Not going there!

Stuart not prepared to go IMF route now

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart again has said he would consider turning to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance in addressing the island’s current fiscal challenges if it were necessary.

However, Stuart told Parliament today the country was not badly off enough to warrant such a move.

Only yesterday, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur stated that Barbados’ move to the international lending agency was inevitable, as Government continues to grapple with a $3.3 billion debt.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart & Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur

But in his contribution today to the debate on the 2017/2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, Stuart was firm in his resolve that this was not the case at this time.

“I have heard all of the talk in Barbados, I heard the member for St Peter [Arthur]say yesterday that we should go into an IMF programme and so on. I want to make it very clear, I spoke to the Chamber of Commerce in January, and I said there will be no panicky resort to the IMF by the present Government of Barbados.

“If the stage is ever reached where it has to happen, as with the case of [then Prime Minister] Tom Adams, as with the case of [then Prime Minister Erskine] Sandiford, this Prime Minister will have the courage to look the country in the face and say, ‘look, here is what the facts are, here is what I think we have to do for the good of this country’. But that is not an agenda item of this Government at this stage.”

Stuart reminded the House that Barbados had joined the Washington-based institution in 1970 under a DLP Government, with no support from the then Opposition Barbados Labour Party.

He also stated that “both sides have to plead guilty” in the IMF debate because “we too have thrown the three letters, IMF, at the country without explaining our relationship with the IMF, and leaving people scared, and the Barbados Labour Party has done the same thing”.

In his contribution to the debate yesterday, Arthur had also recommended breaking the peg of the Barbados dollar to the United States currency.

In setting out his case before Parliament, Arthur had said that other currencies should be considered to help stabilize the Barbados dollar, which the fired Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell had warned was facing devaluation because of the continued printing of money to support Government programmes.

The former Prime Minister had contended that the peg to the US dollar was making Barbadian exports more expensive, and making it more expensive for investors coming from the United Kingdom and Germany to invest here.

However, Stuart all but shot down the idea today, insisting the peg had served Barbados well since 1975.

“It has made our business transactions certain; our business people have been able to rely on it, our citizens have been able to rely on it. It is true that the US dollar has been strengthening against other currencies in recent times, but that has happened before and that can change as well,” he said.

Stuart’s administration has come under sharp criticism from the Opposition and economists for printing money to meet its financial obligations.

The Prime Minister made it clear while the practice would not continue forever, there was nothing wrong with it.    

“These things are not new. They are not desirable in the context of our overall macroeconomic aspirations, but sometimes they become necessary. And you only have to ask yourselves if they are not done, what the consequences will be for the society,” he said.

Stuart also told the House he had agreed with earlier statements by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley that Barbados was running a Government that it could not afford, referring to the situation as “an entitlement superstructure” which could no longer be supported or maintained by the country.

“We have this post-independence . . . entitlement superstructure in Barbados and for a while we were able to maintain it. It served us very well, it helped us to create the kind of middle class we have needed to push Barbados forward; it has education and human resource development at its centre, we have health also at the centre . . .

“The fact that we have this entitlement superstructure, and the fact that the financial infrastructure has narrowed, and is now having profound difficulty supporting that superstructure, is what the politics of Barbados going forward over the next 50 years has to be about.”   

He insisted that the matter must be addressed urgently, and he was ready for dialogue.

“There is no divide on either side of the House on the issue of whether we are running a Government that we cannot afford or not. There is consensus on that, that we have to bring our revenues and our expenditure into some kind of balance again. And it’s going to require either finding ways to increase our revenue, or finding ways to bring down our expenditure,” Stuart said.

marieclairewilliams@barbadostoday.bb

8 Responses to Not going there!

  1. Sunshine Sunny Shine March 16, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Of course you are not going there. Why should you want to go down in history as not just the worst Prime Minister the island has ever head but the Prime Minister who took Barbados to the IMF to be controlled and dictated by an outside force. You bet your bottom dollar that you are not going to the IMF. You created the big mess and said a whole load of rigmarole. It is best that when your azz is kicked out of government next year that the opposition party will have to become part your legacy of infamy, since they might be the ones to approach the IMF for help. I would love to know how you sleep at night.

    Reply
    • harry turnover March 16, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Agree with you 100% and he en gine call elections before they are due either.He and DEM are going to make things SO DIFFICULT that whoever wins the next Government they will be left with no other alternative but to go to the IMF.I have been saying so for about a year now.
      See what he is saying ..NOT AT THIS TIME just like how DEM say about NO LAYOFFS before elections last time but when elected MASS LAYOFFS….BECAUSE they didn’t expect to win that election.
      They are going to use that stunt ( the BLP will take the Country to the IMF if elected) as their MAIN ploy during the campaign….MARK MY WORDS.
      DEM would got to hope that it doesn’t backfire on DEM again for DEM will again say going to the IMF will only be the LAST RESORT and they will further plunge the Country to make it look as though it was their last resort JUST LIKE THE LAYOFFS.

      Reply
      • Sunshine Sunny Shine March 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm

        The only idiots that are going to vote for DEM is string puppets and those who depend on the DLP for their daily bittle. Outside of that Freundel Stuart and the DLP are finish. I would be surprise if they win a single seat. Wicked is given new meaning in the form of the DLP under Stuart the nuff talking dolittle.

        Reply
  2. Colin March 16, 2017 at 3:25 am

    Barbados as the PM stated has turned to the IMF at least twice in our history with positive results. In each case this was done early enough in the recession cycle to abate any adverse social implications. The crash of 2007/8 was an occasion where a small open economy like Barbados should have used the support mechanisms of the IMF to shield the worse effects of the global recession. Make no mistake we have taken the home grown IMF medicine without the benefits of the IMF balance of payment support and concessionary funding. It seems that the PM intends to wait until we have no negotiating space​ to work with the IMF.

    Reply
  3. Bradg March 16, 2017 at 5:19 am

    This Prime Minister is a real joke!! There are people who counted on their income tax refunds every year, yet scores of people have not had their refund since fiscal year 2014!! Similary, businesses waiting for VAT refunds, and this jokester PM saying the economy not that bad off???? This man living on this planet??

    Reply
  4. Jennifer March 16, 2017 at 5:33 am

    FUNdel you so sweet. I agree with you to be a true soldier and Keep your integrity (what little) in check. Let the next ones go instead. I am positive that both you and them help to cook up this financial PEPPER pot. Let in all breed of mongoose later.

    Reply
  5. Troy March 16, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    The current state of the economy didn’t just happen overnight. It’s a result of poor management, bad decision making, refusals to take advice, mismanagement of funds and a whole mix of other bad things that caused us to be in the state we are in today. Our PM sat and watched this ship heading towards the iceberg and refuse to take heed. How is it possible that his constituents and by extent the people of Barbados be proud of him and the way he does things. This is our nation our forefathers built through toil, and to thing this bandit in collar and tie gonna destroy everything our forefathers work so hard to acheive.

    Reply
    • Sunshine Sunny Shine March 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      Everyone knows what has caused Barbados to be in this predicament. No need to rehash what has been repeated a kazillion times. What is needed now is to get this imbecile of PM out to sea on slow Banana boat to Kakakickkie. He and all that posers and make believers that has ruin the country.

      Reply

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