“If Things Are So Grand, Why Is The IMF Around Again?” A BFP Reader Writes…

Well this is my first time writing to you guys, not sure what the procedure is, but I hope I can get some of this info online to those who may not already know.

For the the sake of those who are not already aware, what happens in Barbados on the political level is not by chance. The exploits and mis-adventures of our political representatives is merely a symptom of the greater problem. Yes greed and corruption are the order of the day when it comes to these dubious “projects” around the island and D/BLP (yes that is intentional, I see no distinction) and associates are wholly aware of what is wrong.

There are powerful forces shaping the socio-political landscape of this and other caribbean islands, and our government “leaders” are not the innocent puppets they will claim they were when the truth finally comes out. The tactic is to keep the population distracted enough with mindless diversions, the youth with the entertainment and elders with established religion (not to be confused with true spirituality which I will go into later if I am allowed). Keep your population divided and disorganized, continue to fuel the xenophobia of peoples of our region (Trinidad, Guyana?) and promote the love of the true foreigners “up north”.

Sell your infrastructure and base your economy solely on fickle industries (tourism anyone?). A few questions should be on our minds (amongst others I should hope)…

– If things are so grand why is the IMF around again?
– If not the barbadian people who does Owen truly answer to?
– What was the true motive for Kensington Oval?

Any way thats just some food for thought I hope I can post more in the near future, some really serious stuff.

Yours truly,

(name withheld by BFP editor)

28 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

28 responses to ““If Things Are So Grand, Why Is The IMF Around Again?” A BFP Reader Writes…

  1. centipede

    Right on. This bloke is on target. In the USA, the two main political parties each have a philosophy which differs from each other. The Republicans back business and feel when business is booming the people will find work. The Democrats like instituting social programs… give this, give that….

    Re the BLP and the BLP – these two are clones of each other. The only difference is the personel, the particular individuals. ALL OF THEM will seek to feather their nests when their turn comes around.

    The longer one party stays “in power” the easier it becomes for them to ‘tief’. I dont know that any one person is all that wiser than another when decisions have to be made because it’s most often a group cogitation involving cabinet members and the various ‘permanent secretaries’ etc.

    The only solution is to ‘change the government’ every 5 to 10 years before they get the chance to dig in and get comfortable, like a bed bug in a matress.

  2. 2terms and yuh GONE!

    “The only solution is to ‘change the government’ every 5 to 10 years before they get the chance to dig in..”

    – that has been my position all along,
    for well over a decade now.
    and I’m again proposing a law
    kinda like the American law that says no President can hold office for more than 2 terms,
    only my proposed new Barbados law differs
    in that no Barbados political party can hold power in Barbados for more than two terms
    unless the polls close with a substantial deciding landslide of 66% or more in your favour.

    If de people want wunnuh back in dey,
    to the extent they’ll vote you back in 66-34%,
    then yes you’ll have your third term,
    but only if you’re going Great Guns

    (two chances of that, after two terms:
    – slim and fat)

    Of course there will be a zillion reasons and excuses why this cannot be made possible,
    but I done expect dat!

    And so the folly of democracy continues to unwind itself upon us,
    daily, monthly, yearly,
    term after disappointing term,
    ad infinitum, ad NAUSEUM!

    Wish us Luck – we need it.

  3. Undertaker

    “unless the polls close with a substantial deciding landslide of 66% or more in your favour.”

    2terms and … I like that idea that way you would have to be really “wanted” by the people and not just tolerated, or there because there is no clear alternative.

  4. Jerome Hinds

    Lynette Eastmond……..our once frequent contributor to this BFP site ( unless she still contributes…but UNDER another name !

    Now admonishes Rommell Marshall…..boy you either pay up your NIS or else ( me ) Lynette and Owen gine get yuh…..!

    Read the link below !

    http://www.nationnews.com/story/326979287912277.php

    Wuhloss, look how the BLP maguffies ROBBING we !

  5. YUM YUM I like it!

    Excellent letter, we look forward to more or this sort of writing/thinking.

    Maybe the BEST that could happen is that the coming election results in a hung parliament, with a couple of good independents holding the balance of power. Hopefully independents that were voted in on an ‘integrity’ or press freedom ticket.

