We’ve failed!

Alternative economic plan needed - Estwick

In an apparent slight of Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, outspoken Cabinet Minister Dr David Estwick said Government’s economic policies had failed and the Freundel Stuart administration was facing an uphill task in seeking to correct its errors.

And in what can be seen as an “I told you so” moment, the Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management today reiterated that an alternative economic plan which he had presented to Cabinet just over three years ago, should have been accepted instead of the policies pursued under Sinckler’s supervision.

Estwick never mentioned Sinckler by name during his interview with Barbados TODAY, but it was evident that he was no fan of the policies pursued by his own Government over the past seven years or so.

The controversial minister reminded the country that as far back as 2010 the Stuart administration had been printing money – something Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr Delisle Worrell recently warned must stop immediately and which Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss contended was only meant to be a short-term measure.

“It is widely known that for much of our first term in Government that the Central Bank of Barbados printed money to support Government’s current expenditure, posing a real risk to declining reserves in the process,” Estwick wrote to the Prime Minister in a letter dated January 20, 2014, a position he told Barbados TODAY this afternoon he maintains to this day.

He said Government had ignored his persistent warnings that the policies and strategies it was pursuing would not work.

He broke his silence today amid growing criticisms against the ongoing printing of money to finance the Treasury, the worrying level of foreign exchange reserves and the legal battle between Sinckler and Worrell over an attempt to sack the Governor.

The minister said he had been expressing those concerns even before he began writing a series of letters to Cabinet in 2013.   

Estwick had presented his alternative economic plan in the letter dated January 20, 2014.

He remained adamant today that his main proposal was the best option to restore economic growth and sustainability.

“What I will stand behind is the analysis as to why the economic policies and strategies we pursued would not have worked and why we will have to refinance and restructure the debt.  This should have been done much earlier when it was easier to do. It is more difficult now because our debt metrics have deteriorated significantly since 2010,” the former Minister of Economic Affairs said.

As the ruling Democratic Labour Party today marked its ninth anniversary in office, Estwick told Barbados TODAY this country’s risk profile had also deteriorated; the arrears picture had worsened and so had the fiscal situation.

“The Central Bank continues to finance the Treasury, [while] all the while the economy realized chronic anaemic growth and foreign inflows. This is what I will stand behind,” he added.   

In his January 2014 letter to Stuart, Estwick had advised the Prime Minister to change the country’s economic course.

“I am again asking you to change our present fiscal economic policy stance and fiscal consolidation programme that were outlined in the Financial Statements and Budgetary Proposals of 2011, 2012 and 2013, given that the national growth strategy is significantly off target and is not taking off in any measurable way,” he wrote.

He insisted at the time that fiscal adjustments as a strategic tool by themselves would not be sufficient to achieve public debt sustainability, given the state of Government’s public finances at the time, the related contraction in the private sector and the erosion of international investor confidence.

Estwick also continued to stand by his recommendation that the national growth strategy was compromised by the risk posed to investors by the “very” large and growing public debt and “very” large current account deficit on the fiscal balance.

“It is my contention, Prime Minister, that the normal macroeconomic tools of fiscal consolidation and an expansionary monetary policy are not nearly enough to restore fiscal and debt sustainability and investor confidence back to the Barbados economy,” he warned then, adding that the magnitude of the current account deficit was too large to be simply corrected by budget cuts and tax increases alone.

Estwick wrote then that Stuart could continue to print money to buy Treasury Bills and support Government expenditure, but this could create inflation, deplete reserves and worsen investor confidence.

He presented a second option, which was to seek to refinance the public debt, create fiscal space and introduce debt and fiscal sustainability.

However, it was his third option that Estwick thought would have been most viable, given the magnitude of macroeconomic instability in the local economy.

That option called for the administration to refinance and restructure the public debt, create debt and fiscal sustainability and engender investor confidence and foreign direct investment. He had recommended at the time that Government should negotiate a $5 billion sinking fund from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to wipe out the country’s debt.

It was a vision supported by Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who said at the time it was something the late National Hero and Prime Minister Errol Barrow would have been proud of.

Estwick told Barbados TODAY while this was the best approach, he was no longer sure if the UAE would be interested in coming to Barbados’ aid.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

30 Responses to We’ve failed!

  1. Tracy Brown
    Tracy Brown February 21, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    You better cross d floor cause dem go eat off yuh head

    Reply
  2. Bobby Gilkes
    Bobby Gilkes February 21, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Ya know he got he ways but i think he would of made a way better finace minister

    Reply
  3. Lennox hewitt February 21, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Can’t say u did not warn them .

