The Bahamas Weekly Facebook The Bahamas Weekly Twitter
News : International : Caribbean News Last Updated: Jun 20, 2014 - 5:05:44 PM


Caribbean economist, Zhivargo Laing calls for pro-growth strategies
By Bevan Springer
Feb 28, 2013 - 7:57:38 PM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
Laing.jpg

Former Bahamas finance minister says newly elected Caribbean leaders face difficult economic conditions


BAHAMAS  - A leading Caribbean economist says the newly elected administrations in Grenada and Barbados can steer their respective countries onto a path of economic sustainability, but it will require "genuine spiritual leadership devoid of ego in order to make difficult decisions with awareness, intelligence, wisdom and compassion."

Zhivargo Laing, a former Bahamian cabinet minister, lauded the experience of Prime Ministers Dr. Keith Mitchell and Freundel Stuart of Grenada and Barbados respectively and noted they preside over their nations at a "challenging time in the economic and social history of the world, when there is a great need to pursue economic growth strategies that generate jobs and improve income prospects for their people."

Laing noted that the Caribbean leaders "still face challenges as economic headwinds continue to buffet the global economy, notwithstanding its slow rebound from the recent financial and economic crisis."

"However, there are possibilities from pursuing pro-growth policies," suggested Laing who served as Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in the past Hubert Ingraham administration.

He noted the need to "encourage domestic investment through international capital access and promote inward foreign direct investment." He also urged a similar push domestically to support the needs of small and medium size enterprises, "more so in non-financial ways (such as management, technology, market access and cost savings) and improving efficiencies in the public sector."

Drawing on his own ministerial experiences, Laing recalled "one of the great lessons of the last crisis is that years of prudent fiscal management can produce financial headroom (low debt-servicing) which is an enormous asset to have in a crisis."

This "headroom" was valuable, Laing asserted, because it provided "the ability to engage in the kind of fiscal activity that supports an economy, protects the financial system and provides relief to those socially displaced during a crisis."

The former Bahamian finance minister said new administrations are quickly thrust into a balancing act, "facing the difficult task of balancing the realities of government finances with significantly limited room for maneuvering with the demands of greater investments in public education, public health, infrastructure, crime reduction and public sector reform."

Governments can no longer implement their mandates all by themselves and with their allocated resources, he asserted: "They will have to be creative in exploring the benefits of prudent public private partnerships - as well as achieving efficiency gains in government administration."

Laing, an author, management consultant and leadership trainer, said the Eastern Caribbean leaders also come to office when new global standards threaten some of the traditional economic sectors of Caribbean economies.

One such change, the new and evolving standards in international financial services, threatens the lucrative offshore financial sectors.

Urging careful attention to international trade negotiations, Laing pointed to policies which have made historic market access to certain products less effective and imposed new reciprocal demands that prove challenging to small and vulnerable industries.

He was confident the new administrations will "approach dealing with these issues with a clear sense of purpose but appreciating the competing interest of the global powers."

In all of this, Laing believes, new and current administrations will have to recognize the enormous stress being suffered by so many families in their countries and which have taken many of them to "the brink of near hopelessness."

Highlighting the human element of government priorities, he said "for many of these families, economic and social relief will not be forthcoming in any short period of time, so their frustrations may yet linger. It will be incumbent on leaders therefore to communicate with their populations genuinely and forthrightly."

In such difficult economic times the former cabinet minister said "the demands of the present moment require honest public policy dialogue with citizens, making clear what is necessary, doable and prudent. Politics as usual will be a mistake."

"Even in the best of times with all hands on deck, we are challenged to steer the ship of state to safe harbor; in the worst of times it is impossible to do so if all hands are not on deck. Prime Minister Mitchell of Grenada's pledge to promote unity amongst his people is both timely and timeless. It is a necessary pledge throughout the region. Execution now is necessary," he concluded.

Bookmark and Share


© Copyright 2013 by thebahamasweekly.com

Top of Page

Caribbean News
Latest Headlines
Violence in the Caribbean data produced by CIM
Quotable Caribbean: Eric Adams, Earle Bethel, Karolin Troubetzky, and more...
TCI Receives Final Country Poverty Assessment Report
Caribbean Export Launches the Regional Investor of the Year Award 2014
Amanyara Funded Learning Centre Unveiled At Oseta Jolly Primary
Baha Mar Dazzles Caribbean Meeting Planners
Award winning Caribbean journalist Clare Forrester passes
Caribbean Export Supports a Joint Investment Promotions Strategy (JIPS) for Haiti and the Dominican Republic
Caribbean Export Supports Start Up Jamaica
Turks & Caicos government announces senior appointments
CDF & SLTB Collaborate On Second Showing By Shakespeare’s Globe
Panorama Steel Band Competition to Showcase the Rich Musical Heritage of Trinidad and Tobago
InterCaribbean Airways Increases Caribbean Connections
TCI Government Convenes National Disaster Committee Meeting
Haiti launches cholera vaccination campaign
Saint Lucians & The World Encouraged To ‘Touch The Top Of The Most Iconic Rocks In The Caribbean’
Turks and Caicos Authorities Intercept Illegal Haitian Immigration Attempt
Turks & Caicos Islands Government sees significant progress in nationwide recovery efforts
Update: Turks & Caicos Islands Government continues flood recovery effort
Arawak Port Development First to Implement Navis Software in The Caribbean
Turks and Caicos Public School Opening Delayed
Caribbean Fisheries Officers off to Australia for Training
TCI Ministry of Health and Human Services issues advice to residents in areas affected by flooding
CRFM to Give Oral Arguments to Law of the Sea Tribunal
Flight Operations Resume at Providenciales Airport Following the Passage of Tropical Storm Cristobal
‎Governor and Premier lead Turks and Caicos Storm Recovery
Tropical Storm Cristabol effects flight operations at Providenciales Airport
TCI Premier: Money, Manpower and Immediate Assessment after Tropical Storm Cristobal
(Video) Caribbean Chefs Cooking for a Cause in Manhattan
Health City Cayman Islands Performs First Lvad Heart Surgery
Caribbean Export Supports Haiti’s Private Sector
BTC Supports Launch of CANTO Caribbean Women in ICT Initiative
CIBC FirstCaribbean to stage Annual Walk for the Cure
TCI Government Support Services Ministerial Delegation off to Nassau, Bahamas
Casting Call for Caribbean Music, Model & Talent Showcase
Lineup of Caribbean feature films announced for trinidad+tobago film festival/14
TCI Culinary Ambassador Cooks Her Way into the Heart of the ‘Big Apple’
Quotable Caribbean: Karolin Troubetzkoy, Stanley Palm, Donnie Dawson, and more...
Aquaculture as Gateway to "Blue Economy" for CRFM States
Strengthening Haiti-Bahamas Cooperation: Marketing Haiti Agriculture Products in the Bahamas