Opposition Member of Parliament for St George North Gline Clarke is calling for heads to roll in the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration for the island’s “fall” from financial grace.
He charged that the country was in its current financial mess because Government had engaged in terrible policies and economic practices that had made it difficult for Barbadians to spend in order to help grow the economy.
“The moment you have a downgrade everybody starts looking at your GDP [gross domestic product]. Therefore 19 downgrades is not good. We have to be able to pull this country up and therefore whatever measures that we can introduce we have to work together to ensure that this country gets back up,” Clarke said, while pointing to a recent article in the Jamaica Observer newspaper headlined, Barbados – A classic case of a fallen angel.
Highlighting Barbados’ economic plight, the article pointed to the country’s previous standing as “a rated entity which once carried a high credit rating and displayed exceptional performance, but has since experienced sustained declines in ratings, culminating in the loss of its investment grade status”.
Likening the running of the economy to that of a business, Clarke said had it been a company that had suffered this many downgrades and high debt, an explanation would have to be given and someone would have been fired.
“We are saying this is a $4 billion economy. You cannot have your debt, which is about $10 billion now for a small economy, and nothing has happened to the management. The management has to sit down and analyze for the shareholders. We are the shareholders of this country. We are the policyholders. We want to know why is it that in eight years this Government has caused an angel to fall. An angel has fallen, but nobody got hurt in this whole exercise.
“It is not good. I do not feel good that we have fallen, but we have fallen,” said Clarke, who was speaking in Parliament today during debate on the 2017/2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.