Size a challenge
Retired Professor of Economics at the Cave Hill Campus, Sir Frank Alleyne, has argued that Barbados’ size presents major challenges in the world economy.
Alleyne presented this argument last night while delivering the Errol Barrow Memorial Lecture at the Frank Collymore Hall.
The former economics lecturer recalled that Barbados faced a similar challenge in 1973 when the price of oil was increased by 400 per cent by OPEC.
Acknowledging that Barbados’ economy was like a drop of water in the ocean, Sir Frank maintained that the country had done well under the circumstances. Sir Frank said Barbados did not have many natural resources from which it could draw.
He identifying economies such as China and the United States as self-sufficient to an extent that they could benefit from a stimulus package.
“Our first problem is how do you insulate the country from external shocks,” he said. “Barbados has very limited capacity to protect itself from such shocks.”
Sir Frank lamented the absence of wider contribution to the debate, noting the fact that some students seem to enter university and graduated without displaying any major effect from the programme they pursued. As a small developing country, the academic added, Barbados must have an educated population.
The advisor to Government on finance matters also told his audience that the absence of the Barbados National Bank as an indigenous institution to act as a countervailing force in the local banking community was to be regretted.
He noted that besides the late Errol Barrow, former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford was the only other Prime Minister who has made a significant attempt to restructure the local economy. In fact, he argued that Sir Lloyd should be given his due before he passed on.
Addressing the issue of the World Trade Organisation, Sir Frank argued that its members and the institution were only fair on paper, but in reality worked against the interests of small countries.
Sir Frank acknowledged that in many cases small countries like Antigua and Barbados did not have the personnel to adequately present their cases at these international organisations.†(NC)