and to focus of giving excellent value for money. High volume, low-cost tourism, including large cruise ships, bring risks of overcrowding and environmental degradation.

Government should consider contracting best international expertise to undertake a 3-year makeover of public services and administration. It would be costly, but it would be money well spent, if it were designed to bring all Government functions and services to an international standard of performance, comparable to Canada or Singapore.

Government should publish a strategy document with a practical time-bound plan for the complete replacement of fossil fuels as a source of energy. Renewable energy has the potential, in time, to provide the economy with a sector of comparable weight to tourism.

Borrowing from the example of the most successful firms in the sector, the future of international business seems to be in providing marketing, promotional, training and other services. Government agencies should aim to attract international companies to set up offices in Barbados to provide these services to their international clients.

Historically, Barbados was a gateway to the Caribbean for two centuries or more. The island could become a gateway into and out of the Caribbean once more. To do that, Government would need to enter strategic partnerships with international firms for the management of the airport and seaport. Government should partner with international companies which have well-established global networks, and the capacity to finance upgrades to the Barbados facilities from their own resources.

Multilingual abilities are highly prized in international commerce.  Barbados could enhance its international competitiveness with a comprehensive programme to provide foreign language skills from primary school level.

In a recent paper which may be consulted on my website, I explain the benefits of permanently retiring the Barbados dollar and using the US dollar for all domestic transactions. Importantly, Government would have no recourse to creating new money to finance excessively large deficits in the absence of a domestic currency.

There is a road to prosperity ahead for Barbados, but major obstacles remain in the path. Once they are addressed we can have confident hope for a better future for our country.


A Practical, Consistent Strategy for Renewables is Urgently Needed

The following was pulled from former Governor DeLisle Worrell’s website (thanks Amit) – David, blogmaster

Dr. DeLisle Worrel

In an informed front page editorial on November 25, the Barbados Advocate had this to say about the power outage crisis in Barbados: “[Emera, the Canadian parent of the Barbados Light and Power Company] chose to invest in Barbados, acquiring control of the sole generator and provider of electricity, a private sector entity with an aging generation plant and distribution system. … [the] company.. was looking at a replacement programme for that generation plant, but was informed by the previous Government that they were going to lose nearly half of their generation business to renewable energy [RE] projects coming on stream from new investors within a few years. In the end, this never happened.

“Additionally, they were then told, when the present Government took office, that by 2030, all generation must be RE, and that other RE investors would be permitted.”

“… the single most important criteria in attracting investment is certainty, and these Government interventions surely created a lot of uncertainty for them. New generation capacity is a significant and long term investment, so we cannot fault Emera in their decision to be cautious, and look at investing to extend the life of the existing equipment, faced with these various Government commitments. Generation capacity equipment looks at a 25-30 year life for cost recoupment…”

What is needed to create certainty for investors is a practical, consistent policy document on alternative energy, with realistic targets and an action plan for tracking progress. This document should clarify the government’s target for renewables. Is it to generate all electricity from renewable sources, or to completely eliminate the use of fossil fuels? Neither of these objectives can now be attained by 2030. The BL&P has now ordered a new 33 MW generating plant which runs on fossil fuel, and which will still be in full operation in ten years’ time. In addition, most of the gasoline and diesel powered vehicles imported this year will still be on the roads in 2030.

Government’s RE policy document must also be clear on the chosen mix of technologies to be used in achieving the RE target. While solar PV is already in place and approval has been given for the first wind turbines, the expected contributions of biofuels and waste-to-energy remain uncertain. Government Ministers have also spoken of ocean thermal, offshore wind and other technologies which are not commercially feasible at the present time. If they are to be part of the mix, the target date will be pushed even further into the future. Also, no decision has been announced on energy storage options.

Government’s RE strategy document must include a timeline for bringing tax policy in line with the renewable energy target. Government Ministers admit publicly that the tax on imported electric vehicles is inconsistent with the RE target. There are no tax concessions or fiscal incentives for independent power producers; at least one potential investor in wind turbines has given up in frustration after failing to secure planning permission after years of effort.

The replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy sources has the potential to transform the Barbadian economy, saving foreign exchange, liberating the country from oil price fluctuations, and creating new jobs and income. However, the changeover will not happen on its own; it must be guided by a fully informed, expertly crafted strategy document, with realistic targets, and an action plan for implementation. The policy document must be clear on the RE technologies to be adopted, and government must be clear on its own role, and on the incentives to be provided to private investors and energy users. The action plan must include intermediate targets and deadlines at 3-5 year intervals, with indicators for Government, investors and users, to make sure the programme stays on track.

The power outage crisis is a warning that a practical, fully informed strategy document with realistic guidelines, responsibilities and monitoring, is now of the highest priority.


Investment, Inequality and Coordination Between Governments and Central Banks

Reproduced from 


The International Banking Seminar held on October 20, following the conclusion of the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank, was an occasion to reflect on the main concerns of the international financial community. Three issues stood out in the presentations at the seminar: the lack of adequate investment globally, particularly in infrastructure and projects to reverse the worsening health of the environment; the absence of policies to address global inequalities, despite much hand-wringing; and the need to coordinate the policies of Governments and their central banks.

Financial markets are flooded with money, but there is little investment in infrastructure and improving the environment
The trade disruptions caused by the aggressive tariff policies of the US administration, and low and negative interest rates were cited as the main reasons for the lack of interest by private finance in investment projects. The backlash against globalisation, most clearly manifested in the Brexit referendum, has worsened the general sense of uncertainty. Anyone investing in a hotel in Barbados or an ethanol plant in Trinidad will be expecting to attract an adequate rate of return on their investment. The imposition of new tariffs, fluctuations in the rate of exchange, setting up of new borders and erratic movements in commodity prices, all raise question marks about the demand for products and services, and the prices at which they may be sold. In these circumstances the typical investor will hold off investment until prospects become clearer.

Full text of the article

DeLisle Worrell: Investment, Inequality and Coordination Between Governments and Central Banks

US Dollars Needed, Not Barbados Dollar Savings in Order to Invest

Reproduced with permission, the full text of Dr. Delisle Worrell – former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados – October 2019 newsletter:

One often hears the comment that there are hundreds of millions of dollars of idle funds at commercial banks that ought to be directed to investment projects to create employment and grow our economy. However, we need always to bear in mind that every investment project is going need to computers, cell phones, supplies and equipment that have to be purchased from abroad, in US dollars. A basic feature of economies as small as Barbados is that all business investment, from hairdressers to supermarkets to power plants, has to be financed mainly in foreign currency, not domestic money. That is because the domestic currency cannot be used to acquire essential inputs from abroad, such as equipment, vehicles, materials, fuels and other inputs. This is true whether the project is large or small, private or public, for domestic production or export.

It follows that all investment of necessity requires a substantial proportion of foreign finance. This means that the Barbados dollars in banks cannot be put to use in financing investment projects; for that, the banks will need to receive a larger supply of foreign exchange, from tourism, international business, manufactured exports or other sources. It also means that new investment cannot be funded with the savings of local companies or individuals. Domestic savings are in local currency; in order to do any investment the saver has to acquire foreign currency in addition to (or in exchange for) their savings, so they can pay for the imports they need.

Read full text

Former Central Bank Governor Road Map and Action Plan for Renewables a PRIORITY

Is it the fertile imagination of this blogmaster the urgency to implement an aggressive alternative energy strategy has gone off the boil since the Mottley government has taken office? All sensible people are supportive of an aggressive adoption of such a strategy for the several benefits discussed on BU’s pages and elsewhere. What is the latest?

According to former Governor DeLilse Worrell’s newsletter, aggressive renewable energy adoption can help restore the economy.

