Once more the government has promised to announce plans for the nation’s great economic escape then on the day of reckoning it all came to nothing. Tuesday was a political and economic blow out. But by now this should not be a surprise. Barbados is a nation living on its collective memory, of time when it was great nation, when a simple 166 sq mile island was highly valued throughout the world.
However, times have moved on and, sadly, our political masters have not; they have left us drifting without a moral compass. After years in crisis, the government and its advisers are still like a ship at sea without a captain; our prime minister continues to remain silent, while loudmouths like Donville Inniss continue to hog the public space. And, worst of all, prime minister Stuart continues to show a loyalty to the gross incompetence of Chris Sinckler which boggles the mind.
By now it is obvious, even to Mr Sinckler himself, that he has been promoted beyond his competence; he is out of his league and leaning on a former professor who has lost touch with modern economics only goes to expose his ignorance even more. Tuesday’s circus in parliament was only the latest of this merry go round, of blister and bluff and gross incompetence. What had begun as an unfortunate but manageable economic crisis has, through inertia and ignorance, grown in to a massive meltdown that not only threatens intergenerational relations, but will continue to stagnate for decades.
Imagine! The house engulfed in flames, but the DLP assures: “don’t worry, we have the key to the front door!” The Government is now making the wild allegation that its ability to access a US$225M bridging loan in these tough economic times, is an indication that Barbados can still borrow on the International markets at reasonable rates.’. How can a “rolling-basis-interest-rate,” ‘EVER’ be a good thing?
Owen Arthur would describe this as: ‘a man jumping off the 80th floor of a building, without a parachute and when passing the 50th floor, is heard to say: “so far so good.” Let’s put this discussion in context. You will recall that the DLP was forced to withdraw its $500 million bond offer on the International Capital Market because (given the “JUNK BOND” status the DLP has earned for Barbados) respected and credible International Investors now find Jamaica’s debt more attractive than Barbados.’
Remember also, that the Central Bank of Barbados took-up US$375 million and essentially bought “JUNK:” with it, that is to say - “DLP-JUNK-Bonds.” Then consider that since June, the DLP caused this country to lose over $400m in foreign reserves. With the foreign exchange cover causing panic, the DLP is “desperate” but it finds itself in a position of absolute weakness – having had four downgrade, including one to “JUNK,” as well as a negative credit rating. Investors like Barbados but they have simply lost confidence in the DLP and with this much uncertainty (where all indicators are showing that things are deteriorating “fast”) a capital flight is inevitable!
Submitted by Bajan Patriot
Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, How Much More Can Bajan People Bare?
By now it must be clear to all with “common sense” living in our great nation that we have totally lost our way on many key fronts with tourism and the general state of the economy in mind. After many years of prosperity we have found ourselves in an economic, political, and social hole we just can’t seem to muster the intellectual capacity to dig our way out of. Instead of a democracy we have found ourselves in an “Idiotcracy” which gets more and more out of control with each passing day.
Like crabs in a barrel we are clawing our way with the weakness crabs out numbering those of us that know better. Common sense has totally left the stage and has been replaced with selfish disengaged self-serving leadership, poor business performance at all managerial levels, poor customer service on all fronts, and partisan politics that cares nothing about putting country first.
Submitted by Pachamama
“No recognition of the thief, genocide and character assassination of the Tianos, the Kalinagos and other indigenous peoples” – Photo Credit: Wikipedia
As we approach the season before the silly season we can expect the regular public diatribes from officialdom as they seek to immortalize a constructed past and present an unmeasured guidance for their fairy tale visions of the future. The hard truth has been, is and will be that Barbados since 1627 has never been an independent country and may, never will be. We now know that the most influential factor in Barbados’ independence was the CIA pressure on Britain to relinquish its colonies worldwide, as evidenced by recent Freedom of Information Act disclosures. Right away we have to reassess claims about the ‘fathership’ of this so-called independence project. We also have to ask ourselves some other searching questions.