    Reply
  4. Sunshine Sunny Shine February 22, 2017 at 2:08 am

    The … Prime Minister is too conceited to listen to sound reason… He is backing …[the current] Finance Minister. When history is written about these two, it is going to paint them as being two balonies that even the sandwich did not want. They epitomize the bajan saying, ” Hard Ears ya doan hear, own way ya gine feel.”

    Reply
  5. Colin February 22, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Well said Dr. Estwick. Sometimes the best thing one can do when you have stuck your head out is to sit quietly and be proven right.

    Reply
  6. NOLAN HALL February 22, 2017 at 3:18 am

    But still you Mr. Estwick supported everything your administration did as a cabinet:collective responsibility: I cant recall you Mr. Estwick ever voting nay in parliament to any measures past or present by your administration, so you sir have to take some responsibility for the mess we are in. I would have been impressed if you had resign.

    Reply
  7. Mark Adamson February 22, 2017 at 4:53 am

    A political revolution in the financial affairs of Barbados is absolutely needed.

    It cannot though involve the exogenous or endogenous imposition of greater “public debt” in the governmental affairs of this country.

    Such a revolution must however involve the USE of the same language that has been USED by the relevant political and other authorities and others to wrongly help bring about the false notion of public debt in the mind consciousness of the majority of the majority of people of this country.

    The language must therefore be turned on its head and – prior to its being anticipatory of, concurrent with, or consequential to, the other relevant forms of human material behaviour, must be understood to be based on two fundamental premises:

    1) The greatest and most maximum possible USE of money – at anytime, anywhere in Barbados – by the relevant persons, businesses and other entities in this country;

    2) The greatest and most dramatic reductions possible in the cost of USE of money (local) – at various and successive stages, anywhere in Barbados – by all those concerned – including the local core financial system itself.

    Reply
  8. sticks and stones February 22, 2017 at 6:27 am

    consolidation of debt only works as a short term solution to taming fiscal debt. in the meanwhile govt spending continues in the management of country as a contributor to the further expansion of debt

    Reply
  9. Tony Webster February 22, 2017 at 7:05 am

    @ Sticks & Stones: exactly! A rational person does not treat a cancer with Panadols; nor is a sticking-plaster a “cure” for grievous body wounds that need surgery. The docs have always been guided by one simple principle: treat the disease….not the symptoms. We need to restructure Barbados Inc, in ALL the basic ways: governance; education; health and transport policies; greater economic diversity; checks and balances on government; and most critically of all, the need for courageous and brilliant leadership, to convince the citizenry that the unavoidable pain associated with such fundamental change…is worth it in order to hand our children a viable future.

    These changes are so far-reaching, that we likely shall have to adopt a republican (USA-style) constitution. We also have persons of the required ability and gumption to mek it work! Vote Leigh Trotman…as (elected) District Attorney, AND sheriff….and see how all the Tom-Foolery with government’s finances stop one-time!!

    Reply
  10. Timothy Forde February 22, 2017 at 7:52 am

    The Prime Minister has no one to blame but himself and the country has no one to blame but the Prime Minister. Hope is not a strategy and ignoring a problem does not make it go away.

    Reply
  11. Zeus February 22, 2017 at 8:00 am

    I have read this article three times looking for more political juice than what I am reading ….BT the opportunity to interview Dr Estwick and you only quoting him twice then resorting back to things he said in 2010 …..what apparently Estwick is saying is nothing new ….wheel and come again

    Reply
    • Peter February 22, 2017 at 9:15 am

      Zeus. I don’t know which article you said you read three times. But in this particular article, It was mentioned at least four times by Barbados Today that they interviewed Dr. David Estwick. That was a poor attempt at trying to belittle Dr. Estwick and might I add Barbados Today, Besides. Whatever Dr. Estwick said in the past is worth repeating over and over again. Stuart don’t say anything that makes sense. That is why it is commonly said that there are lots of qualified idiots out there.

      Reply
      • Adrian February 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm

        This article is of little worth. It basically that Mr Eastwick believes that his proposal would have been fruitful (something we will never know). The article also suggests that Mr Eastwick believes that it may be too late for his proposal.

        Personally I don’t think having Barbados’ total debt in the hands of one creditor is very prudent financial.

        Reply
  12. Ernesta Catlyn February 22, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Thank you Nolan Hall. Your integrity Mr Minister has been compromised. You should suffer the same fate as the Governor since he compromised his economic professionalism – Own=en reminded him years ago that he had written many paper contradicting the stance that he was taking in the printing of money. You, for many years indicated that the growth path or lack thereof was incorrect yet time after time you went to Cabinet and parliament and supported the policies. Shame on you Minister, shame on you. The “I told you so” does not impress me one bit.

