Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has joined with Minister of Industry Donville Inniss in dismissing critics of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Saying he was satisfied that his DLP had “done well for Barbados” over the past eight years, Stuart told a meeting of his St Michael South constituency branch on Sunday at the Bay Primary School, Government was doing its best to ensure Barbados remain “on a level keel”.
“The Government’s case has to be put, and by any objective evaluation of the stewardship of this Government over the last eight years, it has to be conceded that we have done well for Barbados,” the Prime Minister said to loud applause from party supporters.
Highlighting economic disruptions, “mass unemployment”, very low interest rates around the world and difficulty by some leaders to come up with sustainable growth strategies, Stuart said it was in that context that critics of his administration should analyze and evaluate what was going on in the country.
“Efforts are continuing at every level in Barbados to ensure that we get things together and I am not disappointed at the progress we had made because for quite a few years you were hearing loud and strident complaints in Barbados about how the economy of Barbados was not growing. Now that didn’t worry me too much because I knew that based on what was going on in the world we had to commit ourselves to stabilizing Barbados rather than going after something called growth,” he said, adding that the next step then was to focus on growth.
And citing the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Central Bank reports, Stuart said he was satisfied the local economy was back on a growth path again, stressing that his administration had done well in “very difficult circumstances”.
“So our policies have been working and we have to continue to make the effort we have been making to ensure that growth is sustainable so that the benefit can be felt by people in the society,” said Stuart, who quickly acknowledged that Government could not afford to be “politically reckless”.
“We still have to make sure we nurse the economy back to viable growth and that is what the Government is committed to doing, and that is not good news for those who criticize us because they believed we were going to be on a negative path from everlasting to everlasting,” he said.
Earlier, Inniss recalled the creation of the DLP some 60 years ago, saying there was a feeling among a number of Barbadians over the years that there was “not much to celebrate”.
He also said the media was guilty of giving the impression that “there is nothing good happening” in Barbados.
However, Inniss said the DLP was doing the best it could in the circumstances.
“There are some things called exogenous factors; those things beyond our control in many respects, and we were catapulted into a situation where we now have what is known as the longest and deepest recession,” he said, though stating that he was not making an excuse.
Pointing to developments in the island’s main source markets for tourism, as well as unrest in the Middle East, Inniss said those things also impacted on the island’s ability to grow the economy.
“If you come a little closer to home you realize that most of the Caribbean economies have been under immense pressure . . . which has in turn affected their ability to purchase goods and services from us. Therefore we have to realize that there were some things that were beyond our control,” added Inniss.