The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is suggesting that the Freundel Stuart administration is being somewhat disingenuous by repeatedly blaming the global economic crisis of 2008 for Barbados’ economic problems.
BLP candidate for St Michael South Central Marsha Caddle, a former Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) economist, said the global financial crisis was long over and countries around the Caribbean and the world had recovered, while the Democratic Labour Party keeps using it as an excuse.
Speaking at a BLP public meeting in Clapham, St Michael over the weekend, Caddle said far from the global financial crisis, “the only thing wrong with Barbados is the Democratic Labour Party”.
She made reference to other Caribbean countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia, which she said had recovered and were registering economic growth, while Barbados continued to stagger.
The CDB, in its economic forecast for 2018, predicted that Antigua and Barbuda would register growth of 5.3 per cent, Grenada’s economy would grow between 3.5 and 4.5 per cent, St Kitts and Nevis would be up 3.2 per cent and St Lucia would grow by 3.1 per cent.
On the other hand, it predicted growth of one per cent for Barbados, twice the 0.5 per cent which the International Monetary Fund predicted, after a stagnant 0.9 per cent in 2017.
Caddle said, coupled with foreign exchange reserves which fell to 6.6 weeks of import cover as of the end of 2017, the economic situation here was proof that the DLP had no ideas.
“The Democratic Labour Party’s only economic policy over the last ten years has been about taxing Bajans. The revenue that the Government gets, about 95 per cent of it is tax from you, ranging between 90 per cent to 95 per cent over the last decade, the highest I have ever seen,” she stated, while taking a dig at Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, whom she accused of “learning on the job for ten years” and making a mess of it.
“Chris Sinckler has been learning on the job for ten years and has not gotten it yet. You cannot experiment on the people of Barbados and talk about how you will learn it on the job. That is an insult to us.”
Caddle added that most of the taxes introduced by the DLP, including the much-criticized National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) – which she called ”a nonsense tax” – made no sense, and repeated an earlier BLP pledged to repeal the NSRL legislation should the BLP win the upcoming election, due by early June.