    Reply
  13. Smooth February 22, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Mr. Estwick as Nolan said was part of the collective. He spoke with one side of his mouth and voted yea to all the policies he was against. He is a hypocrite to himself. Was silent for 2 years now coming to say what “I told you so”. In so doing you are also part of the problem. If you wanted to do something you should have resigned. Your credibility would still be intact.

    Reply
  14. Harry February 22, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Poodle becoming a pit bull again now that he smelling blood…….

    Reply
  15. tsquires February 22, 2017 at 9:22 am

    A few weeks ago I said in this forum that all our systems are broken, and all we are proposing are band aid procedures, so I hope this quote will bear some fruit, “Illiteracy in this 21st century
    will not be measured by your ability to read and write, but by your
    ability to un-learn and to re-learn.” My sisters and brothers we are
    nearly 100 years out of synch, as we are still operating under the broken Trident, while the new order of the day is electronics and the man carrying the pitcher of water. (Just a word to the wise) I hope the parable in symbolic form is not taken out of context?

    Reply
  16. Halleem1979 February 22, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Its so troubling to see b as bajans will only hide and talk and will continue to let dem idiots dig us deeper in the hole come together and fire DEM before its too late stop talking action time

    Reply
  17. JLB February 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Sirs/Madams,

    Mr Estwick’s position is shocking. He never once raised his concerns publicly and only now when the boat is sinking -fast- is he now suggesting that he opposed the initiatives of his own government. Its sad that he could not have done the “right thing” a while ago and “break cover”. The lack of proper stewardship of the economy not only rests with the Government and the central bank Governor but also the Board. To sit on their hands for years whilst the country descended into the mire showed a total lack of governance and responsibility. They also need to go. Stop the taking now as we need proper action. As a previous contributor said restructuring our debt will only work if it goes hand in glove with a restructure of the public services and leading to a reduction in our wage/revenue bill. We need to start to thinking in a “blue sky” way -amalgamate teams/departments etc, streamline quangos etc. If we don’t start soon then our children will suffer the consequences of our folly.

    Reply
  18. CHARLES WORRELL February 22, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    OPEN LETTER TO MY PRIME MINISTER STUART.

    THE time has come Sir when a realistic position NEEDS to be taken if Barbados is to be revived and our government be allowed to direct our country.
    Sir, the option by Dr. Estwick was a a great one. WHY it was not taken up is anybody’s business. WHAT I find alarming is that fact that as a Party, WE ARE NOT SHOWING WE ARE BIG ENOUGH TO HEAR WHAT IS WRONG AND DEMONSTRATE the maturity to make adjustment. Instead PRIDE IS BIG; WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE SEEN TO HAVE MISSED IT AT A TIME WHEN OUR COUNTRY REALLY NEEDS US.
    I am no economist but anyone knows that if you can garner an arrangement that consolidates your situation, you can improve anything. WHY Estwick’s plan was not looked at an implemented is anybody’s guess. THIS could have been discussed at length; rolled over and over again and bring us to a place where the results were clear.
    DR. ESTWICK, IS IT TOO LATE TO GET THIS OPTION ON THE TABLE AGAIN? OF COURSE, THE TERMS MAY NOT BE AS FAVORABLE AS BACK THEN but if it can be done, BARBADOS STANDS TO WIN HERE AND IT IS TIME, PETTY NONSENSE BE LAID TO REST.
    MINISTER OF FINANCE, IT IS TIME YOU OPEN YOURSELF TO THE POSSIBILITIES. WE HAVE ONE OF THE BEST GOVERNORS IN THE BUSINESS, PLEASE USE THE ABILITIES TO MAKE BARBADOS BETTER AND TO GIVE US A CHANCE TO GET TO WHERE WE NEED TO BE.
    MR. SINCKLER, THIS IS NOT TIME TO PLAY “BIG MAN”. FAILURE IS SHOWING UP AND CORRECTION MUST BE UNDERTAKEN.

    AS A PARTY, AS MY PARTY, PLEASE GET TOGETHER; LOST THE DARN PRIDE AND LETS GET OUR COUNTRY BACK TO WHERE IT SHOULD BE. IT REALLY DOESN’T matter who had the idea; the QUESTION MUST BE: IS IT GOOD? YES, TO THIS AND WE GO FORWARD.