What kind of an independent country can be properly built on the bones of the indigenous peoples of this region in circumstances where, within the body politic, there is no recognition of the thief, genocide and character assassination of the Tianos, the Kalinagos and other indigenous peoples who lived on this here land for millennium before White people even knew the world was not flat. They descendant are still amongst us.
What kind of an independent country will allow 180 years to past after the most egregious crimes to be committed against African peoples, and indeed all of humanity, and for those crimes to be taken as a normal way of doing business, as though they never occurred. A business which initially ‘globalized’ the functions of corporations.
Submitted by Old Onions Bag
Paradise Development in limbo
When people don’t make use of their history, they are bound to repeat mistakes. Recall the Battle of Waterloo, think for one moment how Napoleon would fall for a similar Wellington’s ploy of deception, and engage a third of his French infantry on a pedestrian bridge that led to nowhere? Obviously not, once bitten twice shy. We should always learn from our mistakes or we doomed to repeat them. The great Napoleon would.
Recall another famous general Hannibal,… think he would ever consider marching his army of ten million elephants and men, into the Alps in the near winter months regardless how lucrative the potential outcome? Doubtful indeed. We have the Greeks and the Trojan Horse, yet another to proffer. History is loaded with great men falling to mistakes while reaching for superior possibilities. Less we forget “All that glitters is not gold, often is the weary traveller told.”
We all at sometime make mistakes (to err is human), but we should at all cost avoid repeating them regardless of circumstance, no matter the potential outcomes. Beware of bearers of fine gifts, remember the dog and the bone. A bird in hand is worth three in the bush. The people of Black Rock and its echelons would surely sanctify that, as for them while streets promised were to be paved with gold… Paradise Lost was never re-found, all left was a debauched Four Seasons. A real bad omen that, when a leprechaun smell can be sniffed back to one man.
Now that the majority of the developed economies, the OECD-member states, are growing, and Barbados has drifted deeper in to recession, we now await political and business leaders to tell us what are their master plans for rescuing, stabilising and growing the local economy. It means that finance minister Chris Sinckler and his adviser can no longer hide behind the crude excuse of the global crisis for their ineptitude. The ruling DLP is trapped between a lust for power and the development of an applied programme for economic change. We have seen that when faced with a serious economic crisis, it has no ideological depth to fall back on, no ideas of the kind of society it will like to see since its political modus operandi has always been the status quo. As a result it has been forced to seek economic ideas from an intellectually exhausted band of elderly academics who, clearly, have lost touch with new developments in their own discipline. So, like a comedian past his best days who depends on the old jokes told in the same way for his laughs, the old economists resort to their own post-war textbooks for the answers to new problems in a world with a new economic architecture.
Managing the Economy:
But, to coin a phrase, this time is different. Whatever the official explanation, walking on the ground in Barbados sends out all the wrong signals: shopping at Supersaver in Oistins, in the fish market, in Fairchild Street, and in other shops, supermarkets and hawker stalls, the story is different. While the middle classes, the majority of whom are public sector employees, those lower down the food chain are telling a different story: postmen and women are not being paid and are given letters to their mortgage lenders begging for a period of grace; the men and women who sweep and weed the side paths are also forced to borrow from friends and relatives because their wages are delayed; and members of some credit unions are begging them for repayment holidays so they can get their children through university. Yet, some banks and retail outlets are offering cheap credit as if partying on the Titanic.
After a few days in Barbados, mostly resting, but spending time with friends and acquaintances alike, I have returned with a feeling of deep sadness for a nation for which I have a very deep affection. But, we have a situation in which the national political discourse has been reduced to a leading minister inviting the leader of the official Opposition to strip naked and run down Broad Street, our main thoroughfare, to grab attention. While, at the same time, the governor of the central bank could announce that the economy is in recession and the minister of finance, the captain of the nation’s economy, did not see fit to respond to, the Opposition did not speak out on, our academic economists kept their opinions to themselves nor did our feeble media see it fit to inform their readers.
