Notes From The Margin

October 9, 2007

More Sage Advice From The IMF – “Cut Your Tax Incentives!”

We had a bit of a laugh in hearing the most recent advice from the IMF, in their latest Public Information Notice the IMF covers a seminar that was held t0 address selected cross border issues affecting the Caribbean and the three issues selected are financial integration, tax incentives and investment, and trade preference erosion.

On two of the three issues the IMF’s position isn’t that bad.

On Financial Integration:

 

... Directors considered that closer integration of the Caribbean’s still largely segmented financial markets can be expected to help generate higher economic growth by improving access to credit and lowering interest rate spreads. However, more integrated financial markets will also allow shocks to spread across borders more rapidly and pose greater regulatory challenges, especially with large financial conglomerates operating across different industry segments and in several countries.

 

On Trade Preference Erosion:

 

Directors recognized that the erosion of preferential access to European markets for bananas and sugar entails significant losses for several Caribbean countries….

… the strategy to address this difficult challenge will need to involve carefully targeted social safety nets to alleviate the impact on affected vulnerable groups; efforts to raise the efficiency of existing banana and sugar industries, where viable; and transition away to new economic activities, in countries where production is unlikely to be competitive even after significant efforts and investments.

Now we come to the fly in this ointment…..

Directors noted that, while the Caribbean countries’ heavy reliance on tax incentives may help attract investors, they are costly in terms of foregone revenues…..

… In light of this, and recognizing the intense competition for global investment funds which the region faces, Directors encouraged Caribbean policy-makers to weigh carefully the costs and benefits of tax exemptions and consider reducing them if possible; to step up efforts to improve other determinants of investment; and to make remaining tax incentives more cost-effective.

So if I’ve got this right, the incentive to get the revenue is costing you too much revenue, so you should cut the incentive to reduce your losses. But….. if you cut the incentive you may not get the revenue so you will end up foregoing even more revenue.

Hmmm so after some thinking we in the margin came up with this economic theory.

“While tax incentives may be expensive and may have costs associated with foregone revenue, not having the incentives is even more expensive” In short it’s better to have 75% of something rather than 100% of nothing. (And we aren’t even trained economists!)

This advice comes from the same people who managed the Jamaica’s and Guyana’s structural adjustment programs!

Marginal

 

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24 Comments »

  1. NFTM, unfortunately, whenever an attempt is made to simplify complicated issues, important qualifications tend to be ignored with the result that the proposals become too generalised to serve any useful prescriptive purpose.

    Your formulation: “While tax incentives may be expensive and may have costs associated with foregone revenue, not having the incentives is even more expensive” In short it’s better to have 75% of something rather than 100% of nothing.” misses the point which is not that incentives are “expensive” but that in some cases their costs exceed their benefits. Hence the call in the report for a more careful weighing of costs and benefits.

    The justification for tax incentives offered by Governments is to mitigate or reduce costs, and risks, thereby making a positive impact on private investment decisions. One of the problems that governments in the Caribbean encounter is that they have at times permitted investors to bid up the cost of incentives by playing one government off against another. To counteract this efforts have been made to harmonise their incentive regimes.

    You will be aware that there are other determinants of costs that foreign enterprises may encounter which may not be effectively offset by tax incentives. These are generally lumped under the rubric “the cost of doing business” which in recent times have gained increasing attention in policy formulation.

    Actually, this is far too complex to be treated in summary fashion in a response to your blog. Incidentally, can you be more specific in your reference to the event from which you quoted the report? For a non-economist you seem to read quite a few economic reports, and I applaud your effort to make sense of them. I wish more Barbadians should do so.

    Comment by Linchh — October 9, 2007 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  2. My issue with the IMF’s position is that it ignores the wider competitive picture, where the countries of the Caribbean are in competition with other regions of the world, not just those in Caricom for foreign investment flows. To suggest that the Caribbean should in effect have a “non competition” approach to tax incentives within the region, would do no more than make the entire region uncompetitive.

    I would very much agree with you that governments should put more effort into analysing the costs and benefits particularly those indirect benefits as well. (Such as a well known brand, may make the jurisdiction more attractive to other brands). I also think that given the smallness of the economies the Caribbean should seek quality investment/investors as opposed to quantity, eventually lying down with dogs WILL give you fleas.

    Marginal.

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — October 10, 2007 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

  3. I will not dignify Noel Lynches and some others in Barbados propaganda with a reply re export markets etc, because it is nothing short of foolishness. Few Caribbean Nations have any meaningful Export trades and those that do have few competitors to begin with because most of the products involved are indigenous to the regions of the Caribbean and others like Oil command the World price!

    However, what I would like to address is the gross unfairness of tax incentives given to Foreigners including those who retire in Barbados. Most foreign retirees if not all and many of whom, who do not necessarily live in mansions pay not one red cent in taxes to Barbados.(property taxes excepted) Yet they have the same services available to them that Barbadians pay for through taxes.

    However, the tax incentives given for foreigners to come to Barbados and set up tourist oriented and other industries is an outrage. Especially when many of these operations are making no money many are purposely run this way. And what is even a greater disgrace is that many of these industries are seasonal and even at high times do little in reducing unemployment generally. And here is another thing. In addition to the incentives being received from the Barbados Government many of these Foreign Off-Shore operations are also avoiding and or evading paying taxes in the countries from which they came, by setting up these Barbados industries some of which hire not one damn person. Some are doing so legally and others illegally but either way they are pocketing big money and giving back little or nothing to Barbados. These boys/girls are enjoying a double whammy at the trough!

    A prime example of this is the Crane hotel recently publishing in the Toronto Star Newspaper that they had sold one of their condos in Barbados for $2 million. This condo no doubt was built by labourers and artisans getting far below the wages of similar trades in other countries. Yet the condo commanded a sale price of a condo overseas. On top of that the Crane too must be receiving tax incentives maybe they might like to tell us.All of this considered why would Foreigners not like to do business in Barbados?
    They are being treated royally and far better than they would be in their own countries!