– David, blogmaster


Reproduced with permission, the full text of Dr. Delisle Worrell – former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados – September 2019 newsletter:

Wind and solar power offer an exciting prospect of rapid growth and energy independence to a sunny island like Barbados, set out in the Atlantic in the path of the dependable trade winds. However, a focused, all-encompassing national strategy is required, if we are to have any chance of realizing the vision of energy independence. Our Government should provide a road map to take us to the goal of 100 percent renewables, around which it should build a national consensus in favour of a strategy to achieve this goal. The road map would spell out the benefits of energy independence, and the main structures and systems that would have to be put in place to make the dream a reality. Once there is nationwide agreement on the goal and the things needed to achieve it, an action plan and timetable would be needed to monitor and report to the nation on progress towards the goal.

Thanks to recent improvements in the efficiency and affordability of solar and wind energy generation, Barbados now has the potential to double its GDP in less than two decades. Barbados’ abundant sunshine and reliable trade winds have become a more valuable resource than reserves of oil and gas could ever be. As the late Professor Oliver Headley once famously said: “The sun will still be shining when the oil runs out”. Technical studies by leading experts in the field show how Barbados can supply all of its current power needs with a combination of solar, wind and biogas, with an eco-friendly power storage system. A great deal of solar has already been installed and we have an idea where wind turbines might best be sited. We also have a report on the elements, technical, regulatory and financial, that would have to be sustained over a period of 15 years, to achieve 100 percent renewables.

The Barbados economy, which currently remains in the doldrums, could be revived to growth rates of 5 percent or more, with the implementation of a comprehensive action plan for 100 percent renewables, provided the island’s competitive weaknesses are addressed. With a 5 percent growth rate, our GDP would double in about 15 years and future prosperity would be assured. As I have said elsewhere, the reform of the public sector would serve to restore and enhance Barbados’ international competitiveness and attract new investment in tourism, international business and other quality products. That alone should provide growth of around 2 1/2 percent. The switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources of power adds to growth directly through investment in renewables and the acquisition of new skills and services. In addition, the savings from reduction in fuel imports increase every year, until the entire amount now spent on fuel is available for expansion of other activities. Investment in renewables plus foreign exchange savings could together add 3 percent or more to the growth rate, for an overall rate in excess of 5 percent.

Read full text –

DeLisle Worrell: Barbados Needs A Road Map And Action Plan For Renewables


Worrell Recommends Dollarization

Thanks to fellow blogger at for reminding the BU blogmaster to continue focus on the economy. The controversial former Governor of the Central Bank continues to push a line of argument about the advantages of dollarizing the economy. Discuss for 10 marks

David, blogmaster

DeLisle Worrell: Sovereignty and the US Dollar


Reproduced with permission, the full text of Dr. Delisle Worrell – former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados – July 2019 newsletter –

The one question which always surfaces in response to my lecture “The time has come to permanently retire all our Caribbean currencies”  – Dr. DeLisle Worrell Says Time to Jettison Caribbean Currencies  – (search for this title on Youtube) is about national sovereignty. Most people seem to believe that sovereignty is “lost” with the retirement of the local currency. On the contrary, replacing domestic currency and deposits with US currency and deposits gives everyone in the country wider access to goods and services. With domestic currency you can buy only local goods and services; with US dollars you can purchase from anywhere in the world, wherever you can get the best value for your money.

The fact of the matter is that the US dollar is sovereign in international transactions, and there is nothing than can be done about that. Even China, the world’s second largest economy, with 15 percent of global GDP to the US’s 24 percent, accepts payments in US dollars. A Jamaican travelling to Haiti, a Guyanese to Suriname, a Dominican to Guadeloupe, a Trinidadian to Barbados, all take US dollars with them. All hotel rates and oil and commodity prices are quoted in US dollars.

Ironically, having a domestic currency in today’s digital world may make a country more susceptible to US sanctions than a fully dollarised country would be. Iran and Cuba, countries which are currently subject to harsh US sanctions, both have domestic currencies. The sanctions are effective because Cubans and Iranians earn in a local currency whose value continues to fall because the country’s access to US dollars is limited.

The US reaps tremendous benefit from the fact that its currency is in universal use. Countries which have their own currencies all maintain a reserve of foreign exchange at their central banks with which to protect the value of domestic money. Those reserves are mostly held in US treasury securities, and constitute a loan to the US Government. However, a country like Panama which has no currency of its own does not have that problem. Such accounts as the Panamanian Government may hold with the US Federal Reserve are solely for the purposes of facilitating payments with foreign countries. Dispensing with an own currency means the government no longer has a reason to make a substantial contribution to the financing of the US Government’s deficit.

The bottom line is that rather than impairing national sovereignty, replacing the domestic currency empowers the country and its citizens by giving access to the world’s goods and services, to the full extent of their incomes. Moreover, the country has no need to offer credit to the world’s wealthiest nation, in order to maintain the value of domestic financial assets.



Dr. DeLisle Worrell Says Time to Jettison Caribbean Currencies

Dr. De Lisle Worrell continues to be a controversial figure in Barbados. He suffered the embarrassment of being sacked by former Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler. The blogmaster will remember him for the fact he presided as Governor of the Central Bank during a period popularly labelled the Lost Decade. He continues to be controversial in his current role sitting on the other side of the negotiating table by epresenting some of the external creditors.

The following text is posted to  and makes for interesting reading given his  (Worrell) role as lead negotiator for external creditors and the current state of the Barbados economy.

Discuss for 10 marks.

-David, Blogmaster

Reproduced with permission, the full text of Dr. Delisle Worrell – former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados – June 2019 newsletter:

The Time Has Come to Permanently Retire All Our Caribbean Currencies Caribbean currencies served a crucial purpose when they were first introduced, but they have now become a nuisance in today’s digitised world.

The world of commerce and finance today bears no resemblance to the world for which Caribbean currencies were devised. Up until the 1960s in most Caribbean countries, all retail transactions and many wholesale transactions were settled with notes and coins. The means of payment were always scarce in those days, because our countries are so distant from the European capitals that issued the world’s major currencies.

In the first half of the 20th century it became commonplace in countries of the British Empire to issue local currency notes and coins, with values fixed to Sterling (for the most part; the Bahamas and Bermuda were exceptions). These currencies were issued by special Government departments, termed Currency Boards. The Currency Board held an amount of Sterling with the Bank of England or with the British Crown Agents, and issued an equivalent amount of local currency. In this way the amount of the local currency issue could be more easily tailored to local needs.

This system worked well, so long as currencies were anchored on a single universally used reference, the US dollar price of an ounce of gold. However, the whole system of currency values fell apart when the US effectively moved off the Gold Standard at the time of the Smithsonian Agreement in December 1971.

Nowadays, currency notes and coin, mostly of uncertain value in terms of purchasing power of the everyday goods and services we need to source abroad, are little used domestically. Mostly we use electronic transfers, cheques and credit cards. Since these are all computer records, it is immaterial how they are denominated, so long as both ends of every transaction match. There is no reason to link the denomination of the electronic transactions to the value of notes and coins.

Replacing the Barbados dollar with the US dollar for all transactions, domestic and foreign, enhances the range of choice open to the country and its residents, in all international commerce. International transactions are conducted in US dollars or in currencies that are convertible to US dollars. In contrast, with Barbados dollars you cannot buy or sell anything outside of Barbados, not even in nearby St Lucia, much less in the rest of the world. The GDP of Barbados in 2018 was about US$5 billion, but the country had access to less than US$3 billion of international goods and services, because that was the total availability of US dollars and other foreign exchange from exports, tourism and other services, and foreign financial inflows. Once the economy is fully converted to US dollars and the local currency fully retired, the entire US$5 billion may be used to obtain the best value for money, in transactions anywhere in the world.

