‘Held back by failure to implement’
An “anti-growth coalition” is threatening to make Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours “grind to a standstill and sink into the mud”.
Barbadian economist and financial analyst Professor Avinash Persaud issued that warning last week, adding that the capacity to implement, not imagine, is “the greatest challenge in the Caribbean”.
He was speaking in St Lucia at the launch of that country’s National Vision Commission.
The chairman of Intelligence Capital Limited said the region’s progress was being thwarted by an “anti-growth coalition” including “members drawn from elements of government, business, unions and elsewhere whose narrow, immediate interests, are threatened by change and uncertainty”.
“One of the many things I have learned on returning to the region seven years ago is that the greatest challenge in the Caribbean, is not our capacity to imagine how could it be in the land of Omeros, it is our capacity to implement. And that is not a technical issue; it is a political one,” he said.
“I have come across enough St Lucians to know that they have a strong, natural intelligence. You know what you need to do. You know you need a more efficient port, a faster corporate registry, more joined up policy making, more online licensing, more competition in the private sector, more productivity in the workplace – you know all that and more.
“You don’t need expensive consultants to tell you what to do. The real issue is why have you not done it. Why have you been satisfied to be left behind by many countries now racing ahead so fast, that their slowdowns are rates of growth we can only dream of.”
Elaborating on the anti-growth coalition, Persaud said this group “wraps itself up in patriotism to fight tenaciously to keep things the way they are, so they can remain the big fish in the small pond”.
“To avert this course requires brave politicians, fulsomely backed by a public no longer satisfied with stability, so I salute you, that you have decided to come together, on both sides of this house, in many sectors of the community. But I say to you, your task is not just to reimagine a future, but to find a path to it.” (SC)