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BLP COLUMN: Wrong policies by Dems

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

BLP COLUMN: Wrong policies by Dems

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IN THREE?YEARS this Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration has greatly damaged our way of life. One of the most severe must be the dangerous and nonsensical notion that we are simply helpless victims in the face of the international recession and other issues.
Thus rather than admit that they have nobody among them with the required experience, training and expertise in the all important field of economics, the Dems would want us to believe that there is absolutely nothing the country can do to ease its economic hardship.
As a result of this noxious negativity, the Dems are in danger of undermining our self-confidence as a nation and as individuals in a way never seen before in our entire history.
Our history, dating back to the colonial days, shows clearly that Barbadians have never before been afraid to confront major powers, organizations or issues. Furthermore, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in government has ably demonstrated that we have the capacity to come up with our own creative solutions to our economic problems.
For example, after the 9/11 events in New York in 2001, most countries went into economic difficulties.  But the BLP ignored the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its theories, introduced counter-cyclical measures and the economy responded positively, giving us many more years of solid economic growth.
Another example is the threat that was posed to our international business sector. The BLP administration bravely fought the OECD on this issue, and, ably led by Lynette Eastmond, got the OECD to reverse itself and pronounced Barbados as a clean jurisdiction.
The BLP has never been afraid to defend our country’s best interests.
But the present DLP administration simply does not know how to govern Barbados when things are tight. By their actions, they have made a favourable situation unbearably bad through punishing and poorly conceived and executed policies.
First was the decision the DLP took in April 2008 raise the price of diesel by over 80 cents per litre ($3 per gallon) which had a devastating effect on Barbados.  
The Dems did not then and still does not now understand the pervasive effect of diesel on the whole economy. Within three months, the Retail Price Index, which was increasing at an annual rate of four per cent, doubled to reach eight per cent by the end of the year.
The cost of living galloped as a direct result of that most stupid action. Contrast  that with the BLP who ensured that the diesel price in 2008 was at the same level as 1994, despite the fact that world crude oil prices had moved from US$15 per barrel to over US$100 per barrel.
The Dems ought to check how the BLP did it and act accordingly.
Second was the violation of the rule that you do not significantly increase taxes in the midst of a recession. The DLP in their July 2008 budget did just that. They imposed over $100 million in new taxes. They increased water rates, land taxes, highway taxes and many other user fees.  
The economy that was in a steady growth mode since 2001, suffered. It had very little to do with a worldwide recession. It was pure stupidity.
The BLP showed it could run the country for 14 years without raising bus fares, user fees, land taxes and highway taxes.  
The BLP has shown that it knows how to govern in the face of a hostile economic climate. This country needs Mr Owen Arthur and his team, right away.

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