Friday, March 10, 2017

Barbados – as with the rest of the Caribbean – have inherited a command and punish economic model ...that was meant for controlling ostensibly brainless people ...of whom nothing was expected


By Professor Gilbert NMO Morris:

Gilbert NMO Morris
Almost 3 and a half years ago, I wrote in the NATION NEWSPAPER with a heavy heart for Barbados: here is what I said:

Professor Gilbert Morris December 13, 2013 at 7:40 PM

“The Minister of Finance for Barbados has issued a comprehensive Short Term Growth & Sustainability programme. It will not work.”

I am constrained to say I TOLD YOU SO!

The difficulty for Barbados – as with the rest of the Caribbean – is that we inherited a command and punish economic model, that was meant for controlling ostensibly brainless people of whom nothing was expected. Our innovation across the region was to add cronyism and the facilitation of lackeys at the expense of our bright young entrepreneurial minds. As such, across the region, we have produced an economic model that is scloretic, for which our politics have become the tribal art of attempting to defend obvious nonsense.

Our people know now that their chance of becoming their best selves and living their best lives is not at home, where – in Barbados as much as anywhere else in the region – successive governments have succeeded in cultivating a caste system, incompatible not only with the moral imperatives of our relevant histories, but also with the yearning, ambition and native genius of our peoples.

Barbados has lead the world in Literacy Rates, but to what purpose?

Bajans regale themselves with their comparative successes in the mark book, but where is the “silicon valley”?

Barbados needs a comprehensive rethink.

It’s future lies NOT a stale inert economic model that has produced one billionaire and a host of rent-seeking lackeys in 40-odd years.

The crisis is now in the home stretch: Barbados bond yields led a global spike and now ranks with the Republic of Congo; its debt is 135% of GDP; and its reserves have fallen to half a billion; shockingly merely 2.5 months of imports. (They need to cook with steam, for Chrissake!) Whilst it's interest payments are just over $50 million this year, Janet Yellen is likely to raise interest rates again this year. Barbados 2022 maturities have risen 146 basis points since January 20th 2017. Moreover, BREXIT impacts, crony run public institutions and domestic debt are likely to balloon next year.

A similar fate awaits the Bahamas.


Start over. Rescind all oversight commissions!

Appoint My good friend Sir Courtney Blackman and 16 others to a National Steering Committee and manage this crisis for the next 6 months with a maximum of transparency, with the power to subpoena persons and papers for public testimony on all fiscal and economic issues.

Hold National Public Discussion about the current and Future of Barbados; deal with structural issues that limit or prevent Bajans from achieving their best lives in their own country.

Cut government spending now!

End all feckless liberal-minded enterprise projects, which just pay lackeys at the expense of efficiency and true achievement (Compare Singapore, which seeds parastatal corporations and then let’s them sink or swim and if they cannot produce financials they are foreclosed immediately by the Treasury).

Give EVERY Bajan who wants a business license to establish a business aimed at export, licensee fee and tax exemption for 10 years.

Move all government routine processes – drivers & business licenses, government fees and other processes to eGovernment platform immediately.

Convert all government payments to blockchain using Bitcoin or other electronic alternatives.

Place all government owned infrastructure and land into a sovereign fund, 60% held by Bajan citizens, then JV with a global strategic partner.

Eliminate the Ministry of Tourism.

Convince all CARICOM nations to withdraw from the WTO.

Open Harrison College to South Americans for Boarding school.

JV with Guyana to fund a super trade highway into Brazil, to provide a staple of Brazilian products to the Caribbean, to compete with Florida.

Set up Barbadian International Business Centre with Arbitration and commercial services for South American business.

Establish a 100 acres area as a tax free zone for international data storage and management.

The first options must be to reduce government expenses, and reduce the cost of doing business in Barbados, which has one of every tax in the history of mankind.

Reduce governments tax share of GDP to below 18%.

Use timing options for initiatives, which allows government to maximize policy options squeezing out efficiencies, then switch to more sustainable programmes.

Barbados Debt