December 17, 2013
SVG could find itself in similar situation to Barbados – Eustace

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace has warned that unless government becomes more responsible, this country could find itself in a similar situation to that of Barbados.{{more}}

Speaking on the New Times radio program yesterday, Eustace read from a ministerial statement made by that country’s Minister of Finance Chris Sinkler on measures that they have now been forced to take in order to deal with the constant deficit in Barbados’ estimates.

Sinkler, in a statement, indicated a number of steps that that country will be taking to deal with the issue, which includes the laying off of 3,000 public workers, the freezing of increments over a two-year period and an agreement made by all high Ministerial employees, including Permanent Secretaries and political appointees, to take a 10 per cent wage cut.

“We need to control our deficits because there will come a time when we will need to pay the price for it,” Eustace warned.

According to Eustace, the debt in the Barbadian estimates had now reached BDS$143 million, but the authorities had come up with ways to reduce the deficit.

“I want the public to listen; Barbados has been regarded as one of the best run economies in the region, if not the best,” he said.

According to Eustace, the Barbados government is now looking at the situation realistically and a decision was made to solve the problem.

“This is the kind of thing I have been warning about,” the Leader of the Opposition said.

“I have been running around, but they say Eustace with his doom and gloom – well Barbados taking the doom and gloom and taking action because they have to do it to correct what is going on and we continue to go blindly down the road,” he said.

The Opposition Leader said that the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to do “a lot of foolish things”, but that we need to also “bite the bullet” and begin taking steps to reduce our deficit gradually.

He said that St Vincent and the Grenadines had arrived at the stage where we needed to take that kind of action. Eustace again accused Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves of taking austerity measures because he recognized the problem.

Eustace, during the presentation of the 2014 Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue, had expressed disappointment with the document. He knocked the Government for once again presenting a deficit budget. According to the Leader of the Opposition, this difference of $133 million is something that could not be ignored.

“I’m worried because the things he said he is going to do; they are not going to get done,” Eustace said. (DD)