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Barbados ranks 128th, says Mottley

SHERRYLYN TOPPIN, [email protected]

Barbados ranks 128th, says Mottley

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Opposition Leader Mia Mottley says Barbadians are paying too high a price for the “stubbornness” of the Freundel Stuart Government.

She was reacting to Standard and Poor’s second downgrade in six months, lowering the long-term local currency rating from CCC+ to CCC on Wednesday.

In a media release, Mottley said it was Barbados’ 20th downgrade in nine years and they were so routine that Barbadians were becoming immune. 

“Let us put this in context for Bajans. Standard Poor’s rates 130 countries. After this last downgrade to CCC, Barbados lies in 128th position. We are on par with Venezuela. There are only two countries who are rated worse than us – Mozambique and Belize,” the release said.

“There can now be no doubt that the longer the Freundel Stuart Government tries to hold on to power, the harder and longer our road to recovery will be.”

Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association, Charles Herbert, said it was expected.

“We are not surprised. We have said from the beginning that we do not think the measures the Government has taken will correct our problems. we don’t believe they are the right measures,” he said in an interview with STARCOM NETWORK.

Herbert said he was looking forward to the results on the impact of the National Social Responsibility Levy, which was increased by eight percentage points to tenper cent on July 1.

During the televised sitting of the Social Partnership on August 11 when various bodes called for the fee to be lowered, Stuart asked that it be given time.

Meanwhile, Herbert said going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was not a solution of itself because the island needed the financial backing, but Government had failed to implement many of the “good ideas” which had been suggested. Taxation was easy he said, but there was a need for structural reform, increased productivity and an improvement in the ease of doing business.

Dr Justin Robinson, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, was in favour of going to the IMF. 

He said the body was created to deal with the problems Barbados has like few financing options and a high fiscal deficit. He said, however, there were always conditionalities and Government had to determine if they would live with those. He said Standard and Poor’s seemed concerned about Government ability to meet its budget targets – through the sales of Hilton Barbados and the Barbados National Oil Terminal Company – and was looking ahead to next year’s budget and how the deficit would be made up even as general elections drew nearer.

The IMF cited “the potential for a downgrade over the next 12 months should the Government fail to advance measures to significantly lower its high fiscal deficit, strengthen its external liquidity and reverse its low level of international reserves”. (SAT)