Daily Archives: November 1, 2007

Central Bank Governor Says Beware of High Food Prices – Oh, Our Mistake… She Says Forget About A Raise.

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Unless things have changed in the past few weeks, Central Bank Governor Dr. Marion Williams still drives in a government-provided auto and still lives in a government-provided home, so I don’t think she personally cares much about the price of milk for the children’s breakfast.

I know, I know – the whole economy is all tied together and she has to worry about the big picture an all that.

But somehow in the wake of what has happened to food prices of late, her message “Beware High Wage Demands” rubs me the wrong way. I would have much rather seen her talk about the monopoly that controls the importing of food and other necessities into Barbados, kills competition and contributes to out of this world food prices.

She also talks about a potential devaluation of our dollar. I have news for the dear doctor… it already happened!

Williams: Beware High Wage Demands

CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR Dr Marion Williams has sounded the warning that unrealistic wage demands could have a negative impact on the economy.

She declined to say what a safe negotiated percentage should be but cautioned that if the situation got out of hand, wage
inflation could spiral and see decreased value in the Barbadian dollar.

“I would not want to commit to any particular figure, but I would say that it is important that we focus on productivity increases and that there should be some attempt, at least, to make sure that there is a relationship between the performances of the entity and
the wages that are being requested.

“Particularly since wages are an ongoing charge on the activities of the entity, as compared for example with bonuses, which are periodic and can be adjusted, depending on how the entity performs,” she told reporters during a Press conference at the bank yesterday to review the country’s economic performance during the first nine months of the year.

… continue reading this article at the Nation News. (link here)

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Filed under Barbados, Business

Is Government Lying About Barbados Tourism Statistics?

The following article is written by Adrian Loveridge, who asks questions about the tourism statistics being tossed about by an election-ready government. Adrian had nothing to do with the title of this piece “Is Government Lying About Barbados Tourism Statistics?” – that’s what we came up with after pondering the questions put forth by Mr. Loveridge.

Take it away, Adrian…

I’m puzzled, really puzzled!

Under a CBC TV headline ‘Williams says robust growth in tourism’, Central Bank Governor, Dr Marion Williams reported a 4.4 per cent expansion in the Barbadian economy for the first nine months of the year ‘fuelled largely by robust growth in tourism’.

This follows an article that appeared in the Barbados Advocate, Wednesday 24th October 2007, quoting figures which the newspaper stated had been supplied by the Barbados Statistical Service and referring to a ‘whopping 18 per cent increase’ in visitor arrivals for the first seven months of this year.

I have made repeated applications to the BBS to obtain these figures but despite acknowledgments of my request, have still not received them.

Log-on to the BBS website and you will see that even after hosting ‘the World’s third largest sporting event’ that we finished the first four months of 2007 (our peak period) with a net gain of just 44 long stay visitors.

So according to the Advocate and the Central Bank this ‘robust growth’ been in the traditional soft summer months.

Yes! There was crop over, but if you look at the stated figures, both arrivals from Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of CariCom were substantially down.

Dr Williams dismisses the 140% increase in airport departure tax as having any major effect on the dramatic fall in intra-Caribbean travel, and instead cites the historically highest ever regional airfares.

In reality, I believe it’s a combination of both.

And if long stay visitor arrival numbers were really doing so well, why would our national marketing agency, the Barbados Tourism Authority, increase the taxpayer subsidy on Best of Barbados packages from US$200 to US$300?

With the complimentary hotel night stays and daily breakfast, there is in fact, little or no national revenue gain for this programme.

You also only have to check with some of our larger hotels to discover that many staff have been working reduced hours and/or days per week.

Please, don’t anyone take my word for it, but I hope the BFP and BU readers who work in the tourism industry will report from their perspective.

Adrian Loveridge
1st November 2007

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Traveling and Tourism