Barbados laying platform for positive economic growth – Sinckler

The Freundel Stuart government has embarked on a retrenchment programme to trim the public service by almost 3,000 in the coming months as it seeks to reverse an ailing economy.

But a government statement quoted Finance Minister Christopher Sinckler as giving an assurance to the new British High Commissioner, Victoria Dean, that the government is moving towards rebuilding the economy.

Sinckler said that in addition to making the necessary adjustments in the economy, government was also seeking to rebuild and enhance the tourism product, develop the international business and financial services sector, especially in non-traditional markets such as Latin America; roll out an alternative energy sector, and reform the sugar industry.

“The cutting of expenditure is a painful exercise but it is one that has to happen because the alternative is much worse and you do not want to visit the alternative on those who are least vulnerable in your community; so we have to make the adjustments and that is what we are doing.

“We are confident about what we are doing…and we are trying to work on other things to ensure that discomfort does not last longer than is necessary,” he said.

Sinckler told the British diplomat that there were some structural inefficiencies in the economy that had not been addressed but pointed out that Government was trying to clear the way for the private sector – the local and foreign – to reinvest.

He said that the Bill, which would make provision for the Economic Partnership Agreement to be given the force of law in Barbados, should be debated in Parliament shortly, and expressed the view that it would be a very serious, wide-ranging and nonpartisan discussion.

The government statement quoted Mrs. Dean as describing the island’s tourism offer as “fabulous”, but expressed the view that there was a need for product diversification and investment.

“The Minister agreed, and said a number of things were being done to enhance the tourism industry.

The High Commissioner said both countries needed to explore ways in which they could collaborate and promised further discussions on the areas” the statement said.

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