The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is extremely skeptical about the positive projections for the growth of the Barbadian economy presented earlier this week by Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes.
On Friday, the party’s president Verla DePeiza contended that her party’s analysis of the figures revealed that the country is now in recession as its foreign reserves remain “propped up by loans” and economic growth rates remain relatively minimal.
On Wednesday, during a review of the country’s performance in 2019, the Governor predicted growth rates between 1.25 percent and 1.75, a 0.7 percent improvement on the International Monetary Fund’s projections. The government’s ability to rein in public finances was credited for the improvements along with reducing transfers to the country’s main hospital, the Sanitation Service Authority and the Barbados Tourism Management Inc.
But in a stinging critique of the figures presented, the DLP president again criticised the absence of clarity about the source of economic growth in the new year.
“After experiencing three years of growth from 2015 to 2017, it is evident now that the economy of Barbados is in recession,” she said in a brief statement on Friday.
“This, coupled with the fact that the foreign reserves are propped up by loans as opposed to revenue generation, makes the Democratic Labour Party skeptical about the optimistic projections for growth in 2020.
“This is especially true since all of the projects noted are construction-related, with no released start date.”
She further contended that the Central Bank’s figures gave little assurance that citizens would enjoy an improved quality of life.
“The Democratic Labour Party maintains that unless and until a balance is found in the economy which permits our citizens to live comfortably and well; and also for businesses of all types to thrive, the management of the country by this present administration is not to be applauded,” the statement said.
DePeiza expressed even more concern about the government’s continued reliance on the tourism industry which she contends has provided benefits for “a select few”.
Also concerning is that there is continued reliance on the tourism industry to boost the economy when according to her, all signs indicate that the industry’s impact is “negligible” and the benefits are enjoyed by a select few.
“This, when read alongside the heightened unemployment rate and the increased taxes on commodities, presents a clearer picture of the economy as it impacts upon the citizens of Barbados,” she argued.