    I am not against giving incentives it is done all over the world to encourage industry to come to specific areas that is hard to develop but the incentives are conditional on the industry employing specific numbers of the areas peoples and is in effect for only a year or two.I also suggest that the type of investment Barbados should be encouraging and seeking out is industries that will create jobs year round or diverse industry that accomplishes the same thing. I often wonder the average number of jobs that Port St. Charles, Westmoreland and other such developments created year round. These Developments involve mega dollars so how have they benefitted the small man/woman. Did these complexes not get big incentives too? Including incentives to the buyers of units yet I hear it is predominantly owned by West Indians not foreigners!

    However what is of even greater concern to me as it should be to others about the economic structure in Barbados is this. Thousands of foreigners are flocking to the shores of Barbados. If I am not mistaken it has been said that in the past decade or two as many as 10 to 20 thousand new residents came to Barbados from the UK. Then a week or so ago a Minister of the BLP Government said in the press that he has been told that there could be as many as 20 thousand illegals in Barbados.I do not know when a census was last done but here is what one wonders if any or all of this is true. How many people are living in Barbados now? It must be well over 300,000.

    How many of these new arrivals are paying taxes and what impact has these numbers had on the resources of Barbados that is already stretched out, not to mention the impact it is having on increasing un-employment which places an even heavier burden on the many social nets in place. Is it any wonder more and more people are at the poverty level? Yet none of these issues seem to be of a concern to anyone especially the BLP Government.

    But here is another thing that no one seems to even be talking about anymore. And that is, because of the massive debt that this BLP Government has incurred was it not the IMF who advised them not long ago to cut back on their extravagant spending and to increase VAT by 2% to help pay down some of the debt? Now I know Arthur says he will not be increasing VAT but eventually if he is returned to power he has to increase something to help control his reckless spending of the past ten years. And when he does it will be the average Bajan it will impact who can least afford it that will have to eat less and pay more while the Foreigner continues to get a free lunch on the backs of those who can least afford it.

    The whole thing sounds to me like a Government who has gone as crazy as a sh—–t house rat!

    MARGINAL PICKS UP HIS EDITORIAL PEN TO MAKE A COMMENT

    Welcome to the Margin, feel free to argue but let’s not get into calling other posters’ comments “foolishness” or other tearing down of people.

    For the record I have Linchh’s email address and I don’t believe him to be Noel Lynch.

    Let’s keep it civil.
    Marginal

    Comment by No Name — October 12, 2007 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  4. My apologogies to the commenter my mistake. I got to wondering about it after and suspected I had made a mistake as Lynch is the Tourist Minister. And I thought why would he be commenting?

    I think your format for these comments a bit confusing. I am not saying this to make excuses I Accept responsibility but it was an honest mistake and I hope Mr. Linchhs accepts my apolgies.

    Comment by No Name — October 12, 2007 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

  5. No Name,

    I have to say that they are so many points in your comment that I disagree with, that I’m tempted to make a new post of it. While the current Government can be whacked quite deservedly for many things, I have to say that much of what your comment covers, strikes me as being political comment, and not based in statistical (or verifiable) fact. While there are some points that are in my opinion correct, much of what is there has very simple answers.

    You could if you wanted to go after the government far more effectively than this.

    Marginal

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — October 12, 2007 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  6. I invite you to take me to task because I have always advocated and still do that Democracy allows all to express their free views and that is all we have left. Regrettably it is not as free and Democratic in Barbados!

    I truly regret saying what I did about Mr. Liinch it was an honest mistake so help me God. Because of the way your website is configured I thought because I have never used the “margin” before that the comments of Liinch was part of your opinion/comments and mistook it for Noel Lynch. And that is the truth.

    The thing that distresses me about a number of things going on in Barbados specifically is that the masses are being used as whiners/complainers as is depicted in today’s Nation news by mainly BLACK PEOPLE. Do you see WHITE PEOPLE turning on their own like this?

    Foreigners in Barbados are receiving considerations that they could not legally get in their own countries of origin. And what I have asked for years is this. Over the past ten years and to be fair even 20 years what has all of these considerations done for the poor black man/woman in improving their lot in life. Do you and others not call them the “INVISIBLE” people? I didn’t call them that! and what the thousands of poor black men/women want to know is what is all of this Foreign Investment and Tax incentives done to improve their lot in life

    In todays Nation News we have more water problems for the poor, late payments of TEACHERS and other Goverment personnel and where are the Foreigners and the upright and just Barbadians speaking out about these things? Why shoulkd they?

    You know what it is best to allow you Bajans to be screwed into the ground until the majority turn to violence and that is where it will eventually end up.

    Barbados imports aslmost everything it needs and even what they home grow is out of sight in price. Chickens is said to be $20 or more dollars each. They can import chickens cheaper. So Seale exports rum who is his competitors Lambs or some of the cheaper brands? Because few can compete with Bajan rum. Sugar is gone, you have no agricultural industry and besides sugar and rum what have you got to export?

    I can understand places like Trinidad, Jamaica and Guyana expressing concerns about exports and even those Nations are sadly lacking. But what is Dominica, St Vincent, Grenada, Antigua exporting? Tell me!

    Take care and be good, because people like me are really inpertinent and out of place in expressing any opinion about politics in Barbados. What I do not understand is this. You have a genius as a Financial PM whose record when in Jamaica does not support it. He runs a Government that if you follow these blogs suggest he is corrupt, incompetent and needs turfing yet this is the Government that allowed Foreigners to take over your country or that is what most Barbadians on this and the DLP and BFP blog says is the case. So forgive me if I have my facts wrong!

    Comment by No Name — October 12, 2007 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  7. now just hold on a minute here, I’m not saying the current government is perfect (Lord knows that’s far from the truth) however to debate the impact of foreign investment on the lot of life of the average Bajan would indicate to me that maybe you haven’t thought this through.

