There will be a change of guard at the Central Bank of Barbados.
As Governor Cleviston Haynes wrapped up the presentation of his review of Barbados’ economic performance for January to December 2022 this morning, he broke the news of his departure saying, “I’ve come to the end of my contract and I will demit office on January 31st 2023.”
Speaking from the bank’s headquarters in the Tom Adams Financial Centre, Spry Street, Bridgetown, he told journalists present and online viewers he wished for all stakeholders to carry on working “for the betterment of our country”.
“My term as Governor has been challenging as we navigated economic reforms, debt restructuring and COVID-19.
“Working with all stakeholders the country has made the progress I cited earlier. We can all be proud of our achievements thus far. I trust that during my term as Governor that I’ve been able to provide the leadership which the public expects of this institution,” said Haynes, a career economist who started at the bank in 1980.
He rose to Governor in 2017 shortly before the present administration took office, thus manoeuvring the choppiest of economic tides to pull the island’s economy from the brink of collapse after it had suffered successive downgrades with only a few weeks of import cover, high unemployment and looming destabilisation of the Barbados dollar.
Today, the outgoing Governor reported international reserves of $2.77 billion – more than twice the 12-week benchmark – fiscal surplus of $50.3 million, current account balance of $1.27 billion, and a reduction in unemployment to 7.1 per cent for January to December 2022.
Mr. Haynes stated, “Over the last four and a half years, Barbados has made significant progress in restoring our fiscal and debt sustainability, rebuilding our international reserves and creating a platform for resumption of growth.
“As we enter a new programme with the IMF [International Monetary Fund], we now need to focus on the growth element while preserving fiscal discipline and maintaining adequate reserve buffers to protect our exchange rate.
“I’m satisfied that this is within our capability if we stay focus make the investments in our people and infrastructure.”
He encouraged the public and private sector to be “courageous” and “innovative” going forward, and to adopt technology to ensure Barbadians are equipped to prosper in the modern era.
“As we make progress we must be careful not to try to pick the fruit before it is ripe. And we must ensure that our financial system remains stable but capable of adapting to the needs of a modern Barbados with efficient, low-cost services that enhance our overall competitiveness and contribute to the strengthening of our ability to compete on the global stage,” Mr. Haynes said in his final economic performance review. (SNR)