Barbados Economy in Trouble
The Caribbean Is One Nation.
|National Flag of Barbados|
The Barbados economy continues to spatter throwing the entire country into widespread panic. The most recent budget of Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler failed to allay the fears of the business and public sectors that any hope of the economy growing significantly will simply not happen.
The country has been meeting the payment of public servants by utilizing the printing of money by the country’s Central Bank and the use of Natural Insurance Service funds. The budget presented last Tuesday May 30th 2017, was also critically analyzed by at least two sitting members of cabinet, who thought the two major policies: the increase of the National Social Responsibility Levy from two to ten percent and a two percent tax on all foreign exchange transactions including online shopping and money transfers, might not be the best solutions. The measures are designed to decrease the fiscal deficit and save or dampen the use of critical foreign exchange. It is widely believed that they will dramatically increase the cost of living.
The government has been advised to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund but its major fear is the prospect of laying off public servants and a currency devaluation if the IMF is involved. Another problem that government faces is the precarious nature of the foreign reserves that are now down to eleven weeks rather than the fourteen weeks. The policies outlined are being described as “homegrown “remedies.
Failure to reform both the education system and the public service has resulted in Barbados’ current predicament. Since the late sixties, progressive thinkers have been calling for a new approach to the island’s governance and economic planning . The traditional white corporate class and the then emerging Black political class literally sabotaged all ideas and branded those who opposed them as communists, socialist and malcontents.
While the Mahogany Coconut Group is sympathetic toward the regional governments’ challenges to develop a new economic and social justice order, we must state categorically that there seems to be a void of leadership. All the economies in the region are slowly but surely sinking into socio-economic quicksand and unless this reality is accepted, our weak economies, many now almost solely dependent on tourism, would most certainly go under.