Government Senator Dr Crystal Haynes has challenged critics who say the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) rushed into negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The party’s plans for rescuing Barbados from its economic woes, she contended, were in place long before the May 24 general elections.
Speaking in Senate today during debate to legislate the Government’s debt restructuring policy, Dr Haynes said the BLP had assembled an economic team since 2016 to formalize a programme to rescue the country.
“I would like to say that as much as it might suit the Opposition’s purposes to refer to our economic woes as if they started on May 24, it would be remiss of me not to delve into some of the reasons why we are here and to explain why I believe this was a decision made for this Government long before the election was won.
“Negotiations took three-and-a-half months, but what many people failed to understand is that the campaign didn’t begin when the election was called. This Government was working before it was the Government. More than two years, the economic team was assembled, strategizing, doing their research and doing the necessary things that they needed to do to make sure that a plan was crafted,” Dr Haynes said.
She said the party also had extensive discussions with the Social Partners.
Dr Haynes noted that Caribbean neighbours Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis had also undergone similar debt restructuring programmes to emerge the better for it.
In both instances, she said, some of the measures which had been implemented by the respective governments were harsher than those put forward by the Barbados Government.