One of the island’s fringe political parties is calling for a national dialogue to solicit ideas on how to repair the broken economy.
In the wake of a dire report by the Central Bank yesterday on the state of the foreign exchange reserves, the Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) said it was clear the political parties had to look outside of their narrow interests in the search for answers.
Yet, BIM leader Neil Holder said, average Barbadians had ideas on how the country can move forward and their ideas ought to be heard.
“We are in dire strains right now as a country and the problem that we have is that we continue to do the same thing and expecting to get new results. As it relates to retooling our economy, that is a discussion we should have with all Barbadians. It seems as though most of the traditional political parties tend to only want to engage one section or two in the discussion of taking the country forward,” Holder told Barbados TODAY.
“But if you take the time to sit down and talk to the average man there are a lot of extremely excellent ideas out there as to how we can move forward. We can’t continue to put ourselves in a vortex and believe that we can spin out of it by making one action. Getting the economy to go forward is a sequence of events that happen for all to be working in tandem,” he added.
Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes announced that the foreign reserves fell by $139.7 million in the last quarter of 2017 to a 22-year low of $410 million, or 6.6 weeks of import cover, well below the recommended 12 weeks.
The news came on the day the International Monetary Fund warned that the economy was getting even worse, with growth projected at 0.5 per cent this year, after growing by a less-than-impressive 0.9 per cent last year.
Holder said the economic news came as no surprise, since the Stuart Government had done nothing creative to instill confidence.
Meantime, the BIM leader called on the Democratic Labour Party administration to introduce integrity legislation, arguing that such a measure was needed to lift the cloud of corruption hanging over Government.
“[The] first things we need is to enact integrity legislation. That is one of the most pressing matters that needs to be addressed right now before any new Government can perform, because the legislation is just sitting there, and it has not been passed and we need to have them to ensure that a new government [has] no more incidences of corruption or perceived corruption. Because there are a lot of investors who are keen to look at the country, but all indications right now are we need to address that forthwith,” he said.