Barbados on the road to recovery

Officials from the World Bank will be in Barbados next week to compile data for its next Doing Business Report.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made the disclosure yesterday while delivering the feature address at the Barbados Employers’ Confederation’s annual luncheon at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

She made the revelation while noting that the goal will be to share with those officials, areas in which improvements have already been made, including the changes to the town planning legislation and the new development framework that accompanies that piece of legislation.

“…Alternatively, there are some that we have started that are not yet finished, like the digitisation of all criminal records and why,” the Prime Minister said.

Her comments came as she said Government is working assiduously at getting such records in a digital format, especially given the growing demand for Police Certificates of Character. She said that this system has been frustrated with delays not only in getting the certificate, but even in terms of getting the initial appointment.

“… People who are looking for a job in order to feed their family are put on the backburner in this country, because the system is not working for them. Well we are intent on changing that and we have started the process of digitising 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 System, such that every one of the people landing in Barbados, local or foreign, is checked real time against our databases, the Americans’ databases and Interpol’s databases,” she insisted.

Speaking more to the progress made over the last 11 months, the Prime Minister said that Barbados is definitely recovering and her Government remains committed to the national mission, which is to stabilise and transform this country. She made the point while contending that it was never their intention to seek to stop the bleeding and remain in the same position.

“By all measurements it is clear that the decline of all the major indices or the upward trajectory of all the wrong indices have all stopped. As we speak today, our reserves are just under $1.1 billion, up from $400 million odd as they were a year ago. As we speak today, our debt to GDP ratio, including the arrears of $1.9 billion that we found only after coming into office, is down from 171 per cent to 125 per cent,” she indicated.

She added, “Believe you me when I tell you that all of our indices are going in the right direction, and I think you will hear that from the independent parties on Friday when the IMF Mission concludes its first review mission of its programme for the first six months of the IMF programme”.

Contending that everyone in this country has a role to play in getting the country back on track, she said while the bleeding has stopped, we need now to “do the operation that allows for the transformation” of the circumstances of the country and all those who reside here.

“We have facilitated the increase in the level of disposable income at the level of the individual and at the level of the company in this country… I have come to tell you that you have now to play your part. It is not tourism, Barbados is our business and you now must now play your part in its transformation, so that we can be the best that we can be globally and nationally,” she contended.

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