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Durant named economist of the year

Ethelmark Durant

Acting Chief Economist in the Research and Planning Unit of the Ministry of Finance’s Economic Affairs Division, Ethelmark Durant, was the toast of that department when he was named Economist of the Year.

He received a plaque along with a special commendation from Parliamentary Secretary in the Division, Senator Jepter Ince, during a special ceremony at the Warrens Office Complex recently.

Durant said the award was testament to the hard work and commitment of the staff in the Research and Planning Unit of the Ministry of Finance.

“I am very happy about it and I would have had some stiff competition from my very competent peers because we all care about the Barbadian economy and in our various technical capacities, we all try to put forward our best efforts,” he added.

Durant, who joined the department as an Economist in 2003, gave his views on the future of the economy through the lens of a development economist.

“I tend to see the connectivity between all of the sectors in that I see no separation between the social and economic aspects of the country. Comparatively, Barbados is doing much better than many similar small islands around the world. In this regard, some Barbadians are not as fully aware of the good, stable overall quality of life we have on the island as we should. However, the global economic environment has, and will continue to throw curve balls at us which points to the need for planners and policy makers to pick good winners in terms of overall national development strategy.”

He further stated: “The Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister have both endorsed the move towards the green economy and as a development economist I fully support this decision. Many people may not understand the medium to long-term potential [benefits] of a Green Economy.

“In the same way that development of sugar has benefitted the island for hundreds of years, the development of a Green Economy can bring the country to a level of sustainability and self-reliance needed to afford each Barbadian an opportunity to play an active role in every sector of society given the positive knock-on effects of such a transition.”

Durant acknowledged the role Acting Permanent Secretary in the Investment Division in the Ministry of Finance, Patrick McCaskie, played in inspiring and supporting him and praised Acting Director of Research and Planning, Derek Gibbs, for his openness to new ideas. He also singled out economist, Kelza Scantlebury, whom he described as “the anchor of support in terms of the foundation work needed to effectively carry on the work of the Planning and Policy Unit”.

Previous winners of the Economist of the Year Award were Derek Gibbs in 2010 and Kimberly Waithe in 2011.

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