Arthur not surprised by Worrell’s IMF call

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur is not surprised that the recently fired Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell is now publicly advising Government to go the route of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In fact, Arthur suggests that Worrell may have been pushing the Freundel Stuart Government in that direction all along.

“I think that in fairness to Worrell, he might have, when he was Governor, sought to jumpstart things by writing the Fund and telling the Fund, ‘look, send a team’,” said Arthur, while recalling recent reports of an approach by Government for Barbados to enter into a formal IMF programme.

While those reports have since been denied by the Washington-based financial institution, Arthur said: “If you investigate you might find that it was Worrell who said, ‘look, I’m tired printing money. I know that what I am doing is wrong, this got to stop. I can’t get it to stop unless we have significant help from the international financial community. Fund, come and help’.

However, he said, in absence of consensus within Government on taking the country the IMF route, Worrell’s hands were tied. Therefore, ahead of his sacking, Worrell acted against his own best professional advice and continued to print money, even though he knew it was the wrong thing to do and to the detriment of the country’s foreign reserves, which fell below 12 weeks of import cover to less than $700 million last December.

Today, Arthur pleaded with Government to set aside all “false pride”, as he again reiterated the urgent need for Government to seek an IMF-sponsored solution to the country’s dire economic position.

“You cannot have a false pride. The situation that our country faces is one that can only be resolved with very significant financial help from the international financial community on the best possible terms, properly negotiated to make sure that the problems that are to be dealt with are dealt with effectively, the economy is put on the mend and the society is not put under peril,” said Arthur, who has been calling for the past three years, to no avail, for debt restructuring and privatization.

Back in March during the annual Estimates debate, Arthur also put the issue of US dollar parity on the table, and today he strongly reiterated that “the [Barbados] exchange rate is there to work for us, not to be a God that we worship.

“There was a time when our currency was linked to the British pound . . . but what we can’t afford to do is to have it linked to a currency that is strengthening and strengthening and making us worse off.

“It is like flying a small single engine airplane in the immediate aftermath of a 747. It will just wreck you.

“So there are fundamental issues that have to be dealt with and they have got to be dealt with,” he stressed.

Arthur, who has recently been sidelined on account of a foot injury, also emphasized the need for Barbados to work with its creditors to fix its situation, warning that “over the next four years Barbados will find itself facing a spike in its debt repayments, where they will virtually double, making it impossible for Government to function effectively”.

As for Worrell not being convinced that the sale of assets will yield the desired economic turnaround, Arthur warned that it was not only the sale of assets, but also the rationalization of them.

“We have 63 state enterprises and at one stage you had to find $1.2 billion a year to carry them. Now when the economy was stronger, you could,” he said, adding that “the country had now reached the stage were a lot of the entitlements that we give ourselves and the so called free benefits paid for by a strong economy in the form of transfers, you really can’t do that anymore”.

“And these things have to be done not because you want to be wicked, but because they are absolutely necessary,” he said, adding that they must be done in an orderly fashion to avoid a “crumbling” of the economy and the civil society.

He further warned that countries that have gone this way stayed in the wilderness for a very long time.

“That is why it is so important that you act now. It is a message that Grenada understood . . . Jamaica has gone that way, Suriname has gone that way. There are legitimate countries in the world that have programmes with the International Monetary Fund and the Fund is there as a lender of last resort when you have insurmountable problems to deal with.”

20 Responses to Arthur not surprised by Worrell’s IMF call

  1. Jennifer May 3, 2017 at 12:58 am

    “If you investigate you might find that it was Worrell who said, ‘look, I’m tired printing money”
    That is part of our BIGGEST problem as a people – nothing is investigated to prove or dispute anything and nothing is TRANSPARENT only TRANSLUCENT. And we love to be that big ATM machine with only ONE WAY LOADING of CAPITAL. It must be that plantation effect.

  2. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn May 3, 2017 at 6:02 am

    You suggest that he may been pushing the government to go to the IMF. You can’t suggest. What I don’t understand about a lot of BLACKPEOPLE especially. A lot of them getting paid to tell lies. If he didn’t get kicked out of his job. He will not be saying so right now. And it have a lot more like him out their just telling a lot of lies. And fooling people. Because of the party that they are supporting.

    • Leroy May 3, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Owen is the best person in a position to suggest what he said, being PM for so many years he must have contacts in many places.

  3. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn May 3, 2017 at 6:05 am

    A real man who love their country would speak out a long time ago. Why now.

    • Leroy May 3, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Let me ask you a question, do you think that Mr Worrel only now objected to the printing of $?

      Do some research on Mr Worrels writings on printing of $ and come back and tell me if you truly believe Mr Worrel only spoke against it now.

      Dont you think he was warning Sinckler all along?
      Think about it a second….

