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Stop looking down, governor tells Bajans

Stop focussing on your toes and look ahead. That’s the advice Central Bank of Barbados Governor Dr. DeLisle Worrell has for Barbadians, including the private sector, which he said needed to “rise to the challenge” and do things to help pull the economy out of recession.

Speaking in the face of a 0.4 per cent economic contraction during the traditionally strong first quarter, and a higher than expected fiscal deficit he said warranted a strategy “adjustment”, Worrell said today that the global recession notwithstanding, the keys to a turnaround were in local hands.

This included the current difficult state of the tourism sector and other business areas. “I am saying that it is up to us, it is up to the people who are in the tourism business. The policy makers by keeping Barbados out of the hands of the IMF have left them with the choices to make, how are they going to take this country forward?

How are they going to creatively meet the challenges that are out there for Barbados,” he asked?

“We are in the first division now so the kind of performance that would have gotten us to this point is not going to take us forward, but the things that we are doing are the right things, in alternative energy, in high quality tourism, in terms of the heritage designation and so on, in terms of the cultural spread, the sports tourism, the Bushy Park, the lot of good things that are happening.

“And what I am saying is that the private sector must rise to the challenge of seeing how we can enlarge that whole scope of things, and each and every Barbadian, including myself, must rise to the challenge of making Barbados’ reputation as a place of excellence in service, that the quality of service in every aspect of our work is world class and that people will talk about Barbados as being the place where if you want to get things done this is the place,” he stated.

Worrell said Barbados had no control over the world and that with the global having “dragged on and on and on”, the island had to make the most of what it had.

“That is how we have been able to transform this economy, by using the scarce resources, people are amazed, they do not understand, how a country like Barbados, which has no natural resources, which has the resources of its people, has been able to do so well and continues to do so well, in spite of the high prices that we have and the fact that we have to import everything and so on,” he said.

“And I am saying that if we believe in ourselves, if each of us rise to the challenge of being the best that we can be, of giving the best service that we can give, of seeking the opportunities in whatever circumstance that we find ourselves … then our future is secured and it is entirely up to us.”

The economist said everyone in Barbados should reflect on the fact that “in spite of the recession that has been with us ever since 2008 we continue to be able to preserve our quality of life”.

“It’s been hard and we are having to make do in a number of different ways, but we have been able to get to this point without having to sacrifice in any sort of major way the quality of life for the majority of Barbadians,” he said.

“And what is more, we have arrived at this situation in spite of the fact that things have turned out much worse than we could have imagined with our own options available to us, in a position where the IMF cannot dictate to us, the credit rating agencies cannot dictate to us.

“And the additional point is that we also have a clear understanding of the things that we must do to secure the future growth of this economy. We know the issues that we must address, we know the sectors that must lead the growth if it is to be sustainable and we have a fully articulated situation where, thanks largely to your own agencies, the media and so on, we have an ongoing discussion … so that we can chart the path forward. (SC)

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