    This would mean that the cabinet would comprise the best of both Ds and Bs – as the parties are just about the same anyway! (and both contain a lot of dead wood!)

    Now WHO wants to stand as the independent?

    Has to be a well-respected black man or woman, with plenty of money.

    Any ideas?

  6. interested observer

    YYILI, Why Well respected Black man you leave Adrian out of the mix. While I disagree with some of what he says he would create quite a rucus in parliment… OOPs you have to be a citizen is he??

  7. Wishing in Vain

    Dumb and desperate they are working under the belief that BFP will need to keep a low profile and in so doing will be unable to persue this issue.

  8. YUM YUM I like it!

    interested observer

    “well-respected black man or woman”

    I didn’t actually mean to write that, it was a slip. Perhaps a Freudian slip! Given the realities of Barbados electoral politics it is not conceivable that a Caucasian would be voted in as an MP any time soon. (Not unless some-one like C.O.Williams stands, and why would he want to do that, he controls plenty of the country as it is!). Far less a white guy on an anti-corruption ticket – that would be political suicide!

    Like any good experiment, you must change only one factor at a time!

  9. theNickster

    In relation to 2terms and yuh GONE, the issue isn’t even if they’re wanted or not. They (BLP) HAVE been voted in for all this time, (a “landslide” one of the earlier times if I remember correctly). The real issue is who has the power to keep them there, still benefits from them being in power. What has to be removed is who is really benefiting from the mis-management. History has shown us that if person(s) wanted a government changed it was done, one way or another, we speak of voting but what happens when a few ballot boxes goes missing?

  10. Caribbean Comment

    The IMF’s presence is no big mystery. It has a mandate to conduct “surveillance”, which involves “…the monitoring of economic and financial developments, and the provision of policy advice, aimed especially at crisis-prevention”. Part of that mandate is an obligation to conduct an “Article IV consultation” with each of the (185) member countries, which is the basis of the surveillance and usually done each year. So, Barbados is not different from any member, and you can see that with a casual visit to the IMF’s website at http://www.imf.org.

  11. Pogo

    When you cut out all the extras the IMF report says:

    1. Stop the current grand projects as they are out of control and will incur more debt we cannot afford.

    2. To pay down the debt we have to an amount that will not choke us inside 5 years we must increase VAT by 1.5% and apply it to more goods and services.

    3. Don’t start any new grand projects.

    And the IMF doesn’t even know about the off balance sheet debts such as destroyed Enron. Namely GEMS, Jail, Kensington, Flyovers.

    If Barbados were a company it would be facing bankruptcy but our government goes on spending.

  12. reality check

    The IMF and World Bank are responsible in the first place for a lot of these questionable loans to corrupt regimes.

    Its sort of like trying to exercise discipline when they have been part of the lending problem.

    Let these regimes fall on their sorry ass before trying to give them help.

    Then, when the players change, insist on strict and accountable loan practices.

  13. Thewhiterabbit

    Erroll Barrow started the current mess in
    Government when he eliminated the vestries, the Mayor of Bridgetown, i.e. any and all possible sources of effective opposition to his government. The unintended consequence was that there is no training ground for politicians, nowhere for them to learn that their role is to serve their constituents. Today a “politician” is simply one day elected to office, and is instantly faced with the sight of all that public money, so accessible, so easily obtained, all those private $$$$$ available for such minor “considerations”. Who could possibly resist the allure of the power, the wealth, the possibilities? Who you going to vote for? You don’t know, you can’t know. Your choice is the devil you know or a pig-in-a-poke about whom you know nothing because you never had a chance to see what they would do or how they would deal with issues at a level lower than “Government”.

    The White Rabbit suggests
    1. Reinstall the vestries (or parish government by whatever name doesn’t carry a lot of “cultural or ethnic” baggage.
    2. Create local city government for Bridgetown, Speightstown, and Oistins.
    3. Insist that MP’s actually reside in their consituency. Whether Big Dave wants his MP’s to meet the folks once a year, or once a month, it would make government a lot more responsive to the electorate if they came home to those folks every evening.
    4. Legislation to cover ethics, accountability, and access is absolutely essential, but it will only pass if it is made to NOT apply to anybody currently or formerly in office. Alas, that is simply the reality of getting the legislation in place. Forget the past, move forward.

