GOING the International Monetary Fund (IMF) route would not be an easy pill for Barbados to swallow.
In fact, Labour Minister Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo is warning the Barbadians that the free services to which they have grown accustomed over the years would be a thing of the past.
Her comments came on Friday night during a spot meeting in Market Hill St. George where she responded to leader of the Barbados Labour Party, Mia Mottley, who said that she is willing to do anything legal and moral to rescue the country, which may include going to the IMF.
However Dr. Suckoo, who earlier lambasted the BLP proposal to increase non-contributory pensions saying that it would destroy the National Insurance Scheme, stressed that going to the IMF is “not a pretty thing”.
“I have lived in countries where they were on IMF programmes. We say that Barbados is more than an economy it is a society. That sounds like a nice phrase, but there is a reason we say [this] because we are concerned not only about how much money we have but about the quality of living of our people. About them having access to services, to education healthcare, housing. Those are the things we care about.”
She said that by signing onto this move, Barbadians would be putting an X across housing, education, health care, garbage collection all of which would no longer be free, adding that even water rates would increase.
“But why we didn’t want to go to the IMF? We have worked for ten years, extremely hard; it wasn’t easy…to keep this country afloat. Using solutions that are created by Barbadians. Educated, brilliant Barbadians have come up with plans, that saw us shaving a little off here, shaving their expenditure, saving a little bit here.”
“And in terms of getting revenue, getting a little extra from you…from all of us from the top of the bottom. Everybody contributed a little more in terms of National insurance; National Social Responsibility Levy and the Value Added Tax We have continued to do that. So that we don’t go to the IMF.”
She said while the BLP has been promising “the sun, moon and stars”, they also promised to cut revenue streams such as the NSRL and VAT and have not specified how they would be replaced. (JH)