In this study, UWI is measuring consumers’ perceptions and expectations of their personal financial situation, business conditions, economic conditions, and buying conditions.
The University’s methodology in approaching this important study is similar to that used in the well respected University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index in the USA.
We now have the report for the first quarter of 2011.
A score range of 0-200 was established. Within that range, a score of 100 would show that people perceive things to be the same as they were a year ago. A score above 100 indicates a more optimistic perception, while one below 100 indicates pessimism
The average Consumer Sentiment Index across CARICOM for the period under discussion was 68(in a range from 0-200), indicating that across CARICOM consumers are generally pessimistic about their personal financial situation and general business and economic conditions. St.Kitts & Nevis came in second to last with a score of 54, one above St. Lucia.
The Consumer Expectations Index for CARICOM for the said period was 67, indicating that CARICOM consumers expect their personal financial situations as well as general business and economic conditions to get worse over the next year.
In this category, St.Kitts & Nevis again performed poorly, coming in third to last, with a score of 58, above St. Lucia at 50, and Jamaica at 47.
The Current Economic Conditions aspect of the study gives a picture of how consumers perceive overall economic conditions today as against a year ago. Are they better off or worse off? The results show an average across CARICOM of 70, which is very pessimistic, with St.Kitts & Nevis dead last at the very bottom of this pool of pessimism with a score of 47.
In the area of Personal Financial Situation, the CARICOM overall score was 88, which means that a majority of consumers’ personal financial situations have gotten worse over the last year. Again in this aspect of the study, St.Kitts & Nevis came in dead last, at the bottom of the heap with a score of 50.
In the area of Expected Personal Financial Situation, indicating how consumers feel about their personal situations over the next twelve(12) months, the CARICOM average was 103, and St.Kitts & Nevis once again came in dead last, with a score of 76.
With regard to the category Current Buying Conditions in the Country, the CARICOM average was 91, suggesting that across the region consumers thought that it was a bad time to make major purchases. Sadly, in this category, St.Kitts & Nevis again performed miserably, coming in third to last with a score of 69, over Antigua & Barbuda at 61 and St. Lucia at 54.
The final category was Government Economic Policy Rating.
On average, only 14% of consumers( throughout CARICOM) thought that their government was doing a good job in terms of economic policies, while 38.8% of them thought that their government was doing a fair job, 38.8% a poor job and 8.0% did not know.
St.Kitts & Nevis placed fourth to last, with 8% of persons polled thinking that our Government is doing a good job. Below us were Trinidad & Tobago at 5.2%, St. Lucia at 2.5% and Jamaica at 2%.
We placed third to last (with 31.2%, ahead of Jamaica with 30.7% and Dominica at 29.5%) for those who felt that Government was doing a fair job.
In terms of doing a poor job with regard to economic policy, our Government came in second to last, with a score of 55.6%, behind only Jamaica at 63.4%.
What are our excuses? The global financial crisis? Well, didn’t that affect Barbados and Grenada too? Indeed, as recently as December, 2009, (one month before the last general elections) Denzil had said publicly that our economy had escaped the brunt of the global crisis. What happened? Did it just pounce on us all of a sudden once the votes were counted?
What other excuse? Hurricanes? Well, wasn’t the last one in 1999? What about Grenada, which suffered a deadly blow from Ivan in 2005?
What about the closure of the sugar industry? Was that the reason? No. it couldn’t be, because the economy improved after closure.
Is it because we are in Tourism and Financial Services? Well, so are Barbados and Grenada.
Here’s what I think.
I think that the University of The West Indies is looking to mislead people and to destabilize the Government, the economy and the society of St.Kitts & Nevis in a desperate and dastardly effort to undermine and embarrass our great, visionary, competent and caring leader.
UWI is looking to plunge us further into debt and to force us into structural adjustment by the IMF folks who, we already know, also hate Denzil.
How dare they?! They’re too nuff and bad. All of them!!!