Is Philosophy of Barbados’s ruling DLP: “wait and see” and “do nothing and things will get better?” by Henderson Bovell

Last month the Central Bank Governor said that preliminary estimates suggested that the Barbados economy contracted some 0.4 per cent in 2010 on top of a 4.7 per cent fall off in 2009. If there is now an allegation by the DLP of a 0.3% growth, what is the rejoicing all about, especially when for the first time in our history, the DLP has had a fiscal current account deficit for almost 3 years?

Social Commentator - Henderson Bovell

How could the DLP be rejoicing when over 10,000 have already lost their jobs because of the harsh economic environment it has manufactured, as a result of its flawed policies and poor judgment? In any event, the facts are that there are 213 countries in the world but 188 of them performed much better than a DLP-Barbados did in 2009. According to our Central Bank, Barbados recorded a 4.7% decline during that period. Barbados was actually 189th in the world in terms of economic performance and at a time when 110 countries expanded their economies.

The other reality is that under the DLP, Barbados is now persistently borrowing to pay our day-to-day expenses. Even in the worst of times this has never been achieved. “Even “gear-box” knows that borrowing persistently, simply to make ends meet in your day-to-day operations – is a recipe for poverty. The question is: where is the “Pathway to Progress” the DLP promised and how exactly is it “transforming the society to meet the needs of Barbadians?

Furthermore: how is the DLP helping our citizens to cope and “B” able to “keep body and soul together,” especially given its high taxes and promise of further belt-tightening measures, as it did between 1991 and 1994?

The DLP must not continue to behave as though it just does not get it!  In its 2010-2011 Estimates, it was clear that it was “understating expenditure” simply to give a false impression of the size of the deficit. Still, it found itself in a $538 million hole but imposed hardship on the people to “claw-back” $150 million, but has only succeeded in ending up in a $380 million hole. It then added a number of supplementaries totalling some $141 million and also guaranteed a number of loans said to be in excess of $329 million and then there are a number of other commitments to be brought to book, and yet (despite the severe pain it continues to cause) the DLP is now boasting about a 0.3% growth rate! Absolutely amazing!

After an economy has contracted by some 10%, a paltry rebound of an alleged 0.3% is way too small to put people back to work, or to prevent the DLP from having to borrow to pay day-to-bills.

Look! If you are coming from ZERO (0) you are bound to show growth and that is all this is about on the fiscal side but on the social side, the “pain is real for too many” but the DLP will continue to listen to the IMF and try to impress Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s and will therefore tighten the screws even more as we will all see next month, during the Estimates debate. “Brace yourselves and protect your minds from the DLP!

The bottom line is – to achieve fiscal consolidation and restore our country to real growth of 5% (what other countries in the world are growing at) – it will require much more than a ‘wait and see’ approach to governance.

The DLP does not agree. Its philosophy is: “do nothing and things will get better!

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