In a popular democracy, citizens, collectively, are the ultimate principal; elected representatives are their agents. These agents are also principals who, through the legislature, delegate authority to a host of departments and agencies that make up the sprawling executive branch of government – Fraser Institute
It has become obvious to many several built in checks and balances of the Westminster system of government Barbados has adopted from its colonial past are failing. It is a system of governance which requires exhaustive participation by citizens to work effectively. Nearly 40% of eligible voters did not vote in the last general election, an obvious symptom of a democracy in decay if we sample just one indicator.
Auditor General reports (2004 to 2013) of successive governments record a consistent performance of fiscal indiscipline. A flouting of the financial rules. An easy translation of the Auditor General’s comments can be described as a system of graft and corruption. A scary observation is that the private sector is the entity which sells goods and services to government therefore citizens who should be holding ‘government’ accountable are complicit. In the case of Barbados we may not compare with Nigeria and other more openly corrupt countries but there is a view the covert nature of how we do business places us in the ballpark.
These shameless people engaged an undisclosed and secret number of thousands of people in the Public Service of Barbados (all during a recession) and since 2008 (as part of their ‘oppressive’ fatted calf doctrine) and based on what Barbadians are saying – also found every conceivable way to funnel state-funds to dems, through their flawed, “political entitlement programme” and now that their fiscal recklessness has caused a stench – they are telling the country some crap that Barbados’ economic woes can be tied to some global crisis. But it gets worse!
Within days of Cabinet Minister, Dr. Estwick telling the country that the DLP’s economic policies are flawed and the country is on the wrong path, the Chairman of the same Cabinet (which did not willingly allow Dr. Estwick to prove his thesis, through a power-point presentation, as requested) announced to the world – that Barbados’ economic woes can be tied to some global financial crisis that ended years ago.
Now! Something is not making sense, here! How can there be two conflicting views from the same Cabinet on Barbados economic circumstances and reality?
Now that we are having the debate over the mismanagement of the Barbados economy and the failure of monetary and fiscal policy, it is important that we turn our attention to the question of the wider macro-economic winds facing us in 2014. First, however, it is necessary to note that although the big battalions of the International Monetary Fund are waiting to invade with their rejuvenated Washington Consensus prescriptions, those in charge of monetary and fiscal policy are still locked in a policy-making vegetative state unable to even think for themselves. Here is Dr DeLisle Worrell, governor of the central bank, in a so-called sponsored statement (was this paid for by the central bank?) stating: “Barbados’s recent economic performance has been commendable given the unprecedented recession in the markets for our tourism and treaded services.” This is a blatant untruth; which ‘markets’ is he talking about? Is he talking about the UK, eurozone, in particular Germany, Canada, the US? If so, Dr Worrell is either not keeping up with global macro-economic data or he is attempting to mislead financial economists, deliberately or otherwise. If so, it is bound to fail because all fund houses have more economic data than he and his colleagues imagine.
All the major developed economies are now showing growth; the eurozone may be a bit more fragile, but the IMF is not so impressed that it is about to revise upwards the fund’s growth forecasts for this year. He goes on “…Barbados brings a number of competitive strengths to the international market. The country’s social and political institutions are stable, the labour force skilled and educated, the physical infrastructure good, and there are strong institutions for information-sharing, discussion and democratic decision-making.” Again this is waffle. There is an enormous skills deficit that is weighing down the economy; people are ‘educated’ in the sense that they are not illiterate in real terms, however they are uneducated to function in a highly technological and sophisticated world. Our claims to being 98 per cent literate are bogus and, as a nation, we should stop advertising what we do not have in stock. He goes on to claim: “The financial regulatory systems are of a high standard, judged by the norms of the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision and other international regulatory bodies.”
How could the DLP be allowed to get away with such a vulgar and horrible crime against Barbadians and the region? Where is the social justice and accountability? Has Barbados become a banana republic and a place where the innocent pays and are punished for the atrocities of the wicked? Because of the DLP, the whole world now thinks regional leaders and Governments are incompetent at economic leadership and management!
Barbadians have to be candid about what has happened and why this country now finds itself in this sorry mess and perilous state, where thousands of relatives; friends and neighbours (fellow Barbadians) are being oppressed and subjected to an unknown period of human suffering and a life of poverty, with no light or hope – in the DLP’s tunnel. There has to be a point beyond which, failure to accept sound, well-reasoned advice, from experienced professionals, including those who have “successful-actual on-the-job experience” – constitutes criminal negligence.
Very few would deny that this-failed-DLP-Government’s expenditure fiasco is caused primarily by its “flawed fatted calf doctrine and political entitlement programme,” which the country is now finding-out – has resulted in the reckless over-employment in the public sector, by stealth, over the past six years.
Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier
Whatever was behind any honest intention of the Hotels and Resorts Limited (HRL) aka GEMS debacle, it is difficult to imagine a worse outcome so far. Government’s decision despite the current austerity situation to guarantee yet another loan to this failed entity frankly defies belief and clearly will not have a happy ending.
This latest loan is for BDS$5.55 million at an interest rate of 7.75 per cent, arrangement fee of $350,000 and monthly repayments of $55,000. Included is a $300,000 overdraft facility which attracts an administration charge of $5,000 each month. HRL now operate a single hotel, Blue Horizon with just 67 rooms. Another 50 additional rooms acquired at the time of purchase (1997) remain derelict all these years later. Savannah and Time Out at the Gap are leased and operated by private sector interests. Three other properties originally in the GEMS portfolio were sold and it still remains unclear what price they realised and exactly where those funds went.