    It’s very difficult to build a strong case against this government on the issue of employment given that Unemployment is at record lows. And don’t dismiss the statistics because other anecdotal evidence supports them (just look in the classified “help wanted” section to see the number of vacancies for low level jobs and there are many ads for higher level jobs as well.

    Your original comment on the offshore industry seems to imply that there is something dishonest about this industry. The largest single taxpayer in Barbados is an offshore bank. Yes they pay 2% taxes but the sum is huge. This tax avoidance measure is legal and legitimate. OECD countries like Canada (which you may be familiar with) dislike our doing this because they cannot compete with the ring fenced tax level (however that’s another discussion in and of itself) But you can’t be here illegally and benefit from the offshore sector. In Barbados you can’t hide from legitimate revenue authorities in Canada, US or any country that Barbados has a tax treaty with.

    On your point of foreign retires not contributing anything, well they pay property taxes, they pay VAT on goods and services consumed here. And for the record Bajan’s pensions are also tax free. You mention Port St. Charles and the Crane, I would counter your question by asking, how much money did government make off of the swampy field that existed before Port St. Charles was built? Nothing! It created no jobs, and no income for the country. (Environmentally it was a very pretty field but that was about it) Do you think that the Crane hires more people now than it did before it was redeveloped? Do you think that it purchases more from local suppliers, that it pays more VAT? Of course it does. Does that economic activity create revenue for the treasury? Yes it does.

    We should be concerned about the debt that government has run up. However let’s be rational about this. Barbados’ overall debt burden today is lower than it was a year ago. The discussion between Barbados and the IMF is about the rate at which the debt is to be paid down, given the plans to liberalise the capital account. It’s not that the debt is climbing and the IMF alone wants it brought down.

    Your comments seem to totally ignore the services sector in all of its forms, which constitutes a large part of the Barbados economy. And don’t say that you have to make something physical for it to matter, in post IVAN Grenada, tourism recovered long before agriculture.

    There are many Bajans today who find work because of the foreign investment and the offshore sector. And the jobs range from Gardeners to Financial comptrollers and lawyers. It does not reflect reality to say that FDI and Offshore finance has done nothing for the average Bajan.

    And don’t say that the DLP would do it differently as their track record is actually very similar (Royal Westmoreland, CLICO, Etc.) In fact we did a post early up about how similar Owen Arthur and David Thompson are philosophically.

    NOW HAVING SAID THAT…….

    Yes we should demand that our public servants are paid on time, that our taps work and that our hospital functions. We should ask hard questions when our Government undertakes a major highway expansion without any apparent traffic study and without tendering the job. We should also ask hard questions about all the issues like Greenland and I could go on…

    There are quite literally LOADS of areas where the current administration is vulnerable to criticism, however employment and the economy are really not areas that you can credibly say they are not handling well.

    Marginal.

    P.S. No problems with Linchh, apology accepted let’s move on. There are good arguments to be had. 😉

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — October 13, 2007 @ 3:42 am | Reply

  8. Very valid and well thought out points.

    I suggest after reading your overview that the BLP can be faulted on few things and should be re-elected. And please I am not being factitious or cute I mean it.

    If the only crime the BLP has committed is running up a huge debt to accomplish the many positive things you have laid out then they have done nothing differently to other countries like the USA and Canada who also have huge but manageable debts.

    I am of the impression that property taxes in Barbados are a bargain. As a matter of fact a Bajan said to me but I cannot confirm it, I am only the messenger that some people in Barbados after building a house leave the grounds unfinished and because of this they do not have to pay property taxes until the authorities bring them into line.

    You are correct about Foreigners buying food etc paying VAT but I think that is a small tax contribution to pay for very expensive services. When compared to the overall population foreigners make up only a small % but their accommodation, lifestyles wreak havoc on the limited resources of Barbadsos. Many Bajans feel this way not only me. Most of these Foreigners were they made to pay tax might be found to be millions in lost revenue.

    I did not say that the Foreign Investment in Barbados Crane, Westmoreland, Port St Charles etc are complete bums I wondered out loud what was the factual financial good they have done for the poor man/woman in Barbados. Yes I am sure and I have never denied that they generate SOME SEASONAL employment but besides that what other financial benefit are they generating. Are they paying taxes? Or are they operating tax free for investing in Barbados and for how long? These are all relevant issues. As I said in other countries Incentives are given to Industry to locate in certain areas but they come with time limits and conditions. In Barbados with their secretive ways who knows the conditions under which these hotels operate? You guys cannot even get info on the ABC scandal!

    As for employment which you state is excellent though accepting your statement it sure flies in the face of a column Ezzra Alleyne wrote a month or so ago when he claimed 145,000 Bajans were not drawing a pay check. Somebody on this blog I think responded to me suggesting that Alleyne did not mean they were not being paid they just were not getting a pay check but they were not being paid a salary. That was not how Ezzra came through but then again he speaks in parables. I found his statement surprising coming from a BLP member at election time. If that is true then Barbados has a healthy underground economy where a big % of the 145,000 are not paying taxes too. I realize that of the 145,000 a % are old or unemployable. But if the population of Barbados is said to be 285,000 and a 145,000 are not drawing a paycheck and those getting paid under the table not paying taxes then I can see why the BLP Government is in debt.

    This is particularly true if Barbados pensions as you say are exempt from taxes and retired Foreigners do not have to pay taxes either. I can well understand why airport tax was increased 40 or 60%, and why the FEW who do pay taxes say they find it hard to survive.

    As for the 2% tax on off-shore revenue I really do not know how much that generates because no one has ever really divulged much about the revenue generating capacity of the off-shore industry in Barbados. It seems to be a very closely guraded secret. The last time I researched it I think the revenue was eatimated to be $200 million annually. That is under the PM jurisdiction and only he seems to know and isn’t telling. However 2% is a bargain and you are certainly entitled to your opinion that the industry is clean.

