Tag Archives: Central Bank of Barbados

Sack Worrell and Sinckler

Barbados Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler and Governor of the Central Bank DeLisle Worrell take an in-depth interview at the Global Borrowers and Investors Forum.

Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler and Governor of the Central Bank DeLisle Worrell

In May this year Governor Delisle Worrell issued a directive to ban the Nation newspaper from participating in press conferences hosted by the Central Bank of Barbados. His action provoked wide condemnation from every corner within in civil society. The Governor and Central Bank obviously yielded to the pressure and public expectation reverted to the Governor having his routine press  and Q&A  sessions or so we thought!

It was a surprise therefore when the media was informed that the regular press conference to cover the six month economic performance review was to be cancelled. To date Barbados Underground has not discern the same level of outcry in response to the decision by the Central Bank compared to when the Nation newspaper was banned. Which is to be condemned more, the short-lived ban imposed on the Nation newspaper OR the cancellation of the press conference that denied the Fourth Estate from interrogating the banker of government at a time when we have more questions than answers.

The feeble excuse offered by the Central Bank and  supported by leading media practitioner David Ellis that all press briefings are posted to a website  is unacceptable. At a time when a greater level of public engagement is the desirable option, the Governor has chosen to retreat and is happy to limit his public appearances captured in the press to attendance at crop over events.

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Walter Blackman’s Perspective on Devaluation and ‘Printing Money’

Walter Blackman - Actuary and Social Commentator

Walter Blackman – Actuary and Social Commentator

As a result of the perilous state of the Barbados economy, accentuated by a recent 3 notch downgrade by Moody’s and a follow up visit in June by the IMF after a worrying Article IV Consultation in December 2013, the conversation about devaluation and management of government debt has become a topic of national interest. In the public’s interest BU highlights Walter Blackman’s perspective on the two issues which he shared on another blog.

 

Hants – Currently $1 Canadian = $1.84 bds. Cheffette all chicken roti cost $5.50 Canadian. So after a 5 to 1 devaluation the roti will still cost $5.50 Canadian but $60 Barbados. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Walter Blackman – Hants please allow me to reconstruct your question correctly. A Cheffette roti currently costs BDS$10.12. Since Canadian $1 = BDS$1.84, it would take Can$5.50 to purchase the roti. If the exchange rate were changed to Canadian $1 = BDS$5, the same roti that sells for BDS$10.12 would now cost only Canadian$2.02. In short, a devaluation would cause a product manufactured or produced in Barbados to become cheaper to Canadians. The economic argument usually made is that this cheaper roti price would induce Canadians to buy so much more rotis that Barbados would ultimately earn more FOREX selling the roti at $CAN 2.02 rather than at $CAN$5.50.

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Central Bank and the Nation Newspaper – Bank Regulator and Media House

 Dr. DeLisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank

Dr. DeLisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank

The Central Bank of Barbados respects and embraces freedom of the press and the importance of the dissemination of timely and accurate information and as such has not banned the Nation Corporation.

The front page of the Sunday Sun of May 11, 2014, carried the headline “Cut Off”. The Bank assures media practitioners in Barbados as well as the public at large that it will continue to keep all media houses fully abreast of all developments on economic and other pertinent matters which fall under its purview, including the Nation Publishing Company, as is normal.

The Nation Publishing Company will receive all Press Releases and other communications issued by the Central Bank, and all media houses and the general public have free access to the Central Bank’s website, where all our statements, reports, data and speeches, and all other publications are posted – Central Bank of Barbados Press Release

The decision by the Governor Delisle Worrell to ban Nation reporters from attending press conferences hosted by the Central Bank has generated a lot of public comment. BU held an ambivalent position up until  reading the above press release issue today by the Central Bank.

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Caribbean Capital Reserve a Total SCAM

Submitted by Due Diligence
Bajans must be alert!

Bajans must be alert!

Thanks for the heads up on the CCB alert about Caribbean Capital Reserve. Thanks also to Hants for encouraging me to dig deeper than just posting the bio for Sir Jimmy from the CCR website. Barbadians are known for having short memories, the recent eruption about lack of transparency in the Cahill Waste to Energy project is a good example.

On further reading of  http://www.caribbeancapitalreserve.com (CCR) (click on link at your own risk), and CIBC FirstCaribbean’s website, I found that the CCR site is built around stuff cut and pasted (and edited) from CIBC FCIB’s site.

In BU’s post BLP and DLP Political Germfare on April 3, 2014 at 6:55 PM  David commented – “The Central Bank has likely alerted the authorities. If they have not they would be less than a good regulator.” In case – and this is a strecth – they had not connected the dots between CCR and CIBC FCIB, DD took up the Central Bank on its invitation to provide information on this entity; and advised CBB about the cut and pasted stuff from the CIBC FCIB site.

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Central Bank of Barbados: Political Tool or Facilitator of Economic Development?

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group

We are not a bit surprised that former Governor of the Central Bank, Sir Courtney Blackman is blaming both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party for the current financial woes. We are also not surprised, that the current Governor, Dr. DeLisle Worrell, is saying that the existing financial sector stymies or does not support innovation and creative enterprises. In layman’s terms it really means, that those citizens with startup enterprises, cannot get them financed.

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Notes From a Native Son: Has the Central Bank Failed to Give the Nation Any Direction on Economic Recovery

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
The governor of the Central Bank appears quite clearly to have lost all sense of balance as far as the local economy is concerned. Not only has he been in office for the last five years or so, he is yet to come up with a publicly available reasoned and detailed plan for rescuing the nation’s economy from the situation it is in. His recent obvious confusion about the constitutional role of the Central Bank adds further to the confusion. Even local journalists are confused.

