Peter Boos lays out the disaster of our Barbados economy. Uses the ‘unrest’ word.

  sinking ship barbados flag DLP

Barbados is Sinking

There is no room for hubris, arrogance, false pride and ignorance …

“Government’s chronic crises of excessive debt, high fiscal deficits, falling foreign exchange reserves and overstaffed and outdated institutions for delivering public services are only a part of the deeper problem.”

by Peter N. Boos FCA

Recent events and public pronouncements both locally and internationally have confirmed the very poor state of the Barbados Economy.

Government’s chronic crises of excessive debt, high fiscal deficits, falling foreign exchange reserves and overstaffed and outdated institutions for delivering public services are only a part of the deeper problem.

This is not a crisis like any we have ever experienced and it requires a response like nothing we have done before.

Waiting for recovery is not an option. Many countries already have strong growing economies. In Barbados all of our productive sectors are under-performing.

Barbados is in a deep structural vortex and it will take great leadership, courage, new thinking and teamwork to dig us out a step at a time and build a strong sustainable economy.

This crisis has been in the making for many years.

Whilst spending less is critical, our fiscal and monetary deficits are symptomatic of the many underlying weaknesses that retard growth and investment.

Our limited export sectors, our outdated education system, the dysfunctional Legal Justice System, our poor labour productivity, pitiful business facilitation, lack of private sector innovation, absence of good leadership and management skills are all areas needing significant improvement.

“Cutting costs by laying off people will not fix the problems and create a competitive economy. It could in fact do the opposite if the result is social unrest.”

Increasing taxes will create further corruption, unemployment, business failures, mortgage defaults and bankruptcies.

For those same reasons a devaluation will cause pain with little gain and will deliver a severe blow to our ‘national brand’.

The Barbados reputation for conservative, prudent, financial management has been decimated. Lost reputations are difficult to recover.

We must now focus all efforts on becoming competitive in all aspects of national affairs.

Innovation in areas such as new export services sectors (creative industries, education, sports, health, bioscience, ICTs, professional services), food production and renewable energy, lower taxes, competitive performance-based salaries and wages, higher productivity, ease of doing business and service quality must all be part of the solution.

We must deliver much greater value across the board at lower cost.

Structural adjustment is not arithmetic. It’s about attitudes and behavioral changes.

Most important now is that we use this opportunity to invent a better National Governance Model (one not based on self-serving political parties). We need a governance model that can deliver a recovery and growth plan that will ensure the economy recovers in a sustainable way and that will protect against similar future crises.

“We have a potentially terminal case of Implementation Deficit Disorder”

Confidence is the key to implementation and acceptance of the needed tough adjustments.

Our weaknesses are multifaceted. Let’s acknowledge them openly and work to build a Just Society for the Common Good.

There is no room for hubris, arrogance,false pride and ignorance.

Barbados has all the attributes to be competitive but we are failing to combine them appropriately.

A small island of 166 square miles and a population of less than 300,000 people is very manageable and can be very competitive.

Let’s agree to hold hands and get the job done. We have the tools.

Barbados can be an example to the world of National Governance Innovation. To build a NEW economy for a new age let’s start with a set of National Values.

How about integrity, caring, openness, justice, enterprise, teamwork, selflessness?

We also need a fresh National Mission and Vision. We have not seen nor heard much of either in recent times. What do we want to achieve as a Country?

What is the status with our national Strategic Plan?

We need a National Vision that represents all people and to which we can aspire collectively and use to build our plans and measure performance.

Like so many other people I feel a sense of impotence. Everyone is concerned yet feel that they can do little or nothing to change the situation.

The extent of our problems and the opportunity we have to create an exciting future may possibly be best tackled now by a National (non-political) Team of trustworthy experts,both local and international. This Team should be given a specific mandate by Parliament and empowered,subject to Parliamentary approval, to recommend the new path.

In 2008 our late Prime Minister appointed such a group of advisors led by Winston Cox. Following wide stakeholder consultations a detailed action plan was submitted and approved. Regrettably many of the proposals were never implemented. We have a potentially terminal case of Implementation Deficit Disorder.

