Over the past five years Barbados’ economy has not performed well when compared with the economies of some other Caribbean states.
Economic adviser to the Leader of the Opposition, Clyde Mascoll, made this observation today while speaking at First Citizens Investment Services Market Outlook Seminar Programme at the Hilton Barbados Hotel.
Mascoll, who is a part-time lecturer at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, noted that in 2010 Barbados had an inflation rate of nine per cent, and noted that never before had a Government of Barbados been in a position where it had to borrow funds to pay its bills.
The former Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance pointed out that the nation’s debt increased dramatically in the past five years. Mascoll charged too that there were serious problems in the major sectors of the island’s economy while the business sector faced financing challenged.
While not supporting any lay-offs in the private sector, Mascoll argued that based on the dire financial position of the public sector there should be shedding some of their workers.
Mascoll acknowledged that in the past five years there had not been an increase in the number of workers being laid off. He further noted that Barbados’ extended family structure had provided a cushion for some displaced workers.
Arguing that Barbados needed leadership at this time, Mascoll said the current harsh economic conditions could not be wished away.
The former Leader of the Opposition explained that the level of the country’s foreign reserves was the only area of the economy that was performing well.
Meanwhile, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce, and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, argued that the containment of government’s expenditure was the way forward.
Inniss stressed that under no circumstances could the Government run away from this reality.
“We must reduce duplication of services. Productivity has to be improved and we have to look for new markets around the world,” Inniss said.
Noting that there had been a downturn in tourists arrivals, Inniss told his audience that Government was looking at creative ways to attract tourists to Barbados’ shores.
Inniss argued that if half of the money owed to the Government was collected it would make a significant dent in the deficit. The St. James Central MP pointed out that with the Four Seasons Project and Government’s re-newable energy project in place, Barbadians would witness heightened economic activity.
The industry minister maintained that timely response to business applications should improve the economic fortunes of the island.