The lack of an economic stimulus is the reason why the Government continues to rely heavily on the traditional money-earner, tourism, the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) spokesman on small business has declared.
Speaking on the DLP’s Sunday Roast live stream on Sunday evening, DLP Vice President Ryan Walters, said: “The challenge we have is that the Government has not been able to implement anything in terms of stimulus in this country. You would have heard the private sector head again this week calling for a stimulus in the economy. On April 29, 2020 stimulus was announced but those measures failed.”
Walters said that since last year a number of projects aimed at stimulating the economy were mentioned but to date none was forthcoming.
“During the throne speech hours of stimulus and those failed. We have no account for what was said would have been done. There is no reporting to success, implementation of these plans Government is putting in place with the notion that we would not have our tourism product to its fullest potential,” the DLP vice president declared.
He explained that job creation was needed at this time.
Walters said: “If we can actually get our stimulus package going we can get jobs going again which is priority for Barbados. The way to get that done is to sustain what we have. We have agriculture, small business, manufacturing, international business.
“How can we build on these industries and sectors for the next six to nine months allowing each sector to grow employment to contribute more to the GDP and to be more productive in Barbados? Until we get that stimulus we will always be catching on the tourism dollar and unfortunately be putting the health of our citizens at risk.”
Turning to the national COVID-19 vaccination programme, the DLP executive suggested that exact figures of the vaccination programme need to be known before allowing tourists to arrive here.
“I think that the Government needs to be transparent before we accept any tourists on our island we should know what is the percentage of persons on the island who need to be vaccinated,” he told the DLP programme.
Walters cautioned against allowing a rush of tourists to descend on the island at one time as he suggested a phased approach to allowing visitors in Barbados.
He said: “Secondly, the same approach where Government has phased opening to our businesses, has a phased opening to how we operate as people there should be a phased opening to tourism. We should not allow full fights to come in. We should have manageable amounts of persons where we put our protocols in place.
“We are not here to suggest the protocols, work with BAMP and the other associations to come up with the protocols. But with the protocols set, we need to test them.
“We need to have them in place, we need to monitor them, make sure they are tight and then we can build on increasing capacity in the tourism sector. We should not be on our laurels and expect an overnight influx of tourists.” (IMC)