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EDITORIAL: Facing up to economic reality

marciadottin, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Facing up  to economic reality

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THE RECENT notices of pending layoffs in the private sector will undoubtedly invite an aura of scepticism and concern among our working class population. The question on the lips of many of these workers will reside in the wonder “whose turn is next?”
Although revelation of current unemployment statistics remains veiled in secrecy, the obvious closure of a number of business places openly tells the story that there would inevitably have been concomitant job losses.
There is no partisan pride when persons are unable to settle domestic bills such as water and light but the situation becomes more critical and censorious when visits to the supermarket are intuitively censured as places that are out of bounds.
It is high time therefore that the ship of state is guided away from the reef of potential shipwreck since our experience has taught us that reconstructing the salvage is not only laborious but demands the artistry of a skilled craftsman.
Whether such political prowess has concealed itself in the quiver of those charged with the responsibility of guiding us, only the passage of time will unveil.
At present, the mantra incessantly reverberates that the burden and blame of any economic downturn must be laid at the foot, head and shoulders of the world’s worst recession.
As a result, Government has therefore absolved itself from any responsibility for business closures or the levels of current account deficits which over the last four years were unheard of in the financial history of Barbados.
This brings us to recall a very thought provoking point that was raised by former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Sir Courtney Blackman, as he addressed the topic New Development Paradigm for the Caribbean at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, at the Cave Hill Campus in April this year.
In his introduction, Sir Courtney posited that the failure of post-colonial Caribbean economies to achieve sustained economic growth and the fact that citizens of some Caribbean states, are worse off since independence than before, suggest the various economic paradigms employed by policymakers have proven to be seriously flawed.
While one may argue that Barbados has thus far escaped the economic misfortune of some of its CARICOM neighbours, we have now come face to face with the declared reality that the much touted Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy (MFTS) which was presented as the train of economic revival and revitalization has become derailed.
What will be the new prescription to engender confidence in our salivating economy and, by the province of extension, our beleaguered business enterprises? The country awaits the answers but let us hope that our chant will not be versed in that much rehearsed song Too late shall be the Cry.