Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Cleviston Haynes is expected to announce this week, a drop in unemployment and growth in the economy when that institution holds its first press conference in three years.
Haynes, whose predecessor Dr Delisle Worrell had scrapped the quarterly press conferences in 2014, is also expected to tell the country that the crucial foreign exchange reserves have started to improve again.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy, who has acted as Prime Minister on several occasions, gave a brief preview of the upcoming news conference when he addressed his ruling Democratic Labour Party ‘s (DLP) FACTS meeting at Belfield Community Centre last night.
“The unemployment rate that we had at the end of December, which was I think just under ten per cent, is just now over nine per cent. Unemployment is falling . . . and you will hear about that . . . you will hear falling unemployment [and] you will hear inflation is still under control,” Sealy said.
He said the Acting Governor will also inform the nation that the economy is growing, albeit not by double digits.
“And you will also hear the foreign reserves situation is bouncing back . . . and you will hear of the fiscal deficit and that is also under control . . . and we have made difficult decisions in order to make sure the economy is on a firm footing,” Sealy added.
He praised Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler for his handling of the economy and predicted that the ruling DLP would be returned to power with a stronger Barbados.
The Minister of Tourism recalled that in 2015, some 292,000 visitors came to Barbados, the largest number in that year, while last year, 631,000 people came to this country, the biggest number in the island’s existence.
“We have had more investment than we have ever seen, certainly in the tourism sector,” he added.