Don’t blame the private sector for economic mess – Herbert

The business community has fired back at Government backbencher James Paul advising him to look in the mirror for the reason the private sector is not reinvesting in the ailing economy.

Paul last week described the private sector as disingenuous for pointing fingers at Government over the struggling economy, while refusing to reinvest here.

He also claimed that the business community had refused to take some of the blame for the inefficiencies in the public sector.

However, Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Charles Herbert told Barbados TODAY it was Government, not the private sector, that had the responsibility to create the level of confidence needed for investment.

And, he said, in the current environment, businessmen were nervous to risk their money.

“It is not the private sector’s role to create the environment that encourages investment. It is Government’s job to create that environment that encourages investment. There is no question that the private sector is nervous about the environment. It is uncertain and in those cases people make less investment. Creating the environment and encouragement is Government’s job,” Herbert insisted.

Addressing a news conference last Friday, Paul complained that businesses had “billions” of dollars “sitting” in the banks earning little or no interest, therefore they were  also to blame for the state of the economy.

He added that they had refused to come up with ideas to help develop the country, create employment and earn more foreign exchange.

“It is an indictment on some of them that we have in our private sector, that instead of trying to contribute to the development effort of this country, want instead, Government to go out there to borrow more money to give them, not to engage in new projects that would advance in the development interest of this country, but instead to allow them to continue with their buy and sell importation scheme which has contributed to where this country is today,” Paul charged.

Herbert today admitted that the business community was banking its monies, emphasizing that businesspeople had chosen the option to invest less or put their money in the bank and earn very little to no interest instead of reinvesting in an uncertain economic climate.

The BPSA head said in order to restore confidence in the economy and welcome more local and international investment Barbados needed “a published recovery plan so that people know what is going to happen”.

He also reiterated his call for more discussion among the tripartite Social Partnership group.

“There is a high level of uncertainty. The reason for the Social Partnership is to have dialogue between Government, labour and the private sector to create an environment which everyone feels comfortable with. That is what we have been fighting for, for ages.

“But yes, when the environment is uncertain people don’t invest or they invest less. It is not good for anybody to put money in the bank for zero per cent interest, but that will tell you how worried people are. So he [Paul] is right, [but]  he is just attributing the blame and the responsibility for changing it to the wrong group,” he stressed.

Herbert last week gave the Freundel Stuart administration a failing grade for its handling of the economy in 2017, saying there were no achievements to speak of.

In fact, Herbert pointed to the more than year-long sewage problems on the south coast, the abandonment of various economic recovery plans, the seeming inability of the authorities to correct inefficiencies in various Government departments, and the non-payment of income tax and Value Added Tax returns to emphasize his point.

“We don’t even have a recovery plan. A recovery plan that was started hasn’t been approved. We haven’t achieved anything. Nothing has come to completion,” Herbert had said, adding that to make matters worse, Government instead implemented the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), which was not only a “bad” tax, but “the wrong measure” to correct the fiscal problems.

The Opposition Barbados Labour Party and former Governor of the Central Bank Dr DeLisle Worrell have also been vocal in calling for the removal of the NSRL, describing it as harmful.

Late last month Worrell had also outlined in his paper, The Barbados Economy: The Road to Prosperity, the need for public sector reform and cuts in Government expenditure.

He proposed that Government cut 4,500 public sector jobs over the next three years and enter into a formal structural adjustment programme with the International Monetary Fund.

However, in what seemed as a direct response to Worrell, Paul said those calling for severing thousands of public servants were hypocrites.

“I challenge people to tell me which private sector person is going to hold up their hand and say I will take the 4,500 people when they go home. Not one. So that is it. We need to stop being hypocrites.

“I hear sterling criticism of the NSRL from the Opposition. The problem that the Opposition must deal with and must address and all the critics of the NSRL is that, in its absence would they want this Government to send home 4,500 civil servants? That is the fundamental question we need to ask ourselves,” he stressed.

18 Responses to Don’t blame the private sector for economic mess – Herbert

  1. John Everatt January 3, 2018 at 12:04 am

    So it would seem that Mr Paul thinks that the private sector would not absorb the public workers and he is correct. It is common knowledge that the public service is filled with people who really do not want to work and are there only to collect a pay check. One rarely hears of people saying “I want a job” but rather “I want a government job” is the cry that is heard. Just being honest Mr Paul. The public service needs to become productive and the size of the public service needs to be reduced in order to get government expenditure under control.

    Reply
  2. David Hall January 3, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Mr Paul is just a tool. If the government does not know what to do them it should simply resign and let someone else do the job. Rather it holds on to power and complain that no one is helping.

    Reply
  3. Patrick January 3, 2018 at 7:49 am

    David Hall, have you ever run a successful business?

