BU thought to share a few doodles from the BU note pad about 2016 Budget and related.
We should declare that except for listening to some of Sinckler budget presentation and most of the reply by the leader of the opposition one was left with a feeling of ‘what next’. It is obvious that government’s fiscal and monetary interventions to date have not realised the improvements ALL Bajans have yearned the last five or six years.
There is talk about the economy turning the corner but how it this possible if the Central Bank continues to print money against the advice of all? Isn’t it a commonsense position if a country (or individual) spends more than is earned over a protracted period there will be no discretionary money to invest and develop? BU commented before the budget was delivered that the government would have added more taxes to slow consumer demand to protect falling foreign reserves. On the other side of the equation the economic model we have calls for consumer spending to fuel growth. We are caught between a rock and a hard place as they say.
Prime Minister Owen Arthur use to preach during the period of plenty that tourism revenue will never be adequate to pay the bills, we have to supplement with revenue from foreign direct investment (FDI) and international business. This is the model Arthur bequeath to the country. Barbados continues to feel the brunt of such a policy. With FDI drying up and international business not as robust the Stuart led government has struggled mightily to maintain the economic model it inherited with a deer caught in headlights policy approach. One thing we should have learned since 2007/8 is that the world has shifted how it does business. Capital flows from North to South is receding, oversight bodies mandated to track how money flows across the globe to support criminal activity means that the economic model we are tied to is under constant threat. How the international banks have been slimming down operation in the Caribbean is a bellwether of what is in the forecast for the region. The Caribbean Development Bank, a homegrown independent financial institution, has been posting concerns about the debt burden of Caribbean countries for more than a decade.
The inability of our governments in the last ten or fifteen years to build relevant policy and not implement lazy policy prescriptions means we proudly wear the title of banana republics. Managing economies is a complex business in today’s world. To place blind trust in a group of individuals who we refer to as the political class is reckless. Bear in mind our best people are not motivated to offer themselves for political office. This means that the majority of those who represent us in government come from the bottom of the barrel. A reminder that the people get the governments they deserve. The parliamentarian will shout across the divide in parliament to ‘char yuh mudda skunt’ then want to play the role as leader in civil society. The Attorney General will succumb to political narrative then wonder why violent crime is on the increase. Sir David Simmons has chaired many Commissions across the region and therefore must be privy to sensitive information about criminal networks and level of endemic corruption. Why not leverage the fact that he is Barbados based for the benefit of the country? We all have skeletons don’t we AG Brathwaite? You do not want BU to expand.
The idea of having to pay a 2% levy so that the monies can be placed at the disposal of Minister Lowe to buy trucks we find repulsive. Lowe should have been fired given a poor performance at Sanitation and Drainage. He should have been fired given his lead role in Cahill Energy scam. He should have ben fired given that he was a Peter Allard stooge. The bigger doodle (or dawdle?) is that in 5 years we will be back to where we are today, trucks not maintained and taxpayers having to saddled the burden of cleaning up after an inefficient, ineffective and or corrupt politician and minions. In addition, at a time we should be discussing waste management in the context of leveraging what we have that is working, we have Bizzy Willliams cussin Anderson Fat Child Cherry, Cherry cussin Lowe, Bynoe from B’s Recycling retreating to the protection of God and so forth. Does it not make sense for all of the players in Barbados to sit around a table, serve them generous portions of soup and come up with an approach for a waste management approach for Barbados that is homegrown? If you need support from consultants it would be requested on our terms? And the requite transparency of course.
Finally, it must be stated that there is no public trust in the mouthings emanating from our parliament. Young people and millennial could care less and even independent civic minded Barbadians (like the BU household) are struggling to remain engaged. Lack of confidence in this government would have been reinforced by the calling of a Budget in the middle of the Olympics. One has to conclude this was delibere by the government to deflect public scrutiny of the 2016 budget.
We agree with the leader of the opposition that the period 2008 to present deserves to be labelled the the lost years.