Unemployed under Owen
Democratic Labour Party candidate for St. James Central, George Hutson, has argued that the level of unemployment in Barbados has always hovered around 10 per cent to 12 per cent even under the Owen Arthur Administration of the 1994 to 2008.
Hutson made this observation earlier tonight while addressing a DLP meeting in Mile & Quarter, St. Peter.
He pointed out that the only occasion on which the level of unemployment dropped to seven per cent was in 2007 during the World Cup Cricket Series. Citing statistics to bear out his observation, Hutson said in 1999 the level of unemployment was 10.4 per cent; in 2000 it was 9.4 per cent; in 2001 it was 9.9 per cent; in 2002 it was 10.3 per cent and in 2003 it was 10.7 per cent.
Hutson added that the current level of unemployment was not substantially out of line with the traditional pattern. He pointed out that the seven per cent level of unemployment in 2007 was realised after Government had spent $120 million on the Cricket World Cup Series and millions of dollars were paid to Carnival Cruise Lines to provide hotel accommodation for visitors who never turned up in the numbers that were anticipated.
The Minister of International Business and International Transport in the Freundel Stuart Administration said he was proud of his Government’s achievements over the past five years.
He lauded the cooperation displayed by the private sector and the trade union movement in maintaining the level of employment during the recession, pointing out that the level of unemployment in the United States and the United Kingdom had been increasing substantially.
In some areas in the US and the United Kingdom, he added, the level of unemployment was in the region of ten per cent.†Hutson noted that in some European countries the level of unemployment among young people was as high as 40 per cent.
The St. James Central candidate told his audience that while Barbados had never defaulted on any loans, Greece had defaulted on their loans and Spain was unable to pay its bills.
Hutson said that some workers on Wall Street had not worked for the past four years, while others had been forced to pursue training in other areas. He warned the crowd that they must exercise care when spokesmen of the BLP came around with their rhetoric.
If former Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s 15 point plan were ever introduced there, he suggested, it would result in a spike in unemployment. Hutson reminded his audience that in any privatisation programme businessmen would trim the number of employees on the payroll. (NC)†††††