HERE'S THE BAD NEWS
The OECS/ECCU is one of the strongest things about the nations of the East Caribbean. But in the current climate, we, like Europe, must share the consequences of each other’s mistakes. It’s as bad as it sounds. Dominica has 9% deficit and 104% debt to GDP ratio. Antigua-Barbuda, pli worse encore – 10.6% deficit, 117% debt to GDP ratio. St Kitts-Nevis, 7.4% and 156%. Bon dieux! St Lucia is at 9% and 71%.
|(mumblemumble) I'm tired of warning them (grumblegrumble) fellaz....|
The actual debt of the GOSL is $2.53 billion.
If we continue the way we’re going now, we’ll be over 90% by 2015. We need to change course so that we’re down to about 60% debt to GDP ration in 2015. As for growth, those numbers are so dismal, we don’t even want to talk about that here.
|Read 'em and weep! For those who can't read numbers, this chart says you're probably screwed and you deserve it.|
“Measures are needed to stabilize the situation. We must have the courage to take these measures now.”
The regional picture is made worse by the global picture. Everybody’s screwed. Well, almost everybody. But everyone who is screwed seems totally screwed. While those not screwed remain marginally fucked.
Wages and unemployment are too high. (Tell it to management and the consultants, say workers who can’t get minimum wage.) Productivity, efficiency and output are too low.
And most of y’all are still breeding like we just escaped the Garden of Eden.
Large numbers can’t find jobs that match their skills. 60% of workers don’t have complete secondary school education. We have a mismatch of workers and skills. Only 3% of workers are technicians and professionals, 2% in craft and related fields and 39% are making bom. (That last statistic is subject to correction.)
COST CUTS CARIBBEAN & Co.
If you’re the head of government anywhere in the world, right now, you want to believe the pundits who tell you that things are going to get better. The fact that they’ve been saying this since 2009, with no good result is beside the point. The IMF says that US job numbers are getting better, so I want to believe that’s going to result in more investment, more tourism and whatever else we need America for (more bom?).
Of course, Europe is dragging the whole forward movement down. If only it was possible to simply flush Cyprus and Greece down some literal toilet, things might be a little better. Might. Japan is screwed. China slowed down. Canada is in the same category as the US. The only people who are ascendant are the BRICS. And with the possible exception of Brazil, these countries are corrupt beyond belief, so their true growth potential is constantly being short changed.
Regionally, growth is flat in Barbados. In Jamaica there is growth in tourism but mining and agriculture are down and no one has gotten realistic about Jamaica’s number one export. (You would think that in this economic climate, Jamaica would say, “Well, it’s legal in Colorado, so….”) It’s been the fourth straight year of negative growth in the Eastern Caribbean. Even Trinidad, in the midst of rising oil prices, has managed to fall economically flat.