Barbados Labour Party Statement on Devaluation of the Barbados Dollar: General Secretary, Sen. the Dr. Jerome Walcott

The Barbados Labour Party is totally against the devaluation of the Barbados dollar.

We have never advocated this because we believe it would destroy this country and forever ruin the quality of life of all Barbadians.

For us, retaining the exchange rate of BDS$2 to US$1 is sacred. It is non-negotiable!

Our Party’s position on devaluation was clearly spelt out by our leader Mia Mottley as recently as January 17 in the House of Assembly during debate, on the Holidays with Pay Bill, 2016.

Ms. Mottley stated then and I quote:

“We must fight with every fibre of our bodies against any form of devaluation” and she continued “therefore, if it is necessary to bind this House as one and to bind this country as one to confront the realities that face us, then I say to the Prime Minister and I say to the Minister of Finance . . . let us stop the drift and confront that reality.”

At that time Ms. Mottley was at pains to stress that the Barbados Labour Party was willing to work with the Government to stave off any devaluation to ensure this critical situation facing Barbados could be confronted, as one people, in a united country.

No opposition political party makes such an offer. But the Barbados Labour Party did because for us Barbados and Barbadians come first. That is our principled position; country must come before party.

Therefore the recent suggestions and innuendoes from government mouthpieces that we may be contemplating a devaluation of the Barbados dollar should we be elected at the next general elections is nothing more than a deliberate untruth meant to scare Barbadians.

Only an uncaring, heartless government would stoop so low.

This mass public manipulation is grossly immoral and deliberately seeks to mislead the electorate. Such are the actions of a government that is determined to win general elections at all costs.

We are not surprised by this behaviour because the Democratic Labour Party has successfully used this tactic in 1991 and again in 2013.

In 1991, then DLP leader Sir Erskine Sandiford won that poll without being forthright on the economy and dismissed our party’s revelations on it as lies. Back then we were also painted as being power hungry. But six months after winning that poll, Mr. Sandiford’s administration went cap-in-hand to the International Monetary Fund for a bail-out. He then sent home 6,000 public servants as we had predicted, while those that remained had their salaries cut by eight per cent.

Leading up to the 2013 elections, the DLP under Prime Minister Freundel Stuart gave the impression that our party wanted to privatise statutory corporations and send home workers. Prime Minister Stuart himself pledged that would not happen. Within months of winning the election they went back on their promise and sent home between 3,000 to 6,000 public servants. They have also begun the privatization of statutory corporations with the sale of the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited and they have also abandoned a number of other positions they took.

The DLP has consistently broken their promises to the electorate.

This is why several Barbadians have been expressing fear about the Prime Minister’s pledge not to devalue. Many do not believe him because his government has failed to keep its promises in the past.

This is why there is such disquiet in Barbados today. Barbadians do not trust what the government is saying.

This is why the business community and investors are not investing, because they cannot rely on what the government says.

This pervasive suspicion of the government’s real intentions is not good for the people, or the economy. Barbadians and investors need an administration whose word they can trust so that they can plan effectively and begin to rebuild Barbados to the gem it was, prior to the devastation wrought by the consistent failed policies presided over by Prime Minister Stuart.

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