Prominent businessman Ralph “Bizzy” Williams has dismissed as “foolishness” talk of a local currency devaluation, while warning that the Barbados economy simply could not withstand the effects.
Delivering the keynote address at the launch of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Skills Competition 2014 at Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, a very emotional Williams said he was quite troubled by what he had been hearing of late.
“There are people who are running around Barbados talking about a devaluation of the country’s dollar and I am hearing this foolishness. Believe me, it is bothering me,” he said.
“This has nothing to do with the TVET Council, it is because without a proper economy all the TVET Councils in the world cannot solve the problems of this country,” he cautioned, while fighting back tears.
He drew specific reference to the case of a retired Barbadian manager, who had gone to Trinidad and Tobago some years ago to work for the Bermudez biscuit company but upon his return home he was made to suffer heavy personal losses on account of several currency devaluations in the twin island republic.
“He was promised a great salary, which he received and a great pension, which he received.
“When he was ready to retire, he returned to Barbados on a Trinidad and Tobago pension.
“We do not need to tell you what happened to the Trinidad dollar. It was devalued not only once, but more than once. So [he] ended up in Barbados living on a pension that was based on a devalued Trinidad dollar.
“You can imagine the suffering that that man went through,” he said.
The chairman of the Williams Industries Group, whose company’s motto is “Working To Build A Stronger Nation”, is therefore calling on Barbadians in general to focus more “on the positive things that we have going in Barbados, rather than trying to pull down the country.”
He pointed out that the purpose of having Barbadians make National Insurance contributions during their working days was in order to make them eligible for a pension when they were unable to work during their old age.
“The day that Barbadians start to turn on themselves and talk about the foolishness of devaluation is when we will create our own downfall,” he said.
“I am here to urge all who are listening to stop that foolishness and let us work towards unity between the private sector and the public sector.
“We must join together and build this country,” stressed Williams.
He also called on political parties to stop their bickering and to work together in the national interest.
“The point I am to make is this. We went through an election in February 21 this year and the electorate decided who should run this country. It is time that we stop pulling down each other. I want to see a united country, said Williams, adding “I am very passionate about these things.” [email protected]