    You all are still loyal and subservient to the slave master and the only thing you all have in common is the same political party.

    Reply
    • jennifer January 3, 2018 at 9:41 am

      Lol. Like your second paragraph bro. Majority of this people so.

      Reply
  4. Patrick January 3, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Tell Herbert if wants to run the country then enter elective politics and stop hiding behind the BPSA …. nuisance.

    Reply
    • jennifer January 3, 2018 at 9:52 am

      Come elections, if they party win, he will run things. Patience is a virtue. Saying that all of them house negros want correction.

      Reply
  5. Peter Thompson January 3, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Patrick, Herbert does NOT want to “run the country.” He wants the Government to run the country and they are failing to do that. Herbert is Chair of the Board at Goddard Enterprises Ltd, employing 6,500 people in Barbados as well as the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America. By all accounts he’s doing an OK job: no layoffs, increasing employment, good relations with their unions…

    Reply
  6. Carson C. Cadogan January 3, 2018 at 8:24 am

    If I was a head of a poorly performing Bajan private sector like CHARLES HERBERT THEN I WOULD SAY THE SAME THING THAT HE IS SAYING.

    Up to now he has not said a single word against the Bajan private sector for failing to pay to the Govt. and ultimately the people of Barbados why his private sector is ILLEGALLY holding on to more than $670million which they owe and refuses to pay the Govt. and the people of Barbados.

    The Govt. runs the country by taxation and when these thieves in the Bajan private pocketing money that dont belongs to them they, not the Govt., are causing impoverishment in the country of Barbados and he knows that.

    But he is so hell bent on installing a puppet Barbados Labour Party Govt. which the likes of him and the other plantation class people can hide in the shadows and pull their strings, that he is willing to overlook all types of wrong doing.

    Reply
    • MARIA Holder January 3, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      Go Carson. Loll – I know an excellent psychiatrist

      Reply
  7. Roverp January 3, 2018 at 9:23 am

    The BLAME game continues!!! When will this government accept responsibility for something? They blame a World Recession (that ended in 2009) claiming up to 2013 that the world was still in recession. They blamed the public workers who had a nine year wage freeze thanks to their poppet heads in the unions. They blamed…they blamed they blamed… a sign of really POOR MANAGEMENT!!!!

    Reply
  8. Falernum January 3, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Cadogan owes everything in his lifestyle to the operation of private enterprise. He is in fact a part of the private sector himself in his everyday personal dealings. Governments, firms and individuals can only raise income and saving from productive activity just as he must have done. If these structures don’t know how to regulate their income and expenditure and address the way they market themselves, they will fail, and the society will fail. If we don’t pull ourselves together and co-operate, Barbados will surely slide into poverty for a long time. Watch the race talkers be the first to emigrate !!

    Reply
  9. Alex Alleyne January 3, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Can’t wait until after the bell has run and the votes counted. A new set (or the same set) of yard fowls will be all over this page trying to justify what ever monstrosity their party commit and put on us.
    I am standing clear of the fence, not political slanted at all. I will vote but not for Party I going for candidate , this time. May all those in the mix who have Barbados at heart win a seat.
    The world is wide open and all Countries looking to make it’s mark.

    Reply
    • jennifer January 3, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      @Alex – And that is because the only people who benefits from these so call leaders are the said people who was benefiting since 400yrs. The yard dogs that keep barking gets the scraps.

      Reply
  10. Dick Tracy January 3, 2018 at 10:32 am

    @ Carson DLP Yardfowl!

    Mr Paul has not served his constituency. The only time you see him is on the news, or at Agra Fest, or coming around at election time. He hasn’t addressed any problems in St Michael’s, like illegal dumping, mowing vacant properties that harbor rats, and mosquitoes, cleaning out gully’s, potholes, etc.

    Businessmen don’t collect Road tax, Income tax (NIS), Property tax, VAT, or NSRL, and Port duties. Government job is to collect it, so it’s not doing it job. But, government sure knows how to spend what they don’t have………and blaming it on the private sector. Taxes Up, services down!

    Reply
  11. Carson C. Cadogan January 3, 2018 at 10:58 am

    DICK

    I just read your comment and by doing so I have wasted 5 seconds of my life.

    Reply
    • MARIA Holder January 3, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      LOL, a tempting comment but I will let it pass

      Reply
  12. Alex Alleyne January 3, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    “Global Growth Signs” coming from WALL STREET. Great News for the NEXT party in office.

    Reply
  13. milli watt January 3, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    your people connect illegally to the south coast sewage system, dispose of garbage down the sewer, contribute to the worse public health crisis in the history of the island and you going come here wid dis. Herbert you need to go and count sheep. With any luck you will fall to sleep. Wait I just rhyme lolol

    Reply

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