This is an executive summary of my Working Paper of the same title, issued at

Former Governor of Central Bank DeLisle Worrell’s Second Opinion on Economy

Text of Dr. Delisle Worrell – former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados – October 2018 newsletter:

There is a Second Opinion on the Health of the Barbadian Economy

In November last year I published a diagnosis and prescription for the economy in The Barbados Economy: The Road to Prosperity, which you may find on my website, Barbados has a competitive tourist industry, a well regarded international business and financial services sector, and quality rums and other exports that are coveted in the Caribbean, North America, Europe and elsewhere. On the basis of the foreign exchange they earn, our economy should be growing by 3 percent per year.

Instead, our economy did not grow at all last year, and it is expected to contract this year.



The main reason is that $2 billion of investments have been held up in official processes of one kind or another. To make matters worse, taxes failed to cover Government expenditures by a wide margin. Government was obliged to borrow to make up the difference, including from the Central Bank. As a result, the foreign reserves fell to low levels, deterring potential investors.

Check for full text of former Governor of the Central Bank

Stand Firm With Your New Government Barbados

Submitted by DAVID  COMISSIONG, President, Clement Payne Movement
As the new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration and its inspirational leader — Prime Minister Mia Mottley — commence our country’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the role and duty of every patriotic citizen is to stand in solidarity with our Government and to present a strong seamlessly united Government / Private Sector / Trade Union / Civil Society front to the IMF.
Our new government has made it clear that its approach to the IMF will be centred around the fundamental “Barbadian principle” that our country’s development MUST be based on nurturing and fostering the educational talents and accomplishments of our people , and on maintaining a sound, efficient and civilized system of social services and amenities for the benefit of tourists, would-be foreign investors, and the Barbadian citizenry alike.
Prime Minister Mottley has made it clear that  Barbados will be approaching the IMF NOT as a helpless supplicant, but as a respected member of that international financial institution — a member that has over the years consistently demonstrated that its basic national developmental model is sound and sensible.
We Barbadians therefore need to uniformly assure the IMF that, having freed ourselves of an uncharacteristically dysfunctional Barbadian governmental administration, we are now more than capable of restoring local and foreign investor confidence in our economy, and in undertaking firm and measured reforms to update and strengthen our economic model, and to upgrade the productivity of our population.
Thus, what Barbados needs from the IMF at this time is some temporary financial relief to ease the burden of our international debt obligations and to shore up our stock of foreign reserves, while we (Government and people together) forge ahead with urgency and a new sense of  mission to carry out the necessary national repairs and reforms.
The last thing that we need at this time — on the eve of the visit of the IMF team — is the divisive and potentially demoralizing public mouthings of the Delisle Worrells of Barbados!
Dr Delisle Worrell — the man who fought tooth and nail to save HIS job: the former Central Bank Governor who facilitated the DLP government’s economically destructive printing of money for several years — has come out of the proverbial woodwork to publicly oppose the fundamentals of our new Government’s approach to the IMF and to suggest that our Government should immediately fire 1,500 public sector workers and virtually eliminate all financial support for our statutory corporations.
(Clearly, Dr Worrell’s job was of supreme value and importance to him, but he seemingly cannot appreciate why the jobs of thousands of other Barbadian citizens who work in the public service and in the statutory corporations are of value and importance to THEM and their families !)
With all due respect to my Barbadian elder, I would like to inform Dr Worrell that he and the dysfunctional DLP Government that he served have already done enough damage to our country, and that he should just shut up and allow Ms Mottley and her team to engage with the IMF against a background of unified national support.
On behalf of the officers and members of the Clement Payne Movement I hereby call upon all Barbadian citizens and all of the civil society and private sector organizations of our country to stand united in solidarity with our Government as it embarks upon these important and sensitive negotiations with the IMF.
Let us —by our words and deeds — bring home to the officials of the IMF that Barbados is indeed a special country — a sturdy little nation that possesses such invaluable resources as a compact and well organized society, a literate and well educated population, an impressive communications infrastructure, a cohesive and distinctive national culture, a relatively large stock of domestic savings, a strategic geographical location, an admirable political stability and maturity, a population steeped in the instincts and practices of democracy, and an appreciable number of national economic resources imbued with the potential for future development.
There is nothing that is wrong with Barbados that we — the Barbadian people — cannot put right !

Chris Sinckler Vs Delisle Worrell Court Appeal Document Available – Board of the Central Bank Expressed Concern About the Falling Foreign Reserves

Dismissed Central Bank Governor DeLisle Worrell

In the Court of Appeal No.8 of 2017 DeLisle Worrell (Appellant) versus the Minister of Finance ( Respondent) presided over by Justices Sandra Mason, Kaye Goodridge and Andrew Burgess on February 23 and March 3, 2017 the decision by Justice Randall Worrell to lift the temporary injunction was upheld. The ruling cleared the legal hurdle to have Worrell dismissed by Minister Chris Sinckler.

The reading of the 32 page judgement can be described as another reason among many why there is a growing lack of confidence by a majority of Barbadians and importantly investors in the government of Barbados. If the government appointed board of the Central Bank felt compelled to express concern about the falling foreign exchange reserves shouldn’t ordinary Barbadians?

The BU household eagerly awaits the pronouncement on the state of the economy by acting Governor Cleveston Haynes.

Read the full text of the Court DocumentCourt of Appeal No.8 of 2017 – DeLisle Weekes Versus Chris Sinckler

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Governance, the People and the Constitution

Dismissed former Central Bank Governor DeLisle Worrell

Dismissed former Central Bank Governor DeLisle Worrell

If I had my druthers, today’s column would have been an analysis of last Thursday’s decision of the local Court of Appeal discharging the injunction restraining the dismissal of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr DeLisle Worrell, by the Honourable Minister of Finance, and thus paving the way for the unhindered termination of his contract of employment, as eventually happened.

Incidentally, I should wish to offer my heartiest congratulations to the newly appointed Acting Governor, Mr Cleviston Haynes, a schoolmate from Infant’s School at “Goodland” to primary school and, eventually, to both the secondary and tertiary undergraduate levels, even though he was at my junior by at least one year. What adds to Clevie’s just deserts for this new posting, although I feel certain that it did not play any role, significant or at all, in his selection, is that he is also an avid reader of this column. But I digress unnecessarily.

Alas, the local Court of Appeal has chosen to reserve its written judgment until Friday of this week and so there is no fodder for my anticipated musing today. As a general comment however, its decision was not unexpected. Section 11 of the Central Bank of Barbados Act, Cap 323C, makes it clear that the Governor shall be appointed by the Minister by instrument in writing for a period not exceeding 5 years and shall be eligible for re-appointment; and that “he shall be appointed on such terms and conditions as may be set out in his instrument of appointment”. This raises at least two presumptions; first that he is dismissible by the office of the Minister that appointed him under the principle that he who appoints may also disappoint and, second, since there is no local concept of permanent employment, that he is dismissible in accordance with the terms of his contract of employment.

In consequence, unless both necessary and reasonable in the circumstances , there could have been no implication of a term giving rights on termination to the employee beyond those stated in the contract. In last week’s column, I raised the issue of which entity was the Governor’s employer, whether it was the Crown or the Central Bank but, from the lay reports of the hearing in the printed press, this determination appears to have played no part in the matter. In any event, even if the Governor claimed to be entitled, under the Employment Rights Act 2012, to protection against unfair dismissal since he was an employee of a statutory corporation, this right is exclusively enforceable in the Employment Rights Tribunal and not in the ordinary courts.

Should an appeal in this matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice ensue, we shall, of course, return to its further analysis but, for now, the matter seems firmly closed.

Having been disappointed in that regard from providing material for my few readers today, I needed to find another source of discussion. It duly came last night during an online debate with some of the other contributors to a discussion forum in which I frequently intermediate.

The difference of opinion came when I offered the view that any call at this time for the holding of general elections was unlikely to be of any consequence, given that there is already a constitutionally prescribed procedure for this civic entitlement. To mimic Paul Keens Douglas, “who tell me say dat”?

