DLP COLUMN: Mia determined to do
If there was any inkling of a doubt that Mia Mottley has what it takes to lead this country, it was totally dispelled by the depth and quality of her vision of a revitalised Barbados laid out for the members of the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
At a time when our economy is floundering and there is great uncertainty in the country, Miss Mottley presented an exciting, yet serious and sensible strategy for putting the country back on course. It is as if a breath of fresh air has blown over the country.
Her analysis of the structural problems facing the country is perceptive and sound. She is clear that “we cannot have a 21st century population relying on (at best) a 29th century development model” and that we need to restructure and modernise government and the economy and we need to do it now.
She told her audience: “Serious and sensible decisions must not just be made, they must be made now. Not ten years from now, not when we get round to it after recess here and there, but now. We are already late. I know that you know it. Quietly behind closed doors we speak about it. If we fail to act we are going to shortly find ourselves in reverse gear at the top of a very steep hill with no brakes. It is not going to be a pretty sight.”
Her report card on the Government’s handling of the economy is incisive and unflattering.
“Perhaps the truest measure of the performance of economic policy is the amount individual people and companies are investing in the future. If there is little confidence in the future, investment falters, and this has a knock-on effect of lowering our ability to produce in the future.
And so what alarms me as much as anything else is that overall investment in the Barbados economy has collapsed. Gross capital formation – investment in buildings, machinery and stock – has dropped by almost 30 per cent between 2007 and 2009, from $1.57 billion to $1.16 billion, a decline of over $400 million. This is the biggest dollar decline in our history and in percentage terms is only rivalled by the last DLP recession.”
Her passion for social justice came bubbling to the surface with these words: “For too long we have been enamored by the notion of economic enfranchisement and treated it as the Holy Grail, but not facilitated the access of our citizens and our enterprises to this noble and necessary goal.”
Her intention to reduce the cost of government by enfranchising Barbadians found favour with the audience.
“I am well aware, however, that for us restructuring must not be about efficiencies and savings alone. It must also be a critical platform for broadening the base of ownership in Barbados, for ordinary Barbadians, for institutions like our credit unions and pension funds and for small, medium and large corporate entities,” she said.
She showed how the Government’s proposed deal for CLICO depositors was a lose-lose situation which would impact on the county’s finances for years. But she also put forward a perpetual bond issue to depositors as a better alternative.
Her presentation was so thorough that it would be impossible to give all the details here. We invite you to read a copy on the party’s website www.blp.org.bb.
Mia has a vision of where the country should be and she knows how she will take us there. Her invitation to us all is: “Let us all dare to dream, but let us all be determined to do!”