  14. J. Payne

    Anyone see the recent article about a delegation from Barbados going up to Canada and giving them a sly answer about tax-evasion????

    —-
    Article: Barbados not just for billionaires – By BILL POWER Staff Reporter
    Date:| 4:41 AM
    Source: http://www.thechronicleherald.ca – The Chronicle Herald – Nova Scotia, Canada
    Link: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/859409.html

    — Symposium promotes island tax haven —

    “Some business and government representatives from the Caribbean island nation said Friday it’s all perfectly legal under the international tax treaty between Canada and Barbados.”

    “What we’re trying to do is minimize taxes,” Allan Cruikshank, managing director of Cruikshank Associates Inc. of Barbados told finance professionals attending a symposium in Halifax.

    “Avoidance of taxes is an honourable thing; it is the evasion of taxes that puts you in jail,” the money manager told participants.

    A delegation from Barbados held the symposium to promote the island as something beyond its reputation in Canada as a haven for rich folks seeking tax breaks and tourists seeking bright sun and endless rounds of golf.

    Symposium participants, mostly representing the Nova Scotia financial services industry, heard that beyond attractions in Barbados for international banking and tourism, the English-speaking country with a population of just 260,000 is aggressively promoting itself as a diversified international business centre.
    [ . . . ]

    Some symposium participants seemed interested to hear that a tax-reduced presence in Barbados can be had for as little as $4,000 to $5,000 per year, which Mr. Cruickshank said would be the minimum annual maintenance fee for an individual island trust.

    But he told one symposium participant it would “not be financially justified” to move anything less than millions of dollars into a basic island trust to obtain tax benefits.

    Barbados and other Caribbean nations are known around the world for the friendliness of their tax laws, and there have been repeated promises from Ottawa of more aggressive auditing of major Canadian corporations with offshore banking links and offices.

    Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced details of an Anti-Tax-Haven Initiative in May of this year.

    At that time he said the initiative would focus on “improving tax fairness” in Canada by clamping down on tax havens like those available in Barbados and other tax loopholes as part of a plan to reduce corporate taxation.

    A recommendation for the Canada Revenue Agency to pursue cases of “aggressive tax planning” and “abuse” of tax treaties was a principal recommendation put forward in a February report from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. That document is posted at the Government of Canada website.[-End]

  15. Huh?

    Far less a white guy on an anti-corruption ticket – that would be political suicide!

    Running on an anti-corruption ticket would be political suicide? For a white guy?
    For a black guy?
    For any guy?
    I don’t understand!
    Explain yuhself!

  16. BAD sign.

    “but what happens when a few ballot boxes goes missing?”

    The entire election is declared null and void
    and held again
    until an election can be held where NOTHING amiss happens – preferably under UN supervision!

    IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK of a “democratic” government in power??

  17. Anonymous

    Hats off to the white rabbit,
    who isn’t as dumb as he looks!
    Good suggestions.

    One problem though.
    Your suggestions would mean returning to an old British Colonial management structure,
    and Cave Hill/History will have none of that!

    These are “modern” times now, and we’ll have none of that British style straight-and-narrow rule around here,sir!

    Where would be the loopholes for the “enfranchisement” (read thiefin possibilities) of the black man, a.k.a. D.Smallman?

  18. theNickster

    Take a look for those interested:

    http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pn/2007/pn07113.htm

    Executive Board Assessment

    Executive Directors welcomed Barbados’ strong economic performance and the favorable near-term outlook for economic activity and inflation. Looking forward, Directors observed that the authorities should be prepared to tighten fiscal policies in order to improve the public sector position and reduce the large current account deficit (…)

    Given the government’s debt objective and the importance of reducing vulnerabilities arising from high current account deficits and a declining trend in international reserve coverage, they observed that fiscal policy needs to be strengthened further, while acknowledging the authorities’ commitment to take additional steps should risks materialize.

    (Debt objective?!?) (risks are already materialized!)

