Our Readers' Opinions
May 12, 2017
Caribbean faces development challenges

Regarding Sir Ronald Sanders’ May 9 piece on “Globalization: disadvantaged small states”, just as the 2008 financial crisis was a “problem of their own making” by the industrialized countries, the current development crisis in the Caribbean is also very much a problem of their own making by those many countries suffering from government corruption, mismanagement, and overspending.

Yes, economies of scale, a shortage of skilled labour, and the other issues Sir Ronald mentions are genuine constraints on development, but there are many tiny places around the globe, including several in the Caribbean, with blockbuster economies.

High debt levels are also a real drag on growth, but much of this is a product of profligate regimes trying to maintain power by buying voter allegiance with popular, but unproductive projects, using money borrowed overseas.

More important than a shortage of skilled labour is the low productivity of public and private labour across the region, as repeatedly pointed out for our country by the Honourable Prime Minister and most recently by head of our Wages Council, Lloyd Small, in a press conference where he noted that, “… we only have four hours of productivity out of eight hours of work. It’s not good for the country.”

What this means is that external development constraints always need to be carefully weighed against internal limitations on growth.

C ben-David