Prime Minister of Barbados The Rt. Hon Freundel Stuart.
PM: There will be ‘no panicky resort to the IMF’
Acknowledging recent calls made for Barbados to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance to get out of its debt crisis, Prime Minister of Barbados The Rt. Hon Freundel Stuart has however made it clear that “there will be no panicky resort to the IMF” by the present Democratic Labour Party administration.
The Prime Minister made his stance clear yesterday evening as he made his contribution in the House of Assembly on the Appropriation Bill, 2017, to which he gave his fullest support.
“I have heard all of the talk in Barbados. I heard the Member of Parliament for St. Peter (the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur) yesterday saying we should go into an IMF programme and so on. I want to make it very clear, I spoke to the Chamber of Commerce in January and I said that there will no panicky resort to the IMF by the present government of Barbados. No panicky resort to it!” the Prime Minister asserted.
“If the stage is ever reached where it has to happen, as with the case of Tom Adams, as with the case of (Erskine) Sandiford, this Prime Minister will have the courage to look the country in the face and say, well OK, here are what the facts are, here is what I think we have to do for the good of this country, but that is not an agenda item of the government at this stage,” Stuart assured.
He also sought to address another issue raised by Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur during this week’s Estimates debate. That was Arthur’s call for Barbados to end its currency peg to the United States dollar.
“I heard the Rt. Hon. Member for St. Peter yesterday talking about delinking from the US dollar – the peg to the US dollar – and attaching the Barbados dollar to a basket of currencies and so on. Let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend, but when all is said and done, the analysis is going to be done by the government and we will take the steps that are necessary for the protection of Barbados,” he however stated.
He meanwhile added, “Our peg to the US dollar has served us very well since 1975. It has made our business transactions certain, our business people have been able to rely on it, our citizens have been able to rely in it. It is true that the US dollar has been strengthening against other currencies in recent times, that has happened before and that can change as well.
“So I am not fazed by any of this. I am ready for the debate with the country. I am ready for it and we are going to get there,” he said, whilst acknowledging that Barbadians are now eager to have these and other matters fully explained to them.