Hoodwinked

Don’t be fooled by Dems again, warns Arthur

Don’t be fooled by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart again!

This was the strong word of caution issued by his predecessor Owen Arthur today, in light of Stuart’s recent assurances that the island was neither on the brink of a dollar devaluation, nor entry into any formal programme with the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).

While maintaining that Barbados’ fiscal position was dire, Arthur, a trained economist, said though he considered Stuart to be “an honourable man” and was prepared to take him at his word, Barbadians need only remember who would have told them in the last general election campaign that no one would lose their jobs.

“I have your back,” said Arthur in clear reference to the solemn promise made by Stuart in the 2013 campaign that there would be no major public sector lay-offs if his ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) were returned to office.

“. . . I remember that it was said that no public servants would have lost their jobs,” the former Prime Minister said, in light of the recent decision to send home 3,000 Government workers.

Still bruising from the harsh ridicule he got at the time for suggesting that privatization was the way forward, Arthur further recalled that the election was won by the DLP on the basis that “they will not be selling any assets, but Arthur wants to sell assets”.

“I was brutalized by an old lady in an [television] ad who said that ‘Owen Arthur wants to privatize’ and now the Government is privatizing.”

However, in retrospect, Arthur told Barbados TODAY: “I was honest enough to tell the country that I could not see how the country was asset rich and cash strapped and I couldn’t see how we could get through without selling assets and I was slaughtered for it.”

Therefore, he believes Barbadians need to be cautious in terms of all the DLP has to say about the economic way forward.

“I have heard the Prime Minister [on no devaluation and no IMF]. I have to say he is an honourable man, but I also know he would have said that nobody was going to lose their job,” the former leader said with a chuckle, while recalling Mark Anthony’s comments about Brutus in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

“Freundel is a superman,” Arthur added.

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur & Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

On a more serious note, he said one only had to look at the way in which the foreign exchange reserves were plummeting to get an idea of the critical condition of the country.

“A large part of Government’s financial needs have been met recently by the printing of money by the Central Bank of Barbados. In the process the foreign reserves of the country have fallen from $1.5 billion to less than $700 million,” he pointed out, while cautioning that “if the process of printing continues then Barbados will so deplete its foreign exchange reserves that it will be prostrate before not only the IMF, but the rest of the world”.

Arthur said the situation was such that the Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell had now gone on record as saying that he wanted to put an end to the printing of money.

“If that is the case, it is not a moment too soon, but it puts an onus on the Minister of Finance to tell the country what is the credible alternative he has in mind to the use of the Central Bank’s printed resources to finance its operations.”

The former Prime Minister also called attention to Sections 48 & 49 of the Central Bank Act which indicate that the Governor of the Central Bank must bring to the minister’s attention any threat to monetary stability, along with suggestions as to the corrective policy positions to pursue. If the minister does not want the Central Bank to follow that advice, the minister then has to put what he wants done in writing and will have to publish it in the Official Gazette.

“So we have reached that moment in Barbados. A Central Bank Governor has said he wants to stop printing money as a means by which Government is financed, but also the reserves are depleted and it would be incumbent now that they would now have to put it in writing,” he stressed, while warning Government that it still needs to address the fundamental problem of how large a deficit the country can carry and how it will be funded.

In the wake of Government’s recent announcement of the planned sale of the Barbados National Oil Company Limited to Sol, Arthur also cautioned that no “one-off sale” of state assets would do.

“A one-off sale of this thing or that thing is not enough. In fact, the sale of assets should be used to pay down debt because if you sell a house you can’t use the proceeds to buy food, or you shouldn’t. You should use it to find somewhere else to live and if the Government is going to sell assets it should use the proceeds to pay down its liabilities. So the notion of Government selling these assets and using them for current expenses, in my view, is not on. You should use them to reduce the debt, especially if the assets being sold had a liability to begin with. So that some of the solutions I am hearing are not full and utter solutions,” he said, while taking a swipe at the Mia Mottley led Opposition Barbados Labour Party saying, “this was the critical issue it should be dealing with since it is going to affect the pocketbooks of every Barbadian”.

kaymarjordan@barbadostoday.bb

16 Responses to Hoodwinked

  1. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne January 31, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Well, this is one thing I ever expect to hear from an experienced man who still sees and knows it all especially when he was prime minister for nearly 14 years and helped keep this nation afloat. Thank you, Mr. Owen Arthur.

