Prime Minister Mia Mottley has refuted claims that Government has not formulated any plans to grow the country’s economy.
In an apparent response to suggestions from former Prime Minister Owen Arthur that the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transition (BERT) programme was not a sure fix for the economy as it did not stimulate growth, Mottley contended that government’s first order of business had been to stabilize the economy.
She said now that had been accomplished, government had already begun to implement initiatives aimed at growing the economy.
Mottley pointed to initiatives such as the relocation of Ross University School of Medicine and the current cricket series between West Indies and England.
“Well let me for the record say that this Bill is one of the most important non-fiscal plans for triggering economic growth in this country. We have spent the last six months as a Government stabilizing the economy and stopping the bleeding. Our reserves which we inherited at $400 million are in excess of $1 billion. We have been able to restructure our domestic debt and our team was in Washington DC this week dealing with the restructuring of our foreign debt,” the Prime Minister said during debate in Parliament today on the Planning and Development Bill 2019.
“But we always understood that once you stablized the bleeding you needed a parallel path to trigger growth and that parallel path to trigger growth will come from a combination of policy intervention, legislative intervention which is non-fiscal; it will come from fiscal measures such as the capital works that we choose to do as a government; it will come from decisions as we have done to establish Barbados as a medical and educational hub; and if anyone does not believe that the inclusion of Ross University with 1,500 students and over a 100 faculty will not bring growth to this country, then I don’t know where they are living.
“One of the first decisions this Government took was to support the West Indies England tour in Barbados, being able to bring over 6500 tourists here this week and to have the benefit of that influx of tourists, not just for this week, but also for people who were here to watch them as they practiced and also for the people who will be coming back for the two One-Day Internationals. But yet they say we have no growth plan,” Mottley quipped.
The Prime Minister said while persons continued to question government’s decisions, they needed to stop making insubstantial claims.
“Words can frame anything, but at the end of the day there must be a substrata of fact and there must be evidence to support the contentions that we make, if not we become divorced from reality and people will then begin to wonder whether we have taken leave of, not only our senses but of, our memory and our capacity to reason,” Mottley said.