by George Alleyne
One day after Standard and Poor’s downgraded Barbados’ long-term foreign and local currency sovereign ratings from ‘B’ to ‘B-minus’, Finance Minister Chris Sinckler has advised Barbadians not to be pessimistic about the economy, saying that the glass was half-full, not half-empty.
The international credit rating agency on Friday also issued a “negative” outlook for the island as it expressed concern that the Central Bank continues to finance the Government’s spiraling deficit, which it stressed was at “odds with its goal to defend Barbados’ long standing currency peg with the U.S dollar.”
However, a defiant Sinckler told the BET Credit Union 50th anniversary celebrations at the Hilton last night, that the country must see the current circumstances, “not through pessimistic lenses, but a lens that tells us that the glass in Barbados is not half-empty, but in fact is half-full, and we’re working to go to the top”.
Acknowledging growing concern about the state of the economy, the Finance Minister said there were challenges but he was adamant that Barbados would return to growth and emerge stronger.
“Many would suggest that today as we go through varying levels of stress within our society, and we see some social systems challenged, by new waves and new cultures, as we see economic systems challenged by ongoing battering and buffering in the international economy, and even in domestic policy choices, that Barbadian society has reached a level of plateau from which we will not recover.
“I do not share this view, however, I believe that the Barbados society is repositioning itself for a new platform on which we will launch a higher level of existence with better quality lives and higher standards of living”.
Sinckler stressed that just as the credit union movement overcame its challenges and embraced new opportunities to become a strong financial entity, Barbados could achieve the same and more with the right approach.
“We just have to ensure that the spirit, which guided the creation, establishment and growth of credit unions such as this … that we embrace that culture and ensure that we move our society to a higher level of achievement,” he said.