I was reminded that there is still freedom of expression locally; a point I readily conceded, and that the Constitution is inherently amenable to alteration; again indisputable, although given the current text and configuration of Parliament, that is perhaps truer in theory than in practical reality. There was also a prompt that we are far too wedded to the provisions of a Constitution that was drafted by men who are long dead anyway.

My view is based on the wholly acceptable thesis that equity does nothing in vain, a maxim that should have figured significantly in the recent discharge of the order enjoining the termination of the employment of the former Governor. Why permit the continuation of a contract that has been stripped of its very substance of mutual trust and confidence? To what end?

Similarly, unless there is a plan afoot to change the basic norm (grundnorm) of the Constitution, whether by successful revolution or otherwise, a demand for general elections before they are called through the now constitutionally stipulated procedure amounts to nothing more than a vain and premature partisan political initiative cloaked in the mantle of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.

It reminds so much of the fable (suitably bowdlerized for a Sunday family newspaper) of the two bulls on a promontory looking down on a field of cows grazing. “I know, I know”, yells the younger bull animatedly, “let us run down there and copulate with one of them.” No, counsels the older animal sagely, let us walk down and copulate with all!” To those in the know, the late Captain Hutt would have appropriately added two “harumphs” here.

I am aware, however, that there is extant a groundswell of popular opinion for the reform of our governance architecture. This hews towards a more civic participatory governance and would include provisions for the recall of members of parliament; term limits for some officers of state; and the enactment of integrity legislation. Those political parties that hope to secure popular acclaim in the upcoming general elections would be well advised to bone up on these matters. In the coming months, I expect to muse on them at length also.

The Moral Equivalence of Treason

Submitted by Pachamama

For some time, there has a been a protracted ‘disagreement’ between the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados (CBoB), Delisle Worrell and the Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler. It represents a deepening political-economy crisis.

In trying to flesh out this phenomenon, we will sometimes directly address the prime minister, himself, as we urge urgent action.

Worrell and Sinckler have been the two main principals in the management of the Barbados economy, for the last 7 to 8 years. During this time, we have had many failures. Failures that both, men and institutions, might arguably to adjudged as equally responsible.

Rumours, gossip, some reporting and fake news on this matter, currently ‘sub judice’, have served to further weaken the political culture. That culture, with all its in-built frailties, has already delivered us circumstances where the distribution of forces in Parliament are nearly even, notwithstanding minor leakages on one side.

Since the last general election, there has been a close-quarter tug-o-war between the main belligerents that was engendered by a ‘misinterpretation’ of the results. The DLP incumbent government believed that a nearly-tied election was a win instead of representative of a public demand for a national unity government.

At the same time, there was no evidence that the opposition BLP, under a MAM, would have been interested in that kind of political formation. Therein lies another weakness of the system. There must be ‘a winner takes all’ mentality. Not only for the elites of both parties but the rank and file on either side, the yard fowls. In Westminster, we have had many coalition governments but Barbados, being more British that the British, this can never be. Talk of such is sacrilege.

The prime minister is therefore hemmed-in. Largely by the political culture but also by his socialization as a man who has long exhibited a lack of courage. What kind of a prime minister, within the Westminster system, can show that he has neither bark nor bite?

So what we have is a badly failing economy, a weak government, an international political-economic order in ‘transition’ and a prime minister whose cowardice is getting the better of him.

We are surprised that in these circumstances Stuart would want to travel, ignoring what is a deep crisis at home. Leaving it to fix itself. For in these difficult times the country needs its two principal economic managers working together to prevent the beginning of a never-ending cycle of devaluations, or worse.

It needs a strong prime minister even more. Strong for the country’s sake! And if these two economic ‘experts’ cannot bury their hatchets, the interests of Barbados must immediately be shown to be paramount, above personality cultism, regardless to whom they maybe.

In addition, Stuart displays a false temerity, mere word play, to suggest, from New York, that he will not interfere in a matter, in terms of Barbados, this is akin to issues of war and peace. Can there be any other crisis facing a prime minister of Barbados, within these dire contexts, more severe in peace time? Facing a near economic collapse with political disorder to high heaven.

Does this prime minister not know that his failure to address this matter has implications for Barbados’ image in the international financial markets? Why would Stuart, by his refusal to act, outsource the prerogative of the office of the prime minister to the judges in Coleridge Street, given the notorious delays which can be expected? And are these damages to Barbados not incalculable? Where is the economy in that or the economic brains driving this national fiasco?

We have argued elsewhere that there needs to be an intervention, preferably by the prime minister. But in these unusual circumstances, the Governor General may consider it in the Queen’s interests to suggest a speedy resolution, since the prime lacks the will, courage.

Prime Minister, the announced demonstration/s by the BLP will only serve to deepen the crisis, increase the harm to our country, increase the level of instability, but it in your power to take such actions to at least partially repair the damage caused.

That resolution could include the firing of the minister of finance. The sending of the governor of the Central Banks on pre-retirement leave or its equivalent. The removal of the litigious matter seeking the attentions of the Courts. And the adequate compensation of warring parties for prompt compliance.

Prime minister, we are not unaware of the complex relationships with the governor and the minister of finance. We are not unaware of the role of Sinckler for future party leadership, even if your party loses the next election. We know that you are seeking to avoid a defeat, come next election. And that the perception of a rising economy is central thereto. However prime minister, hard decisions can no longer be avoided.

Look at the bright side, these are the times which try men souls, a writer said. For they present you with an opportunity to avoid your fate. They present you, circumstances to defy the odds, escape history and become the greatest prime minister the country would have known.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to shoot a ‘general’, or two, in a public place to restore order amongst the ranks. Prime minister that time has come. Should you continue to choose to fail in your solemn duty you will go down as the worst prime minister this country has had. At the same time, the price of your failure is the moral equivalent of treason.

The Sinckler-Worrell Phenomenon -Sacrifice Can Be Maniacal or Suicidal

Submitted by George C. Brathwaite (PhD)

“Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell! I took thee for thy better; take thy fortune.”- (Hamlet – Act 3 Scene 4; William Shakespeare)

The turbulence surrounding the Finance Minister Christopher Sinckler and the Governor of the Central Bank Dr Delisle Worrell should come as no surprise to those Barbadians, long concerned about the sadomasochistic relationship existing between the two. Sadomasochism, is broadly, “the deliberate pursuit of manifestly aggressive, destructive and self-destructive behaviour.” Between Sinckler and Worrell, it often appeared that mutual respect was at best superficial although there was a seething exchange of pleasure and consent to drown out the actual fear and discomfort when countering local economists, the Leader of the Opposition, a former Prime Minister, and anyone else bold enough to rubbish the multiple bad strategies for curbing fiscal imprudence or affecting economic stabilisation and recovery in Barbados.

Clearly, the field of Psychology (i.e. Social and Political) offers Barbadians this unique opportunity to delve into the thought patterns of this inglorious pair of Christopher Sinckler and Delisle Worrell; they spent more than five years moonlighting together without bringing about substantial gains for Barbados. In these the dying days of this Sinckler-Worrell knot, Barbadians are existentially reflecting on the “combination of something pleasurable with something unpleasant” as was evident in the frolicking of government’s lead macroeconomic policymaker and its chief financial and economic advisor. Barbados’ survival depends on the polity being conscious of the lowly place to which Sinckler and Worrell have brought the country, even as devaluation threatens.

Sinckler and Worrell’s pursuits of good economic returns were mostly conjured in fantasy; their unrealistic approaches to structural adjustment and economic growth never really brought the excitement or satisfaction that the public desired. Instead, there was almost a constant trail of pain, humiliation, austerity, unemployment, and increased poverty. The linguistic masking of statistical details almost always led to contentious debate, with the Governor removing himself from the naked glare of an inquiring media.

