Government is fooling itself and Barbadians if it truly believes the Barbados economy has not been mismanaged.
The Opposition’s lead spokesman in the Upper House, Senator Kerrie Symmonds, said rather than being “unnecessarily defensive” and blaming the Barbados Labour Party, the ruling Democratic Labour Party should properly attend to the big economic problem that it created since being elected in 2008.
He was responding to the presentation of Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Senator Jepter Ince, who had said the BLP’s policies, if implemented, would force it to be rescued by the International Monetary Fund.
The divergent views came during debate on amendment to the Local Loans Act, allowing Government to increase the amount of money it can borrow from $5 billion to $6.5 billion.
“Howsoever strongly you take your partisan politics, and howsoever seriously you take yourself I think you have to come to a point in this exercise of public discourse, especially on issues regarding public finances, that you rein yourself in and try to bring a little bit of intellectual sobriety to the discussion,” Symmonds said of Ince’s statements about the IMF.
“I do not know that there is any Barbadian I have ever come across … who has ever wanted to see that unhappy eventuality befall this country.”
The BLP representative said the economy Ince referred to “is vastly different to the one that the DLP inherited and mismanaged”.
“In 2007 the economy of Barbados was larger than it is today and that is a fact, that is not a figment of anybody’s imagination — that has been quantified and measured. The net disposal income for Barbadians in 2007 was $8.1 billion, in 2008 that figure was $500 million less, in 2009 it dropped again by another $300 million,” Symmonds stated.
“We are talking about an economy in 2007 which had the lowest level of unemployment in the history of the country, 6.7 per cent. Today it is up at nearly 13 per cent.
“When I listen to Senator Ince, the SpongeBob phenomena that comes out, as though you have just emerged from the bottom of the sea from under your little pineapple, it worries me because if you begin on that faulty note and that questionable line of argument then you have to come to the wrong conclusions,” he added.
Symmonds said he also wanted to know why Government was seeking to increase the loan limit for the third time in five years but its representatives “have not taken it upon themselves to say to anybody ‘these are the specific reasons why in this specific circumstances we need to have this additional space to borrow yet more money’.” (SC)