    However, this is what I always find amusing. Whenever a company/Individual using the Barbados off-shore banking industry is found to be corrupt it is never the Barbados officials and watch dogs that discover it. The case is always exposed by US authorities.

    It is like the many impressive drug seizures made off the coast of Barbados they always make impressive hauls of the weed, coke etc but for some reason few arrests ever are ever made. The boat is usually founf empty of people and when people are in the boat they escape. Or am I the only one who find it this way?

    With the QEH and many contract scandals, the thousands who claim on the public record to be living in poverty, cant afford a house or a piece of land, the alleged teefing, and corruption in Government. No building codes or material standard codes and the list is endless. Your take on things in Barbados, make the BLP look like they are correct and that most Bajans me included have been mislead by evil people telling lies your blog included. And I am not trifling with your feelings, I am merely speaking the facts as I see them. Between the comments on your blog, the BFP blog and the DLP blog along with comments of the commentators and Administrators I thought my take on things in Barbados was correct. But I am having my doubts after reading your beliefs. And you should know better than me what the facts are. And the last thing I want to do is accuse somebody, BLP included of things that are not true!

    What is the problem in Barbados I think is a “mentality” problem. Everybody defends the status quo until it impacts them. It is a mentality problem. In bigger Nations Governments pay a price not always the ultimate price but they pay a price for mis deeds, businesses do too. The people, the press, watchdog agencies, Advocacy groups work tirelessly to watch everything they do and expose them. Information is readily available whereas in Barbados supported by your Blog information is almost non-existent but then that may not be true either and those claiming it to be could be lying or exaggerating. Much like the invisible people seem to b e doing.

    What I do not understand is this. If all of these big developments are so squeaky clean and doing so much good for Barbados, its environment, economy and peoples why are we me included complaining about them taking over Barbados? Blocking beach accesses etc.

    You folk I think sweat the small stuff when the big stuff is burying you fast. Incentives etc is a small potato issue. The Caribbean region with a few exceptions have no or little export industry. The question begs to be asked if all is so good in Bim and Foreign Investment is creating so much employment and taxes why are so many screaming about high food costs, no housing that they can afford, no land that they can buy, schools that are inadequate to many, a hospital that is dreadful, too many people living in “squalor” THE PRIME MINISTER SAID THAT NOT ME.

    I think you need to make all and sundry in Barbados pay their fair share of taxes as it seems the Government is not getting enough money because of its generous exemptions. Oersonally that is a fact taxes in Barbados are totally unrealistic and too many are not paying their fair share.

    Having said all of that you have made many excellent points and I have to believe that maybe the BLP Government is being wrongfully accused for the FEW things that are not acceptable to the masses.

    Let me leave you with this thought about public exposure of industry in Big countries where cover ups are next to impossible and you know about this already. I see on TV where another led contaminated product from China has the cosmetic industry in North America on the defensive Loreal and another major cosmetic company was exposed. This is hoe closely Industry is monitored in those countries as was Mattel the toy maker.

    With Barbados becoming so close with China are yoiu confident that products coming into Barbados from China is being closely monitored? Or will that be another ABC scandal when it breaks?

    Cheeeeeeers and have a great weekend!

    Comment by No Name — October 13, 2007 @ 11:25 am | Reply

  9. David I do not want to beat this to death but here are a few other points for you to consider.

    First Administrators of Blogs in Barbados are fast to ask commenters to support their views and positions with facts or proof.

    Do you not think this a bit ridiculous and phony when 95% of the posts by blog Administrators and comments to posts on blogs in Barbados are made based on innuendo, heresay and rumour? Think about it!

    But here is what I find strange about the economics and statistics in Barbados and would very much like you to set me straight on them.Because it confuses the hell out of me!

    Adrian Loveridge a man that I respect and who knows what he talks about says arrival tourist statistics are as phony as a $11 bill. With visitors being counted twice in many instances when they go from Adams to the Port. He gave other examples, so my question is how reliable is the employment figures? But let us rest that point for the minute and move on.

    YOU SAY unemployment is at its lowest level. Now in other countries when that occurs, every asp[ect of the economy hums because everybody who is employed are buying houses, cars, clothes, taking vacations buying new appliances etc. All of this generates further employment and business. This obviously is not happening in Barbados according to what appears on the blogs and mainstream media.

    Thousands are complaining they cannot afford the high cost of food, cannot buy a house a piece of land and the PM himself says there is too much squalor in Barbados. Now that tells me too things either the unemployment figures are incorrect or wages in Barbados is not keeping up with the rate of inflation. Which is it?

    My next point is this, Barbadians and Government says Tourism is their main industry and foreign exchange earner. Is that not correct? Therefore it stands to reason that Tourism operations is the, or one of the most major industries hiring Barbadians. Is this not logical?

    Yet all of the blogs said including Adrian Loveridge that CWC was a dismal failure and a large percentage of peoples predicted to attend did not. Is that not right? Adrian Loveridge has also said and continues to say Tourism numbers are falling off and gives facts to support his claim. As recently as a week ago the BHTA had to admit that occupancy levels at hotels in Barbados were down 8% in Sept and October 07 compared to the same two months in 06.

    In addition to this more and more Foreign Investment is being poured into Tourism so who really are employing these great number of Bajans if this major industry is hurting? Something just is not right! I am simply saying what Bajans themselves are saying not me.

    I still say the big problem in Barbados is, that the entire tax system for foreign and local people and businesses must be reviewed and changed because the Government is spending money it does not have. And if they are boasting low employment and workers are complaining that they are still living in or close to poverty level and the Prime Minister himself admits there is too much squalor something has to be the cause for it.

    Comment by No Name — October 13, 2007 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  10. No Name,

    I merely point out the fallacy of your arguments with regard to foreign investment, unemployment and offshore.

