The Politics of Excuses and Contradiction by Henderson Bovell

While delivering the feature address of the Central Bank of Barbados on May 5th 2012, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Prime Minister Stuart said:

“My own view, as Prime Minister of Barbados, is that the Central Bank of Barbados has always acted cautiously on the strength of its profound understanding of the complexity of economic affairs, and has had the wisdom to realize that impulsive, poorly though out action can have negative unintended consequences. Basically it has taught us over the years that there are no quick fixes, and no magical solutions to the modern challenges of economies operating in an interconnected global market place.”

Mr. Stuart’s observation merely highlights why it will make excellent sense going forward, for Barbadians to ‘elect a strong Government that has sound developmental policies; knows what it is doing, as well as what to do and is prepared to work hard and not make excuses.’

Social Commentator Mr Bovell suggests; "Perhaps Mr. Stuart should have apologised to the Bank for the DLP making its job extremely difficult, since January 15th 2008."

While it might be true, praising the Central Bank by saying that it “has always acted cautiously on the strength of its profound understanding of the complexity of economic affairs,” seems rather strange because, it is not the Central Bank, Barbadians have serious issues with, neither is it the Bank (whose functions are explained at Section 5 of the 1972 Central Bank Act) which is expected to provide political leadership, but to offer advice to government, as it has been doing since 1972.

There is therefore a contradiction here! You do not have to be a rocket-scientist to realise that what Mr. Stuart is now saying, as quoted at paragraph 2 of this article – is at variance with everything Barbadians know the DLP to represent and all that the DLP told the country, prior to January 15, 2008. Perhaps Mr. Stuart should have apologised to the Bank for the DLP making its job extremely difficult, since January 15th 2008.

The former Chair of the NAB sources these startling figures - "...since 2008 - unemployment in Barbados jumped to 12% and poverty to 19.3% by 2010. Inflation is already 9.4%..."

One is left to wonder whether the DLP held the view: “that impulsive, poorly though out action can have negative unintended consequences” and whether it even thought about the Central Bank – when it made those 90 and 100 day promises, including its promise of duty-free cars for public servants.

President Obama did not make excuses; neither did he tell Americans that: “there are no quick fixes!” He was given four years to make a difference and he went to work to achieve that objective and can now show results. Angela Merkel did not complain, over in Europe. She took action to address the Euro crisis.

But while the DLP is in Barbados taking ‘pot-shots’ at the Opposition and still complaining, five years after becoming the Government: “cud-dear give us a chancethere is no magical solutions‘ – over in America, President Obama took action, instead of complaining like the DLP is. Companies that were given millions in bail-out funds – were able to pay it back and are now profitable and re-hiring, while in Barbados, the DLP is still ‘waiting to see,’ even as 500 more Barbadians find themselves on the bread-line.

Through one corner of its mouth, the DLP says it has no options and that it has to: “wait and see” and through the other, it alleges that it has acted. This is surprising because, since 2008 – unemployment in Barbados jumped to 12% and poverty to 19.3% by 2010. Inflation is already 9.4%, with the cost of living going through the roof and “ABSOLUTELY NO HOPE” that things could ever get better under DLP rule. But, while Barbadians are in severe economic pain, because of the DLP, and perhaps, as an excuse to justify DLP’s time-wasting, Prime Minister Stuart says of the Central Bank: “Basically it has taught us over the years that there are no quick fixes, and no magical solutions to the modern challenges of economies operating in an interconnected global market place.”

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