Impose stricter protocols for tourists: Dukharan

ECONOMIST Marla Dukharan is advising the authorities in Barbados to institute stricter COVID-19 protocols and restrictions on visitors when they come to the country.

Appearing on the People’s Business on Sunday night, Ms. Dukharan said that Barbados is now paying a higher price for allowing visitors into the country.

The country is now under lockdown until February 28, and Ms. Dukharan said there are high risks in attempting to get tourism going again.

This current lockdown is expected to cost the country $150 million, according to calculations announced by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

That exercise is aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 cases, which spiked since the end of last year and with more than 24 deaths between then and last week.

“So given we have ample foreign reserves, given the Government has sufficient lines of credit and concessional financing from the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral lending institutions, perhaps what we ought to be doing here is imposing stricter protocols and restrictions and quarantines for the tourists when they come in,” she advised.

The Economist reasoned that such will minimise or eliminate the risk of the virus being imported again in the future.

She believed that issues like economic growth and debt reduction are not important at this time. The most important, Ms. Dukharan said, is job creation, which however will depend significantly on the resuscitation of the tourism industry.

“But we do have buffers in place like unemployment benefit and National Insurance... so we can withstand not opening up and withstanding the risks involved,” she added.

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