The national mission remains stabilization and transformation of Barbados says Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley
She expressed this view on Wednesday afternoon as she delivered the feature address at the 59th Annual General Meeting of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Ms. Mottley told her audience: “It was never our intention to seek to stop the bleeding and to remain in the same position. By all measurements it is clear that the upward trajectory of the wrong indices has all stopped. As we speak, our reserves are just under $1.1 billion, up from $400 million as they were a year ago…. Our debt to GDP ratio, including the arears of $1.9 billion, that we found only after coming into office, is down from 171 per cent to 125 per cent….
“All our indices are going in the right direction and I think you will hear that from independent parties on Friday when the IMF mission concludes its first review.”
She pointed out that there was a need to define the mission and context for transformation. “We know the bleeding has stopped and that is critical. But we have now to do the operation that allows for the transformation…of the country’s circumstances, workers’ circumstances, owners of capital and employers’ circumstances,” she explained.
The Prime Minister noted that the framework for transformation was set in the Social Partnership last August, but it was done so easily and agreed to so quickly that some may not have understood the complexity or the time necessary to achieve that single objective.
According to her, the national objective in transformation must be for Barbadians to be the best they could be. She added that being the best we could be would not be limited to those living here, but it also meant being the best global citizen, wherever persons resided, while retaining Barbadian roots.
Ms. Mottley said government understood its role with respect to legislation, facilitation, funding and training and its response demonstrated that understanding. She stated, therefore, that the platform had been laid for deconstructing and reconstructing almost every major public service in this country.
“The World Bank Doing Business Report team will come and start measuring in the next week, and we need to share with them honestly those things that we have seen improvements on, like town planning legislation and the new development framework for that. Alternatively, there is some [work] that we have started, but not yet finished, like the digitization of all criminal records.
“We have started the process of digitizing all of the criminal records because it should be as easy as what we were able to do when we set up the Advanced Passenger Information Systems, such that every one of the people landing…in this country is checked real time against our databases, the American databases and Interpol’s databases,” she continued. The Prime Minister said persons who were watching from outside this country were amazed at the extent to which Barbadians were pulling together to turn around Barbados.