Working closely with the IMF we can set in place the right solutions for Barbados. Without the discipline imposed by an external agency such as the IMF it is very likely we will once more fail to implement. 2014 will be a watershed year for Barbados.

We must use this crisis to build a NEW National Governance Model that will make us competitive and that is for the Common Good and just Society and lives up to the promises of our National Anthem-Firm Craftsmen Of Our fate.

Peter N. Boos FCA

This letter was also published at Caribbean360


Filed under Barbados, Disaster, Economy

12 responses to “Peter Boos lays out the disaster of our Barbados economy. Uses the ‘unrest’ word.


    Let us see how much crooks liars and scumbags will leave alone and give up to save Barbados, Welcome to the NWO of the DBLP Government of Barbados ,

  2. Nair, a Bajan disbeliever and CYNIC and now a worried Bajan!

    Excellent commentary by Boos but will ANY ONE PAY ANY ATTENTION. Have my serious diubts

  3. It is hard to disagree with the content of the article for there are many self-evident truths stated therein.
    There is indeed, a crying need for an overhaul of the ethos of our society. Our value system is in dire need of fundamental change if there is to be progress.
    Until there is integrity, transparency, accountability and freedom of information legislation, accompanied by the requisite tools to ensure that the foregoing will be ever-present in the day-to-day political ,social and economic life of Barbados, good governance and development will continue to be an illusion and elusive. Bribery,corruption and incompetence will continue to be the hallmark and trademark of each and every succeeding government.
    It is also unlikely that any parliament/government, BLP or DLP, would ever seriously agree to the creation (and take the advice) of “a National Team of trustworthy experts…given a specific mandate by Parliament and empowered, subject to Parliamentary approval, to recommend the new path”. Not so long as our politicians see politics as an opportunity for self-enrichment !

  4. Wily Coyote

    I agree wholeheartedly with the Mr. Boos, Barbados sole salvation lies in the overlord hands of the IMF and liberal application of the WHIP.

    The next comments will know doubt be SLAVERY DEAD, well welcome to the NEW WORLD, toe the line or economic death awaits.

  5. Hocus Pocus

    Good words…but WHAT to do…and HOW…???

  6. yatinkiteasy

    Our problem is not that we do not have competent and talented people within the Government..the problem is that we do not have a Leader.

  7. Lord havemercy,Christhavemercy

    Well if you tink it bad.My husband requested to have his pension which he had been saving on the credit union in babaduss for the last three years sent to him in america.He fedex all the required documents since before xmas .This is mainly to take care of a family emergency.Up tuh now the officer at the credit union have not gotten arelease from the central bank yet to send a few thousand US dollars.This process is normally completed in two to three business days.Today like it is a funny night.

  8. gentle jim

    I know someone who got some $US sitting down.Want it at 3 to 1 ?

  9. Lord havemercy,Christhavemercy

    Well my dear I plan to bring back up mine too. I tried to relocate to Bim a few years ago but no matter how I tried my little fridge was always empty.That along with poor customer service cause me to forget Bim for now.But I left my money down dey.When I sent my money I requested to have it paid to the receiving institution in US dollars so my little rock could benefit in two ways .I coming fuh my money now that I could still fly into Barbados cause I hear a man on Fulton Street saying that Jet Bloo gine loose the goverment money and he gine got to beg Kiffie fuh a ride to Bim. Murdah. Wuhloss! But I afraid uh private jets yuh sight.


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  11. Mark Fenty

    The federal government have such rights…


    Thank you Peter Boos.
    A refreshing corrective to the lazy and reactionary thinking that passes for serious intellectual discourse in Bim with regards to Barbados the economy and our future.
    One would like to be optimistic in thinking that a programme such as what you propose would be given serious consideration and at most a be the catalyst for a national wide ranging discussion.
    Hal Austin of the Financial Times/London have for some time been articulating similar social/political/economic arguments.
    History suggests that because of the conservatism in thinking, a lack of willingness to engage with ideas, and the reactionary ideological stranglehold of the BLP/DLP dinosaurs on the consciousness of majority Bajans, even the better educated, you may well be disappointed.
    You may in effect be throwing pearls down Maxwell pond.
    One hopes not.