Barbados’ domestic price level seems broadly consistent with its level of development, suggesting no evidence of misalignment. Recent tourism developments also confirm Barbados’ competitiveness: its share of Caribbean tourist arrivals has remained flat, while its tourism receipts have actually risen relative to others, reflecting its successes at the higher-end segment.
There has been insufficient analysis of the IMF 2007 Article IV Consultation report. Don’t we get the feeling that for an intelligent nation we are just happy to read what is reported hook line and sinker? Isn’t it rather boring that although we are touted to be an educated society, we are always inclined to be divided on serious issues based on our political persuasion? We hear the Prime Minister talking how his government is proud of the social capital of Barbados — we are too Mr. Prime Minister but not so fast! What about the continued upward trend of HIV and AIDS? Doesn’t this indicator compromise the quality of our human capital and by extension our national productivity (GDP)? What about the physical infrastructure of Barbados – its roads, hospital, obsolete systems which support our civil establishment? We could go on. The point we want to make to Prime Minister Arthur is: how can he talk about the strong social capital of Barbados when there are signs all around that we are struggling with physical and human capital development. Let’s not forgot the undisciplined students in our schools, and the next generation! Don’t worry Mr. Arthur, it is common for economists to forget the social well being of countries they manage in their economic planning.
We have a concern which rests with the statement quoted above. What is the significance especially for Barbados of the intra-regional travel and of the regional integration movement? CARICOM has been trying to sell the idea of the importance of CSME and describing it as “one economic space”; but how can our confused public understand that on one hand, there is the need to travel around the Caribbean but on the other, the price to do so is prohibitive? We have heard people like Peter Wickham and Maxine McClean who sell their services throughout the region complaining about the cost of air travel, as well as the inefficiency of the regional airlines. It is a no-brainer to the BU household that the implementation of an efficient regional transportation system should have been a prerequisite to opening the doors to CSME. Sometimes we wonder, when our leaders attended school what is it that they did with their time there.