Wednesday, April 24, 2024

BLP COLUMN: Back to the economy

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Perhaps like never before, the eyes and ears of the entire nation are expected to be riveted on the proceedings of this weekend’s 72nd annual conference of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
Traditionally held over the last weekend in October, this year’s gathering was postponed by the BLP’s leadership in deference to the passing on October 23 of Prime Minister David Thompson.
Now with the late Mr Thompson having been appropriately mourned, buried and lauded over a 17-day period, the populace of Barbados are more than ready to return to the realities and practicalities of day to day living.
And in coming back down to earth from that extended emotional high, right-thinking Barbadians justifiably concerned about the nation’s well-being would want to have the country’s attention refocused on the continuing, protracted and parlous state of our economy.
It will be for this crucial reason, more so than any other, that a highly expectant people will be looking to the proceedings at the Deighton Griffith School for full and honest disclosure on the true state of our economy, and a clear outline of the steps needed to be taken to pull us back from certain economic ruin and social devastation, should the current approach be maintained unchecked by the Government.
The truth is that the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) hard work to conceal the full extent and depth of Barbados’ economic degradation on its watch has been exceeded only by the seeming intensity of its efforts to mask the true nature and gravity of the late Mr Thompson’s illness at first. But in the end, the truth was revealed and so it must be with the economy too.
Based on the BLP’s repeatedly demonstrated ability to correct the DLP’s economic mistakes, seen under the late Prime Minister Tom Adams and more recently by former Prime Minister and now Opposition Leader Owen Arthur, no wonder then that the public has been increasingly clamouring for the BLP and Mr Arthur to enlighten, reassure and rescue them.
The BLP has a long and proud record of solid achievement in providing A Better Life For Our People, unlike the glitzy, glamorous but empty and unfulfilled promises of the DLP.
Opposition Leader Arthur has quite properly signalled that the immediate task of the BLP would be to reposition the dangerous state of the economy at the centre of national attention and debate. With a proven track record of nearly 14 unbroken years of economic growth, unmatched low levels of unemployment and unprecedentedly high levels of foreign reserves, plus regional demands for his economic skills, it is not surprising that Mr Arthur’s speech to this conference is being regarded as one of the most eagerly awaited in the history of the region’s oldest political party.
Few can dispute that it is extremely difficult to recall when the spirit of the nation was so depressed over the economy and its bleak prospects, made worse by a clearly unqualified Government once more trying to hoodwink a trusting nation into believing and accepting the DLP’s unbelievably glib and ignorant declaration that our present condition should be tolerated because the DLP is more concerned about creating a society than building an economy.
The BLP has never once in 72 years sought to wish away, far less run away from, the challenges of governing, the bold, exciting and imaginative tackling of which it has always seen as an exciting national calling, duty and obligation. Its 72nd annual conference will be no different.

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