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NOT ALL BLACK AND WHITE: Seeking asylum in his ivory tower


PATRICK HOYOS

NOT ALL BLACK AND WHITE: Seeking asylum in his ivory tower

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THE IGNOMINY OF a central bank governor going into court to ask a judge to peruse his contract and hopefully save him from being unceremoniously dumped says a lot more to me about the Government of the day than it does about the circumstances of the case.

By the time this is published, Dr Delisle Worrell may be still in possession of the governorship of Barbados’ top fiscal authority, or he may not; or he may be in purgatory, say, receiving another, longer stay of execution until a full case can be heard.

But my question is this: even if, as you read this, the court has ruled in some fashion for the goodly governor, how would he govern?

It would be like seeking asylum in his ivory tower. It would definitely be precedent-setting for him to continue, thanks to the courts’ ruling in his favour (assuming the Caribbean Court of Justice would so as well) when the Government had told him to get out within the space on one weekend and one working day, that is, 72 hours.

Would the economic guru – who has accommodated this big-spending Government and defended his actions in meeting most of their budget overruns through costly public relations efforts, even as he cowered from the cacophony of real journalists’ questions – suddenly refuse to do the Government’s bidding to keep printing Bajan dollars?

As they say, that would truly be something to see. But the effect on the country of such in fighting would be disastrous as far as economic policy is concerned.

Perhaps one day we will learn why things came so quickly to a head between the Government, or perhaps more directly, the minister of finance, and the governor.

If it was indeed that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler wanted more money printed and Worrell baulked, then surely there are ways to keep that supply of paper money coming in, even with an unwanted governor roaming the halls of his tower.

The scale of money printing was summed up by the RBC Caribbean Economic Report, which noted that the central bank had financed the Government’s fiscal deficit, “to the tune of Bds$566.3 million in just six months – the same level of CBB financing for the entire FY2015/16.”

That would make it over $1 billion in 18 months, and that is not counting the second half of the fiscal year which is ending on March 31.

Despite, or perhaps because of, all that new money, our foreign exchange reserves have fallen to their lowest level in over a decade, and this is the tourist season, when the foreign currency is rolling in.

That is the result of the financial policies to which we have been subjected by the Freundel Stuart administration, aided and abetted by the central bank, against all advice. In fact, the parallel policy was to agree with everyone that they must stop doing it, and then carry on anyway. And that’s exactly what they did.

Severing the services of Worrell alone will not change that dismal record. They all need to go – Worrell, the board, Sinckler and the entire Cabinet. This country needs a new Government now.

But, of course, that is not going to happen. We are going to be on this economy death-watch all through this long and tedious year, as the election campaigning ramps up and the actual general elections take place sometime early next year.

For the incumbents, it is vital to paper over our financial deficit as best as possible. And what better way than with actual paper with Grantley Adams and Errol Barrow images all over them?

Patrick Hoyos is a journalist and publisher specialising in business. Email: [email protected]

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