New foreign exchange the way forward
Dr. David Estwick, speaking at the launch of the DLP manifesto last night in the car park of the National Cultural Foundation in West Terrace, St. James, he said the way forward was economic diversification and creating new foreign exchange.
Saying that he was “sick and tired of wunna walking bout here all the time telling lies”, he proceeded to set the record straight regarding Barbados’ economy and why firstly the David Thompson Administration and secondly the Freudel Stuart Administration did what they did and introduced fiscal measures that would assist Barbadians.
He said that the increase in oil, soya bean and corn prices was the trigger that sent prices of commodities up and led to a reduction in manufacturing, construction, tourism arrivals and ultimately a reduction in revenue, and the Gross Domestic Product.
“Don’t believe Mascoll that it is the Value Added Tax that moved from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent that caused the problem — that is not the case. What did the Democratic Labour Party do? We introduced a stimulus programme because we thought that it was the best method in order to hold the economy together because it placed money into the economy to keep it ticking over.
“However, what started to happen by 2010 was this. Nobody in this world apart from [Clyde] Mascoll and Owen [Arthur] knew that the economy was going to last five years. Only the two of them knew that, but when we realised that after two and a half to three years the recession was still biting and Europe was still having great challenges this administration decided it was best now to … protect our foreign reserves,” Estwick explained.
He added that Europe showed no signs of coming out the recession and had in fact showed signs of going deeper into it.
The St. Philip West candidate said that had the DLP listened to Arthur, Mascoll and Mia Mottley back in 2009 during the budgetary and financial statements, a larger stimulus would have been required.
“If we had listened to them our reserves would have been decimated all like now… Do not buy into this rubbish that they’re telling you now about cutting back on VAT, getting rid of the allowances, giving you back this and giving you back that…,” he stated.
“[Mascoll] said that we would borrow $40 million a month but Mascoll’s prescriptions and Owen on cutting back taxation will result in the immediate reaction of a reduction in revenue to the Government. And that reduction in revenue will worsen your fiscal position in the immediate to short term,” he said.
Estwick noted that if taxes were cut across the board it would hurt those at the lower end of the social bracket and the “uptake in revenues would be slower” and in the long run the country’s fiscal position would be hurt.
He told voters to hold on, the DLP was working to solve the problems and spoke about the natural gas line pipeline was coming, and this allow the Barbados Light & Power company to go ahead and build the new plant in Trents, St. Lucy which would then allow them to reduce the cost of electricity to householders.
Additionally, he said that the re-elected DLP would be developing the country not selling it with projects such as inclusive of building a new marina, diversify the sugar industry, would “produce enough desalinated water to flood Barbados 10 times over and all of this talk about water outages in the north and in St. Philip would become a thing of the past. Hold on it is coming. We are working to solve the problems and diversify the economy of Barbados.” (DS)