A failing BLP plan

arthur’s strategy will cause balance of payment issues

If Barbados follows the plan Owen Arthur has for stimulating the economy it will only lead to balance of payment problems and the IMF.

That assertion came from St. Philip West MP Dr. David Estwick last night during the Democratic Labour Party’s campaign launch in Passage Road, the City.

On a platform where all 30 candidates were introduced and before a large crowd of supporters, the Minister of Agriculture told Barbadians that Arthur, the leader of the Barbados Labour Party opposition, was “a madman”.

He explained that in examining the policies the Opposition Leader was proposing, there was only one place it could lead and that was firmly into the hands of the International Monetary Fund, which would subsequently mean devaluation of the dollar and the retrenching of workers.

“The madman that outside is Owen Arthur…, this man is beginning to enunciate policies with his sidekick Mascoll and Mia Mottley that could land Barbados directly into the hands of the IMF. I want to tell you all tonight that if you allow Owen Arthur to practise the policies of stimulating an economy that does not have significant foreign reserves cover we could end up with what is called a balance of payments crisis and we could end up in the hands of the IMF,” he stated.

Estwick noted: “The IMF’s first prescription is first thing devalue your dollar; secondly, send home people. In fact, he did not even have to be told that by the IMF because he was the one who when he was at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre speaking to the Human Resources Association of Barbados, said †that the way forward for Barbados was privatisation. He did not wait for the IMF to tell him so, he was the one who came up with it himself.”

In 2007, the St. Philip West MP argued that the country had enough foreign reserves for 22 weeks of imports. Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, he added, furthermore crafted a plan to contain those reserves, and even with that plan, by October of 2012 there was a fall to 16 weeks despite a struggle to hold strain.

“But Owen Arthur would still come and tell you that the way forward for Barbados is to stimulate the economy and bring the reserves further down. If that ever happens in Barbados, we will have a balance of payments problem and we will have to go to the IMF for balance of payment support. Do not let that happen.

“The problem that Jamaica now has; the problem that Guyana now has is because of the devaluation they went through. You don’t want to see devaluation in Barbados.”

Using the United States as an example that Arthur did not know what he was doing, Estwick noted that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan had proposed to President Barack Obama that the way forward was to cut taxes, not raise them, to cut entitlements like education, health care and pensions, as a solution to the recession.

“Listen to Owen Arthur, ‘Chris Sinckler, yuh shouldn’t have raised VAT. Chris Sinckler yuh should not have sent up the allowances. And this is what we gine do, we gine cut all de taxes.’ Sound familiar?”

“In addition to that, while he was discussing at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, this is what Owen Arthur said, ‘If Barbadians will have to pay more for education and health care in the future, then let us give Barbadians the tax incentives so that they can do for themselves what Government used to do”.

“You understand what he saying. If Barbadians have to pay for health care and education in the future, then he will give Barbadians tax incentives so that you will do the things Government used to do. Doesn’t Government now pay for health care and for secondary and university education, Community College and so on?

“What de man is saying is that he will give you incentives and the Government will stop paying for those things. That is exactly what the Republicans would advocate in America. That is why it was rejected in America and you must reject it in Barbados as well,” he told the cheering crowd.

He challenged that while the Opposition was talking about stimulating the economy and giving Barbadians money to pay bills and buy food, the danger was that Germany, the only economy in Europe that had been holding the rest of the continent together was now being predicted to go into recession later this year.

“If that happens, it could spell even greater challenges for Barbados to accumulate more reserves to protect the country and ultimately the further challenge of devaluation.

Devaluation, he added, would mean uncontrollable spiralling costs and the island having to spend more to develop.

“I can only ask you to stay the course with us. The path we have set is the right path. Stay the course with Captain Stuart,” he offered. (LB)

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