Hence, the relationship between Sinckler and Worrell, may best be characterised in terms of portraying many of the traits, symptoms, and behaviours referred to as sadism and masochism. This wide spectrum of phenomena includes political self-injury, stubborn fantasies that Barbados is emerging from economic disaster, and unconsciously presenting as fact that things such as credit rating downgrades are apparently contrived by agencies wanting to see Barbados’ demise. Oh, what a string of ‘bad luck’, especially when oppositional forces were said to be bad-mouthing Barbados!

Evaluations of the Barbados economy by Finance Minister Sinckler and Governor Worrell have often been perceived as being comical and far-fetched. If as Sigmund Freud suggested that ‘humour is a release for anxiety,’ surely, Barbados has been witnessing for more than five years the tendency for both Sinckler and Worrell to laugh at their own self-determined tragedy. Sinckler has become the proverbial sacrificial lamb for the embattled Democratic Labour Party (DLP), and Worrell is now the definite scapegoat for the troubled Freundel Stuart-led Cabinet.

Poor economic returns and nonsensical financial decisions directly made by Barbados’ Minister of Finance, were ably supported by the Governor of the Central Bank. This is concerning and equally disconcerting for Barbadians and those observing the demise of a national economy. Dr Brian Francis notes several of the key issues hurting Barbados: namely, the “growing incidence of poverty, shrinking middle classes, lack of any real and sustained rates of economic growth, huge public debt and massive fiscal deficits even on the current account.” As many as 17 downgrades by credit rating agencies have occurred against Barbados without abatement. These, as Prime Minister Stuart persists with dogged reluctance to dismiss or reshuffle Minister Sinckler. What is hilariously ridiculous is Worrell’s recognition that “steps to bring inflation under control and to maintain currency values often compete with other social and political pressures.” It is precisely around this type of reality that urgency grows.

Instructively, both Hegel and Marx contended that the dialectical processes of society were insatiable and relentless in calling forth the negation and transcendence of existing social relations. The view holds that relationships such as the Sinckler-Worrell phenomenon may be ‘ostensibly, iron-fisted subjugation’. Hegel argued: “Just as lordship showed that its essential nature is the reverse of what it wants to be, so too servitude in its consummation will really turn into the opposite of what it immediately is; as a consciousness forced back into itself, it will withdraw into itself and be transformed into a truly independent consciousness.” Arguably, this description may account for Worrell’s conversion on the road to Damascus.

This past January, Dr Worrell insisted that Barbados had repeatedly failed to achieve the balance between its foreign exchange outflows and inflows which is necessary for a stable economy. The Central Bank Governor recommended further restriction on spending to protect the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Worrell emphasised that “the reserves are what protect us against the devaluation of our currency,” and although the future is ‘exceptionally promising’, maintaining the peg of the Barbados currency to the USA Dollar “will not happen unless we make it happen.” Thus, he contended that “realising the vision will not be painless.”

Worrell’s caution appears oppositional to the DLP’s narrow-minded quest for greening the electorate’s pastures. Barbados is within 15 months of a general election. Worrell’s warning does not appear to have had the blessing of the Finance Minister or the shoddy Cabinet. Therefore, subsequent written correspondence dated January 31, 2017 to the Minister of Finance was necessary. It is reported that the letter contained a self-condemnatory but not surprising statement saying that “action is needed on project implementation and expenditure reduction to achieve announced fiscal targets, if the Government’s credibility is to be restored.”

There can be no doubt that the Freundel Stuart-led administration is imperilled with credibility issues. Additionally, PM Stuart is known to exist in a fantasy world; this claim is bolstered after Stuart predicted that despite the economic trauma affecting Barbados, he is confident of a third term in Government. In the realm of Psychology, “fantasy formation is an important and complex function that both contributes to and is dependent on ego integration,” which at least partially accounts for the self-pitying jargon of a ‘sleeping giant’.

Furthermore, the inept Cabinet, faces crisis after crisis. The DLP administration noticeably continues to be hard-pressed to maintain decent social services. High government spending and incurring higher debt have not meshed with the situation of insufficient earned revenues from tourism, international business, or even taxes. On that premise, facilitation by the Central Bank to help government’s monthly salaries and wages bill goes against the stern warning highlighted by Dr Worrell.

Allegedly, given a choice by Minister Sinckler to resign or be fired, Governor Worrell sought and found temporary refuge in the Supreme Court. Arguably, the attempt to force the exit of Dr Worrell was fuelled by a Minister of Finance also egotistically desperate to hold on to his job, and backed by a fanatically distressed Cabinet very eager to repair a damaged political image. This ruse by the Ministerial architecture indicates that Dr Delisle Worrell is ready to be slaughtered by a calculating Finance Minister and butchered by an incompetent DLP Cabinet. Yes, under the full knowledge of a dilly-dallying Prime Minister.

On the evidence of the developing psychosomatic structure, political guile coupled with abrasive authoritarianism (i.e. this latter trait is similarly exhibited by the current culture within the Freundel Stuart-led Cabinet) becomes Sinckler’s strongest card. Contrastingly, Worrell’s intellect but less than inspiring capacity to maintain ‘independence’ or functional order at the Central Bank, and his blatant refusal to communicate fairly with the public through the media, are all leading to his pending downfall. The abuse is visibly grave as the public peers into the Sinckler-Worrell fiasco.

Both Sinckler and Worrell should heed the English author, Samuel Johnson positing that “integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” Barbadians have come to the realisation that Minister Sinckler is struggling to retain his authority amidst glaring shortcomings. For Worrell, there is a strong sense that ‘learning is not common sense’ and he savoured the pain notwithstanding, criticisms from others akin to his professional field. The burden of the DLP’s bad economic choices, coupled with the Minister of Finance’s braggadocio, has rendered Dr Worrell dispensable in the constructed sadomasochistic relationship.

Minister Sinckler’s tendency to use distraction and the weapon of ultimatum, is possibly to make up for his lack of depth on macroeconomic management. In that context, the Minister may well believe that elected officials are hierarchical and can arbitrarily wave the sword of Damocles over the heads of other public servants such as Dr Worrell. Maybe, the Governor was expected to respond affirmatively to the Minister’s demands, even when such requests are obviously painful and averse to the broader national interests. The combination of Minister Sinckler and Dr Worrell has embarrassingly failed Barbados for more than five years.

The Minister of Finance, and by extension the Prime Minister of Barbados, are direct contributors to the macroeconomic mayhem impacting negatively on Barbados’ development. No doubt, it is alarming for Barbadians that the main bone of contention stems from the printing of money to facilitate government’s fiscal and monetary disorder. By sidestepping the real economic issues that throw the Barbados economy into prolonged uncertainty and dangerous turmoil, further entertains possibilities of devaluation. But why should Barbadians be concerned and demand urgency in resolving the fiasco?

In September 2016, President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Dr Warren Smith warned Barbados that “front end adjustments” were urgently needed to correct the economic slide. Returning in February 2017, his repeated warning has grown more acute stating that: “the challenge we [Barbadians] are now faced with, has been made more difficult” because of the “accumulation of the problem,” and “it is also important to appreciate that we need action now. … There is no painless way out of this problem.” In addition, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur describes the Sinckler-Worrell fiasco as ‘a matter of the utmost seriousness’ compounded by the Barbados economy being on the edge of disaster.

Shouldn’t Finance Minister Sinckler take responsibility for the economic and social dislocation in Barbados? Why should the Finance Minister consider routing Dr Worrell from his post, when he was nothing but praises for the Governor’s advice all along, and as late as last motnh? If Sinckler had his way, maybe he would also try to silence Arthur, Smith, and every economist making statements on the Barbados economy.

