Shun the Bees!
Barbadian voters received this warning recently from respected economist Sir Frank Alleyne as he mounted the Democratic Labour Party platform in support of that party’s candidates in the upcoming poll.
The Chairman of the Financial Services Commission and a principal economic advisor to the Freundel Stuart Administration, said based on what BLP leader Owen Arthur and his team were promising in the current general election campaign, the outcome he saw was a devalued Barbados dollar and thousands of public sector workers on the breadline.
“They ain’t tell you, but if you do the logic because they say they are going to give you a salary increase if you put them in, they say they are going to cut the VAT, they say they are going to give you back allowances, which means revenue is going to decline.
“The only way they are going to do these things, and I assume they are going to do them, is be … massive cuts in staff in the public sector – that’s the only way they can do it,” the economist told the audience attending the DLP meeting at Waterford, St. Michael.
Sir Frank also cautioned the electorate that if they return the BLP to office after one term in Opposition and that party did what it had said it would, “in short order the currency will be devalued and if you get a devaluation setting in, in a country of this size, I am telling you crapaud gine smoke pipe because we will be unable to set a currency peg, that is the rate the Barbados dollar would exchange for the US dollar”.
“So given the situation in the world today, and given the situation which we in Barbados are confronted with, it does not make sense to gamble with the livelihoods of the people of the country; that is fundamental,” he said.
“You are on a slippery slope and you tell me you are going to start gambling? And I say tonight anyone who would go and put the government of this country in the hands of the other side that person is not protecting his or her interests.
“When you go to vote the first thing you should vote is to protect your interests and that of your family and when I look at the options available the only advice I can give honestly to anybody is to go and vote for the candidates of the Democratic Labour Party.”
Sir Frank told Barbadians “think for yourselves, don’t listen to any pretty talk…, go home and think on these things because remember you can catch at the shadow and you lose the bone”.
“So I say to you that there is a good reason why the other side is making these big promises to you. They are doing this because they have no respect for your capacity to think that is why they are doing it. It is an affront to ordinary people and you have to deal with them, deal with them by voting against them,” he urged.
He also said it would be unwise for the BLP to use the island’s foreign reserves as a form of stimulus.
“The foreign reserves they are talking about is borrowed money. When they come here you ask them if that is not true. The foreign reserves they are talking about is not money that we earned by selling goods and services overseas, it is money we borrowed from the Inter American Development Bank, it is money borrowed from the Caribbean Development Bank and so on,” Sir Frank stated.
“And if you borrow money from overseas the best means of using that money is investing it in goods and services which earn foreign currency, hard currency, because I don’t call Trinidad currency foreign currency, or the currency used by Antigua or St. Kitts.” (SC)