Barbados ‘running out of time’, says Abed

President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Eddy Abed is calling on the Freundel Stuart administration to “immediately” implement recommendations from the Social Partnership working groups on the foreign exchange reserves and the fiscal deficit.

Warning that Barbados did not have time on its side, the business executive painted a damning picture of the economy, pointing out that with dwindling reserves, high debt, the continued printing of money by the Central Bank to support Government, and very little results from Government’s austerity programmes, the country was going in “the wrong direction”.

He also expressed concern about Government’s funding from the National Insurance Scheme as well as Government arrears to the private sector.

“We are going in the wrong direction with only over-optimistic promises to comfort us,” Abed wrote in the BCCI’s monthly newsletter.

The business executive said although the BCCI remained optimistic that a solution could be found, the current buzzwords among business officials were “uncertainty and lack of confidence”.

“They are non-tangibles that require a robust and courageous demonstration that the recommendations of the fiscal deficit and foreign exchange tripartite working groups will be implemented immediately,” the BCCI head said.

The two working groups set up to advise Government on the way forward for the ailing economy submitted their reports to Stuart at the end of last month.

The Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) in a release Wednesday said the Prime Minister had commended the work of the two groups.

“The recommendations made are being studied with a view to determining which proposals can be implemented in the short term and which are more medium term,” the BGIS quoted Stuart as saying, adding that he had given the assurance that “the appropriate sense of urgency is being brought to bear on the consideration of the report”.

In the newsletter article, Abed insisted that while the private sector had exhibited maturity, patriotism and responsibility in maintaining investments and employment levels of well over 100,000, it came at a cost of “lower profit levels and reduced capital investment in new and existing ventures as our economic future is at best, uncertain”.

He said governments, like businesses, must be prudent to balance expenditure with revenue, but this was far from the case now in Barbados.

“When revenue falls, courageous decisions must be taken to protect the most vulnerable in our society while ensuring that the geese that are laying the golden eggs are not over-taxed. Sadly, this calamitous situation has continued unabated and the results are everywhere to be seen,” he said.

The BCCI head said sadly, the last eight years of austerity had not cured the country’s macroeconomic ills.

“For all of their good intentions, Government’s strategies have had limited success, if any at all. Consequently, I am fully aware that there will have to be further austerity and I fear that the medicine will most certainly be bitter,” Abed said.

“Opportunities will however abound for Barbadians to invest in local gems that are scratched and maybe even chipped but can shine again if properly managed and capitalized. I am also aware that the entitlements that many have taken for granted for the last two generations must be reviewed and a buffet of options guided by means testing, user fees and outsourcing will have to be embraced,” he recommended.

But the “toughest obstacle”, Abed said, would require “a reboot of our generally poor customer service and woefully low productivity in both the private and public sectors.

“The solutions to poor attitudes and service in the workplace are numerous but must surely start with training and setting benchmarks so that the organizations can be incentivized, not only to meet these targets but be rewarded for surpassing them,” he suggested.

Abed said he was comforted to know that there were areas in which the private sector could participate and achieve growth despite the economic challenges.

“Technology, tourism and related services, international education and healthcare services and the international business sectors remain the low hanging fruit that can and will deliver the greatest return for our investment. These investments need to be nurtured, given incentives and most importantly bureaucracy should be kept to a minimum so as to ultimately provide our country with foreign exchange, quality jobs and a path to a sustainable future,” he recommended.

“I must admit that I remain optimistic about our future, yet frustrated that month after month this Chamber has communicated either directly with the relevant authorities, or broadcast widely, many suggestions to cut Government’s expenditure, grow the economy, increase the ease of doing business and recently, I am informed, that we were criticized for not offering any problem solving inputs. I do hope that I received inaccurate feedback as the integrity of a 195-year-old institution, the BCCI and its members, would be sullied for no other apparent gain than politics,” the BCCI president said.

25 Responses to Barbados ‘running out of time’, says Abed

  1. Jennifer April 13, 2017 at 1:09 am

    “while the private sector had exhibited maturity, patriotism and responsibility in maintaining investments and employment levels of well over 100,000, it came at a cost of lower profit levels and reduced capital investment in new and existing ventures as our economic future is at best, uncertain”.

    You lucky lot. I guess we should be grateful for the work. Mind you all of your coffers must be leaving the country too. To your offshore kitties. The 95% ain’t even get a hair on the economic ladder. Wanna running low so you guys now beginning to bark like that hit dog.

    “only over-optimistic promises to comfort us” >>>>>>>>>>>> welcome to the 95% club. We have been living on promises for many years. but as they say a promise is meant for a fool. Maybe you guys should have shown the government your secrets on how to balance expenditure with revenue, because they sure did not acquire this skill from the books in UNI. Mind you, propping up some of you guys in the process.

    With so much addle eggs in this basket all of us on this boat will be heading down to Venezuela.