The Finance Minister’s ultimatum to Dr Worrell is bogus given that the Governor consistently gave Sinckler the kiss of cooperation and obliged the inept Government. It is often said that ‘people are initially helpful and cooperative, even at some personal expense, but they are hypersensitive to the possibility that someone might take advantage of their generosity’. Who recalls when biting austerity was hidden in words suggesting the Barbados economy was making a turn for the better? The fact is, both Sinckler and Worrell deserve no sympathy because they ought to have had their exits since 2013/2014.

Prime Minister Stuart is not an innocent bystander in the created madness. The Prime Minister must now self-cleanse and agree with a growing majority of Barbadians that the death knell of the DLP is at hand. Sinckler’s political suicide is imminent and Worrell’s demise is a foregone conclusion. The Sinckler-Worrell fiasco clearly demonstrates that Barbadians were duped into accepting ambivalence and incoherence as norms, while being closed to the idea that the wrong medicine was being prescribed and taken. PM Stuart must do the honourable thing, and immediately replace both Sinckler and Worrell – legally; and stand ready to calm the economy and the electorate with an election date.

Dr George C. Brathwaite is a political consultant. Email:

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Enjoining a Dismissal

Jeff Cumberbatch - Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

Wonderful to relate, or “mirabile dictu”, as my two Latin masters of long ago, Messrs. Wellington and [CQ] Williams, would have preferred, I do not find it necessary today to resume my analysis of the Trump presidency; a phenomenon that seems anyway to be imploding towards self-destruction. Moreover, there is sufficient drama being played out in our own front-house to provide adequate fodder for the hebdomadal columnist.

The coup de théâtre of the week has been the denouement of Barbados’s seemingly intractable economic woes being played out in the courts, where the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr DeLisle Worrell, is resisting the attempt of the Minister of Finance to dismiss him from office. To the time of writing, Dr Worrell has managed to secure two injunctions to retain the office; one, by an interlocutory ex parte application last weekend when Worrell J would have enjoined the Minister not to act further on his alleged mandate to Dr Worrell to “resign or be dismissed”, and the other at yesterday’s vacation of that order so as to permit recourse to the local Court of Appeal.

Not having had access to the texts of any of the decisions in the matter so far, I propose to reserve detailed comment until after the judgment of the Court of Appeal, but for those who are querying the appropriateness of injunctive relief in a matter of this nature, the law’s attitude appears to be evolving. Time was when the law set its face firmly against the grant of specific relief to restrain an alleged wrongful dismissal at common law. The several bases of this stance were first, that damages for the dismissal would ordinarily constitute an adequate remedy in the circumstances; second, that the court would be unable to supervise the performance of the contract if it were allowed to continue; third, the substantial potential for oppression, of the employee especially, if he or she is required to maintain a contract involving the supply of personal services and fourth, the need for the parties to maintain the metwand of any contract of service; mutual trust and confidence. Otherwise the order would have no purpose and, according to a celebrated maxim, “Equity (the Law) does nothing in vain”.

However, in recent times, perhaps owed largely to the advent of the concept of unfair dismissal that has at its base the notion of re-employment (reinstatement or re-engagement) as a remedy, the courts have become much bolder or less reluctant in granting specific remedies against employers, most commonly though where the employee is entitled to the benefit of a contractual procedure such as a hearing, where there is no lack of confidence in the employee by the employer, or even, more controversially, where no good reason for the termination has been established by the employer.

I am of course, not privy as to precisely which, if any, of these considerations influenced the judicial decision to enjoin the Governor’s dismissal nor am I aware whether the determination of who indeed was Mr Worrell’s employer entered into the entire debate. This resolution is critical to ascertaining whether or not he is entitled to protection against an unfair dismissal, since the Employment Rights Act, by virtue of section 51, does not bind the Crown or apply to its employees but does to statutory corporations such as the Central Bank.

What is even more serendipitous is that last year I penned a piece in another space in this newspaper that took as its point of departure the dismissal of Dr Worrell’s counterpart in Trinidad & Tobago by the then incoming Rowley administration. Although court action was threatened in that case as well, I am not aware that it did in fact eventuate. In that effort, I also attempted a comparative analysis of the security of tenure of the local Governor and other officials similarly situated. I wrote then:

“It is notorious and understandable, at least in this region, for Opposition parties to be sometimes harshly critical of the various announcements and prognoses of those Central Bank Governors who have been appointed by the other side. Equally, it is understandable that a governing administration, as the economic policymaker for the State, should command the sympathy and goodwill, if not loyalty, of the head of the nation’s Central Bank. The question that begs asking, however, is whether a Central Bank Governor is truly independent or is it that he or she is merely a creature of the Cabinet and Minister of Finance both in the legal and natural senses of that concept? The answer would appear to lie partly in the security of tenure accorded to that official.

Certainly, few regional Governors would be as sycophantic in their roles as Mr. Gideon Gono, the Governor of the Central Bank of Zimbabwe from 2003 until 2013, who eschewed any claim to independence and saw it rather as a cardinal principle that his policies at the Bank were always consistent with those of President Mugabe. He attributed this to his self-perception as a mere disciple, for whom a key quality was loyalty to his leader.

Similarly, few would lay claim to the awesome autonomy of the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, an entity whose monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches; which does not receive funding from the public purse; and whose members’ tenures span multiple presidential and congressional terms.

Unlike the Trinidad & Tobago legislation, the Barbados Central Bank Act does not provide specifically for the manner of termination of the appointment of the Governor, leaving such matters to be as set out in his or her instrument of appointment, although there is, of course, local precedent in the dismissal of Governor Winston Cox some years ago.

It bears remarking that this was written at a time when the employment relation between the Governor and the Minister was as amicable as could be, an observation ironically made by the Trinidad Guardian in a column published last week Thursday under the caption, “Is Barbados insolvent?” and written by Anthony Wilson.

Alluding to the fact that the current contretemps has caught many people in T& T and throughout the region by surprise, the author reasons:

“That’s because anyone who has seen the two men interact at the several investor forums that Barbados has held in Port of Spain, and elsewhere, over the past few years would have come away with the impression they had a close working relationship based on mutual respect, complete policy alignment and the need for them to work together to further their country’s national interest…”

I suppose, as the lady is alleged to have winkingly told the verger in an entirely different context, “Even the best of friends must part”.

Government Between a Rock and a Hard Place With General Elections Looming

Submitted by Inkwell

2013 Final Electoral Map, the government won by a 2 seat margin

1. Consider this argument. The Central Bank (CB) Governor has refused to print any more money for the Minister of Finance (MOF). The MOF needs printing to continue to pay civil servants and keep Government running. If the Government can’t pay the civil servants this month, all hell will break loose. Therefore the CB Governor has to be fired so that somebody who will agree to print the money can be appointed. These delays being granted by the High Court are making the MOF nervous. Time is of the essence. But Jeez, if the printing continues, the economy will only get sicker.

2. Foreign reserves are at an all-time low and heading further south, and with the poor tourist season we are now having, not much hope for recovery. The Government can’t even put its hands on the US$100 million from Kyffin for BNTCL in a hurry as that has to go through FTC regulatory process. Let us see if the Government is going to try to railroad the FTC and also what stuff the Chairman is made of.

3. Government can’t borrow externally because of low credit rating and the existing high debt service requirements are continuing to hurt the foreign reserves.

3. Every economist who has said anything (Frank Alleyne has been predictably silent) has told the Government it must act NOW to avoid a disaster, latest being the CDB which has issued a dire warning: “CDB President Dr. Warren Smith is warning there is “no painless way” to rein in the fiscal deficit and ballooning debt.” “But I think it is also important to appreciate that we need action now. The Government of Barbados knows what to do.” “Let me just repeat that we are ready to help but there are certain things that need to be done before the assistance of the multi-lateral institutions like ourselves can become available in a fulsome way. I think that the debt situation is one that needs to be addressed urgently.”

