Prime Minister David Thompson??

Barbados’ economy is still sound and its safety net effectively strengthened and the Medium Term Fiscal Strategy targets are by and large being met.

Prime Minister David Thompson gave this assurance yesterday during an address to the nation at his Government Headquarters office, Bay Street.

Mr. Thompson said: "It is an undisputed fact that Barbados is faring better than several developing and even developed countries of the world. That does not, and should not be interpreted to mean that it is plain sailing.?? We have many challenges, and we are focused on meeting them head-on."

The Prime Minister outlined that the recent austerity Budget in the United Kingdom had clearly identified the dangers that the modern, global recession posed, even to highly developed and stable societies.

Against this background, Mr.Thompson stated he met with members of Cabinet and all Permanent Secretaries, as promised, to monitor the first quarter performance in the country’s fiscal affairs.

"This week, on Monday and yesterday, [Wednesday], we continued our projects review with ministries and statutory corporations to determine that government’s capital programmes, especially in housing, security, water and sanitation and industry are being executed in a timely and efficient manner.

??"Today, I am hoping to sign the Four Seasons Agreement to get that project up and running again….We are also intensifying our negotiation of Double Taxation Treaties and recently signed a critical one with Panama."

He added: "In particular, we have redoubled our efforts to find new markets for our flagship tourism industry. Without being overly optimistic, I am pleased with the responses we are getting from two countries that seem to have weathered the financial and economic storm well – Canada and Brazil. We now have to penetrate the Chinese market and the Minister of Tourism will be undertaking an initiative in a matter of days in that regard."

In conclusion the Prime Minister spoke about the attributes of Barbadians, as creative and resilient people who had weathered several disasters in the past and had come out stronger and better equipped to face the future.

He remarked: "I am, therefore, very encouraged by the initiatives being undertaken by ordinary people to cut out unnecessary expenditure and to produce more of what we consume.

"I believe that every Barbadian deserves the opportunity to make a greater contribution to the development of our beloved country and the right to share in the resources that we create together. ??We are on the threshold of making that great leap forward to a happy, contented and more caring society."

??"During his address to the nation, Mr. Thompson announced a two-month absence from office, with Deputy Prime Minister Freundel Stuart assuming duties as acting Prime Minister. Cathy Lashley (CL) –

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