    BUT MR. STUART, I hear you; I like your management style but this is politics and there are times when you have to stand up; CALL people to account; ISSUE guidance and directives..IN other words: IT IS TIME TO LEAD. IT IS TIME TO GET OUT THEE AND DECLARE WHAT WE IN BARBADOS NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU; WE NEED TO HEAR OUR LEADER; WE NEED TO KNOW YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

    PLEASE CALL SINCKLER AND ESTWICK AND OTHERS TOGETHER AND LETS GET TO THE BUSINESS OF LEADING OUR COUNTRY.

    PEOPLE LIKE ME HAVE GONE AROUND OUR COUNTRY AND RIGHTLYSO BECAUSE WE ARE THE PARTY FOR OUR COUNTRY; WE ARE JUST NOT SHOWING THE MATURITY NEEDED AT THIS TIME…DO WE HAVE TO LOSE THE GOVERNMENT TO FIGURE THIS OUT???
    SHOW SOME MATURITY HERE; SHOW SOME OPEN MINDEDNESS BUT LETS GET BARBADOS BACK ON TRACK.

    Reply
    • hcalndre February 22, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Mr. Charles Worrell, seeing that you`re a diehard dem and you`re not alone, what is it that you like about PM Stewart`s leadership? If he was running a multi million dollar company for you would he still have the job? The patient is in the morgue so what you think should be done? Stewart, Kellman and Sinckler said all the worst things about the IMF, S&P and every one that was telling that they were on the wrong track and they tell them where to get off, so what now.

      Reply
  19. Ann Thomas February 22, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Yes you have Dr. Estwick, individually and collectively.

    You are just as much to blame, even though you presented an alternative, you are just as guilty as you sat in Parliament and supported very ill conceived policy and piece of legislation brought by this Government. You did not vote against, you did not abstain and you did not resign. So the people of this country have your measure.

    You and your colleagues need to do the decent thing and resign and let this country go to the polls.

    Do you really think that the people of Barbados are going to give you and your party a chance to try an alternative? We have had enough. Get the Prime Minister, who by his own admissions is blissfully aware of many significant events in this country to call an election.

    That is the only good you can do now!

    Reply
  20. hcalndre February 22, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    If the bloggers of BT could remember about a week or so I asked the question, how it is that the “16” could always every time agree and vote on issues regardless if the idea was detrimental to the health of the people in their constituency, are they operating with the same brain? I said husband and wife, brother and sister, members of the same team disagrees at some time or the other, but this “16” always saw it through the same eye. Now Dr. Estwick is jumping ship.

    Reply
  21. Val February 22, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Does anyone remember what Erskine Sandford did? Everyone was upset about the 8% cut, but it saved our economy.

    Reply
  22. Mandark February 22, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    He knew all this and still supported every budgetary proposal that came to the floor. He kept saying you are going the wrong road but he kept buying gas so they can drive us closer to the brink. He was well aware yet he did not stop the train by voting against them ONE single time…

    Reply
  23. Greengiant February 22, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Estwick gave his solution a few years ago, Inniss constantly expresses his opinion. Remember some of Standiford’s cabinet colleagues voted against him in a no confidence motion years ago. Those former cabinet members, Estwick and Inniss are all still members of the DLP and the government.

    On the contrary we have all seen Owen fire ministers of his cabinet, some politicians leaving the BLP including Owen, some who once served in cabinet with Mia now doing all they can to sabotage her efforts and Owen having public spats with Liz Thompson. So really who’s divided? They both drink from the same cup and unless you have been indoctrinated by the elders in your family, are a member of either party or one who jump on any old ship when the other appear to be sinking. You will see that both leading parties are the same. It’s time to look at a real alternative. Thankfully they are other options from which to choose.

    Reply
  24. Troy February 22, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    All our PM interested in is pomp and pageantry…..a recent overseas trip to a cocktail sip comes to mind. The good book still and always will have the answer….”if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray turning from their wicked way…then I will hear and heal their land.” Let us repent and give over Barbados to the righteous and sovereign Lord.

    Reply
  25. Barber February 23, 2017 at 5:37 am

    YOU JUST TRYING TOJUMP SHIP NOW UVOTED YES AT EVERY BUDGET AND ESTIMATES SO DO THE ONLY THING NOW JUMP OFF THE SHIP AS AN INDEPENDENT

    Reply
  26. Freda Sobers February 23, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Mr. Estwick what u really saying/ doing. You voted yes with every budget. If you were serious you would have stand up and made a difference. You ain’t no different, d estimates coming.

    Reply
  27. Watchman February 24, 2017 at 1:55 am

    Does Mr Estwick plan to run on a DLP, under the leadership of Mr Stuart in the next general election? What will his message be?

    Reply

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