4. The Government’s hand is being forced every way it turns. It must act.

5. BIG Problem. Elections are imminent and the harsh measures required will doom the DLP’s chances of re-election. What would you do? Think like Stuart (and hope not to get a brain freeze). You have to call elections NOW. If you wait any longer, you will be forced to inflict much pain, especially on the civil service and statutory corporations, send home another eight to ten thousand people; you will have to further cut financial support to the QEH and UWI, BWA and SSA; you will have to increase bus fares; you will have to dismantle the community councils and cancel the football tournament and condemn the DLP to the annals of Barbadian political notoriety. A few of the painful pills.

The only hope of survival is to go to the polls BEFORE you are forced to inflict the pain. Tempus is fugiting and the hour must come. Truly between a rock and a hard place.

Barbados Needs a New Government Not a New Central Bank Governor

David Comissiong, Citizen of Barbados

Submitted by David Comissiong, President, Clement Payne Movement

It is clear to me that the Freundel Stuart Administration is looking for a scapegoat for its 8 year long and continuing abysmal economic performance, and has decided that Dr. Delisle Worrell is to be that scapegoat.

Let us be very clear about this— in the real world of politics neither a Board of Management nor a Minister of Finance fires a Governor of a Central Bank! Rather, any decision of this magnitude would have to be taken by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of Ministers.

Thus, we should perceive the decision to fire Central Bank Governor Dr. Delisle Worrell as the decision of the Freundel Stuart Administration as a whole rather than as a decision of Minister Chris Sinckler.

This decision only makes sense if it is recognized for what it is— a desperate attempt to conveniently dump all of the blame for Government’s shameful economic failure on the shoulders of a “disgraced” Worrell in the run up to a General Election.

As all Barbadians are aware, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Central Bank Governor Dr. Delisle Worrell have been hand-in-glove partners during the entirety of Dr. Worrell’s tenure as Governor of the Central Bank! So, if there is a reason– on objective grounds– to fire Worrell then that reason must extend to Minister Chris Sinckler as well!

You simply cannot separate the performance and record of Dr. Worrell from the performance and record of Chris Sinckler. So if Worrell must go, clearly Chris Sinckler must go as well. (But that is only if one is making an objective non-partisan analysis of the situation.)

The fact that no decision was taken by Mr Stuart to fire Chris Sinckler suggests that the decision to fire Worrell was a purely “political” decision aimed at providing a convenient scapegoat for the DLP’s failed economic policies.

Barbadians should not permit themselves to fall for this threadbare Machiavellian political trick!

The current DLP Administration has thoroughly disgraced and exhausted itself. It has demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that it has no answer whatsoever to the myriad of problems facing our country. It is long past time for Barbados to be released from this dysfunctional Governmental Administration. What Barbados needs is not a new Central Bank Governor! Rather, we need a new Government!

8 Years and a Mule

Dr. DeLisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank

Dr. DeLisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank

The local press carried a story this week titled Worrell advised to meet press that addressed the unbelievable occurrence of the Governor of the Central Bank DeLisle Worrell not having held a press conference since the first quarter of 2014. Instead, he has preferred an orchestrated TV event where individuals were cherrypicked to participate in a moderated Q&A session.

It does not require anyone to be overly endowed with intelligence to expect our key decision makers to be accessible to answer questions from the public during a protracted economic downturn. Surely they understand that it is important to allay concerns and infuse confidence in the citizens by articulating a message of hope – see The King’s Speech. The independent office of Governor of the Central Bank is where the font of hope should be gushing. Unfortunately what we have had to witness for the last six or seven years is a central bank whose reputation has been severely dented by several unusual decisions by Governor Worrell made worse by minister of  finance Chris Sinckler. There was the unusual appointment  of Bjerkham to the Board of the Central Bank. The dividend payout of 25 million from the Housing Credit Fund to an affiliated company of Bjerkham for construction of the GROTTO high rise apartments. And who can forget the decision by the Governor to challenge the state agency responsible for determining the unemployment statistic.

BU agrees with Dr. Clyde Mascoll when he tabled the view in his weekly column that:-

Perhaps, what is more important is the structure of the board that oversees the functioning of the bank itself. The time has truly come to reconsider the governor being the chairman of the board. Furthermore, the composition of the board ought to better recognise the specialised areas of the bank’s activities. No man is an island.

The Central Bank is too important an institution for the idiosyncrasies of an individual to take priority. As if to emphasize that his way is the right way, he disregarded the advice from former bankers Mariano Browne and Jwala Rambarran who are based in Trinidad to meet with the press. He issued another press release to the media with a foreboding message.  Eight years of economic verboseness and still more belt tightening asked of Barbadians. How long is too long …

While BU agree with those calling for the Governor to condescend to meet the local press corp, we are concerned that local ‘journalists’ selected in the past to attend Central Bank economic press briefings have been woefully short of the standard required to deliver on their mandate. Further, there is an important role to be played by financial journalists. Who will disagree that managing a small open economy is a challenging undertaking. It is important we have journalists comfortable in the financial arena to report on the issues to effectively inform citizens. Instead what we have is a dearth of talent in the area of financial reporting that politicians and others in civil society easily exploit.  Even if our media houses were to send senior journalists like a David Ellis, Stetson Babb, Roy Morris, Jewel Brathwaite, Kaymar Jordan et al -these are journalists with a general knowledge of financial reporting. The only competent financial journalist is Patrick Hoyos. Is our investment in education failing us as a nation?

Perhaps the solution is to invite journalists from Trinidad to attend the Central Bank economic review press briefings.

Barbados Economy Grew 0.5% in the 2nd Quarter 2015

The headline of the Central Bank’s review of the 2nd quarter 2015 performance is 0.5% growth. According to the Central Bank the growth was driven mainly by by tourism and the country is on track to achieve 1% growth for the 2015. BU continues to be very aware growth is being driven mainly by tourism. We note international reserves remains stable because of low oil price on the world market. Continue reading

Is Governor Delisle Worrell Preparing Barbadians for a Contraction in the International Reserves?

The Governor of the Central Bank Delisle Worrell posted a full colour page in today’s media titled “More Foreign Reserves are not Necessarily Better”, the thesis of which is,  “Countries should maintain foreign exchange reserves sufficient to allow time to adjust to the vagaries of international markets, so that banks and traders do not become apprehensive about the value of the currency”.

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Sack Worrell and Sinckler

Barbados Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler and Governor of the Central Bank DeLisle Worrell take an in-depth interview at the Global Borrowers and Investors Forum.

Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler and Governor of the Central Bank DeLisle Worrell

In May this year Governor Delisle Worrell issued a directive to ban the Nation newspaper from participating in press conferences hosted by the Central Bank of Barbados. His action provoked wide condemnation from every corner within in civil society. The Governor and Central Bank obviously yielded to the pressure and public expectation reverted to the Governor having his routine press  and Q&A  sessions or so we thought!

It was a surprise therefore when the media was informed that the regular press conference to cover the six month economic performance review was to be cancelled. To date Barbados Underground has not discern the same level of outcry in response to the decision by the Central Bank compared to when the Nation newspaper was banned. Which is to be condemned more, the short-lived ban imposed on the Nation newspaper OR the cancellation of the press conference that denied the Fourth Estate from interrogating the banker of government at a time when we have more questions than answers.

The feeble excuse offered by the Central Bank and  supported by leading media practitioner David Ellis that all press briefings are posted to a website  is unacceptable. At a time when a greater level of public engagement is the desirable option, the Governor has chosen to retreat and is happy to limit his public appearances captured in the press to attendance at crop over events.

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Central Bank of Barbados Surprisingly Cancels Press Conference

2nd Quarter Central Bank press conference cancelled

2nd Quarter Central Bank press conference cancelled

Central Bank’s second quarter review is scheduled for 15 July 2014.  A visit to the Central Bank website states, “UPCOMING EVENTS, July 15: Release of Analysis of Barbados’ Economic Performance for the first six months of 2014 Time: 2:00 p.m.” BU has been advised that the Central Bank has cancelled the news conference which has become a standard feature of the Governor Worrell’s quarterly review of Barbados’ economic performance.

