Barbados – Stormy Weather Yes Glooom And Doom No

 The economic forcast for 2009 in Barbados may not be the brightest, but the country’s leader, Prime Minister David Thompson, doesn’t see doom and gloom either.

Indeed, Thompson, who is also Minister of Finance, believes Barbados is in better shape than many other places.

For one thing, the banking system is sound. For another, the Government was moving aggressively to boost the day-to-day management of the economy through cabinet reforms, cutting of red tape and other steps.

“Barbados’ economy is not in the same kind of position that many other economies are in,” was the way he put to the DAILY NATION.

“Our banking system generally is in a very healthy position. The Canadian banks which are the owners of (most) of our banking institutions are quite strong and therefore many of the policy responses that other economies have had to introduce are not relevant to the circumstances of the Barbadian situation.”

Take the case of the key pillar of Barbados’ economy, tourism.

“When we discovered what was happening in terms of the tourism market we immediately went off to London and I personally met with the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of British Airways and of Virgin (Atlantic) and received assurances regarding their airlift into Barbados,” Thompson told the DAILY NATION in Miami recently.

“At that time, they were extremely pleased with what they saw so far. Obviously there is a concern about 2009. We are doing reasonably well into this period but we are acutely aware of the major concerns that we face internationally and their impact on Barbados and the region.”

That was why, the administration takes a hard look at the national, regional and international economic pictures “so that our policy responses can be correct,” Thompson explained.

His comments were made before the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Marion Williams, said recently that next year would be a tough period for Barbados as unemployment is expected to rise, tourism receipts should fall and the nation’s foreign reserves could be hit.

But Thompson didn’t ring any alarm bells as he explained that even before the national committee headed by former Central Bank Governor, Winston Cox, now an Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank, had recommended certain steps to deal with the deteriorating global situation, he had taken to step to boost cabinet decision-making by appointing ministerial sub-committees on infrastructure, governance, and social and economic policy to keep close tabs on what was happening.

The Cox Committee has proposed and the Administration has endorsed its recommendations for cuts in red tape, streamlining of the nation’s tourism marketing efforts and paying increasing attention to the operations of such government departments as town planning, immigration and others.

For his part, Cox, a former Central Bank Governor, said that given Barbados past history of success in dealing with economic crises, he was confident the country would weather the looming economic storm, perhaps the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Just as important, he expects the Tripartite Social Partnership involving the public and private sectors and the labor unions to play an increasingly important role in the trying times ahead.

Indeed, the arrangement which was born out of the severe economic troubles of the early 1990s may become a lifeline this time around. The partnership, he points out, “is going to be key to this process” of Barbados responding to the economic challenges that lay ahead.

“It is key to the process of delivering the kinds of messages that are necessary to give confidence to the Barbadian public that the economy is being well-managed, both labor and private sector and certainly the government as well,” Cox said. “It’s an indication that all three parties are paying attention to what is going on. It will be key to helping the public to understand how prices are formed and what’s the impact of the rise in commodity prices on the cost of living in Barbados.”

Source: Nation news

Let us interject here by bringing to mind to our readers the Prime Minister’s decision of  rejecting belt tightening measures in response to the current global financail crisis. Instead, he contends that there needs to be more spending and investments at home to keep the economy going. Some measures designed to achieve that objective includes accelerating the increse in tax credit and increasing pensions.

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2 Responses to Barbados – Stormy Weather Yes Glooom And Doom No

  1. Pingback: » Barbados - Stormy Weather Yes Glooom And Doom No

  2. Pingback: Standard & Poors Cuts Barbados Foreign Currency Ratings « Bajan Global Report

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