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Take the pain

by Shawn Cumberbatch

delisleworrelloninnovationTake the pain now and get it over so Barbados can “get things back into balance”.

That’s how Central Bank of Barbados Governor Dr. DeLisle Worrell personally thinks the $400 million fiscal adjustment he says Barbados needs should be approached.

The economist, who said all options were being considered and the matter was now in the hands of the Social Partners, told the media today that “the adjustment will be well before Christmas” and that it was best not to delay it.

“We have enough reserves to cope with the problem. In many cases it makes a lot of sense to take the pain, to get it over with, to get things back into balance so that you can focus … on the investment that we need to concentrate on to grow the foreign exchange sectors,” he said.

“But it really depends on how much purchase from the various measures and how soon the measures can be put into place. So it’s a judgment call, the one thing that we have to accept is that we have got a package which is of the right size.

“But having said that, I think we have enough reserves that we can do what is necessary and when necessary.”

His own views notwithstanding, the governor said “it’s not my call, that is why we have a Social Partnership and that is the strength of our decision making process”.

“In order for things to work everybody has to be reading from the same page, everybody has to understand why we are doing the thing. The reason why are doing this is (because) we wish to maintain the foreign exchange reserve cushion,” he stated.

“We wish to balance the inflows and outflows so that we don’t have to erode that foreign exchange cushion. That is why we are doing these things and everybody understands that.”

Worrell reiterated that while the $400 million adjustment was the first thing required, but said “the real issue really is growing the economy, growing the foreign exchange sectors, and that is what we have to focus on”.

And while external circumstances influenced Barbados’ economic prospects, the official said the return to growth hoped for next year was dependent on all Barbadians.

“The growth of this economy depends on the competitiveness of the economy and the competitiveness of the economy is in the hands of myself, yourself and each and every Barbadian, because the thing that distinguishes Barbados from everybody else and the thing that enables us to succeed in a competitive world is the fact that people know of us as an experience which is incomparable,” he said.

“And if we have a failing, and we know that we have a failing, it is that assurance in each and every case and that is why I keep stressing that we have got to establish our reputation for excellence as the norm.

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