Tourism still leading
From Page 18.
included the radical suggestion of 4 500 public sector workers job cuts overtime, including $270 million in separation packages, and Barbados entering a fiveyear structural adjustment programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Economist Professor Michael Howard called Worrell’s prescription insensitive and inhumane and the search for economic answers continued. The latest prescription was the Barbados Sustainable Recovery Plan 2017, which was yet to be finalised, far less implemented, before the year ended.
Tourism continued to lead the way for Barbados economically. Arrivals grew, airlift increased, existing hotels were refurbished and Sandals opened a second property in Christ Church. Work on Wyndham Sam Lord’s Castle continued, but the proposed Hyatt Centric property in Bridgetown stalled as social activist, attorney at law David Comissiong waged a battle against it in court.
While tourism flourished, even while threatened by the stench and leakage of sewage on the South Coast, the international business sector continued to be challenged. To make matters worse, the European Union named Barbados on a list of uncooperative low tax jurisdictions. Government vowed to clear Barbados’ name.
As economic matters go, 2017 will also be remembered as the year when, after an eight-year wait, CLICO policyholders were on the verge of getting what they were owed. There was, however, no positive word on the stalled Four Seasons project, which like CLICO, collapsed in early 2009.
Not to be left out was the National Insurance Scheme. The 15th actuarial review of its funds raised concerns about the untimely filing of audited reports, investment policy, governance, and its overall administration.
The Auditor General’s Report also raised similar concerns about financial dealings across Government’s various ministries and departments.
Twenty-seventeen will certainly be remembered as the year when the economy was the major issue. Unlike several of its Caribbean neighbours, Barbados’ economy was spared the ravages of the 2017 hurricane season. As 2018 quickly approaches, though, the island remains in an economic storm.