Continue reading

Barbados Governance and Next Steps

Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.

Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.

The respected Bloomberg posted the headline [13/12/2013]  Barbados Debt Higher Than Cyprus Prompts Firing of 3,000. The preamble to the article reads “Barbados will fire 3,000 public sector workers by March and freeze wages as the eastern Caribbean island’s debt burden soars and the International Monetary Fund says “urgent adjustments” are needed.”  BU recalls in 2010 the suggestion to government to consider freezing public sector wages was mooted. In fact Minister David Estwick was publicly rapped on the knuckles for making the suggestion. The late Prime Minister David Thompson addressed the matter of wage freeze in his first press conference in 2010 – see Prime Minister David Thompson’s First Press Conference in 2010.

Where we find ourselves, AGAIN will provoke the usual political cackle from participants in the diluted Westminster system of government  we practice. In fact, leading political scientists and pundits will rationalize the political cackle as NORMAL,  emanating from an adversarial system borrowed from a colonial past.  Despite years of investing i education we have given little thought to changing the system of governance which continues to be a polarising force in a 2×3 country given how irrelevant it has become.

The national discussion will now mirror the tenor of the 90s when another DLP administration took the decision to slash public sector wages by 8% and jettison 8,000 public sector employees. Lessons learned you think? ‘Go to the ant thou sluggard…’.

The BU household always focuses on the part of the issue which Barbadians feel uncomfortable. Perhaps it explains why traditional media and prominent people in society read and contribute to BU but with a hushed involvement. This is the hypocrisy which supports a mendicant culture which is no longer relevant in a today’s world. No more preferential treatment from the More Developed Countries (MDCs) and no more lack of competition from the Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs).

The sending home of 3,000 public sector workers is not the solution to the problems which confront Barbados, it is a manifestation of one of many symptoms which ail the nation.  If there is one issue where there is consensus, it is that our economy has some deep flaws which must be addressed. Even the head of government’s economic advisory council has publicly admitted this to be the case. It seems to BU this was a good place to have started the discussion regarding a strategic economic approach in 2008. Looking forward, where do we go from here full in recognition that there is no silver bullet?

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Central Bank of Barbados: Political Tool or Facilitator of Economic Development?

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group

We are not a bit surprised that former Governor of the Central Bank, Sir Courtney Blackman is blaming both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party for the current financial woes. We are also not surprised, that the current Governor, Dr. DeLisle Worrell, is saying that the existing financial sector stymies or does not support innovation and creative enterprises. In layman’s terms it really means, that those citizens with startup enterprises, cannot get them financed.

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Notes From a Native Son: Has the Central Bank Failed to Give the Nation Any Direction on Economic Recovery

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The governor of the Central Bank appears quite clearly to have lost all sense of balance as far as the local economy is concerned. Not only has he been in office for the last five years or so, he is yet to come up with a publicly available reasoned and detailed plan for rescuing the nation’s economy from the situation it is in. His recent obvious confusion about the constitutional role of the Central Bank adds further to the confusion. Even local journalists are confused.

Dr Worrell’s reported U-turn on a policy announcement – a veiled criticism of the government, then claiming the government was on track – was but the latest in a series of embarrassing episodes. But first, we must get the legislation right. The Central Bank Act is irrelevant to the new financial architecture post-2007 and the new global regulatory paradigm. I said before, and say again, that the Act needs serious reform, giving the Bank a legally defined role, on par with the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and all the other major Central Banks. Be that role inflation targeting, financial stability, or even more explicitly, managing unemployment rates, there must be a benchmark against which we could measure the Bank. Now we have a situation in which the governor is publicly expressing views about fiscal policy, and one local website even describing the governor/central bank as the government’s primary monetary and fiscal adviser. Not at all. The central bank should be independent of the government of the day and should be reporting direct to parliament.

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Notes From a Native Son: Before Voting, think with your heads and not your hearts

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

When the voters of Barbados enter the polling booths on Thursday, it will be an enormous challenge for them to abandon old political tribal loyalties and objectively put the nation, future generations and their own futures before irrationally supporting a party or candidate they have always supported, while suspending reason. The harsh truth is that this is the most testing general election, not only since November 30, 1966, but since the early 1950s and the introduction of internal self-government.

In the new globalised world, there is no turning back for small nation states such as Barbados. New global organisations, such as the World Trade Organisation and the newly re-energised International Monetary Fund, now have power over small states, mostly wrapped up in international treaties, that they have never had before. At the same time, rich and powerful nations are subsidising their farmers and industrialists, such as car manufacturing and farming in the US, farming in the EU, and a long list of state-owned or controlled industries in China, which put further pressure on small states. But we are not just economic people, as a nation we are rounded with equal value given to our social relations, our civic and moral responsibilities and our cultural and creative environment.

Increasing Government Productivity:
One of the biggest drags on growth in Barbados is public sector efficiency, from improvements in technology, competent management to output per person. One only has to read the annual report of the auditor-general to see the extent of public sector incompetence. Take a simple, but important example, uncollected VAT. Value added tax is a sales tax paid by consumers and collected by trades and service people. For convenience, that money is paid to the government at pre-set dates – monthly, quarterly etc. However, in Barbados, there is a huge backlog of payments, of business people failing to handover to government monies collected on its behalf.

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Governor DeLisle Worrell Publishes How to Stabilize and Grow Small Open Economies

Dr. DeLisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank

A Joint Caribbean Group met recently with senior members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. The Managing Director of the IMF Christine Lagarde of the IMF will remember the meeting for the sharp exchanges which are reported to have occurred with the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados DeLisle Worrell.

Forgotten in the hullabaloo is the fact that Governor Worrell presented to the two international financial bodies a paper which is worthy of national, regioanl and international discussion titled, Policies for Stabilization and Growth in Small Very Open Economies.

Stabilisation Policy with a Fixed but Market-determined Exchange Rate

Dr. DeLisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank

The following paper by Dr. DeLisle Worrell, Governor of the Central can be found on the Central Bank’s website in its Economic Review for August 2012. In light of the heavy criticism levelled at the Governor by many of his critics – who have NOT taken the time to publish – BU links to the paper to provide fodder for debate on economic matters.The reality is not many Economists are as qualified as the Governor to speak about small island economies.

This paper describes how fiscal policy is used in Barbados to manage the demand for foreign exchange and ensure that the Central Bank is always stocked with adequate foreign exchange reserves to supply the needs of the interbank market. This enables the Central Bank to maintain an unchanged exchange rate through intervention on the interbank market. Sustaining the peg in this way lends credibility to Government economic policy and provides strong incentives to save and invest in the local economy.

Read full paper, page 57

Notes From a Native Son: Bad Economics and Bad Policy-making Are the Root Causes of our Economic Problems

Hal Austin

Recently, the governor of the central bank, DeLisle Worrell, wrote a rather interesting essay for a leading economic website putting a case for small economies, using Greece as the model. Since the governor has avoided any public debate about the sorry state of the Barbados economy, which can be put down to simple rudeness, arrogance or even contempt – maybe he is just busy – his views can therefore be construed as a contribution to the Barbadian conversation by proxy. For Greece, read Barbados.

It can also be read as an insight in to the kinds of advice the governor has been giving his less experienced boss, finance minister Chris Sinckler. In his article, governor Worrell said: “It is now reluctantly accepted at the IMF, the |World Bank and in international policy circles, that these small open economies are disproportionately affected by global shocks that raise import prices and cut demand for their exports, and it is costly for them to build resilience to adverse influences from abroad.”

This view, however, can be and is disputed. Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman and former deputy governor of the Bank of England, Howard Davies, are just two highly influential academic and financial economists to questions the prevailing orthodoxy.

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