This island’s economy will take the spotlight on Thursday when a Public/Private Sector Consultation is held at Hilton Barbados.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and representatives of the Barbados Private Sector Association, the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados and the Barbados Workers’ Union are expected to address the opening session.
During the one-day meeting, there will be a presentation by the Central Bank of Barbados on the island’s economic situation and participants from major organisations will be given an opportunity to share their views on the way forward.
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, has emphasised the importance of the deliberations, saying the island’s major foreign exchange earning sectors were not performing at peak capacity. He added that Government was uncomfortable with the fiscal deficit and, therefore, was looking to address it.
Sinckler pointed out that the global recession was affecting many countries across the world and Barbados, therefore, would be negatively impacted.
“So, we have to take an almost fresh look at what is going to be required to sustain Barbados in the next couple of years, to keep the economy stable, to protect our foreign reserves, and, of course, to grow our economy going forward,” he suggested.
He said it was necessary to have the widest possible consultation so there could be buy-in of Government’s policy from key stakeholders.
“When you have such challenges in your economy and you are proposing to make comprehensive interventions, most of which will affect the interests of people’s lives, either positively or in some instances negatively, you have to be able to ensure that you go through this properly and with an appropriate structure…
“So, we are trying to ensure that what is implemented will be reasonable and balanced, and we have the buy-in of the widest cross section of the public as possible. That is why a consultation like this, at this particular time, is important. But, the consultation is not the only thing being done. There are other things being done in preparation for when we introduce the final package to the public,” he explained.
Sinckler said that the upcoming discussions would establish the platform for an even more intense one-on-one set of sessions that would take place with a number of groups and persons who might not have attended the consultation.