    An early tightening of policies would reduce the risks of stronger and more disruptive adjustments later. Directors saw a range of options for the government to achieve fiscal savings, including reining in future public projects, raising VAT rates, reducing tax exemptions, and adjusting selected utility tariffs. Directors also encouraged the authorities to consolidate the activities of all public entities in the budget presentation to facilitate proper planning.

    (lack of proper planning was the reason for this mess in the first place!)

    look carefully at; Barbados: Selected Economic Indicators
    Apparently 2008 will be a mistic year of reduced prices and higher unemployment

  19. Lady Anon

    FYI…the IMF never left. There is an organisation by the name of CARTAC which operates out of the Weymouth Corporate Centre. The email addresses of the workers are “…@IMF.org”.

    Never left…and those who believe that they did were fooling themselves.

  20. cherry2enpowered

    The 8% cut was bad in itself but devaluation would have been much worse.
    No country in the world including our Caricom neighbours have ever recover from such devastating effects. Regardless of how the economy at that time can to a head,Sandiford made a judgement call.
    He knew his political career was on the line,he knew he would be the most hated man in Bim but he felt that the 8% cut would be better in the long run than the alternative.
    Of course the unions did have their say too.After all cut backs are cut backs + drop in dues=revenue loss.
    Have anything be learnt since then?
    We shall see what we shall see………………………

  21. anon

    why are my comments still being moderated

    ************************

    BFP Robert here…

    Cause I’m late getting online!

    Sorry!

    🙂

  22. J. Payne

    Re: Lady Anon
    September 19th, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    I think you’re right…
    -Main site-
    http://www.cartac.com.bb/

    * Who funds CARTAC?

    The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is providing the largest share of the Centre’s funding. Other contributors are the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Ireland, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Kingdom (DFID), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States (USAID), the European Union (EU) and the World Bank (WB). The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) seconds a full-time economist to the Centre. The Government of Barbados finances the costs of office facilities, while the other 19 beneficiary countries make annual contributions to the Centre’s operating expenses.

    Listing of staff at centre (all appear to be @ imf.org as stated)
    http://www.cartac.com.bb/staff.htm

    List of CARTAC Steering committee members
    http://www.cartac.com.bb/steering_com.htm

  23. reality check

    The Nickster

    “Barbados has one of the highest per capita incomes in the region, ranks high on social, political, and competitiveness indicators, and enjoys an investment grade rating. Services, particularly tourism and increasingly financial services, account for three-quarters of GDP and an even higher share of exports.”

    One wonders if this Board wasn’t overseeing the sub-prime lending in the US?

    They obviously have gone to too many useless conferences and cocktail parties at taxpayers expense or maybe they were averaging the per capita incomes from offshore accounts of our politicians and their pals?

  24. Rumplestilskin

    The biggest worry is that we have over-extended ourselves on projects of questionable value and certainly that should not have been a priority when one considers return on investment and opportunity cost. At the same time, necessary projects have been neglected.

    And, in so doing we have exposed ourselves at a time when the American economy is presenting signs of slowdown which, if protracted will catalyse a world recession (as USA is the biggest consumer).

    Remember, Sandiford had to deal with a vicious worldwide recession, while this administration has thus far had a ‘dry playing field’.

    One should not overextend oneself in good times without thinking of whether you can survive in the tough.

  25. The IMF recently had consultations with this BLP Government, the DLP opposition and the private sector, under its article IV consultation, and recommended in its report that, et al, the government raise VAT to about 17 % , to help reduce its debt burden, that Barbados eliminates tax incentives to foreign investors, which it sees as costly to the country; and that the government raise bus fares, water, etc. ( Weekend Nation, 14 September, 2007)

    That the IMF would make these kinds of destructive and anti-progressive recommendations to this beleaguered BLP Government NOT only clearly indicates that the so-called economy of Barbados is NOT functioning as well as it ought to, that this BLP managed economy is still overwhelmingly subject to the designs and influences of the ruling elites of this international economic and financial order, but also unambiguously proves that the IMF is still the inhumane, conservative, imperialist body that it has been for years.