As I have said before, the nation is in serious crisis, only this time it is much worse than it previously was. Yet, there is an epidemic of denial: a police force that is imploding and cannot properly guard against organised criminality, medieval religious practices and family abuse. We are a nation that has lost faith in itself, when we could appoint a Canadian – repeat the word, Canadian – as head of our football association and every spare bit of land bought by dubious foreigners because our policymakers are addicted to foreign reserves. The New Barbados has also lost its moral purpose, its sense of decency, as is reflected in the obscenities that desecrate the airwaves as a matter of course; of the total national silence when a toddler can make sexual gestures over an apparently drunken woman at Crop Over, our leading cultural event; when our leading news paper thinks that pornographic pictures of juveniles having sex in a class room is newsworthy. Even more, not a single senior executive or director of the publishing firm has made a public statement about the obscenity. If ever there was a case for ordinary Barbadians to show their power as consumers and ban that publication, it is now. This is a long way from the nation I know as a young man, when, in the 1960s it was exporting people to work on London buses, trains and in the national health service, routinely gave them a printed booklet on how to behave in Britain. Those were days when the nation was concerned about its global reputation as reflected in the behaviour of its citizens.
Fisher, managing director of Institutional Emerging Markets Sales at Oppenheimer & Company
“The likes of Aruba, The Bahamas, Bermuda and Trinidad are the most attractive issuers from the Caribbean, he said, while Panama and El Salvador are popular markets in Central America. Barbados, at one time, was among the list of most attractive issuers, but its economy has faltered since the 2008 world financial crisis.”
Read the full article in the The Gleaner
The quote is attributed to Gregory Fisher, Managing Director of Institutional Emerging Markets Sales at Oppenheimer & Company. Oppenheimer for those who want to be assured of their credentials, is one of the leading investment banks in the world and has been around for 125 years.
And why have we focused on the Fisher comment?
Less than a week after the Caribbean Court of Justice delivered the Shanique Myrie decision which went against Barbados, we have a leading player in the global investment market making a comment which has made another big withdrawal from Barbados’ reputational capital. The fact the comment followed the withdrawal of a Tender Offer by the Barbados government less than two weeks ago because it was undersubscribed gives heavy credence to Fisher’s assessment.
George C. Brathwaite, founder and interim president of BAJE
Chris Sinckler began his ’2013 Budget’ [BU] presentation by relying upon what he called a ‘biblical injunction’ which was rummaged from the book of Ecclesiastes at chapter 3. To be quite honest, the entirety of Sinckler’s snatching away verses from the good book was unnecessary although coming from him, the brazen act was sufficiently provocative. I refuse to be prosecutor, judge and jury all at the same time. In this submission, the attempt is to lay bare the facts, substantiate claims made, and leave the verdict to those who have been whelmed by blows delivered by Sinckler, Sealy, Stuart, Boyce, Jones, and company.
Realistically, the pronouncements and policy measures that were articulated in and followed the 2013 budget gave the general public the ensuing sense and feelings of grave uncertainty. There has been a continuous and unrelenting slew of widespread confusion thrown to many different publics. Constantly is the cry that the Cabinet is inconsistent in its policy positions; and that it may largely be due to several Ministers being more in tune with spin and disguise that with forthrightness and Barrow’s traditions.
Read full article
Economist Ryan Straughn
Arising from the blog The Slide of the Barbados Economy: Pictures Are Worth a Thousand Numbers which utilized several graphs created by Economist Ryan Straughn, BU reached out to him via Facebook to get feedback on the several comments posted. Although he is not a fan of BU, to his credit, he offered the following perspective which provides food for thought.
I just spent the last 20 minutes wading through the post you sent. From what I gather from the contributions there seems to be a notion that either the data is corrupt or worse that I am corrupt. I can appreciate that a significant number of persons in Barbados genuinely don’t understand how the macroeconomy works in total and particularly how the public finances are affected or how it affects the system.
I must confess that I seldom read your blog because in my view it’s not a place for person truly seeking information and better understanding. I’m just a messenger but the message is in those charts for those who wishes to pay attention.
Submitted by Inkwell