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PM: Barbados alive and well

Tony Best

PM: Barbados alive and well

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BARBADIANS AT HOME may be feeling pain and sorrow from the fall-out from the great global recession but the island-nation remains “alive and well” and wasn’t falling apart.

That reassurance, of sorts, came from Freundel Stuart, the Prime Minister, who said in Brooklyn on Sunday night, as he did recently in Bridgetown when he addressed the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, that any talk about a possible devaluation of the nation’s currency was unfounded. Just as important, he described such talk as being the work of alarmists and practitioners of “economic necromancy”.

In an address to about 250 Barbadians who braved high winds and bitingly cold temperatures, the coldest in 20 years, to attend the annual “cocktail sip,” a fundraising event organized by the Friends of Barbados, DLP Association, Stuart suggested that the sacrifices being made by Bajans at home as his government tried to shore up the economy were part of the everyday facts of life of people everywhere.

“Every human being in whatever [situation] he or she may find himself or herself has to meet particular struggles. Our struggles would be financial some [while other] people’s struggles are health-related,” was the way he put it. “Everybody has a narrative and life has to be fought. There is no gain without pain. If you don’t carry your cross you cannot appreciate what it is to wear a crown and therefore sacrifice is not a crime.”

Stuart said that in the almost 50 years of independence, about 25 years of which were under different DLP administrations significant social and economic development had been recorded, more so than in any other English-speaking Caribbean country.

“There is no promise anywhere that we should have all of the development and no sorrow,” he said. “That was never destined for us. But we have to make sure that we use today in such a way that tomorrow is always better. That is what the government over which I preside is doing in Barbados. That is what it will continue to do as long as I am Prime Minister of Barbados and of course that is what it has done when Barbados was presided over by all of my predecessors, my six predecessors. That is what I hope will happen 20 years from now when I am not Prime Minister anymore.”

Stuart was quick to dismiss as “not true” any suggestion that the country was on a downward spiral, “unravelling” and that the currency was going to be devalued.

“It is alarmist and it is as a result of a coterie of persons whose only vocation is to try to spread alarm and despondency wherever they can and wherever they can because they believe in economic witchcraft and practice economic necromancy,” he charged.

 The Prime Minister said that it had taken the UK seven years to overcome the impact of the recession and Barbados, a small and vulnerable economy was trying to weather that global storm.