    If you choose to disregard the central bank statistics on employment, let’s consider a few other examples. Look in your Sunday paper and see how many people are advertising jobs at all levels (particularly the classifieds) most low level jobs are the easiest to fill because usually you have a pool of applicants readily available. I guarantee you in times of economic stricture the balance of the classified ads shifts from “Vacancies” to “Job Wanted”.
    Further if you talk to anyone in construction you will hear that there is a severe labour shortage (both skilled and unskilled) Neither of these indicators contradict the statistics.

    The incentives for the hotels etc. are part of government statute under the “Special Development Areas Act” had you bothered to check you would have found it quite easily.

    Similarly you can find EVERY company listed in Barbados’ offshore sector at the corporate registry. I would not say that they are all honest but then I certainly wouldn’t say that about the onshore corporate sector either.

    As to my “opinion” that the industry is clean, you would find that it was supported by the Financial Action Task Force who NEVER listed Barbados as a money laundering haven. Our particular list was on the OECD “harmful tax competition” list (which is a bit of an oxymoron anyway)

    And if you wanted to check the statistics they are available from the central bank (not secretively in the Prime Minister’s office as you say)

    You say that 95% of what the blogs publish is based on innuendo and hearsay and rumour. I think that if you took the time to read THIS blog you would find that your statement does not apply . We go to a great deal of effort to avoid that. That is part of the reason why I have chosen to put so much effort in to challenging your comments. If you bring rumours or innuendo here be prepared to be challenged, and I apply this to BLP,DLP, and whoever else. If you doubt me, have a look at the discussions we have with Mr.Linchh.

    Your comments on the feeling of alienation in the Barbados population are noted, and I agree with you somewhat on this, however I am not sure about the extent of how widely it is felt throughout the general population. The Nation newspaper is publishing a CADRES poll tomorrow, which I am curious to see. It may well be that thousands share your opinions, it may well not be (we on the margin really DON’T know) however we have a higher degree of confidence in Mr. Wickham’s careful analysis and research than we do in any one person’s view. (including ours) (You might want to search for a post we did called “Vox Populi”)

    Maybe the poll will validate your opinion on the general sentiment of the Barbadian population, maybe it won’t. Either way, I really hope that you will visit us to discuss it, sometime in the next week.

    Marginal

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — October 13, 2007 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

  11. NFTM, I just lost a lengthy and carefully composed comment on what “No Name” has said, and that is just as well since your last response more succinctly addresses the issues he has raised. I find that when one mixes opinions from other commentators and bloggers without attempting to examine the official published data the result is usually total confusion.

    Perhaps I should start my own blog rather than trying to give readers of yours a free course on the operation of the Barbados economy.

    Comment by linchh — October 13, 2007 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

  12. Thank you David for your feed back but let me say you did not address my concerns about the accuracy of unemployment statistics and Adrian Loveridges take on the health of Tourism. But let us get beyond that.

    Say they are a ten thousand Barbadian retirees. How many of those are ordinary black people enjoying tax free considerations? And how does this generous consideration impacts the tax load on the ordinary Barbadian working stiff paying taxes? What are we getting from these Foreigners cooling out and living the good life?

    Why is it that most rich Nations of the world do not exempt their retirees or encourage Foreign retirees to come to their shores and not pay taxes? And this is particularly relevant when applied in a third world developing country like Barbados where a “Major” portion of their populace not me, but they say they are being denied the neccessities of life, like food, housing, healthcare etc? Yet we have Foreign millionaires and billionaires who SAY they are retired and not paying taxes. What are some if not most of these people doing but taking and not giving back? If you see nothing wrong with this type of tax fairness being perpetrated against people who themselves claim they are living little or no better than before the abolition of poverty I say who I am to argue with you. You are more of an expert than me on the matter.

    I suggest you support the BLP because that is their position to hell with the poor. And unless I am misreading what appears on these Blogs that is exactly what the majority contributing to this and other blogs in Bim are saying the poor are being thrown to the wolves. And I can’t argue with them!

    This has been the case since I was a youngster in Barbados.

    Anyway old boy I am through discussing this subject we are planets away. The reason Bim lacks credibility or the will to change anything is, that when it comes to the reality of most of their problems and regrettably problems involving the impoeverished masses is this, nothing is based on facts of accuracy and that is compounded by the fear of the people to challenge the staus quo. You talk to ten people you get ten different answers and there is nothing to separate fact from fiction. Many are too afraid to offer a public opinion and that too is confirmed by the invisible people who as you know claim if their names were made public on blogs the police and Government will kick down their doors. Did they not say that?

    I see these blogs using to support their own agendas Government statistics that Adrian Loveridge says are lies and he is correct to support their arguments that CWC was a falure and that tourist numbers are down. Then in the next breath they give credence to and accept statistics on differenct matters like unemployment by Government that they did not accept for statistics on CWC or Tourist arrivals to suggest un-employment is at its lowest and to make their arguments! I take the position that a lying Goverment if it lies about CWC and Tourist number arrivals they will lie about anything including unemployment levels or anything else. Liars are liars!

    The same blogs who are railing daily that the BLP Government will not come clean about the contract overruns, alleged corruption and teefing going on is that not lies and cover ups too? So my question is if the BLP are teefing, corrupt, lying about CWC arrivals, tourist numbers etc. Why then should they be telling the truth about anything including the level of un-employment? I think those numbers should even be more suspect when considering the thousands saying the are living in poverty and they are the ones paying taxes because most are employed according to you David, so if you believe what we are being told. Is that fair when rich retirees local and foreign many millionaires and billionaires living tax free and living the good life! Man you guys deserve what you get!

    Comment by No Name — October 13, 2007 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  13. I need to add a supplementary to you personally David.

    I ask you not to take anything I say to you personally because I would be very upset if you did.

    As I have said before you strike me as a decent, well meaning and caring person. A little misguided maybe but a decent person and the world needs decent people like you.You are like Cliverton over at BFP a decent man.

    It is important to me that you know this. I am not at war with you but I feel passionately about what is going in my birthplace which I love dearly and will not see it ravaged by uncaring people at the expense of the “invisible” people. I think of them as the “Vulnerable and forgotten” people who have suffered too long! They have been voices crying in the wilderness for too long!

