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DLP COLUMN: OET on world tour

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

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It’s official! The Opposition Economic Team (OET) headed by economic guru Owen Arthur has been dispatched on a world tour to meet with the leaders of the global economy to hammer out solutions to the financial crisis.
This sudden trip was prompted by the unprecedented events that unfolded over the last week which the OET believes are as a result of poor economic leadership.
They believe that their analysis of the economic outlook is bang on and so they want to share it with the struggling and sagging economies in China, the United States, Britain and Europe.
We have been told that on the fourth anniversary of the global financial crisis, the after-effects are still pounding the shorelines of small open economies with little or no clear vision of when recovery will come.
One thing for sure is that no right-thinking person, no matter how little they understand of economic matters, believes that it’s business as usual for the global economy. This is why we as Barbadians, under a Barbados Labour Party model, would be the direct beneficiaries and sole recipients of the formula that would place our economy on a sustainable path of growth. They alone can do what the largest economy has been unable to deflect.
The United States Bureau of Statistics indicated in early August that the government payroll dropped 37 000 in the month of July, citing the ninth straight month of job losses. This came as a result of government’s shutdown in Minnesota. Of course, in Barbados the OET has not given the Democratic Labour Party any credit for ensuring that we maintain jobs in the public sector.
We acknowledge that our unemployment is at ten per cent but it’s nowhere near the 15 to 20 per cent as predicted by the Opposition at the outset of the crises.
As a matter of fact, Senator Darcy Boyce recently made the point “that a ten per cent rate of unemployment after such a severe economic and financial crisis is significant. He stated that over the last two quarters the rate had fallen from 10.7 per cent which, according to him, was the maximum level the figures had reached”.
Comparing this rate with the immediate period before and after 9/11, which had an effect on Barbados, Senator Boyce said that in 1998 the unemployment rate was 12.2 per cent. According to him, the rate has not reached 12 per cent since the onset of this crisis.
We appreciate that the US$2 trillion cut in expenditure will not sit well with the OET as it scolded local policymakers for developing the Medium-Term Fiscal Plan, aimed at repositioning the Barbados economy while protecting the poor and vulnerable.
On another leg of their world tour, the team met with George Osbourne, the chancellor who had to cut short his holiday in California so he could address the MPs on the state of play in the British economy.
The slowdown in growth in the British economy has raised some concerns for the OET as is the case here in Barbados. They are adamant that these problems are homegrown and nothing to do with the global financial crises.