  2. Tony Webster April 13, 2017 at 6:27 am

    @Jennifer: yes, there are addled eggs around; yes, there are even addled brains (like mine); but a viable economy, in the latter part of the 20th century…and even morseo, in these days where our old tired socio-economic model is tottering…one cannot deny that the pricate sector …avarice and all its other warts…shall remain the real driver and live-blood of sustainability, viability, and competitive strength. Every mornin’ we wake up, we need to remind ourselves that what we do today…or FAIL TO DO today, shall be a component of determining our future in those rough global waters…and not just a continual, uncomfortable, irritatant …which we “deal with” by way of passing mentions at TV and other podium opportunities!

    In Judaism, in Greek philosophy (Aristotle), and in ancient Chinese culture also, they knew the value of The Golden Mean:

    This country will assuredly fail, or at least further concede its esteem, and relevance, unless we have a close working relationship, bewteen the public and private sectors. Ever heard the old saw…about “giving the horse, its head”. Another ne left to me by my dad. and quite apart from one I doscovered all on my own. Hmmm..we might do worse, than to regard what the Chinese mean, by the “Golden Mean” .

  3. Carson C. Cadogan April 13, 2017 at 7:21 am

    You sound like a stuck record.

  4. Bradg April 13, 2017 at 8:10 am

    ……And this country continues to drift along with the currents in open water, despite the dangers ahead. It’s “business as usual” as these clowns in political power are at a total loss. This administration is the biggest singular mistake this country ( the electorate) has made in its history. For the life of me, how can it be business as usual???? With the litany of problems we face. I am totally fed up!!

  5. Peter April 13, 2017 at 8:45 am

    I concur with all the above comments except Carson C Cadogan’s. However let us look above and beyond the horizon here. Pray tell me Whaty would you do or recommend we do to reverse that dim future ahead? You too Carson. It’s within your rights to criticize and condemn. Tell us what’s your business and action plan? If you can’t come up with something then quite clearly, you’re all no different.

    • Carson C. Cadogan April 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      Abed is a joker.

      He does not know what he is talking about. He has never brought a single dollar in foreign exchange in his life.

      He gets jittery every time due to the fact that he is a user of foreign exchange. He used to sell school uniforms locally made and he dumped the local supplier and started buying the school uniforms from overseas. More foreign exchange using to buy a product which could be made locally and preserve local jobs. But he didn’t care two hoots about that.

      I would not give anything Abed say the time of day. The problem with you all BLACK people once a WHITE person says something you take it as gospel.

      Abed is a joker, he impresses me not!!!

      • Carson C. Cadogan April 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm

        Another thing ask Abed why he does not encourage the other members of the so called private sector to pay over to Govt. the more than $648million they owe to the various State agencies which they refuse to pay.

        Next time Ask him how if he owes the Govt. of Barbados revenue collecting agencies?

        The Govt. could do a lot with that money.

        And while you are at it ask the BAJAN NEWS MEDIA why they don’t ask Abed and the other private sector jokers why they don’t pay the Govt. what they owe and stop giving so much news space to Barbados private sector tax cheats.

    • Carson C. Cadogan April 13, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Pay unto Caesar the things that are Caesars.

      Most of these people have no moral right to criticise the Govt.

      Tell them to pay their taxes first. The country is run by tax revenue which the private sector refuses to pay. Things would be a lot better in Barbados if they paid their TAXES.

      And I cant get the BAJAN MEDIA to ask these questions. What are they afraid of? Why is the BAJAN NEWS MEDIA brownnoseing these private sector jokers and the Barbados Labour Party??

      • Jennifer April 13, 2017 at 8:03 pm

        PREACH CARSON, PREACH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The reporters like most of this people have the spirit of fear.

      • hcalndre April 14, 2017 at 5:50 am

        @Peter; I don`t want to sound like I`m against what you want to know what can be done to help barbados out of the mess that they`re responsible for. First the PM said that he has a team that knows what to do and they don`t need help from anyone, can you remember the exact statement he made? He reminds me of the bird that was showing the other how to build its nest and each time it was told what to do, it would always say, I know, so the bird decide to leave and up to this day the nest is still where the bird left it, only this one is falling apart.

  6. Biscuits April 13, 2017 at 9:47 am

    All of the above maybe true, but perhaps we the citizens of this beautiful isle, also need to take some of the blame for our present situation. Our growing penchant for a lifestyle like the ‘Joneses’, regardless of our individual incomes, has created a country of greed. When things started to become hard, very few paid attention and made prudent adjustments to their lives. Instead, many continue to shop-till-you-drop in Miami…cruise all over twice a year…be ‘seen’ driving the latest model car/suv…have the biggest ‘Macmansion’ in the neighbourhood….carry the most expensive cell phone…and of course, dressing to impress which means a new outfit for every event!
    These expenses add-up but what the heck! We continue to moan and groan while living it up.