    Comment by No Name — October 13, 2007 @ 9:12 pm | Reply

  14. NFTM, who is David? Has No Name got his blogs confused, or are you using multiple aliases?

    Comment by Linchh — October 13, 2007 @ 11:09 pm | Reply

  15. I think he’s thinking of David over at Barbados Underground.

    Marginal.

    BTW I thought I addressed the unemployment part pretty well (if I say so myself)

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — October 14, 2007 @ 3:26 am | Reply

  16. NFTM, I decided that it was not worthwhile to respond to No Name since I didn’t really feel that I understood what he was trying to say. I have been a statistician at some time in my working life and I am acutely aware of the limitations of the official data that is published. While there may be problems of quality and coverage, as well as errors from time to time, to dismiss all the data as false is an extreme position that relegates ones arguments to unquantifiable assertions, and wild opinions.

    Your comment on the unemployment data is reasonable in that you have tried to draw on other available information to support the impression that there are not large numbers of people out of work and seeking jobs. However, one can question what the apparent low level of what I would term “open unemployment” tells us about general welfare, but to try to relate it to the existence or absence of poverty does not seem to me to be very useful. Indeed, absent a definition of “poverty” any discussion of living standards is likely to be meaningless, since we will be unable to determine the number of persons living below the threshold. Incidentally, No Name’s contribution suggests to me that his focus is not really on “abject poverty”, defined as the inability to obtain basic necessities of life, but on the differences between people of various income levels.

    I have some major concerns with the published data on employment and unemployment. Of these, one of the most important is the lack of coverage between 1986 and 1990. In additon, I have serious doubts about the reliability of the data for the period 1991 to 1995. Further, when one looks at the data for the most recent five-year period, the growth in employment seems to have taken place in “other services”, which I suspect are been performed by persons who are self employed. In short we need to be able to examine data on employment by occupational status to have a better understanding of the relationship between recent economic growth and employment in Barbados.

    Unfortunately, when data on employment and unemployment is used for political purposes it is really difficult to conduct a sensible discussion.

    Comment by Linchh — October 14, 2007 @ 7:42 am | Reply

  17. Mr. Linchh my reference to David was because I believe the name “David” is used on this blog by either the owner or Administrator.

    I try to avoid technicalities, complex explanations for situations as some on these blogs do. My reason (1) I am not an expert on many things as others are and (2) I find some of the input as true as it maybe based on technical and advanced principles that are way over my head as I am sure it is over the heads of 75% or more reading the blog and it that is not helpful to discussion.

    I advance concerns in a manner I HOPE that the “little” people can see what I am trying to say and what MOST on these blogs are claiming is what the Government is doing to them and as they see their situation. I am using much of what MOST on these blogs and in some instances what is being carried in the two BLP Newspapers on the island to make my case.

    I have found that if using as they do in polls the majority of opininons by some “reporters” in the press and opinions expressed on these blogs the main concerns of the majority of people in Barbados is, that the Government is corrupt, it lies, it teefs and it covers up. That Foreigners are taking over every inch of land in Barbados agricultural land included and has driven up land prices to where the average Bajan cannot afford to own a piece of the rock. And that the cost of living in Barbados is so high many cannot afford to eat healthy diets and that an ordinary chicken cost $20 or more. The last example I can attest to as up to the other night a Canadian couple said to me and my wife Barbados is too costly. And not worth the money among other things for their reasons of not returning as their usual long stay or short stay visits. These people were not paupers and if they had a concern about the cost of Barbados God help the average Bajan!

    My position is that in other countries even when the unemployment is high and the economy is slow the people do not live in the desperate conditions that most who are talking claim that they are living under in Barbados. Further when the economy is buoyant and unemployment is as low as it is claimed to be in Barbados the people are spending on clothes, cars, buying houses, going on vacations, eating out etc. And the economy and good life is on fire for most to enjoy!

    Therefore, why is this not the case in Barbados? Are the people lying and are most who is claiming they cannot afford food costs, buy a house etc lying? That is what I do not understand. With unemployment so low the economy has to be on a roll so why is so many living as they say in poverty? Are they all employed but not being paid a living wage? Is that it?

    Take Construction as an example would it not be useful for Government or some source to do a survey and see how many qualified Barbadians they need to fill trades jobs in that industry besides common manual labour jobs that any strong healthy person can do. And then do something about training them to fill the jobs that is being allegedly generated by that industry? I say this because 400-500 Bajans just lost jobs to the Chinese. So as good as construction is it did not benbefit 400-500 Bajans. Another example to show how ridiculous some of these arguments are, is this.

    The main industry in Barbados, which is said to be Tourism cannot be as buoyant as it is being claimed to be, because one would think if it is, all available qualified Bajan help in that industry should be employed too, like is the case of the construction industry. Yet only recently in the Nation News we read where last year a Tourist Resort in Collingwood, Ontario employed 30 Bajans and just hired another 40. Why is this? If a Bajan can work in a Canadian Tourist resort why are they not being employed in Barbados for their own industry? The whole thing is nuts!

    We have to look at these things in the context of the size and population of Barbados which is said to be 285,000. I fail to understand how Ezzra Alleyne can claim or where he got his numbers from that 145,000 Bajans do not draw a pay check. Something just isn’t right someone is lying about the true social and economic situation in Barbados. It is either the people, blogs and newspapers included doing it or it is the Government or maybe both. And before the discussion goes forward we need that salient point clarified.

    If as is claimed so many people are self employed what are they doing? There is only limited work venues in Barbados. But let us say that they are self employed why are they not making a living wage?

    The bottom line here is if only 4 % or less of the Bajan workforce is unemployed why are so many people crying out about them not being able to afford what others in other countries take for granted many of whom are also poor and living on minimum wage something Barbados does not have?

