Nation e-Edition

BLP COLUMN: Crisis to calamity

BLP COLUMN: Crisis to calamity

Fri, November 09, 2012 - 12:00 AM

For many months the tag team of Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government and the Central Bank worked hard through relentless repetition to make Barbadians feel assured about their living conditions and prospects by authoritatively describing the economy as “stable”. Then, most recently, the Central Bank was moved to categorize it as “stagnant”.

But while the use of different terms might have been intended by officialdom to at most boost national self-confidence and at least calm nerves, Barbadian individuals and businesses were quickly and easily able to see the manoeuvre for the sophistry and flimflam it was, simply because their practical day-to-day and increasingly difficult struggle to survive continued to tell them that rather than their circumstances remaining constant, they had got worse.

Thus they would have done so without resorting to the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of “stable” as “firmly fixed” and “stagnant” as “showing little activity”, with the most optimistic that Central Bank Governor Dr Delisle Worrell could be was to intone that “real economic output is forecast to rise marginally for the remainder of 2012” with this sliver of hopefulness being totally dependent on the provision that the “winter season does not disappoint”.

Such overreliance on winter tourism seems most desperate and unrealistic given Worrell’s admission that this most vital economic sector’s contribution to the economy had for the year fallen by 3.7 per cent, unemployment continued to shoot upwards, foreign reserves had declined by $108 million, intake of personal income tax dropped by 13 per cent and VAT by four per cent. All evidence vindicating the persistent and consistent warning from Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Leader Owen Arthur that the DLP’s austere economic policies, inspired by the InfoWorld Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank, had failed and would continue to do so with deepening disastrous consequences for Barbadians.

But on the eve of elections, rather than this hapless Roundel Stuart-led administration making minute efforts to impress the public that it just might have something hopeful to offer for the future, the DLP instead has sought to scare and mislead by accusing the BLP of secretly plotting to lay off 10 000 public servants if it becomes the next Government. Quite an untrue charge for a Government that has presided over a labour force fall-off from 133 000 to 123 000, with 10 000 Barbadian men and women tossed on the breadline.  

Added to being stuck in the political mire of the big lie, the DLP continues its obsession with the past glories of the Errol Barrow era, with its only sign of being current being demonstrated in the freshness of its personal attacks on Owen Arthur and his team, with no signs forthcoming of changing failed policies far less presenting a long overdue national vision.

Meanwhile the BLP, further energized by a highly successful 2012 annual conference and strong public support for its announced future policies designed to put money back into people’s pockets and generally make lives better, is using every opportunity to educate the public as to why they do not have to accept the DLP’s bankruptcy of ideas as the prevailing leadership and governance norm. The BLP has a better way to return Barbados to prosperity and progress.

• Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.

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