    The People’s Democratic Congress (PDC) must let the IMF and others know, et al, that TAXATION is wrong, evil, and totalitarian; that TAXATION constitutes a vulgar, ancient and totally deficient method of a modern day state/government arriving at money/value to carry out its expenditures; that TAXATION utterly devalues the national production and distributive output/processes of the country; and that TAXATION far from seriously and fairly redistributing income and wealth in a country like Barbados, greatly assists in perpetuating, and in some cases, widening, already severe, unbridgeable disparities in income and wealth among the social categories of our country.

    For those and other reasons, A PDC Government SHALL surely Abolish Taxation in Barbados. We shall also make sure that utility service providers in Barbados become very price, cost, operational and market-efficient and effective before being allowed to seek increases in their basic prices, as a short/medium term policy measure, until a country-wide, national pricing mechanism, driven by modern communication/information technology, is set up by such a government to allow the government, producers, retailers, consumers, and other such relevant persons in Barbados, the capacity to set, on an ongoing basis, and at particular locations across the country, prices for many, many goods and services throught out the country.

    PDC.

  26. reality check

    PDC

    “The People’s Democratic Congress (PDC) must let the IMF and others know, et al, that TAXATION is wrong, evil, and totalitarian; that TAXATION constitutes a vulgar, ancient and totally deficient method of a modern day state/government arriving at money/value to carry out its expenditures; that TAXATION utterly devalues the national production and distributive output/processes of the country;”

    I hope you never get into power or have any influence.
    It all sounds good but your comments are completely delusionary and try to defy gravity.

    The only way a government can redistribute taxes to
    offer the services it has is through taxation of goods and wealth. It has been proven time and time again in the past 100 years that if you have no wealth you have nothing to tax.

    Take for instance, Cuba or the former Soviet Union and its satellite nations. The grand planned economies were an amazing flop. They had little or no wealth to share and thus only had and have in the case of Cuba, equality of poverty. By the way, speaking of TOTALITARIAN, all these countries were totalitarian and people had few freedoms unless they belonged to the elite.

    Face it, our leaders have p—ed away 2 minimum of two thirds of their debt and the IMF is telling people the truth. There is no free lunch. The only way to get it is to tax the masses. This is why people should be outraged as their VAT should be 6-7% and not 17%.

    Get real, money does not grow on trees or evolve from some oudated and failed economic theory.

  27. theNickster

    The point is being missed entirely, the object isn’t to raise taxes to pay off debts, the point is not to raise foreign reserves. The point is to crush those that help to sustain this economy and leave this country ripe for powerful outsiders to do as they wish. Sounds ludicrous? where does your money go every month? less of it goes to schools, less of it goes to the hospital, less of it goes to the infrastructure. Paying more at the pump, paying more at the supermarket (stop local farmers from producing milk and raise the price of milk products that were allegedly cheaper!), more for insurance (try driving with out it and see what happens), NIS (yes more to pay but the old folks still can’t seem to get enough, oh and its still taxed).
    Finding it hard to make ends meet with the one job, try two (and if your honest about it you get taxed again). Why the increased pressure to get those contributions from the entrepreneur and the small business? (any word on those millions from the big boys yet?) . Read your history people, this system is designed to weaken the middle class/working poor, to distance them from the very things that sustain them (food, healthcare) and to erode the education of the masses (remember those ads for children in the service industry, cause we all can’t be politicians and bank managers). Barbadians: the next expendable resource.

  28. Jerome Hinds

    Click to access cr07338.pdf

    A careful read of the September 2007 – IMF Country Report No. 07/338 would clearly demonstrate to readers why……the IMF is still around !

    Please read the link above.

    The Owen Arthur government cannot be TRUSTED !

    Owen Arthur is today 2007 – 10 – 08 sounding off to David Thompson about the Public Accounts Committte ( PAC )……..but the same Owen Arthur has not told Barbadians about the obvious LIMITATIONS of the same PAC…..as indentified by the IMF…….!

    Read Sections 68, 72 , 76 – Public Accounts Committe and 77 of the link above !

    Then ask Owen Arthur to respond in light of his recent chiding of David Thompson…….with respect to HARDWOOD INC.