Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is assuring Barbadians that his government is working ???steadfastly and consistently??? to keep the current economic challenges under control.

He gave this assurance recently while speaking to reporters at the end of the Blessing of the Nation Service at St. Philip Primary School, at which he addressed the teachers, students and their parents.

Mr. Stuart maintained that the current economic challenges faced by the island were not ???challenges with which we cannot deal???, while pointing out that the country had survived three oil crises and would survive this economic one.

???We had some foreign exchange problems which we have reasonably [and] successfully managed. Our foreign reserves are reasonably healthy at the moment. We have been spending more than we have been earning and there is a deficit gap we are dealing with. But, that problem is not unique to us,??? the Prime Minister stated.

Mr. Stuart said the issue was that no-one could have predicted how long the crisis would last and given this situation, Government had tried to keep people???s inconveniences to the ???bare minimum???.

Despite the challenges, the Prime Minister predicted that Barbados would survive and prosper. He further noted that the inflation rate in 1975 was around 40 per cent but today, it stood at less than five per cent.

Mr. Stuart added that the unemployment rate then was 22.5 per cent and now, it stood at 13.4 per cent.??Additionally, the Prime Minister pointed out that every country had been affected by the economic crisis, and countries like the United States and the United Kingdom were now showing signs of recovery after seven or eight years.

One of the challenges faced by the island, Mr. Stuart noted, was that the tourism industry depended on arrivals from the international countries most affected by the economic crisis.?????We have climbed some high mountains and we have been able to get through them,??? he stressed.??

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