No need to worry, says Stuart
As Barbados gets ready to celebrate its 48th anniversary of Independence, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is assuring the country that “there is no need to worry” despite persistent economic challenges.
Stuart told the media on Friday following a Blessing on the Nation ceremony at the St Philip Primary School that the challenges facing the country are being dealt with.
He also insisted that the situation is nothing the country has not faced before.
“Barbados’ challenges at the moment are not challenges that which we can not deal with. The world went into a downturn in the last quarter of 2007 and every country in the western world, including the most powerful ones, were affected by it.”
He made reference to the United States and Britain, which he explained took six to seven years to get their financial houses back in order.
Stuart maintained that the economic crisis is so severe that “CARICOM heads asked Barbados to head a commission on the economy because outside of oil rich Trinidad and Tobago every other Caribbean economy is under pressure.”
“But we have faced challenges like this before,” Stuart stated, adding, “The crisis, which we have passed through recent times, is not an oil crisis, the other three we have passed since Independence were all oil-related. Now these things have to be remembered.
“Coming out of the first oil crisis when Errol Barrow was Prime Minister of Barbados or when we were not yet independent in 1975, the unemployment rate in Barbados was 22.5 per cent, today it is about 13 per cent. Inflation was running in Barbados in 1975 at 40 per cent, today it is less than five per cent. So we have climbed some high mountains in the past and been able to get through.”
The Prime Minister explained that the current crisis was completely different from the others, adding that “we do not know how long it is going to be, there are those here who would like to have you believe that it has ended, it has not ended.”
“The measures that had to be put in place were painful as happens when you are not well. When you are not well you don’t always like what the doctor gives you but when you are seriously ill one of the first things that is attacked is your appetite and if your appetite is attacked then you lose weight. Even after your situation has been stabilized it doesn’t mean that you can go and run a hundred metres, you still have to work yourself back to where you want to be and that is precisely what is happening here,” Prime Minister Stuart explained.
However he was adamant that his Government was hard at work trying to turn the situation around.
“There is no need for Barbadians to worry, we have the challenges within focus and we are working steadily on them to get the economy of Barbados back to normal, where growth can take place and where the economy can begin to expand and begin to get a little larger again so that more people can benefit from the country’s prosperity.
“I want to assure people of Barbados, that Barbados is going to survive, its it going to prosper,” the head of Government added.