Policy the only priority

Whether the Democratic Labour Party or Barbados Labour Party forms the next Barbados Government is of no major concern to the head of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank.

What that regional financial institution’s President, Dr. Warren Smith, wants to see, however, is good economic and other polices introduced by whoever is in charge here and elsewhere in the region.

He responded to a question about the importance and impact of political change in the Caribbean during a Press conference this morning at the bank’s Wildey office.

“One of the things that we do know is that good policy is good for economic growth and development. If better policies emanate from a political change than it’s good for the country, but if the change leads to retrograde steps in relation to policy my simple answer to you would be no,” he said.

“Good policy is good for the region and to the extent that good policy flows from political change we at the CDB are a hundred per cent behind it. Frequently you see governments change, they get an opportunity to go into the wilderness so the speak, they have an opportunity to rethink, as we Jamaicans say they wheel and they come again, and it’s a better story.

“So I don’t have a problem in principle with political change, but political change for its own good no, it must be accompanied by improved policy environment,” he added. Smith did not name specific countries, but said there were some which need policy direction.

“The policy framework that exists in the Caribbean differs from country to country. Some countries have good policy frameworks, some countries have policy frameworks that need improvement and our business is to work with the [Government] of the day to try to encourage them to move towards an improved policy framework,” he stated.

“And we do that not only on our own, but we also do it in collaboration with the other institutions like the World Bank, like the IMF, like the IDB.” (SC)

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