Caribbean Dreams became the Small Business Association’s (SBA) Entrepreneur of the year 2015, and the SBA’s own Lynette Holder won the President’s Trophy, last night, but former prime minister Owen Arthur forecasted coming joblessness on the island.
Arthur made the prediction while delivering the feature address at the Radisson Aquatica Resort, as the SBA ended a week of celebrations of small businesses across the island with an award ceremony.
Arthur, a leading Caribbean economist and advisor, in making reference to the most recent International Monetary Fund report on Barbados that called for a radical reduction in government spending, urged the Freundel Stuart administration to seek a national consensus before acting.
“In all of this, the only prospect that seems certain is that a fairly substantial number of persons now employed by state enterprises stand to lose their jobs,” he said.
The former prime minister, who led Barbados for an unprecedented three consecutive terms said that the recessionary and other economic pressures hitting the island was unlike any before.
In this regard, he said that job cuts for public servants this time around will not see them regaining those positions later.
“There is no prospect of their re-employment in the public sector for the foreseeable future, in light of the parameters of the fiscal consolidation programme which has to be fully executed,” Arthur contended.
And while he gave no dates for this mass retrenchment, he said of the state agencies which will be sending home Barbadians, “some will be amalgamated and some will be privatized.”
“Some may even be abolished altogether. Some will be downsized and have their structures rationalized. It will be a huge undertaking that will affect the course of Barbados’ development in a very profound way,” Arthur maintained.