Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News Jan. 31st
Ricardo Blackman – CDN Barbados
Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:
An international economist is suggesting devaluation of the Barbados dollar as a viable option to hoist the island from the “fiscal cliff” on which it now stands. Economist and former minister of finance in Greece, Yaris Varoufakis, said based on his information about Barbados’ position, “there is no doubt that there is a need for fiscal and structural adjustment.” His recommendation was to “reduce the size of public sector employment, but combine this with debt restructuring and a sensible, mild but significant devaluation which is accompanied by some type of inflation targeting.” He cautioned Barbados not to make the mistake of Greece and countries such as Argentina and Mexico, by “trying to preserve the peg while using austerity effectively in order to take the full blast of the adjustment.” Varoufakis’ suggestions were given in his contribution to a webinar discussing economic solutions for Barbados. Panelists were Trinidad and Tobago economist Maria Dukharan, and former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. DeLisle Worrell. Moderator was Trinidad economist and former minister of finance, Winston Dookeran.
Meanwhile, former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. DeLisle Worrell has proposed his “prescription” for Barbados’ ailing economy. His “medicine” of “two imperatives” to return the island to growth is to curb government expenditure sufficiently to eliminate the current account deficit and to initiate fundamental structural reform to ensure internationally competitive delivery of public service.” Worrell was fired from his job last year amidst concerns about the Central Bank’s repeated printing of money to shore up government’s finances. He has since repeatedly declared his commitment to seeing the Barbados economy regain a strong footing.
The Freundel Stuart administration has given its strongest indication yet that it is willing to increase the $49 million lump sum offer made to the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW as a coping subsidy. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Civil Service, Alyson Forte has revealed that the offer put on the table in early December was not government’s final position, but was advanced “just for discussion.”
Opposition shadow minister, Trevor Prescod has described Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley, as a “miserable failure” while declaring a “crisis” in the public transport sector. Amid reports that there were only 60-odd buses in operation at the state-run Transport Board, Prescod warned that three times that number was required at the very minimum to service the island.
Dateline Kingstown, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES:
Vincentian national, 27 year old Michael Thomas Jr. has created history in becoming President of the Harvard Law Review. Thomas follows in the footsteps of Barak Obama, who was the first black man to become President of the Harvard Law Review in 1990, 18 years before he was elected as the first African American President of the United States. The Harvard Law Review is a student-run organisation whose primary purpose is to publish a journal of legal scholarship. In 2017, the Review had its first black female President in its 131 year history. Michael, who was born in St. Vincent and The Grenadines to Francelia Bute-Thomas and Michael Thomas Sr, migrated to the United States as a child and is the oldest of three children. He previously attended and graduated from Princeton along with one of his female cousins.
Dateline St. Georges, GRENADA:
A citizens’ video circulating on social media, shows a female election worker sitting at a table at a voter registration centre in St. Georges, wearing a ruling New National Party (NNP) tee-shirt while conducting voter intake. The video, taken on January 29th, 2018, shows people standing in line in front of the voter intake registrar. The name of the female in question has not been given and it is unclear how long she was there, who gave her instructions on party political paraphernalia at a public voter intake registration desk, or whether or not she will in future be allowed to conduct activities in that office leading up to the general elections on March 13. Terry Forrester, the political leader of the Grenada Progressive Movement commented that the video is a clear demonstration of the culture Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has inculcated in the hearts and minds of his support base. “The attitude that the NNP can’t lose translates to doing anything for success, even breaking the law.”
Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:
Outlining a $2.9 Billion, ten-year deal to purchase and develop the former Ginn Sun Mer property on Grand Bahama, Bahamas Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, has promised “2018 will be a year of growth, investment and new jobs and economic opportunity.” In a nationally broadcast address, Minnis focused heavily on economic developments “in the pipeline” for New Providence and Grand Bahama, as he detailed the work his administration has been engaged in on that front since coming to office last May.
And finally, this story out of Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:
A 22-year-old police officer was allegedly caught on his way to sell two police issued bullet proof vests. Three police issued firearm holsters were also allegedly found at the officer’s home which investigators suspect were to be sold. The constable, who is attached to the Central Police Division, was detained as he attempted to ruin away from his colleagues when they intercepted a vehicle in which he was a passenger.