    Reply
  2. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba February 1, 2017 at 12:08 am

    OWEN U AND FREUNDEL ARE ONE AN THE SAME…..BUT IF I WAS U OWEN, ALI BABA WOULD TAKE SOME SHAME

    Reply
  3. Patsy Yearwood
    Patsy Yearwood February 1, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Lol Ali Baba

    Reply
  4. jus me February 1, 2017 at 12:39 am

    Is an honourable man and yet a liar.
    A combination that can only be applied by a Politician.
    Well Mr A we would all rather believe in Father Christmas.

    Reply
    • Gearbox1964 February 1, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      LOL…an honourable liar. Maybe it means that Fundel is 75% honourable and 25% trickster. So only 1 in every 4 statements to the public is a trick.

      Reply
  5. Hal Austin February 1, 2017 at 3:30 am

    There is something in journalism, a fundamental principle, called balance. That means that in a story you get both sides of the argument. A so-called news story that allows a single person to rant on is simply a press release. Not even trainee reporters would write such blatant PR.
    As to the economic views expressed, by reminding readers that Arthur is a ‘trained economist’ does not legitimise nonsense.
    What alternative policies would he put in place to rescue the economy? And, how would they differ from those he enacted during his 14 yrs in charge?

    Reply
  6. NOLAN HALL February 1, 2017 at 5:34 am

    Hal Austin, my understanding from reading this article is that Arthur was responding to statements made by Stuart when he address the business community recently and the Governor of the central bank during his report,therefore one can conclude that two sides , or even three sides , were presented. As for alternative policies , you just have to go back to all of Arthur’s speeches both in and out of parliament for the last eight years.

    Reply
  7. John c King February 1, 2017 at 6:00 am

    i hope the press has not modify Owen speach

    Reply
  8. Hal Austin February 1, 2017 at 6:59 am

    OK Nolan

    Reply
  9. A J February 1, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Owen you called him a noble man but as recent as July last year I heard him say he has no respect for you and in fact he dislikes every bone in your body. Be careful how you characterize. He is truly Ali Baba.

    Reply
  10. Carson C Cadogan February 1, 2017 at 9:40 am

    From 2008 Arthur was saying that the country was on the brink of disaster.

    From 2008 he wanted us to believe that the meal we were taking was the last we would ever have.

    This 2017 and he is still saying the same nonsense.

    Reply
  11. Peter February 1, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Come on people , both Owen Arthur and Freundel Stuart are politicians. We know what they do best. … LIE !!!

    Reply
  12. Aneta February 1, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I agree with you Peter. Carson can’t see beyond his party. A true true hypocrite. I back the BLP but when them did nonsense I chastised them publicly. The supporters of the dems would see them killing someone and deny it to kingdom come. Smh

    Reply
  13. Sunshine Sunny Shine February 1, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    The only people who are going to be fooled by the incompetency of this Prime Minister are those who want to be fooled again. The amount of damage he has done with his tongue is not one that bajans are going to easily forget this time. Plus bajans already know that he is a master of ”Alternative facts.”

    Reply
  14. Mikey February 2, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    That is why neither the blp or dlp should run the affairs of this country for the next 50 years.
    There is need for a breath of fresh air in Barbadian politics.
    Lawyer/Economist politics has moved Barbados nowhere fast.
    Remember some of these names that helped ,, Cox, Mapp, Smith, Garner, Sargeant, Boxill, Batson, Cummins, Tudor, Fergusson, Lynch, Mottley,Talma, Edwards and others who were neither lawyers nor economists.

    Reply
  15. F.A.Rudder February 7, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Owen these are some relatively good points of view! We would wish that our present Minister of Finance be precaution with some of what you have divulged!

    Reply

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