Permanant Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Carson Browne, listining attentively as Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr. David Estwick outline the main points about the economic early warning system.????

A Government Minister is suggesting that a modernised public service must ??"fast track" critical pieces of legislation to mitigate the impact on the Barbadian landscape, in the event of a major economic crisis.

These observations were made by Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr. David Estwick, while addressing the press launch of Government’s economic early warning system today, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Dr. Estwick reasoned that depending on the severity of the emergency, the country could not wait more than a year before the preventative measures were put in place.

Dr. Estwick noted: "What I am hoping that this [early warning system] would do, is to send a signal, that we develop capacities to move rapidly when there is a danger.?? It would also allow us to put those types of stabilisation measures in place, when there is evidence of a period of recession and not wait until a country had entered a recession to implement corrective measures."

The Economic Affairs Minister conceded that policy makers did not "move with haste" to put the requisite mitigating strategies in place even though there was evidence of fiscal stress in international economies and source markets during the period 2008/2009.

On the local front, Dr. Estwick listed Government’s corrective measures such as the extension of unemployment benefits and the establishment of a job retraining exercise for the retrenched, as two areas that were hampered by legislative regulations.

He stated: "It makes no sense going through the entire legislative ambit and it takes you two years to be able to put a job retraining exercise for those people who have lost their jobs and can access the ten million dollars retraining fund.?? So, the public service in its modernisation thrust, must create a fast-track system to respond with urgency to crisis situations, so that we can have the best response."

The Economic Affairs Minister pointed out that the "bottle necks" in the public service, which were identified by the Special Working Group on the Economy, could be achieved if everyone worked together to achieve this common goal. jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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