Barbados celebrates yet another loan. We scored US$45 million!

This time it’s the Inter-American Development Bank

We said the magic words: “Sustainable Environmental Green Economy Alternative Energy Framework” and other sustainable green stuff…

Yes folks, we’re dancing in the streets because our credit is still good. Of course, our credit is good because we’ve secured the new loan with our land, with our children’s futures and God knows how much of our GNP for God knows how many more decades.

Who cares what it’s for. We just scored another US$45 million. We can’t tell you what we did with the last US$10 million EU sugar money or the money we borrowed for development of a standards organization, but if no one is really doing any follow up to confirm where the money went, hey… that’s just life on this island.

Can anyone tell me how much we owe, the list of loans for the last ten years, and the interest payments – in real dollars and as a percentage of the GNP? And, oh yeah… can anyone say what we did with all the money we borrowed in the last ten years? Is there a list of benefits or assets for the expenditure of all that money?

Street urchins

Street vendor and beggar children are everywhere in the poorer countries. Central America, Mexico, South America, India, Philippines. They are everywhere. You stop for a traffic light or get caught in slow traffic and they descend upon your car like a swarm of sad eyed locusts offering flowers, mini-packs of Winston cigarettes, rusted cans of beer, matches and, occasionally, themselves.

Better than ten years ago I was trying to escape Kolkata, India on a cantankerous Convair when a tiny street girl offered to sell me a stone. This wasn’t some pretty polished rock, it was a piece of gravel she picked up on the road. She might have been six or seven years old. It’s difficult to judge because the street children are so small and thin.

I knew enough to take the stone into my hand, shake my head “no” and give it back to her with a loud angry word – all the while concealing one folded-up-so-tiny US dollar under the stone. She knew to act frightened and back away but her eyes said “thank you”. It was (and still is) a necessary bit of theatre designed to fool the child’s master and the other beggars.

My companion said something like, “You only encourage them, you know.”

I replied, “Without the dollar, she won’t eat.”

… by Robert, who in all these years has never been able to forget the little girl with the stone.

Thanks to Raghubar Jha for the photo of the children beggars. See Child Begging, the bane of modern India


Filed under Barbados, Economy

17 responses to “Barbados celebrates yet another loan. We scored US$45 million!

  1. Bo Jackman

    Oh for Christ’s sake, grow up. Or buy yourselves a basic economic primer. Or something. Do your best not to be economically illiterate.

    Look at Barbados’s basic import bill. Look at the proportion of that bill that consists of oil imports. Look at it. Google helps, even for members of the economically illiterate community.

    Imagine by how much you could cut that bill, for ever, if you had thousands of people feeding free energy back into the grid.

    Bitching randomly about “debt” is economic illiteracy. It is to be expected of dunces in another place.

  2. BFP

    Hey Bo Jackman,

    Thanks for your advice!

    Golly, yes, it would be wonderful if thousands of people fed “free” energy back into the grid. Wonderful.

    Now… please tell us how much of the $45 million will be used for direct purchase of “free” energy-making equipment, how much energy that will feed back into the grid in the next 10 years and how much that energy will be worth.

    The key to our stupidity, illiteracy and immaturity is that we believe only a small percentage of the $45 million will be effectively used. Most will be pissed away on “educating” the public and in paying wildly inflated prices for equipment and make-work projects with little if any long term value in reducing energy consumption or producing “free” (as you call it) energy.

    How many kilowatts per year is the $45 million going to produce over the next 10 years?


  3. Bo Jackman

    BFP says:

    “We believe only a small percentage of the $45 million will be effectively used. Most will be pissed away on “educating” the public and in paying wildly inflated prices for equipment and make-work projects with little if any long term value in reducing energy consumption or producing “free” (as you call it) energy.”

    And your evidence for this belief is … what, exactly?

  4. Sugar Sugar $

    It’s not BFP who needs to grow up. They are asking the question about the effectiveness of the spending and that is the question that never gets asked or answered.

