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WILD GOOD: It’s our business

Harry Russell

WILD GOOD: It’s our business

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It is not the business of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) what statistical figures we bandy about in Barbados. If the Central Bank says one thing and the Government says one thing and the two do not coincide, even if the IMF disagrees, that is not their business.
Look how far Washington is from Bridgetown! Our budget is our budget and whether we balance it with taxes that we hope to get but may not get is our business.
After all, we got independence since 1966 and we do not want anyone who might be just out of school putting their mouth in our trough. If I were our worthy Prime Minister, I would not go anywhere, or if I did go, I would not carry any papers.
A gentleman whose opinion I usually respect aired those sentiments recently. The opinions were so far from my way of thinking that I did not venture to reply. What I was wondering, however, was whether or not there was any merit in those sentiments and what had triggered those unusual mouthings.
I would think that the goodly gentleman had every right to feel that our Prime Minister should think carefully about why he has to go to Washington at this crucial time with elections a mere 12 months away and much campaigning to be done, both fiscally and house to house.
My friend had another opinion. He felt that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay should not be able to level criticisms against us but should direct those remarks to Mr Raul or his ambassador. We even had our busy Prime Minister, who holds the second highest position in the land, pay Garcia a courtesy call.
We don’t make fun!
My friend said that if he had an opportunity to have an audience with the lady mentioned above he would argue that just as sending people to HMP Dodds for ten ’ears does not eliminate “tiefing” or bigamy, for that matter, so the rope is not scheduled to eliminate murder but to give the perpetrator a dose of his own medicine. He would ask her why she does not present the argument to the governor of Texas or the president of China or the people in the Middle East. These fellows administer the needle, hang, behead, stone or shoot as they wish. ’Cause we small?
But, given that murder by shooting and the knife is rampant in Barbados, although we have not used the rope for a long time, we know that at the drop of a hat we can tune it up and start up the band. There will be fellows only too glad to pull the mother fiddle.
But you know something that just occurred to me? Perhaps in some roundabout way the words of the high commissioner were a prelude to discussions in Washington. It may not be a desire to wash their mouth in our fiscal business. After all, our fiscal deficit, no matter if it is as high as Mount Hillaby, is not as high as that of Japan.
Perhaps Washington is going to ask us why we are stumbling from crisis to crisis. Since we cannot borrow on the international market unless we prefer to pay through our noses, then the only reason why we are summoned to Washington is to receive a monetary gift of some millions or a warning.
But a warning about what? Again, I ask if it is their business in Washington. I am confused! Whatever figures we produce even if we drop the value added tax back to 15 per cent or give the civil servants the “illegal” travel allowance for the time being, or even put in our National Insurance loan to Four Seasons before the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) first mortgage provider, that is our business.
Wild Coot, says a pal to whom I submit my articles for vetting: “We have to live in the real world, and even though the IMF is a lender of last resort (that is, when no one else will lend or when Shylock appears) they have every right, if the road that we are treading, or galloping along, will lead to destruction or devaluation, to say something.
Under our Constitution, the IMF cannot call an election; just ask your friend Señor Ezra”.