  4. Bradg May 3, 2017 at 6:58 am

    So the Government is trying to paint a “rosy” picture about the economy. Mr Sealy is quoted as saying ” the economy is on the rebound” whilst a plethora of economist and others dont quite paint that “rosy picture”.
    We the electorate have to think for ourselves. We must have independent thought, and discern between the party rhetoric and real danger the country is in. Lets not fool ourselves, we in deep sh*t, and we all know the bunch that got us here!

  5. Harry May 3, 2017 at 7:25 am

    how many times have we heard “the economy is rebounding” over the past 8 years? instead the reality is 19 downgrades and falling foreign reserves, rebound what – not under this lot!

  6. Sam Clarke May 3, 2017 at 8:39 am

    This why Barbados political culture must change and NOW. This is sage advice, that was stated to this current administration years ago.
    But in their effort to win an election at any cost, they have brought this country to its economic knees.

  7. Observer May 3, 2017 at 9:20 am

    So the great solution is to have general elections ? Tell me something after the elections would the problems magically disappear ? We really love to fool ourselves.

    • hcalndre May 3, 2017 at 10:57 am

      No one should think that the problems would disappear immediately but with the DLP there`s no hope, only untruths from the first day that they took office with no ideas only promises and you know what a promise is.

      • jennifer May 3, 2017 at 2:35 pm

        No one should think that the problems would disappear at all. Only downhill from here. Keep watching.

  8. Milli Watt May 3, 2017 at 9:32 am

    he was not pushing them in that direction ALL ALONG. this is what I got a problem wid Owen if you going make a comment remember your criticism of his reports. I read all of them and in the 11th hour did he convert from saul to paul. this is the reason for barbadians to critically analyse the issues. this comment is political in nature because it attempts to spin him in a light that is convenient to your cause.

  9. Milli Watt May 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

    he was not pushing them in that direction ALL ALONG. this is what I got a problem wid Owen if you going make a comment remember your criticism of his reports. I read all of them and in the 11th hour did he convert from saul to paul.

  10. Milli Watt May 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

    this is the reason for barbadians to critically analyse the issues. this comment is political in nature because it attempts to spin him in a light that is convenient to your cause.

  11. Milli Watt May 3, 2017 at 9:38 am

    we live on an island where debt defines who we are, it is the basis for consumption, it is the basis for social mobility. It has to be paid and whether BLP DLP or any other P some of us will be called upon to repay it. This is where the rubber will hit the road and I don’t think that people who did not contribute to this will be eager to PAY.

  12. Peter May 3, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Irrespective of all the preaching and praying, the promises and prediction. Barbados is suffering from a great divide. It is called Polarized or Partisan Politics. The amazing things is Die hard party supporters on all sides do NOT accept this FACT. I’m sorry. I think it will NOT change. It has come to a point where siblings are not speaking to each other, Parents and children not getting along, Husbands and wives not agreeing in even the simplest of things. Barbados is now considered one big dysfunctional country. Take it or leave it.

  13. Greengiant May 3, 2017 at 10:37 am

    While I credit Arthur for his blunt, objective suggestion, what he has failed to say is that it was his administration that over invested in the forming of local statutory corporations simply because the funding was available.

    He failed to fully restructure our public services by privatising more public services, instead of reducing government’s expenditure, he increased it due to his ” politics of inclusion “. The DLP has only made a bad situation worse. It’s time every past and current politician who served since 1994 to tell barbadians where we went wrong. Say whatever you want about Erskine Sandiford, his administration and the workers of Barbados made some painful but bold sacrifices to restore economic stability to this country. Arthur found an easy batting wicket, but he and all since have played some very poor shots. They have made the current west indies batsmen look like the three W’s.

    Now its time for the country to move on without the services of the BLP or DLP. None of their past, or current politicians will never tell us the truth. It’s simply not in the DNA of either political party. Their MOU is to win at all costs, even if it means misleading the electorate, you have five years by which time some people will forget, and the others will forgive.

  14. Nathaniel Samuels May 4, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Greengiant, who do you propose to lead a Barbados government? Just business people? What about a track record? It is easy to talk and talk but when the job comes along many will be found wanting. I am not suggesting that the BLP has the answers but we have to admit that whenever the economy has been in a tailspin, it has been that same BLP that has been able to right the ship. I need to get some input from the players in the Solutions Barbados team to determine if any will make it. One thing for sure is that the Treasury will be making a fine deposit to their bank as many who will vie, will lose their deposit.

  15. Helicopter(8P) May 4, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    So what good can we say about our main brand product? Does it sell enough to pay the utility bills ? Anyone? We have removed all the coconuts from the tree and now there is none left for sale. First be a husbandman with the economy then become a farmer! That’s a thought that all Barbadians who desire to lead the country in the future should bear and keep in mind!

  16. Clemkonan May 4, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Insightful to say the least.


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