Prime Minister Freundel Stuart thinks Barbados is in the tight spot it is now partly because decision makers chose to “play snakes and ladders” with the economy when times were good.
And as he prepares to continue a series of consultations beyond today’s National Consultation On The Economy, he said sacrifices would have to be made in the forthcoming period, but that when good times returned he intended to oversee “some serious structural changes”.
Stuart made the statements this evening when the discussions ended at Hilton Barbados.
He said he was tired of hearing “platitudes” such as the view that “you shouldn’t waste a recession”, when it as far as he was concerned “it is even more criminal to waste a period of economic buoyancy”, referring to the time preceding the current Democratic Labour Party administration.
“We are not going to find ourselves in a situation again when we just sit down and wait for the next recession… It is not going to happen that way. I use to play snakes and ladders when I was a boy, I don’t play it anymore, and this whole business of raising expectations and then dashing them suddenly to the ground does not appeal to me anymore,” he said.
“We have to take our public administration seriously and we have to make the changes that are necessary to put Barbados in a state of economic viability.
“We were not just being politically correct when we put in our manifesto in the last election that our vision is for a Barbados that is socially balanced, economically viable, environmentally sound and characterised by good and transparent governance.
“Those are not just empty words, that is a commitment and that commitment can only be met if we get out of the mindset, we snap out of the mindset of thinking that we can afford to waste periods of buoyancy but it is recessions that we should not waste, as though we take a sadistic delight in inflicting pain on the most vulnerable in the society during these periods,” he added. Stuart said he was “confident that we will get through this”, but added “once we are through it, once a curtain is drawn across this period and buoyancy returns that is when some serious structural changes have to take place in Barbados”.
“So I am fully on board with a lot of what I have heard here today. Of course…, this is a stage in our process of consultation. These conversations cannot of course go on indefinitely. The Government has to make decisions and we have to make decisions while the going is good, we cannot allow time to elapse to such an extent that we are forced into making decisions that we would not otherwise be inclined to make,” he told participants. (SC)