Prime Minister David Thompson????

Barbados is well poised to work its way out of the current economic situation.

Prime Minister David Thompson gave this prognosis today during a meeting with members of the media at Ilaro court.

He said: "Obviously 2009 has been a tough year. 2010, based on all the forecasts, should be the year in which there will be a reversal of that trend, but obviously it depends very much on what is happening in the United States of America and Europe, in particular, and Canada, in relation to Barbados.

"2010 is the year in which we expect growth to resume … and hopefully for the tourist season. The first half of 2010 will be tough.?? There are no two ways about it, because it is not expected that growth will resume internationally, [or] robustly enough to impact on us in the Caribbean and even what growth we see, we have to make sure that it is sustainable."

However, Mr. Thompson pointed out that Barbados’ ability to cope would depend largely on the tourist season. "We have to see how our tourism season performs and manage our resources through the recessionary period and then look to benefit. There will be a lag obviously from what is happening elsewhere.

"I think the decline worldwide was greater than anticipated and, therefore, that would impact on Barbados. …We were in a reasonably fortunate position, because we were still able to go to the capital markets, which was a vote of confidence in our country and we have been able to manage our external position quite comfortably."

??He made it clear, though, that changes had been necessary. "We’ve had to adjust our approaches during the course of the year, according to the circumstances that confront us. So, there has been a little bit of stimulus, but there has not been over stimulation. There has been a focus on ensuring that there’s no dramatic increase in unemployment, which, of course, is really one of our principal concerns and there has been an attempt to build consensus among the private sector on the strategies that we should adopt."

Concerning the island’s performance in comparison with other nations, the Prime Minister said Barbados had done "reasonably well in the circumstances."

In relation to predictions for tourism, Mr. Thompson observed that a lot of the hotels had indicated they were experiencing "reasonably good bookings, or better than expected bookings, but they are also reporting that there are a lot of late bookings and, therefore, it makes their planning?? a lot more difficult."

However, he expressed confidence that with the increased number of seats out of Canada and the United States via New York, through the addition of Jet Blue and West Jet, and some other partners, as well as the maintenance of the existing complement of airlift, "that we can keep our heads above water."??clashley@barbados.gov.bb

Pin It on Pinterest