Despite repeated pledges of transparency and accountability apart from a tiny private shareholding, the sole owner of HRL (the Barbadian taxpayer) is left almost completely in the dark. Statutory corporations appear not to have any obligation to publish their annual audited accounts, unlike publicly traded companies.
All during 2013, the country was force to conclude that Donville Inniss might have been assigned a roll by Cabinet and the DLP – as “Mascot and political bully” and given a ‘free-reign’ to pick fights and launch unproved political-attacks, even on the BHTA, as a deliberate distraction tactic. Unfortunately, he and the DLP might have over-played his and their hand, when he purported to have a message for the very persons engaged in the Public Service, who the DLP “tricked” and “betrayed” into thinking that there would be no layoffs from the Public Service and that their jobs and employment would be safe, once they voted for the DLP in the February 2013 general Election.
In a previous article, I made the comment that: “it did not bother the DLP and it sure did not seem to have interest trade unions, the social partnership nor civil society – that it is an offence under section 6 of the Election Offences and Controversies Act to offer or accept employment in exchange for a vote.” It is now shocking that what appear to be general elections employment letters, with a “trademark DLP-shelf-life:” 31st December, expiry date -are beginning to surface. The country must now assume that at that date, there would be no more bush; drainage issues or dengue to be concerned about, in Barbados.
Submitted by Douglas
A call for Barbadians to work together.
Happy New Year to all of Barbados!
Most Barbadians have enjoyed yet another festive holiday season, refusing to let the naysayers and predictors of doom and gloom try to spoil their mood. As we reflect, Barbadians were reliably informed about the challenges the economy has been facing due to predominately external factors.
The Democratic Labour Party would admit that it is indeed a weary road we have trod, because as a consumer based, import
economy, which has for decades been dependent on tourism, the international economic climate has affected us heavily due to increase in fuel prices, which directly affects the cost of transport and food costs; an unfortunate reduction in domestic exports; and reduced spending power of individuals locally and abroad.
International governments, such as the US, Canada and the United Kingdom have implemented measures which then have a devastating effect on our main sectors. The Air Passenger Duty Tax by the United Kingdom has had a devastating effect on tourism arrivals from that market, although we have seen an increase in arrivals which makes things a lot better than previously projected.
The United States and Canada have come down hard on Caribbean islands trying to tax their individuals who invest in accounts in our countries, attempting to incorrectly label some of us as tax havens. Whilst that suits their objectives politically at home, it sends out a bad message to other investors across the world and affects our reputation and market.
Unless Barbadians ‘force change’ soon and put this county on a different path, by April 2014, Barbados is not going to be a pretty or pleasant place to be! Tourists are already staying-away and capital is running!
What sense will it make having “new fancy looking money” that nobody in the Caribbean wants to see because no country within the region is willing to accept it?
You really have to be “terrified” of a Government that will celebrate the birth of Jesus in December and a few days after – fire 3,000 people! Think about that for a while: the same DLP, which created this mess all across Barbados, expect and intend to keep their jobs but will fire 3,000 workers now engaged in the Public Service of Barbados, as its first order of business in January 2014!
Submitted by Douglas
Ministers Donville Inniss and Chris Sinckler
It is never easy to take tough decision which would affect the livelihood of those affected. From the start of the economic recession, the Democratic Labour Party’s administration had always said it would seek to maintain the social safety net and the sending home of persons from the public service would be a last resort so that government could maintain the employment levels in the country as long as possible.
For more than six years, the Democratic Labour Party administration maintained that promise while it introduced policies to restructure the economy of Barbados and position it on a sustainable growth path. This restructuring process which was long overdue is now being undertaken in the midst of the most turbulent, global economic recession which the world has seen in over a hundred years. Naturally, the journey has not been smooth sailing.
From the start of the economic recession our financial experts reminded us of the importance of protecting our international reserves. We were able to do this with reserves consistently above 16 week of imports from 2008 to June 2013. This was a major economic victory in the face of an unsettled global economic climate. This provided the cushion for government to continue its role in maintaining employment levels and the social safety net while putting policies in place to sure up revenue earning and controlling government’s expenditure in areas of goods and services, transfers and subsidies.
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Minister Donville Inniss is at it again!
Minister Donville Inniss has acquired the reputation as the most strident in the Stuart cabinet, although not in the same vain as Minister Kellman. Speaking on behalf of himself he was quick to say, he pontificated that “I was always of the view that the public service is too big and needs to be reduced”. Many agree with the minister, especially those who proffered a similar view in the lead in to the last general elections less than a year ago. To be fair to the minister he magnanimously ascribed blame to successive governments for swelling the ranks of the familiarly known ‘army of occupation’ through the years.
It is evident that Donville, the Cabinet Crier, is privy to to the best kept secret in Barbados, which is, public servants will have to go home. Of course no sane Barbadian wants to see anyone put on the breadline but there is the inevitability as a result of government’s piss poor financial state.
What is sad about the state of affairs in Barbados is that we are to be blamed. We have allowed political patrimony and mendicancy to become paramount. All for the sake of the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party propping up populist ideals. Here we are at this dark place AGAIN because party interest trumped national interest. We are here because ‘educated’ Barbadians decided to toe the party lie or disengage from the system.