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Things likely to get worse

Here we go, again! Another agency [IMF] telling the DLP Administration that its much touted Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy does not go far enough in addressing the deep fiscal problems in the Barbados economy, and “corrective action” similar to 1991 is needed. Now that is scary!

With general elections looming, I do not expect the Government will see the importance of moving swiftly to implement tough corrective measures. If 1991 be our guide, under the DLP we saw eight per cent salary cut and massive layoffs in the public sector, unemployment spiking up to 24 per cent, and foreign reserves were critically low.

In 1990-91 ahead of the elections we were assured that economic policies were working and all was well with the economy. The electorate believed the DLP government of the day and easily returned them to office. Shortly thereafter we were in the clutches of the IMF Structural Adjustment Programme that brought tremendous hardship and the threat of devaluation of our currency.

Fast forward to 2012, just before another general election, with the DLP again in office and the language and rhetoric just as familiar as in 1991. The country has just been handed its first ever downgrade to junk bond status by Standard & Poor’s, personal savings are being eroded, and the NIS is being used as Government’s piggy bank.

Based on history alone, this Government cannot be trusted for us to accept that we will be more prosperous under their continued leadership. I shudder to think what 2013 will be like for Barbadians should the DLP be reelected for a second term.

We only need to ask ourselves if we are better off today than we were five years ago.

— Carl Harper

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