Act now!

CDB issues another dire warning on the economy

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has a chilling message for the Freundel Stuart administration: delay further action to breathe life into the ailing economy and face possible disaster.

With Government’s austerity programme yet to produce the desired results, CDB President Dr Warren Smith is warning there is “no painless way” to rein in the fiscal deficit and ballooning debt.

“There is no question that there are some very tough decisions that need to be made in this country. I think the situation has reached the point where it appears to me there is no painless way out of this problem and I think there is an important lesson to be learnt there,” Smith told journalists on the sidelines of the CDB’s annual news conference at its Wildey, St Michael headquarters this morning.

“In economic matters, delay is never a good strategy because the problems that we now find ourselves in, the challenge that we now are faced with, has been made more difficult as a consequence of the accumulation of the problem, so that is an important lesson to learn. But I think it is also important to appreciate that we need action now. The Government of Barbados knows what to do.”

Troublingly, Smith said the island, once held up in the region as a shining example of social and economic development, could come under scrutiny as a result of the deteriorating conditions, sure to be made worse by the public row between Minister of Finance Christ Sinckler and Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr DeLisle Worrell.

The head of the regional financial institution said the CDB stood ready to lend assistance to the Stuart administration. However, he said the bank had to tread carefully.

“There will be no rejoicing to see the situation where Barbados is today, and what we are committed to doing is, without being too intrusive, to let the Government of Barbados understand as we have done in the past, in the very recent past, we have indicated that we are here to help, not only from the stand point of sharing our views and our experience, but also we are standing ready to provide the resources that the Government of Barbados will need in order to achieve the recovery that we all expect will take place,” Smith said.

Even in the absence of any formal aid, the bank is offering some advice, which it believes will help drag the country back from the brink.

Director of Economics Dr Justin Ram suggested urgent action to stabilize the macro economic environment, including consolidation of expenditure on transfers and subsidies, salaries and wages and interest payments on its debts.

With the debt standing at 145 per cent of gross domestic product and “going in the wrong direction”, Ram said Government should also explore ways to make it easier to do business here, thus improving the country’s competitiveness in order to attract much needed investment.

Smith made it clear there was no need for the bank to lecture the administration on what it needs to do to bring the economy back to life.

However, he reiterated that there was much to lose by delaying the necessary action.

“What we would like to do is to urge them to take the decisions in an inclusive manner which has always been the method of Barbados – engage with all the social partners. The people of Barbados are a very enlightened and educated population. It should not be too difficult to sit down and be open and frank with them as to the nature of the challenge that they face and the tough decisions that will have to be implemented,” the CDB president said.

Smith said not only was he confident Government would choose this path, but that the economy would emerge from its current malaise.

“Let me just repeat that we are ready to help but there are certain things that need to be done before the assistance of the multi-lateral institutions like ourselves can become
available in a fulsome way. I think that the debt situation is one that needs to be addressed urgently.

“I believe if certain tough decisions are made here in Barbados possibilities will be opened up, which will enable the infusion of nicely priced resources, which can be used to replaced more expensive debt financing that is currently being accessed by the Government of Barbados. So that is a discussion we would like to have with the Government and a discussion we have been having,” the CDB boss affirmed.

13 Responses to Act now!

  1. Hal Austin February 18, 2017 at 2:01 am

    It is a bit rich coming from the CDB telling the government to get a move on, after nearly nine years of failure.
    After all it is funding from bodies such as the CDB that is keeping this government breathing on its life support machine.
    If funding bodies were to make tougher demands on the government it would be forced to act. Their failure is part of the problem. The government has lost its international funding and now has to depend on local and regional funding.
    That is why the foreign-owned banks in Barbados have a free hand to do as they please.

  2. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn February 18, 2017 at 4:13 am

    No one ain’t listening, instead of listening they fighting.

  3. hcalndre February 18, 2017 at 6:11 am

    Dr.Justin Ram et al who is in the know have been lecturing to this administration for the past 7 years what is the remedy for this very sick patient and they have bluntly refused to do the right thing, saying that they don`t need advice from anyone. Governor DR. Worrell had known this too, he kept the public shut out and banned the media which I believe was a decision made between the MOF and the PM hoping that the patient would get well anytime soon but now that the patient is getting worse, the good Doctor has to take the responsibilities and have been fired. That`s his fault because he was not honest to the people and himself.

