Daily Archives: February 27, 2010

IMF praises Barbados Government actions, gives contradictory recommendations and says it’s all out of control anyway…

As our friend Amit at Pull! Push! blog says, “IANAE – I am not an economist”, so I’ll leave the in-depth analysis of the IMF’s latest press release and former Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s recent rant to folks who know more than I do. (Like Living in Barbados who lives and breathes economics.)

That said, I’ll publish yesterday’s IMF press release about Barbados and make a few totally uninformed comments by an ordinary person who has in the last year seen their cash savings go to nothing. It didn’t take much for Shona and I to go from comfortable to living from day to day. Some serious car repairs and helping out someone in worse shape than we are for a month when they lost their business was all it took to empty the bank account. With the increases in food especially and some other must-haves, our savings aren’t going to return anytime soon.

Here are a few observations about the IMF press release…

IMF Praises Barbados Government

This is the standard opening for any IMF press release. The guys who work at the sharp end of the IMF are no fools. They know if they don’t go with this “Praise the Government” opening, the next time they stay at the Hilton someone will pee in their soup. Really.

The first rule of life is “Always treat the kitchen staff and food servers with respect.” Some folks take a long time to learn this vital life rule, but like I said – the working folks at the IMF know what it means when the waiter asks, “Sir, is the soup salty enough?”

Contradictory Recommendations

The IMF says “More taxes, more broadly applied” AND “raise the private sector’s willingness to invest in Barbados.”

Once again, IANAE, but I’ve always believed that more taxes equal less willingness to invest in Barbados.

OK, tell me I’m wrong. I can take it.

Reduce Government Spending

Easy for the IMF to say. Fact of life on this rock is that over 50% of the population is on the government payroll in one form or another.

Think about that fact, then couple it with our culture of entitlement, low productivity in both the private and government sectors and the attitude “guvmnt gon fix”.

No Sir… it’s not like the DLP government is engaging in a bunch of spendthrift mega-projects like the BLP did. The DLP Thompson government was left with a broken infrastructure because Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and the gang blew it all during the good years and ignored the basics.

Like water coming out of taps.

So the IMF can whine all it wants about reducing spending. There is only so much the PM can do and only so far that he dares to go. That’s a fact.

Owen Arthur says Barbados should spend it’s way to prosperity!

Yup, that’s pretty well what he said the other night at UWI. That’s a photo of Owen talking courtesy of Ian Bourne at the Bajan Reporter.

I’m not sure but it looks like the former Prime Minister needed a bottle of water during his speech. That is water, isn’t it?

Ian Bourne has a first person account and says that Arthur and Mottley are true lovers once more or something like that. If true, I don’t think that Owen was drinking bottled water during his speech!

The big IMF message: It’s all out of control

Ok, you go ahead and read the IMF statement below and see what the members of this great international old boys’ club have to say. Just remember: the folks who are issuing the advice are so closely connected with the ones who caused the current economic meltdown that only conjoined twins could be closer.

Irony defined: Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says don’t believe things are getting better because they aren’t.

And that is the way I see things from near Grape Hall on a sleepy Saturday morning.

Statement by an IMF Mission to Barbados
Press Release No. 10/66
February 26, 2010

Marcello Estevão, chief of an International Monetary Fund Mission to Barbados, issued the following statement today in Bridgetown, following a five-day staff visit:

“Barbados has been severely affected by the global economic crisis. In particular, the deep global recession has curbed tourism, affecting related activities such as construction and trade which, in turn, depressed aggregate demand and raised unemployment. As a result, economic activity contracted significantly in 2009 after remaining broadly stagnant in 2008.

“Despite these hardships, policy moves and other developments have limited the adverse effects of the crisis. International reserves are at comfortable levels, among other things thanks to a successful foreign debt placement last year and the SDR allocation. In addition, authorities implemented measures to alleviate the impact of the crisis on the population. However, as a result of these measures and, more importantly, of the economic cycle, the fiscal deficit surged, and the public debt now stands above 100 percent of GDP. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Offshore Investments, Politics

Chile: Massive 8.8 Earthquake This Morning

Tsunami warnings issued over a wide area as far away as Japan

SANTIAGO, Chile – A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, killing at least 78 people, collapsing buildings and setting off a tsunami.

A huge wave reached a populated area in the Robinson Crusoe Islands, 410 miles (660 kilometers) off the Chilean coast, said President Michele Bachelet.
Tsunami warnings were issued over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

“It has been a devastating earthquake,” Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma told reporters.

… from the AP article 8.8-magnitude earthquake hits central Chile

You can get your updates at Drudge Report


Filed under Disaster

Queen Elizabeth Hospital full-page advertisement a poor use of our tax dollars

Is this full-page advertisement a reward for paper’s editorial support of DLP government?

Dear Barbados Free Press

Last Sunday, February 21, 2010, a full page advertisement for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was printed in the Barbados Advocate newspaper. (editor’s note: click on small photo above for larger version)

This self-congratulatory AREN’T WE WONDERFUL advertisement has some positive statements by two patients in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department who were treated soon after their arrival, an assurance by the Board of Directors that more staff is being hired and some positive statements about how wonderful the nurses and doctors are.

This advertisement is not a proper use of the tax dollars and other public funds that go to health care and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. How much did the full page ad cost? Wouldn’t spending the money directly on health care have been a better use? Who decided to place this advertisement? Is it part of a larger campaign?

I noticed that the Barbados Advocate recently published a series of positive news articles about the QEH. Is this full page advertisement payment for those positive stories? Is is a way of directing government revenues to a newspaper that is generally supportive of the current government? Is the advertisement “quid pro quo” on a couple of levels?

I don’t expect any answers to my questions from the QEH board, the newspaper or the government.

Thank you to Barbados Free Press for the opportunity to vent.


(name removed by BFP editor)


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Health, News Media, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption