Minister of Education Ronald Jones has described the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) as “wicked” and “evil” for repeatedly questioning the stability of the Barbadian currency and raising the possibility of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout of the economy.
Jones told supporters of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) last night the BLP was playing on Barbadians’ fears
of currency devaluation in its attempt to win votes.
“We need to call wicked people, wicked, and we must call evil people, evil,” he told a joint meeting of the Christ Church West and Christ Church East Central branches of the DLP at the Arthur Smith Primary School.
“[They] tell us are you devaluing the dollar, tell us about the state of the economy and the foreign exchange. There has been one chorus . . . . They have been doing this, increasing the uncertainty in the minds of Barbadians, destabilizing the economy and society: that particular repetition of the phrases that make us unsure and uncertain.
“Repetition is a technique used to persuade. If we become conscious of it, it starts to resonate in our heads – ‘let me start hiding my money or changing it to US dollars’. It does not flow back into the economy. The economy is suffering as a result of that hoarding . . . . Wicked people! We must call evil, and what the BLP is doing is trying to fool us,” he stressed.
The DLP spokesman made reference to Guyana, whose exchange rate is over $200 to the US dollar, and Jamaica with an exchange rate of approximately $125 to the US currency.
He said residents of both sister Caribbean Community states had suffered a major decline in their own living standards as a result.
However, he said, despite the fact that the Barbadian dollar had remained stable there was a fear among Barbadians that the local currency would suffer a similar implosion.
“Its success over time has not removed the fear that is in all Barbadians because they do not want to suffer the same collapse in the social infrastructure in their own quality of life as has happened in Guyana and Jamaica that I have mentioned. So always at the base of our minds and consciousness is that fear. Therefore when you mention IMF, when you mention devaluation, the fear starts to creep back” Jones explained.
Therefore, the ruling party legislator appealed to supporters to “laugh” at the BLP’s repeated references to devaluation and the IMF.
“Let us clear our minds of these little phrases and nuances that they are using. We are stronger than that. We know the reality. So when they use it, laugh . . . . You stay focused to the mission, and the mission has been long laid down. So when they come about introducing the bogeyman, whispering in dark corners, ‘tell us about devaluation and the IMF’ dismiss them,” Jones insisted.