EDITORIAL: Country needs some words of assurance
The general election earlier this year settled one major question, and that is that the Democratic Labour Party was elected to manage the affairs of this country until whenever the next poll is held.
It is also the case that we are still experiencing some turbulence in our economic affairs and that, to use a colloquial expression, all is not well on the western front. It is only just past six months since the last election but already there are signs of concern about the direction of the country’s economic policies.
Now given that the medium-term fiscal strategy had to be revised and modified, it was expected that the Budget would have clarified our direction to such an extent that we would have been able to discern the light at the end of the tunnel. This is even though we might also have been able to discern mountainous peaks and deep chasms and valleys as we walked through difficult economic terrain to reach that light.
Alas, the Budget has added to our concerns, because having admitted that confidence was a quality which appeared to have had some impact upon our dip in foreign reserves, the wicket for further possible erosion of confidence may have been rolled by the technical glitches which followed immediately upon the delivery of the Budget Speech in some cases or emerged after post-speech analysis.
As members of the Fourth Estate whose primary interest is the defence of the public interest, we report the news, uncomfortable as it has been recently, and we are acutely aware of the complaints about the Transport Board and the problems attendant upon the inconvenience caused to the travelling public by the large number of buses needing repair and temporarily lost to the service provided by the Board.
Everyone is aware about the issues concerning the University of the West Indies and the sums due and owing to the Cave Hill Campus. The issue of temporary workers has caused more anxiety to many households in the recent past than at any time except during the early 1990s when the Sandiford administration was in charge of our affairs.
Mr Sandiford was vilified and attacked as a politician on many grounds, but his nerve did not fail him when he thrashed around searching for an exit strategy from the pickle into which the economy had fallen under his leadership.
The country may have been annoyed with him, but to his credit he acted based on policies which he put before Parliament and the people. Such resolve may be just what the doctor ordered at this time to forestall any loss or perhaps further loss in confidence in our national affairs.
In this context, the recent news from Government that it had pulled out of an offer to raise funds in the international market needs to be officially explained to the country. The absence of a proper explanation can fuel unwarranted speculation about the reason, and such rumours can be maliciously amplified by those who do not hold this country’s best interests at heart.
The air of uncertainty which can mushroom when confidence is under attack must not be allowed to flourish. In the light of recent events, what we need just now is the reassurance by deed and word that a steady hand is on the tiller.