We march, then what?

“If we do like . . . Britain where they are now revising their own policy because they believe they went a bit too far in the first place. Or, in Greece where the pro-cyclical policies implemented have been so dramatic as to devastate the very economy of Greece to the extent that it cannot achieve any targets at all which have been set. If we do that in a small, open economy like Barbados, trust me, it is going to be for the worse,” Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, as he compared his Government’s economic policies with those of the United Kingdom and Greece back in 2011.

Barbadians have every reason to be sick in the stomach over all we have been hearing this past week, in particular about the state of our economic affairs.

In fact, we should all be disgusted to know that we are now regarded among the lowest of the low in terms of our debt performance that has put us on par with cash-strapped economies, such as Venezuela, Mozambique and the Republic of Congo and our worsening economic woes that could lead us into default like Greece, even if our Prime Minister is simply unprepared to accept that it is so.

“We seem now to be working ourselves back into a frame of mind where once again we want to sit exams for people outside of Barbados and wait on them to grade us and if they tell us we have passed we are supposed to feel good that we have passed, and when they tell us we have failed we are supposed to hold our heads in shame and think that we are failures,” Stuart said this week, in an apparent rejection of the latest downgrade to CCC+/C by Standard & Poor’s (S&P).

It was similar to that issued by Greek prime minister Georgios Papandreou before he was forced to resign on November 11, 2011 during the Greek government debt crisis to make way for a national unity government.

Interestingly, Papandreou’s decision to step down came on the heels of S&P’s lowering of its valuation of Greece to CCC, while citing the likelihood of the country defaulting on its loans.

“The downgrade reflects our view that there is a significantly higher likelihood of one or more defaults, as defined by our criteria relating to full and timely payment, linked to efforts by official creditors to close an emerging financing gap in Greece,” the New York based ratings agency had warned Greece in issuing the downgrade, which was seen at the time as a shot across the bow to the European Union’s plans to force private holders of Greek bonds to participate in a new aid package for Greece by accepting delayed repayment.

Sadly, we are in no better a position than Greece today, neither in terms of heeding the warnings of ratings agencies nor being able to stop the precipitous economic slide.

It begs the question, after S&P’s CCC+/C downgrade and Moody’s Caa3, what next?

Will Stuart reshuffle his Cabinet as Papandreou did back in 2011, making the embattled Chris Sinckler his economic fall guy in the face of growing anger and warnings of the need for more bitter economic medicine to prevent Barbados from a disastrous default?

Indeed, despite all the recent assurances to date, given what Moody’s now said is an urgent need for a “credible fiscal consolidation programme” to be implemented, will this mean new taxes and more public sector cuts?

Back in October 2011, amid protests and violent rioting outside the parliament building, the Greek government had managed to get investors to agree a “haircut” of 50 per cent in converting their existing bonds into new loans.

But by then it was a little too late for Papandreou, who was forced to step down less than a month later amid violent anti-government protests.

Which brings us to tomorrow’s National March of Disgust. We intend to give coverage to the Opposition’s latest attempt to get the Freundel Stuart administration to sit up and listen.

But will this latest attempt to force Stuart’s hand do anything to lessen our immediate pain or help us to salvage the little that seems left of our ailing economy? We think not!

In fact, even if 20,000 people were to descend on Jubilee Gardens, The City tomorrow and were successful in forcing Government’s hand in calling an election – which is very unlikely, even if desirable at this stage — Barbados would still be at CCC, which means that there will still be a major hole from which we all have to claw back to be assured of economic safety.

Were we to follow Greece’s economic timetable, it could be another two to three years before we are again talking in terms of recovery — granted that our economic factors are not the same, even if in the eyes of the financial watchdog, Bloomberg, our latest Moody’s downgrade to Caa3 has been placed us on the same level as Greece and the Ukraine.

This is not in any way to deter the Opposition from registering its disgust. God knows that many Barbadians are simply watching and waiting for the election bell to ring so they can exhale politically!

But is Mr Stuart going to hasten the hands of his election clock, just because of what Opposition protesters have to say?

We think not!

It may be better to follow next week’s Estimates to get a better gauge of the bitter economic medicine that is to come.

12 Responses to We march, then what?

  1. Carson C Cadogan March 10, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    I wonder if MIA AMOR MOTTLEY realises that 11 March 1985 was the day Tom Adams died?

    Or is she commemorating Tom’s Death? Is this what this is all about?

  2. Santini More
    Santini More March 10, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Just as words, written or spoken, can be better than silence, then Action is better than total passivity. Or does Barbados Today believe its written words serve no purpose?

  3. L King March 11, 2017 at 7:21 am

    @Editor…. Britain went too far on what?

  4. Bajan Marcher March 11, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Is it for the masses to be regarded as the bottom of the totem pole forever while the elite continue to amass new ways to make our lives more miserable as they gather more wealth qwhole we suffer??? Barbados people!e have spent a long in slumber this may be true but most of is have woken up…Enough is enough

    • Jennifer March 13, 2017 at 9:38 am

      @Bajan Marcher – Well said. But continuing in this BBBBBBB and DDDDDD situation will keep this big caldron of wealth divide going. I believe that some of this people is awakening from the slumber but we need a LOT more to wake up. Especially the young people. Every man has to fight for his people. These politicians are helping to keep this people suffering along with the people foolish spending too. While them other races cashing in heavy. We down in the BARREL OF IRON and the young plants are being choked without even the hope of blossoming. While many others of my people run to other countries in search of prosperity only to find that them in the bottom of the iron barrel in that country. Don’t mind none of them.

  5. Meakai March 11, 2017 at 11:31 am

    The march is a waste of time and energy. Everybody knows this. The march is a cleverly designed poll.


  6. Francis March 11, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Marching for what? Waste of time.
    If you want to send a message wait until
    Elections are called and vote as you see fit.
    Comes over as a Power Hungry ploy!!

    • hcalndre March 13, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      @Meakia and Francis; have either of you ever participated or witness people in other countries marching or protesting for some reason? You have heard of Martin L. King but I doubt you heard of Rosa Parks. If I was given the chance to rule a people, it would have to be bajans, they`re so docile and obedient, easy to control and don`t care how they`re mistreated, the majority would be on the side of the oppressor.

  7. David Hall March 11, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    The march was well planned, timed and executed. It sent a clear signal to government that people are fed up.

  8. Tony Webster March 11, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    @David Hall: exactly! I was right there listening to Mia peppering the government wid lashes, after countless thousands had Bridgetown overflowing from Jubilee Gardens, to Lower Bay Street….and my daughter who had to be at home., heard TV-8 saying it was a “few hundred”!! Obviously, some folks are either blind….or cannot count….or just plain scared outa DEM wits!

    Cud be all three.

    • David Hall March 12, 2017 at 12:35 am

      @Tony Webster: I expected CBC to say as much. Its no longer a credible news station nor worthy of mention. When so called journalist can dishonor their profession by being silent in the face of hypocrisy they are undeserving of our respect. The journalist at CBC needs to understand that regardless of which government is in power the media must stand as a defender of our democratic way of life.

  9. Donild Trimp March 13, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    David Hall, CBC is owned by the Gov’t of Barbados.

    Journalist working there are employed by the Gov’t of Barbados.

    CBC is not a private organization.

    Journalist employed at CBC must tow the line or be fired.

    Get real.


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