    Keep it simple and address these common sense issues. Bajans love complicating issues and trying to confuse peoples head with big words and other crap. Keep it simple and address and give reasons for why so many in Barbados are crying out if all of them wukking and mekking money?

    Comment by No Name — October 14, 2007 @ 11:21 am | Reply

  18. No Name, economics is a subject area in which all simple statements are probably wrong. I cannot provide any answers to the issues that you raise that will satisfy you. I agree that many of the contributions to the blogs give the impression that things are very bad in Barbados, but the hard data that is available does not support this. Of course, if your position is that the data are incorrect, we cannot have a discussion.

    I certainly agree that inflation is a problem in Barbados is a major problem, whether it affects the prices of food or land, but to a large extent, this has been fuelled by Government’s fiscal policies.

    Comment by Linchh — October 14, 2007 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  19. Mr. Linchh I am not trying to be difficult and I agree with you it is really hard to get to the truth of what is really going on in Barbados. But if you are a Bajan, you should know that this situation is nothing new it has only got worse over the years and shows in many ways Barbados lives in its own little world.

    Personally I am not AGAINST statistics as a matter of fact they are absolutely neceesary if you want to follow trends, measure results etc. However, in most developed countries statistics though not perfect are responsibly done in the MAJORITY of cases, having respect for scientific considerations and building in margins minus and plus for error. They are also open to scrutiny and transparency. In Barbados it seems you cannot get to the bottom of anything because documentation about it seems allusive.

    However again if you are a Bajan you must know how fragile for a better choice of words is the “average” Bajans financial situation. Thousands have no jobs and many thousands who do have jobs are Sir more likely to be getting wages far below what is needed to live in reasonable dignity, given the cost of living in Barbados. There are no different prices for the rich and the poor they all pay $20 or more for a chicken!

    We see to-day Al Gilkes lamenting yet another staple of the POOR Bajan rising. This time it is flour. Corn beef, sardines, spam, biscuits are all out of sight of the poor Bajan given the earning capacity of thousands of Bajans who depended on this food in the past to at least “brek the air” but little nourishment. And what they are paid for their work considering that they are not protected by a “minimum” wage makes one wonder how they pay for housing, tools, transportation in spite of fares apparently not being raised far less have any left over for a half decent meal. These are considered the fortunate.

    I am told that like other Nations, Barbados is facing a high percentage of destitute aged residents who are literally being told by the system unlike other countries do facing the same issue “brek fuh yaself”. I have it on good authority that some of these old people do not even get proper medical care and were it not for their families who themselves are struggling financially to raise their own family would be even worse off! Sir I do not know about you but I think there is more truth to this than many in Barbados want to accept and find solutions to.

    To say that less than 4% in Barbados are unemployed, but having no facts to support if the wages the average Barbadian is being paid is adequate for them to live in diginty and eat a healthy not BIG UP diet is a Nation scating on very thin ice to justify saying all is well or that poverty is not bad.An under nourished Nation becomes one that sooner than later becomes a Nation that will be buried in debt because of the horrific Medical cost of medical treatment required for these souls. It is already very much evident and I need not explain what I mean because you are an intelligent man

    As I said sir, the Prime Minister of Barbados HIMSELF said there is too much squalor in Barbados and as a side bar visitors express outrage about this too, because they see it. And here is another point of consideration the UN has pointed fingers too. But this is the real kicker Mr. Linchh and it is on the public record.

    The Minister for poverty I think it was Prescodd, it was not Lashley as he talks crap. Said and listen carefully Sir. That he was in the process of setting up a new formula to take a census to determine the true number of Bajans at poverty level. I was not impressed with the formula because it is a fraud to make the BLP look good and diminish the real numbers living in poverty. But can you imagine sir that this Minister had to admit that no census on the poor in poverty was done since I THINK IT WAS 1989. These BLP have been in power 10 or more years AND ARE ONLY NOW CONCERNING THEMSELVES WITH BAJANS LIVING IN POVERTY. That might give you some insight into why I feel as I do and why I do not believe that the figure of 4% unemployment means dick in the scheme of things when it comes to the serious state of poverty in Bim. I hope I am wrong!

    Added to this Ezzra Alleyne, isn’t he the “speaker of the house” if he does not know that 145,000 Bajans do not draw a pay check who does?

    Anyway Sir it was a pleasure exchanging views with you and again my apologies for my insenstive mistake in speaking disresptfully to you earlier. It was a mistake and I took you for that buffoon Noel Lynch the kangaroo court kid!

    I do not have the answers but I know this sir, Barbados and the lucky Barbadians AND FOREIGNERS who are wealthy, middleclass and who have good jobs and who are living the good life are going down a very slippery slope in turning their backs on their impoverished black brothers and sisters. You know better than me POVERTY has been and continues to be the social disgrace of Barbados and has been that way since I emerged from my mothers womb 73 years ago. I see very little change and we are now into the twenty first century where people do not take kindly to the social justice in Barbados.

    Have yourself sir a nice evening and I respect your position!

    Comment by No Name — October 14, 2007 @ 6:36 pm | Reply

  20. No Name, there is no denying that there are cases of Barbadians living in deplorable conditions and laking enough financial means to sustain a decent living. Hopefully, the welfare agencies look after these people when they become aware of them. I agree that the inability to obtain adequate shelter is an indicator of deprivation. It is also unsatisfactory for the responsible government agencies not to know the number of such persons, although the latest official statistics (2006) indicate that only 13,000 out of a total population of 274,000 are below the poverty line. However, one should realise that there are international measures of poverty, and Barbados with an average per capita income in excess of US $12,000 cannot be properly described as a poor country.

    I am really puzzled by your continued reference to the statement that you attribute to Ezra Alleyne that 145,000 people in Barbados do not draw a pay check. Of the 211,000 adults in 2005 64,000 were not in the labour force, which amounted to 147,000, and of which 134,000 were listed as employed. Since Alleyne is one of the BLP’s spin doctors, I would be surprised that he would make such a misleading statement.

