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Nov 18, 2009

Former Barbados PM on the recession in the Caribbean…

25879Owen Arthur; he is the former prime minister of Barbados who has bragging rights to record economic growth in his country during his fourteen year tenure. While he is not involved in electoral politics he is still a voice in the region. His current visit to Belize has to do with the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Arthur is here to analyze where we stand with its implementation. When he took the couch on this morning’s Open Your Eyes, Arthur was candid about the anemic public education on the subject. He also addressed another hard hitting issue… the global economic recession, which is now taking a toll on Belize.

Owen Arthurs, Former Prime Minister of Barbados

“I believe that the Caribbean, with very few exceptions, is facing perhaps the most imposing economic crisis in history. Most Caribbean countries now have problems that predated the global recession, that have been made worse by the global recession and that will persist I think after the global recession has lifted. Most Caribbean countries, including Belize, are facing a very fearsome adjustment to losing preferences and it is not easy to replace one form of activity with another in a short period of time. That adjustment started and will continue but is a very difficult adjustment. Most Caribbean countries also have very serious public financial problems and there is a sense of which the long run has arrived for most Caribbean countries. The cost of independence, for example, imposes a tremendous financial strain on most governments. You have to have the same foreign services of other developed societies. Nation building is expensive but Caribbean countries are now experiencing very serious public financial problems. You also have very severe balance of payments problems because the global recession has affected them but there’s an underlying tendency towards balance of payments problems in these countries. They’ve had those in the past. What makes this situation very difficult is that you have those problems now with most Caribbean countries having perhaps some of the worst debt profiles of any countries in the world.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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