Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Darcy Boyce, is pictured as he addressed the Barbados Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors’ seminar entitled: Determination to Achieve today at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church. (A Gaskin/BGIS)
Barbados’ economy is doing relatively well in spite of the global economic climate and there is no pressure on its foreign reserves or threat to the value of the dollar.
So says Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Darcy Boyce, as he addressed the Barbados Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors’ seminar under the theme: Determination to Achieve, today at the Savannah Hotel.
Giving an account of Government’s initiatives over the last five years, he said: "We have experienced conditions of slow growth and economic uncertainty and financial stress has greatly and adversely affected all of us in the Caribbean. Those countries like Barbados that rely on a service economy, driven by the demand of the developed world, have had a more difficult time than others…?? We have had to meet the current needs of our people while still providing some impetus for economic growth … as well as provide capacity for future expansion".
Senator Boyce said that against the background of the negative growth in the developed world many nations like Barbados were also under stress, however, he noted that it was government’s view that this country had been able to manage "quite well so that business and social conditions have been kept far less hostile than they otherwise would have been."
He pointed out that foreign reserves of the country had remained well in excess of the safety standard of three months of cover for imports of goods and services, adding that the foreign reserve cover over the last five years had remained in excess of what it had been over the period up to 2007.
The Senator continued: "The decline in the Gross Domestic Product has been halted and the country has had a small growth of around a half to three quarters of one per cent – 2010 to 2011 has seen a relatively sluggish performance.
"Increasing unemployment has been contained and the current rate of around 11 per cent is in line with our historical average. Government’s deficit is also coming down and our social safety support has become stronger," he added.
In the area of the foreign exchange earning sectors of the economy – namely multinational businesses, he said that for the most part, Government had been able to keep performance "stable to improving".
With regard to tourism as another revenue earning sector, Senator Boyce noted that Government had made more funds available to the Barbados Tourism Authority to increase its marketing, particularly in the area of providing airlift to Barbados for more tourism markets.
"I recall the efforts made out of Canada, especially western Canada, [and] western USA. There are efforts out of northern Europe and Scandinavian countries, all of which have helped us to keep our tourism numbers?? from declining further and in many instances between 2009 and 2010 to keep them increasing," he indicated.
The Minister, who has responsibility for Energy, Telecommunications, Immigration and Invest Barbados, reminded persons that Barbados has also hosted a number of international events in the area of yachting and stated that those events had not only attracted hundreds of visitors – yachtsmen, their crews and their families, but had brought much foreign exchange to the island.