A Government minister says the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) needs some more time to fix the economy.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley made the comment as he contributed to the Budget debate last night, saying that the past eight years of the DLP’s rule has been “a relatively short space of time in which to correct some of the most deep-seated structural challenges” the DLP found when it took over in 2008 after 14 years of Barbados Labour Party (BLP) rule.
“These deep-seated structural challenges of an economic nature were never really fixed by the Barbados Labour Party, and we would have had to come to office in 2008 at the height of a very serious and challenging global recession,” Lashley said.
The Christ Church West Central Member of Parliament contended that, even now, Barbados continues to be impacted by global economic forces, adding that the issues pertaining to the fiscal deficit continue to be critical.
“Our debt profile increased significantly to a multi-billion-dollar figure under the Barbados Labour Party. Even up to now, the trail of that debt continue to afflict this Government,” he said.
Citing one example of the debt that “continues to stranglehold Barbadians”, he said Government has to find about $30 million every year to pay in connection with the prison at Dodds.
But he pointed to the ongoing refurbishment of the Wildey Gymnasium and the upcoming CARIFESTA as activities that would help to bring to Barbados much needed foreign direct investment and inflows of capital to boost reserves.
“It’s a festival that will see, coming to Barbados, some 3,000 artisans and performers; a festival that will benefit the economy because of the use of hotels, accommodation, taxis and other goods and services,” Lashley said.
“We believe that this festival, which will help to propel and showcase the region as a centre for culture industries, is happening at the right time for Barbados.”
Barbados will host CARIFESTA from August 17 to 27.