  4. Samantha Best February 18, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Everyone is blaming the Minister of Finance! Where are his advisors? The persons being paid to advise do not have a clue! Does anyone know who the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance is? Or who the Director of Finance and Economic Affairs is? Everyone has a Masters or Doctorate. Yet the economy is in a worse state than when the advisors had 5 O’levels. Persons in those days used to listen. Think tanks were set up for discussion. Not now.
    Plus when this Gov’t came to power they left all the PS’s that the previous Gov’t had in place. Too naive and lazy to move anyone so they are now dealing with sabotage.

  5. Richard Johnston February 18, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Maybe it’s time to get someone from outside who knows what he’s doing instead of recycling the same retreads carrying the same baggage.

  6. Sunshine Sunny Shine February 18, 2017 at 9:25 am

    ”It should not be too difficult to sit down and be open and frank with them as to the nature of the challenge that they face and the tough decisions that will have to be implemented,” the CDB president said.”

    I deliberately omitted the people of Barbados in this extracted fragment because the Freundel Stuart Administration do not believe that Barbadians need clarity, disclosure, enlightenment on anything decided by them or what is happening in the economy. What they have mastered to a T is the practice of providing Alternative Facts and speaking out of context. This Prime Minister still believes that when all is finished and done by this administration that they will be herald as the best DLP administration to ever govern in Barbados. I think we all are still waiting for the jury to render their verdict.

  7. Frog February 18, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Maybe Chris should reverse his pay increase, hire back all those people and ask them to save money since savings = investment and investments are to have a good return. The government is selfish and gets on like people shouldn’t know what they know or know more than them even though we all had to go UWI.

  8. Peter February 18, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Samantha Best. You said differently but clearly. You do have a soft spot for Chris Sinkler. At the end of the day, Whom exactly are/is to be blamed for this country’s state of affairs? First of all this place is so polarized politically that whenever an idea is presented, if it gets past the 1st person, it gets vetted thoroughly through George Street. The origin of that idea HAS to be a trusted DEM, and an active member. Anyone other than that will NOT be trusted and thus, because of this paranoid inbred disease called protection, and partisan behavior, NOTHING POSITIVE for the good of this nation can evolved. I know of well qualified persons whose presentation NEVER saw the proverbial light of day. Samantha, Chris Sinkler is not even as 1/100 as qualified nor intelligent as Dr. David Estwick. Who, just before 2008 served as SHADOW MIN. OF FINANCE, and who helped David Thompson to win that election by exposing wanna be Owen and his arrogant never to be forgotten nor forgiven behavioral attitude, by showcasing the likes of Rodney, Wilkin, Hallam Nich, and Mariana Brown. among others. They have protective coatings in the form of former deportee Rob Mathews who disguises himself as one Arthur on radio, and Carson C Cadogan and Zeus on BT, and Maureen Holder who will never give the title of Senator to but she might settle for a foreign Consulate position which she is struggling to obtain.

    Enough written for now.

    • Richard Johnston February 18, 2017 at 11:34 am

      ‘Who exactly are/is to be blamed….’ A little learning is a dangerous thing.

      • Peter February 18, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        I know Richard but what I wrote are facts. If you can’t figure out what or who “are/is” means or actually are then I feel sorry for you. I’m sure you are not that silly.

  9. Ernesta Catlyn February 18, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Samantha you do not have a clue. The majority of PSs worth any salt resigned with a year or two of this government under this PM taking over. The Minister of Finance never really took his PS or former DFE into his confidence. He is one the first Ministers of Finance who can be seen attending sessions locally and internationally without his ‘trusted’ right and left hand. Too much to hide I suppose.

  10. Anonymous February 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Honestly, People don’t ever listen to the young generation. They have ideas that are outside the traditional but there is ageism that occurs in Barbados.

    People fighting over B & D instead of true collaboration. Politics is needed but the public been shut out of the discourse. The parents fighting and we the kids turned away from the idea of marriage (politics) because they not listening.

  11. Troy February 19, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Chris and Delisle please settle this issue before Lord Rothchild and his team make their move. A word to the wise


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