Bad news! Good news!
According to the DAILY NATION of Thursday, December 6, ordinary Barbadians are in pucketary.
First the bad news, if December 21 is not the end of the world. One gentleman tells us that if we relax taxes on the people, they will spend madly, buy from the merchants, who in turn will have to restock, thus accessing foreign exchange. Our foreign exchange will be depleted, and we will be in the clutches of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who may not forget the Japan confrontation. We would be unable to pay our BOLT loans, and maybe jeopardize the security of Dodds, who knows!
Another fellow confirms that we cannot relax taxes, because taxes are necessary; in fact the Government desperately need the taxes to pay salaries of the Government workers, as social order has to be maintained.
Since we cannot increase taxes, we have to get money from the Central Bank to pay the workers. Thus there is a great necessity (this time) that the loan limit at the Central Bank be increased. This places more money in the hands of ordinary Bajans as this increased borrowing from the Central Bank translates into salaries. (Taxes and Value Added Taxes are not enough).
Therefore more money will be placed in the hands of ordinary Barbadians, but this new money (people call it printed money) is different from the other type of money and will not deplete our foreign exchange and put us in the venomous clutches of the IMF.
We’re screwed! But do not take it from the Wild Coot. These are the arguments coming from our elected leaders. Our small shareholders in Barbados National Bank are screwed; CLICO policyholders are screwed; Mr Barack is screwed, and the list goes on.
Barbados ranks 15th in the world as the least corrupt country. Trinidad and Tobago ranks 9th as the most corrupt country in the whole world out of 176 countries. One does not know what criteria have been used. How near is it to the truth, or what guesswork played a part? However you know that where there is smoke, there is a fire extinguisher. Trinidad’s Governor of the Central Bank in his own words said that he was unable to reel in CLICO and C.L. Financial – owners of Republic Bank.
Republic Bank promised Barbadian “youth development, poverty alleviation and support for the differently-abled” – they deserve a seat in our Parliament. Barbadians to hold their breath now that 100 percent ownership will be obtained. Presumably it was unable to do these things with tow-thirds ownership.
Once upon a time the Barbados economy was buoyed by large capital investments. (Rich people bought properties on the West Coast, etc. Good and bad thing). This has dried up, so the little foreign exchange that we earn comes mainly from the pickings of the few tourists.
Now we are thinking of divestment. Money may come by the bagfuls from due south of the island. We have experience of the effects of that type of money. The few Barbadians who would invest have been badly bitten, and we all know that “once bitten twice s . . .” .
We hope that this little “tralya” and the innocent higher limit money have no effect on our coming elections.
Was I hearing right that the famous downgrade would not affect us? That Barbadians should lose no sleep over it? Well, who recently called back for their million dollars investment in a project, as we are unable to get our act together?
• Harry Russell is a banker. Email [email protected]