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Economy a major concern but no unified answer


SHAWN CUMBERBATCH

Economy a major concern but no unified answer

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The four main political parties contesting next week’s general election all think the Barbados economy is facing serious challenges.

But there is no overall agreement among them on how the foreign reserves, economic growth, fiscal deficit and associated debt problems should be solved.

This emerged during an election economic debate involving the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Barbados Labour Party (BLP), Solutions Barbados and United Progressive Party (UPP) this morning at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The event was hosted by the Barbados Economic Society (BES) and the CFA Society of Barbados.

During the discussion, both Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Darcy Boyce, representing the DLP, and BLP economic spokesman Dr Clyde Mascoll said those parties would pursue debt reprofiling to ease the pressure on Barbados.

Boyce said the DLP would use the savings from this process to help clear arrears and service debts. Mascoll said the BLP’s position was that some of these savings would be for a similar purpose.

However, he added that there would also be an effort to stimulate economic activity and ease the financial burden Barbadians have faced.

UPP spokesman Bruce Hennis said that party’s economic programme for Barbados would focus on export-led policies. This would focus on stimulating activity in the creative economy.

Solutions Barbados leader Grenville Phillips II said both the BLP and DLP had mismanaged the economy and placed it “on the brink” of economic ruin.

BES president Shane Lowe said any new government would have to pursue a delicate balancing act. He said any major increased expenditure in Barbados would require increased foreign reserves.

He said fixing the foreign reserves was the biggest issue confronting the incoming administration. (SC)

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