Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, is pictured as he delivered the feature address at the 185th Anniversary luncheon of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.??

So far, Government has achieved a great deal of success in maintaining adequate levels of foreign exchange, fiscal consolidation and a sense of normalcy in the society.

This was underscored by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he delivered the feature address at the 185th anniversary luncheon of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It was held yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill.

Mr. Stuart told the business executives that not only had government seen and implemented prudent fiscal measures to facilitate economic growth, but had also realised a fair degree of success in keeping people employed.

"We have been able to contain the unemployment rate, somewhere in the vicinity now of about 11 per cent". "Given our need to promote growth and maintain a stable economy and society, it remains the policy of government to continue its collaboration with members of the private sector and the labour unions to ensure that job losses are kept to a minimum. We want to ensure existing levels of employment are maintained and, where possible, expanded. By doing this, we will be empowering citizens to contribute meaningfully to economic development and the improvement of their social welfare," Mr. Stuart asserted.

The Prime Minister explained that a number of measures in the November 22, 2010 Budget were geared at facilitating fiscal consolidation.

He pointed out that with the commencement of such public and private sector capital projects as the continuation of the Warrens roadwork project to address traffic congestion in that area; the Barbados Water Authority pile laying programme and the re-start of the Four Seasons project, among many others, it was "confidently expected that the unemployment rate would exhibit no further significant increase".

Mr. Stuart admitted that the global economic situation had caused an increase in the fiscal deficit and a downgrading of Barbados’ international credit rating. However, he stressed that government was committed, "as a matter of philosophy and policy to the pursuit of fiscal discipline and prudence and, therefore, having held out for as long as we could, fiscal consolidation is now a key objective of the administration".

??It was also the aim of government, Mr. Stuart stated, to maintain a sense of normalcy in the society, so that persons experienced no disruption in their access to the social services to which they had become accustomed.

He also heaped praise on such projects as the Bridgetown revitalization initiative, which, he said would breathe new life into Bridgetown and promote it "as one of the leading capitals within the Caribbean, both for doing business and for recreation".

The Prime Minister applauded the business community for their continued support, maintaining that that such a response and spirit of cooperation, had greatly contributed to the capacity of the island to minimise the ravages of the global recession.??


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