    The EU sugar money was supposed to restore our sugar industry. How was it spent? What increase in sugar revenues did the 10 million result in?

    The answer is that the EU sugar money was thrown into general revenues and spent on everything but sugar industry improvement. Will this energy development loan be any different?

  5. Sugar Sugar $

    Mr. Jackman, have the government published details of how the money will be spent? I don’t mean broad statements like yours, I mean real details so the effectiveness of the loan and the results in terms of energy production can be quantified and audited by the public.

    My and BFP’s scepticism is not without historical precedent. Indeed, I am hard pressed to think of any time the government has taken a loan for a specific development purpose and then shown details of the spending and resultant improvements. Can you provide any such examples?

  6. Bo Jackman

    BFP guys:

    If you’re going to use “long term” as an adjective, you really do have to put that dash in there. Not an N-dash. Certainly not an M-dash. More of a hyphen. You did the copyediting course with the econ 101, right?

    Sorry to have to have pointed that out.

  7. Sugar Sugar $

    BFP, Mr Jackman is technically correct about the hyphen although I see “long term” without the hyphen in many real news media articles. More telling though is that he has been reduced to criticizing bfp’s failure to use a hyphen because he cannot produce one example where our government borrowed money for a specific development purpose and then quantified the success or detailed how the loan was spent.

  8. Bo Jackman

    @Sugar Sugar $

    Let’s elope. I promise I can make you happy if you’re not a guy.

  9. Jack Bowman

    Who is this Bo Jackman asshole?

  10. mac

    I can’t tell how much over the last 10 yrs, but since Jan 2008, Barbados has borrowed close to 3billion BDS from various places. The latest loan that Chris Sinckler secured was for 45million USD & 12million USD (124million BDS). This was claimed to be for “Energy Diversification” I would like to know how BL&P & the Gov are going to do this when the plans for the wind farm are still stuck at Town & Planning, very little is being done to encourage solar electricity (none of the new Gov houses have solar electric or water panels) as the incentive scheme is more of a hinderance than a help.

    More importantly for all the money borrowed – where are the massive improvements in the services or infrastructure.

    As for the interest payments. I, like Chris Sinckler am not an economist, but if you apply the Dodd’s Factor ie. Dodd’s cost 250million BDS & with interest will eventually cost 700million BDS (approx). Then 3billion BDS with interest should be in the region of 9billion BDS (approx). OH! not forgetting the 314million BDS (for CLICO) which should end up at approximately 1billion BDS.

    So all in all Barbados should owe approximately 10billion BDS, just from the last 2yrs & 9months.

  11. Red Lake Lassie

    Robert, your contrasting (juxtapositioning? sp?) of Barbados and beggar children who cannot be weaned from charity (IADB charity) is right on the money. I got it right away, I wonder how many others did too?

  12. Red Lake Lassie

    That is a sad story about the little girl selling the rock. Is it true?

  13. BFP

    Hi Red Lake

    Cliverton here. I asked Robert the same question and he said it was true and told us more about what he’s seen in India. I thank god I was born in Barbados and not over there.

  14. Record of a conversation overheard in the IADB boardroom.

    Chair: “More loans for Barbados? Put them further into the hole? You only encourage them, you know.”

    Response: “Without further loans to inject monies into the economy be any means possible, the people won’t eat.”

  15. Adrian Loveridge

    I am all for re-newable energy but wouldn’t a simple start be to take ALL the taxes, VAT and duties of ALL energy saving devices?
    Compare the cost of an energy saving bulb here and in the United States.
    I bought some in a North Carolina Home Depot for less than US$1 each.

  16. back to basics

    Without full accountability and a plan for where every cent goes, then the IADB just becomes another enabler of a charity addiction,

    “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

    Someone needs to cut the IADB off from its funding and I suspect its those unaccountable bureaucrats at the World Bank level.

  17. Anonymous

    When and how much will Barbados get? We are going to screw up the paper work and 10 years from now the loan will be canceled.

    We are good at announcing these loans but do a very poor job on the paperwork that is necessary to actually receive the funds.