When an International Monetary Fund (IMF) assessment team arrives here next month, Barbados will get a failing grade because promised restructuring is not fully under way, although the island is almost halfway through the 18-month programme that began last September.
That is what Opposition parliamentarian Kerrie Symmonds is sayin, and he believes such failing will lead to further downgrades in Barbados’ international financial rating.
“We are at the cusp of major crisis and disaster in Barbados . . . . The IMF is coming here on the second of June . . . to the sixth of June and they are going to be doing an assessment,” he told a Barbados Labour Party Christ Church East branch meeting on Sunday.
“The last thing I want to see is more downgrades; but brace yourself, there will be more.”
Symmonds explained the basis of his prediction of further crisis, saying: “We are in month eight, virtually halfway through an 18-month programme [of] the priorities that the Government set for itself. It had to lay off 2,000 workers in the Public Service and 1,000 in statutory corporations –– still not done. So when they [IMF] come back in June, they are confronted with a failing grade to start with.”
“[The Barbados Government] told the IMF – the IMF did not tell us – that we are going to reform our direct and our indirect tax systems in Barbados.
When they meet Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and they say, ‘Minister, show the progress you have made’, what is he going to tell them?” the St James Central MP put to those gathered at the St Christopher Primary School.
Further to predicting the downgrade, Symmonds reeled out a number of other statutory corporations likely to fall under the knife to meet restructuring undertakings, resulting in more layoffs.
“The Government said . . . they are going to take the statutory corporations that look as though they duplicate each other, and they are going to consolidate them. I say to you, it’s just fancy language to let you know that more people have to go home,” Symmonds charged.
“Because when I take Rural Development Commission that is doing the same thing as the Urban Development Commission, and National Housing, then there is no way that all the staff members gonna remain. So there will be more haemorrhage. And when I take the Poverty Alleviation and the National Assistance boards and the National Disabilities Unit, more haemorrhage. And there are several others. There is a thing called the National Heritage Department, there’s the National Conservation Commission.”