Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and Cave Hill Campus principal Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is “fully” supporting the economic “vision” of outspoken Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick.
Sir Hilary said today that Estwick’s alternative fiscal measure that urges his Government to borrow $5 billion from the United Arab Emirates, is something the late National Hero and Prime Minister Errol Barrow would be proud of.
“Barbados has found itself in great debt because 70 per cent of the Barbados budget goes into education and health just to educate people who were denied education for 300 years; just to educate citizens and take care of their health, the budget bust. We have got in our budget, to clean up this mess, that the British have left behind; they need to cancel all the debts of the Caribbean,” he declared while delivering a lecture at the UWI on reparation from the colonial powers.
“And this is why I am in full support of Minister Estwick, when he said we need a new vision,” added the pro-vice-chancellor. “Minister Estwick is right, he is absolutely correct. We have been locked into a banking system with the Canadian banks who monopolise the Barbadian market, the Canadian banks who control the Caribbean money system, and through their control of the financial system, our government has very little room to manoeuvre…”
“And so, the minister said, ‘Hold on’, let us look beyond these banking systems; how about the Chinese banking system? Do they need a Chinese bank in Barbados? How about the Arab banks? The Arab banks have been propping up Western banks with capital for the last 50 years. Why can’t Barbados engage Chinese banks and Arab banks to restructure our debt?” asked Sir Hilary.
“And what he has done, is to open the conversation to a new development pact, which is consistent with what Errol Barrow has said.
“The time has come to stop loitering on colonial premises. If you are a sovereign nation and you have to participate in an international money market, you should not only be locked into Canadian and British banks. You should be able to expose your natural interests, to Arab banks, to Chinese banks and to do what is in the interest of your country,” declared the university administrator.
He suggested that if the country was consistently locked into a monopolistic banking system, the government would not be serving the island’s best interest.
“Because the developing world has moved into a different banking system, where Chinese capital, Arab capital, is joining with Western capital to produce development strategies for the Caribbean and the wider world,” argued the leading academic.
He said Estwick has opened up a very interesting conversation that is inevitable.
“And if we are to take our sovereignty seriously; what does sovereignty mean? You pursue the world, you look at the world and you do what is best in your national interest. And I think Minister Estwick has brought the moment up to Mr Barrow’s vision or the mirror image,” Sir Hilary submitted.