  7. BradG April 13, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Well we have (1) debt problem (2) deficit problem and (3) foreign reserve problem (not enough fx to support import needs).
    When we spend more than we earn there is no choice but to make cuts somewhesome…..numerous good suggestions have already been made so no need to repeat. This will help to fix the deficit. The Government is aledgedly owned billions of dollars. Why are they not going after the people who owe and can pay but choose not to? Who lets people owe it billions and dont aggressively go after it?? Only this adminstration!!! What about the millions of dollars not accounted for……..just take a look at the Auditor Generals report. This hole needs to get plugged, but yet again no action on issues raised by the Auditor General.
    Restructuring the debt is so obvious, diversification of the economy…..the list goes on and on. But i dont hear this kind of talk from this adminstration. Seems to br business as usual!!!

  8. BradG April 13, 2017 at 10:49 am

    @Biscuits. yes we have to carry some of the blame. Only to the extent that we elected these clowns!!!

  9. Lee R April 13, 2017 at 11:48 am

    He sounds like a stuck record because he has been saying the same thing over and over. This government does not take advice from anyone. Maybe that’s why there are in the position they’re in.

  10. Penny April 13, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Will the prime minister take the advise from the working group or will he set on the eggs until they get addle

  11. Milli Watt April 13, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    don’t know what is worse ……. an incompetent government or a parasite for a private sector. between the devil and the deep blue sea.

    • jennifer April 13, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Milli Watt – same parasitic pot cooking. One SUCKING the other STOOGING.

      • Milli Watt April 14, 2017 at 10:01 am

        @ Jennifer you can imagine we are turning to the likes of a net consumer of foreign exchange for advice. I wonder what pearls of foreign exchange consumption wisdom he and the other parasites got for us. Next week should be exciting because it is URGENT!!!!!!

  12. Montel Francis April 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    All I can say is that I am sorry for Barbados, the people that run the country is not barbadians shame on the government they should be tarred and feathered.

  13. Carson C. Cadogan April 13, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Very Important news(as a matter of fact REAL NEWS)

    Statement issued by George A.Pilgrim General Secretary of the Democratic Labour Party of the occasion of the Councils’ selection and ratification of candidates at a meeting held on April 13th 2017
    The Executive and the General Councils of the Democratic Labour Party at their monthly meeting in the month of April met and agreed to name a number of candidates. The party is pleased to announced in phase one of our selection process, we have added three new faces to the party’s line up of candidates for the next General Elections.
    For the past three years , the party involved itself in robust analysis and three years later and after some 82 plus meetings over the period we have decided to name for the for the City of Bridgetown,
    Henderson Williams, a product of Chapman Lane in the city, a former Deputy chairman of Rural Development Commission. CEO and Corporate Secretary of Needhams Point Ltd.
    For St Michael East;
    Nicholas Alleyne a product of Licorish Village and an employee of Barbados public Workers Cooperative Credit Union.
    For St Michael South East ;
    Rodney Grant a product of Regent Hill located in the Pine. Mr Grant is currently serving as CEO Pinelands an NGO involved in cultural social and economic development.
    The party publicly thanks these persons for volunteering to serve our party and country at a time when the country is hungry for FACTs.

  14. Saga Boy April 13, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I agree with you. Abed et al aint got no moral authority over the govt. He and his group of bandits are parasites who consume foreign exchange without replenishing it. They keep pushing up prices and making life hard for the people while wages remain the same. We need to put pressure on them. Govt gives them concessions but they never pass it on to consumers. They owe millions on VAT and instead of devising a plan to help their members pay what is owed they criticize and criticize. They only know about buying and selling. When last did they come up with anything that was innovative and that earned us foreign currency. This picture is too one sided. He needs to shut his mouth.

  15. seagul April 15, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Abed said the private sector is not prepared to sit and twiddle thumbs while Rome is burning. These vampires are sucking us and the underhand dealings of these people are very scheming with the block urchins.

  16. Mack April 16, 2017 at 11:45 am

    The PM is at the helm, the ship has not crashed on the rocks, we are drifting but in open and non hazardous waters. The civil servants are being promoted, they are being paid on time, the supermarket shelves are fully stocked with food and beverage and fine wines for those who drink. WHY ARE WE WORRYING??? GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF US, WE ARE GOD’S PEOPLE!!! The PM is well aware of this. This is why he don’t worry.

  17. Greengiant April 17, 2017 at 5:44 am

    The only person running out of time is Abed himself. He’s been given an allotted time to do a particular job, and that time is almost up.

  18. Ann Thomas April 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I wonder where the private sector was two to three years ago when the country was proceeding on the slide that they now recognise. Was it that they were too busy trying to get work and orders for supplies from Government, caps in hand?


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