Dr Worrell’s reported U-turn on a policy announcement – a veiled criticism of the government, then claiming the government was on track – was but the latest in a series of embarrassing episodes. But first, we must get the legislation right. The Central Bank Act is irrelevant to the new financial architecture post-2007 and the new global regulatory paradigm. I said before, and say again, that the Act needs serious reform, giving the Bank a legally defined role, on par with the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and all the other major Central Banks. Be that role inflation targeting, financial stability, or even more explicitly, managing unemployment rates, there must be a benchmark against which we could measure the Bank. Now we have a situation in which the governor is publicly expressing views about fiscal policy, and one local website even describing the governor/central bank as the government’s primary monetary and fiscal adviser. Not at all. The central bank should be independent of the government of the day and should be reporting direct to parliament.

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Notes From a Native Son: Before Voting, think with your heads and not your hearts

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
When the voters of Barbados enter the polling booths on Thursday, it will be an enormous challenge for them to abandon old political tribal loyalties and objectively put the nation, future generations and their own futures before irrationally supporting a party or candidate they have always supported, while suspending reason. The harsh truth is that this is the most testing general election, not only since November 30, 1966, but since the early 1950s and the introduction of internal self-government.

In the new globalised world, there is no turning back for small nation states such as Barbados. New global organisations, such as the World Trade Organisation and the newly re-energised International Monetary Fund, now have power over small states, mostly wrapped up in international treaties, that they have never had before. At the same time, rich and powerful nations are subsidising their farmers and industrialists, such as car manufacturing and farming in the US, farming in the EU, and a long list of state-owned or controlled industries in China, which put further pressure on small states. But we are not just economic people, as a nation we are rounded with equal value given to our social relations, our civic and moral responsibilities and our cultural and creative environment.

Increasing Government Productivity:
One of the biggest drags on growth in Barbados is public sector efficiency, from improvements in technology, competent management to output per person. One only has to read the annual report of the auditor-general to see the extent of public sector incompetence. Take a simple, but important example, uncollected VAT. Value added tax is a sales tax paid by consumers and collected by trades and service people. For convenience, that money is paid to the government at pre-set dates – monthly, quarterly etc. However, in Barbados, there is a huge backlog of payments, of business people failing to handover to government monies collected on its behalf.

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Notes From a Native Son: Captain the Ship is Sinking – Is Worrell the Best Man to be in Charge of the Central Bank at a Time like this?

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
In the preface to its recent Alternative Worlds report, the US National Intelligence Council observed: “The world of 2030 will be radically transformed from our world today. By 2030, no country – whether the US, China, or any other large country – will be a hegemonic power. “The empowerment of individuals and diffusion of power among states and from states to informal networks will have a dramatic impact, largely reversing the historic rise of the West since 1750, restoring Asia’s weight in the global economy, and ushering in a new era of “democratisation” at the international and domestic level….”. In other words, even at the highest level of the inward-looking US, there is a realisation that the world is changing.

However, reading the over-optimistic, even fictional, recent central bank review of the economy and projections for 2013, one would not get this impression. The report tells us the fiscal deficit is growing, up from 5.2 per cent April to December 2011, to 6.2 per cent in 2012; personal taxes are down ten per cent and VAT fell by two per cent for the same period; subsidies to government entities rose by two per cent and interest rates rose by four per cent. Public sector debt is 54 per cent of GDP, and including the national insurance scheme, it rises to 83 per cent of GDP. But, in about or real optimism, the review predicts that growth over 2013 will be 0.7 per cent, based on the IMF predictions of growth in the US, UK and Canada, our major trading partners. Apart from the fact that I was under the impression the Caricom was our major trading bloc, to base projected growth of the Barbados economy on the projections for those three economies is economic lunacy.

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Governor Dr. DeLisle Worrell the Controversial

Dr. DeLisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados

Dr. DeLisle Worrell will go down in history as one of the most visible and controversial Governors of the Central Bank of Barbados. He is certainly not a Kurleigh King, Calvin Springer or Winston Cox, perhaps closer to a Dr. Courtney Blackman.

Some Barbadians have become concerned by what appears to be virulent attacks directed at Worrell coming by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Attacks led by Arthur and Mascoll, which have reduced Worrell to an economist of lilliputian status. That Arthur, Mascoll et al would be so harsh about one of their own merits scrutiny. Bear in mind the Central Bank of Barbados has always been regarded as a respectable institution.

In the same way many believe governments managing world economies at this juncture in history are unfortunate so too Governors of Central Banks. All have to agree that the unprecedented challenges posed by the protracted global economic slowdown mean that modalities in boom times are not relevant at this time. It is in this context that we have to debate and evaluate the economic outpourings from Dr. Worrell since his appointment in 2009.

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Notes From a Native Son: Bank Regulation is Serious Business, Not Child’s Play

Hal Austin

Introduction:
At a time when banks in Europe, the US, Japan and Britain are imploding and every jurisdiction is enforcing legal requirements on financial institutions, the authorities in Barbados have come up with a wonderful idea of a voluntary code – see Feedback Invited On Draft Banking Code Of Conduct. It is interesting that many of the features of this draft code are similar to those of the now abandoned British banking code, which too was voluntary until November 2009.

Paragraph 2.4 of the draft is of no use for a large number of people in Barbados who do not have access to the internet.

Paragraph 3.2, on unfair contract terms should be a legal requirement, not a voluntary one. The second section of the above paragraph reads: “Financial institutions will also ensure that employees and agents who are authorised to give advice on the financial services offered are properly trained to competently, knowledgeably, efficiently and accurately render such service.” These basic requirements should be legally compulsory on every count. First, agents and employees are working on behalf of the financial institution, not of the customer, and in the case of the agent the form of remuneration is just as important. If s/he is being remunerated by commission, then the sale is more important than advising the customer on his or her consumer rights or even if the product is the right one for them.

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