Face it; fix it!
Devaluation stalks the land, and Government needs to have a conversation with the country in order to build national consensus.
This is the view of former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Owen Arthur, who told a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) meeting of his St Peter constituency last night that Barbados was in an economic predicament that was “twice as bad as it should have been”.
In a passionate hour-long speech, the veteran economist said Moody’s Investors Service could only have downgraded this country “three levels below junk” as a result of the 11 per cent deficit presented to Parliament by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler; and recalled that Sinckler had also said that the worst-case scenario for the deficit would be five per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Our fiscal situation is twice as bad as it should have been at its worst. Can you get your head around that? Our fiscal situation at its worst should’ve been five per cent of GDP, but the Government and Sinckler reported to Parliament that it was 11, so it is twice as bad as its worst-case scenario,” said Arthur.
Stating he thought his 1994-2008 administration had put behind it “even the thought of the dollar being under threat”, Arthur said the BLP Government had saved $2 billion in foreign reserves in that period and brought unemployment down from 24 to 6.7 per cent.