DLP: A Government in Retreat – Barbados in Peril, Unless… An Alternative from Henderson Bovell
It was, just over ago on July 15, 2010 – when in a Media Statement, then Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Q.C., M.P., – said: “There is nothing wrong with the Barbados economy that strong leadership and sound policy direction cannot fix. The strong leadership must be to identify the solutions and taking the country into your confidence so that a national consensus can be reached.” She added: “Sir Arthur Lewis in his Second Annual Report as President of the CDB in 1973 stated that for bold policies to be accepted they must be understood and they can only be understood if they are discussed.”
A charismatic and visionary Mia Amor Mottley, Q.C., M.P., further stated that: “There is an absence of leadership in the Barbados economy.” According to her ‘trademark,’ of sound analysis: “We face two problems – we cannot pay our bills as a Government and our productive sectors are not earning foreign exchange. It is compounded by the fact that the Government has not put any credible plan in place to deal with either of these two problems.”
Since 2008, this DLP Government has raked in millions in new taxes but it has been spending even more money than it has been ‘choking and robbing Barbadians of’ and yet, the result is: “a lot of debt on our nation’s credit card.” But that high debt compounded by an escalating deficit – that neither stimulates nor stabilizes the economy – has brought the number one developing economy in the world (Barbados) to its knees; and has so weakened our economy that it is now likely to result in higher interest rates for families, or may even force us to scale back on things like education, healthcare and Capital Works – all otherwise necessary to secure the future and build productive capacity for future generations. Simply put, the DLP is not investing in Barbados – it is an indiscipline and fiscally reckless Government – causing tremendous harm and about to inflict even more economic pain, if not stopped.
In that July 15th 2010 Media Statement, Miss Mottley explained: “The Governor of the Central Bank’s report shows that for the first 5 months of this year, we spent $182.3 million more than we earned in revenue. Why this is disturbing is that it is $62 million more than the deficit for the entire year of 2008 when we were already saying things were bad. Yet the Government claims that it has been holding to its Medium Term Fiscal Strategy. The truth is that that strategy is premised on revenue coming from the World Bank and CDB in this financial year to the tune of $140 million. That has not come and the Government is not saying if it will. Further, it states that the overall fiscal deficit this year should be no more than 7.4%. Yet, the half-year position reflects a deficit already at 8.6% at the end of May 2010.”
Instead of fixing the problems and cleaning up the mess it continues to make, the DLP blames the long ago ended, global financial crisis for it ongoing blunders. While it does that, face with the same global financial conditions – the Guyana economy continues to grow. Over two years ago and long before the Bowles/Simpson Plan in the United States, former Opposition Leader, The Hon. Mia Mottley, Q.C., M.P., – called for a bipartisan approach to dealing with the economy. She invited the DLP to come together for the good of the country. Miss Mottley was of the view that we can strengthen our economy and leave a more secure future for Barbadians. The DLP just will not listen to sound advice and so – Barbados continues to slide under its watch.
In her address to the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on September 29th 2010 – Miss Mottley asked a very important question: “What is the purpose of a Government for us today?” She then shared her vision on a new and progressive way forward: “First and foremost, it exists to maintain law and order, settle conflicts and protect its citizens, more so in a post 9/11 world as we discovered. Secondly, it must assure a safe system of public health and access to all of its citizens of affordable, reliable and quality health care.
Thirdly, it must create a platform for empowerment and growth economically and socially (in our case primarily through access to quality and effective education and creating a platform for ownership) while protecting our most vulnerable citizens. Fourthly, it must protect our public spaces, bolster our national identity and our confidence and ensure that our environment within which we must live is looked after for ourselves and for our children against the very real threat of climate change. Finally, it must develop and defend our image and relations with the rest of the world.” Here is more of her sound advice: “We cannot have a twenty-first century population relying on (at best) a twentieth century development model.”
The absurdity is that as our economy declines; and while the crisis deepens and the fast-free-fall continues, the more the DLP seems to be persuaded to stick to its course, despite that error has already placed our country on the ‘pathway to poverty.’ The DLP really does not have a “Plan B,” the Medium Term Fiscal Strategy (MTFS) was its master plan and great idea. But even Moody’s knows that the DLP’s best is simply not good enough. Its economic policies are therefore hurting Barbadians.
When the curtain comes down on Crop-Over 2011; when the wukkin-up stops, when the alcohols wears-off and when the bands stop playing, Barbadians will again be reminded of what was obvious then, what is obvious now and will be into the foreseeable future – that: “Team Barbados Labour Party,” has a better Plan and is ready and equipped to serve. As, The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Q.C., M.P., so eloquently puts it: “There is nothing wrong with the Barbados economy that strong leadership and sound policy direction cannot fix.”