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PEP COLUMN: Government is misleading Barbados

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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BARBADOS IS IN DIRE STRAITS, and the Government of Barbados is doing a serious disservice to the people of Barbados by encouraging an overly optimistic and indeed, false, belief that our economic difficulties are temporary and easily manageable.The current Government is guilty of pushing the patently false notion that there will be an international economic revival by the latter part of 2010, and that this development will automatically lift the Barbadian economy and return us to normal.This is mere foolish wishful thinking, and to the extent that it provides the Government with an excuse for doing little, and lulls our citizens into a false sense of security, it is also treacherous.The simple fact is that there will be no substantive international economic recovery by the latter part of 2010, or indeed for several years to come! Indeed only foolish “pollyannas” are being taken in by the reassuring blandishments of Western central bankers. And only economic neophytes are misreading the temporary upward bump in economic data produced by the pumping of trillions of newly printed dollars into the North American and European banking systems, as evidence of a substantive recovery.The harsh truth is that too much damage has been done to the real economy and financial structures of the Western capitalist countries for there to be any short term recovery. The United States industrial sector, for example, cannot recover overnight from the virtual shutting down of the United States automobile industry. Furthermore, at the heart of the still lingering crisis is the continuing overhang of staggering losses in the Western financial sector estimated at more than US$4 Trillion.In spite of what the facile central bankers predict, the reality is that rising household and corporate debt in North America and Europe will cause further declines in asset values and losses to financial institutions. All of this constitutes a recipe for economic contraction and deflation, and already influential institutions of the Anglo-American establishment such as the Royal Institute Of International Affairs are beginning to acknowledge this and are warning about the very real possibility of a “lost decade”.We already have concrete evidence in Barbados of a cancerous structural defect in Barbados’ traditional Governmental budget. Compelling evidence of a structural 10 per cent decline in the Government’s annual tax intake has manifested itself, in tandem with a naturally increasing expenditure bill.All of this spells danger for Barbados, and particularly for the fairly impressive “welfare state” that we have managed to build for ourselves over the past 50 years.How, in the prevailing circumstances, will a sleeping “know nothing/do nothing” Government preserve Barbados’ free education system and our almost “first world” national drug service? How will they rebuild and re-tool our Queen Elizabeth Hospital? How will they tackle the problems of water and energy and find jobs for the 5 000 young people leaving secondary school in July?What is the plan? What is the mission? Where is the national call to arms? Sadly, there is none. And there will not be any until we rid ourselves of the foolish fiction that some “big brother” of the North will soon lift us up and return us to the good old days.
•The PEP Column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party. Email [email protected]