    Comment by linchh — October 14, 2007 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

  21. Mr Linchh I now realize I was had as the boys say by a BLP hack without charcter, decency or shame. YOU! Arthur finds strength in the bottle you in deceit of the black people.

    How can you make a bare faced statement with a lie that says “Official” statistics whatever that means shows only 13,000 out of a population of you say 274,000 Ezzra says 272,000 are below poverty level. When Prescodd only weeks ago said you BLP Frauds did not even know the true level of poverty in Barbados and he was conducting a survey? This is why the BLP in Barbados are nothing but liars, frauds and National thugs of the poor black people while they line their dishonest pockets from funds of the wealthy Barbadian and Foreigner, They are no better than Uncle Toms they are still the servants of the white race!

    Furthermore you are now claiming when denying in your last post such inmformation was not available that the average per capita income in Barbados is $12,000 US. What a crock of s***. It is quite evident why you must post under an assumed name you are a blatant Liar and ally of the gangsters running the BLP.

    However, I knew all along that all you were trying to do was fool the poor black people of Barbados using BS that I was saying was nonsense, But the black people are on to hypocrites like you.

    In order to make the black people in Barbados know the kind of black masters they have I will refer them to the post where you could not provide one scrap of evidence to discredit what I said until I gave you the facts as they are in Barbados.

    I suggest the chains be restored to the statue Bussa until your ilk is removed from power.

    Comment by No Name — October 14, 2007 @ 9:18 pm | Reply

  22. Let me show the poor black person what the BLP are up to aided and abetted by the Nation News.

    We have Linchh a gutless BLP hack lying to discredit that the average black person in Barbados, is living well below the poverty level. A fact that another BLP hack Ezzra Alleyne confirmed by saying that 145,000 Barbadians out of 285,000 do not draw a pay check.

    But here is the hypocrisy of Linchhs statement and those of the weekly rantings of the BLP spin doctors and that of the BLP Nation News.

    The Nation News in a recent editorial were complaining that the USA and others were not taking action to protect Democracy in Nations where blacks were killing blacks. Suggesting that the USA were fast to move into areas like Iraq suggesting they wanted to restore Democracy but really were there because of ulterior motives.

    However let me ask the poor blacks of Barbados to consider these thoughts. Here we have a man/woman like Linchh a MARGINAL’S EDITORIAL PEN APPLIED HERE suggesting that only 13,000 out of a population of 285,000 are living below the poverty level that is not supported by fact. Especially considering Ezzra Alleynes claim!

    This is further exposed by the Minister responsible for poverty who went on the public record to say only a few weeks ago that they do not know how many people in Barbados are living below the poverty level and is NOW doing a census to determine this. The last census was done in 1989. Then Ezzra Alleyene went on the public record to say that 145,000 Barbadians out of 285,000 do not draw a pay check. I have to keep saying this so that Barbadians keep it in their memories when going to the polls. Does these FACTS give any credibility to Linchhs’ claim that only 13,000 in Bim are living below the poverty level.

    But here is why people like Linchh, the BLP and overseas Nations killing and oppressing their black brothers and sisters lose credibility and it is quite simple by asking these questions. Do you see whites killing whites. or lying about whites needing a hand up and giving them that hand up. Rarely if ever!

    But here are successful blacks and others in the BLP who lie about the plight of their black brothers and sisters as is being done in other countries which lead to genocide. While lining their own pockets with gold. Whose fault is it? Why ask or blame the USA or any other country for not intervening? The blacks who run these countries including Barbados are corrupt, treat their black brothers and sisters like whites did a hundred or more years ago as slaves for their own financial status.

    Am I missing something here. We have a black Government in Barbados catering to maily their white masters and ignoring the calls of their black brothers and sisters for equality. This is a recipe for violence as is the case in other Black Nations. Why should the USA or anyone else intervene when it is the Black Government screwing their black brothers and sisters?

    Comment by No Name — October 14, 2007 @ 10:54 pm | Reply

  23. No Name,

    After much thought, I’ve decided to leave your comments up so that this blog can see what you said, if I deleted the posts you would probably go around claiming that NFTM is a BLP hack that won’t let opposing opinion be heard. Subsequent posts will be examined with the same eye that we apply to Barbados Free Press Exposed.

    However,

    much of what you post does not withstand even the most cursory scrutiny, or reference to facts. You happily dismiss any official statistics but cling to a statement allegedy made by Esra Alleyne with a number that even the most charitable observer would say bears no linkage to reality.

    You castigate Linchh for posting under an assumed name but his facts can be checked quite easily. You don’t put any name assumed or otherwise.

    You lecture about the day to day “REALITY” of life in Barbados while posting from CANADA. All I can say is that Barbados Free Press Exposed is obviously not the only Troll out there in the Barbados Blogosphere.

    Marginal

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — October 15, 2007 @ 1:31 pm | Reply

  24. NFTM, after reading No Name’s contribution, I feel that I should have followed my initial instinct not to respond to anything that he has said. He seems unable to understand that my position that if you dispute the “official” statistics – by which I mean those that have been published by agencies like the Central Bank – you must be able to offer alternative credible data. He has spoken about “poverty” without attempting to define what he means.

    I should recognised that there was no purpose in continuing the discussion when No Name said: “I try to avoid technicalities, complex explanations for situations as some on these blogs do. My reason (1) I am not an expert on many things as others are and (2) I find some of the input as true as it maybe based on technical and advanced principles that are way over my head as I am sure it is over the heads of 75% or more reading the blog and it that is not helpful to discussion.”

    Thanks for pointing out to No Name that since he does not live in Barbados, he obviously lacks a factual basis for understanding the local “reality”. I sympathise with your effort to deal with persons who make no attempt to present arguments which are not based on verifiable facts. However, I don’t think that you will be able to accomodate persons of that type and those with an analytical approach at the same time.

    Comment by linchh — October 15, 2007 @ 4:13 pm | Reply


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