Who really is to blame for our foreign reserves problem?

A comment over the weekend by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart about who was responsible for the island’s troubling foreign reserves problem generated quite some reaction from Barbadians.

To loud applause from party supporters as he addressed a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) meeting at the St Michael School on Sunday, Mr Stuart posited: “When you hear that our foreign reserves are under pressure, it is because of what we import and because of what you all go on the supermarket shelves and see. It is not that anybody in the Government is stealing foreign currency and carrying it and putting it under their bed.”

He went on: “The 130,000 vehicles on the streets of Barbados, not one is manufactured here in Barbados. They were all bought with foreign currency out of Japan and those other countries from which we may buy motor vehicles from time to time. That is where the foreign currency goes with that kind of importing.”

Not unexpectedly, Barbadians took to social media in droves to comment on the Prime Minister’s statement, and while some sought to ridicule the country’s leader, many complained that he was in effect passing the buck.

In fact, there was a sense among many of the posters on Barbados TODAY’s website that Mr Stuart and the DLP never accepted responsibility for any of the country’s ills.

“Here he is again blaming someone else,” one poster, Arthur Collymore, stated.

“This bunch of DLP clowns refuses to accept responsibility for anything,” added someone with the moniker, The Gatekeeper.

The attempts at insult aside, the commentors have a point when they say this administration fails to accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

In fact, up until the weekend Mr Stuart was blaming the global economic meltdown, declared over several years ago, for the current economic problems.

We have heard blame placed on a Caribbean-wide phenomenon for rising crime, on the organizers of racing at Bushy Park, St Philip for the increasing number of deadly traffic accidents, and the Opposition Barbados Labour Party for virtually everything else. But somehow, there is hardly ever a mea culpa from this  administration for anything.

While there is some truth in Mr Stuart’s statement about spending, it represents just part of the picture. Over the years respected economists have advised Government on the way out of the economic malaise, but it never listened.

Persistent printing of money by the Central Bank over several months would also have impacted negatively on the foreign reserves.

Therefore, by seeking to blame everyone, whilst seemingly attempting to as absolve itself of any responsibility after nearly ten years in office, comes across as a little self-serving.

It also suggests that the administration either does not understand, or accept, its fundamental role to provide solutions to our problems, including those it has inherited. That is why they offered themselves, and why we elected them.

Sometime before the middle of next year the DLP will ask us to give it a third straight term. How it intends to make its case on the economy remains unclear. However, deflecting responsibility will not cut it for us.

We want to be presented with creative programmes, not excuses. We want to know how the DLP will lead us out of this deep hole, not blame mongering. We want to be comfortable that those who want our trust and respect will be honest about their own failings, not avoiding responsibility. We want a Government that will deliver our yearned-for better life through sound management of the economy, not one that points fingers.

If the DLP wants another term in office, it has to do better.

15 Responses to Who really is to blame for our foreign reserves problem?

  1. Linda A. Goodman
    Linda A. Goodman November 14, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Please stop talking coming over like a trump

    Reply
  2. Roger Fitzgerald
    Roger Fitzgerald November 14, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Wat can I say bout dis fool of a PM

    Reply
  3. Mike Baje
    Mike Baje November 14, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Only Management can be blamed! In the Business world. all of DEM would be fired!

    Reply
  4. Jennifer Walcott
    Jennifer Walcott November 14, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Kma

    Reply
  5. Faye Heather Greenidge
    Faye Heather Greenidge November 14, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    sometimes it like it is better when he remains dumb

    Reply
  6. Philip Matthews
    Philip Matthews November 14, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    how much goes to paying the loans that bajans ain’t see anything for?, but more taxes every year for less services , how much is spent to send the PM to stay in hotels around the world ?

    Reply
  7. Kaiser Sose
    Kaiser Sose November 14, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    You stuuupes

    Reply
  8. Star Wood
    Star Wood November 14, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    The PM & his band of blind mice‼️

    Reply
  9. Sandra Madea
    Sandra Madea November 14, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Smfh

    Reply
  10. just observing November 14, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    The PM must realise that in the absence of a reliable public transport system people will be forced to purchase.their own vehicles. People have to catch a 6:a.m bus that does not arrive till 8:a.m cannot tell the employer every morning that the bus was late ! Then they leave work at 5:p.m and arrive home at 7 or 8:p.m. They will try to own a vehicle in order to keep their job and their sanity.
    He needs to stop the blame game. The country is in a dire situation. Wake up man!
    Not all bajans are slack concerning garbage accumulation and disposal. Many of us work hard at it but then you do not see a truck for 2 or three weeks. PM are we supposed to recycle the garbage and eat it? Then you won’t have to worry about providing garbage trucks. Wake up ! We are heavily taxed and deserve better. Stop the blame game and accept some responsibility for mismanagement of resources.

    Reply
  11. Shelley Parris
    Shelley Parris November 14, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    You, Froon….you.

    Reply
  12. Jason Bennett
    Jason Bennett November 14, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Isn’t it hypocrisy to point out the vehicles on “none of them being locally made” when a couple months ago bought “in the name of the state” a $700,000 dollar vehicle

    Reply
  13. Bajan boy November 15, 2017 at 7:18 am

    He now driving a good one. What effect did his 2 Mercedes Benz have on it? He is now living and want us to be live how he lived prior to he big job.

    Reply
  14. Wayne November 15, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Whose payroll is the editorial writer of this newspaper?

    Reply
  15. david gibbs November 15, 2017 at 8:22 am

    “Persistent printing of money by the Central Bank over several months would also have impacted negatively on the foreign reserves.” But isn’t persistent printing a result of the need to support our lifestyle.? Printing doesn’t occur in a vacuum. therefore the PM is not inaccurate. Ones use of foreign reserves is reflective of ones lifestyle. This is a simple fact. Take for example a simple thing as our consumption of fruits. Once upon a time English apples were only seen at Christmas. The rest of the year it was locally produced golden apples. Nowadays however we went imported English apples to be available all year round (not to mention imported blue berries, pineapples, strawberries, raspberries and plums etc). Now this is a lifestyle choice and lifestyle preference which has consequences for foreign exchange. The challenge therefore is to structure our economy in such a way that can allow us these lifestyle preferences.. This means many things from increased productivity form the average worker to improved business facilitation from Government agencies to greater economic diversity from private sector. It also means a massive alternative energy program to drastically reduce oil imports ($800 million) and massive agriculture undertaking to significantly reduce food imports ($800 million). Imagine if we can at least half both our food import bill and our oil import bill in the next 10 years.

    Reply

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