Phillips cites continued impact of global recession on the Caribbean
Dr Peter Phillips (file photo)
Opposition Leader and President of the People’s National Party (PNP), Dr Peter Phillips, has stated that the Caribbean region is still being affected by the 2008 global recession.
“Caribbean development has been threatened by, and in fact, is now prolonged due to the economic crisis of 2008,” Phillips said Sunday as he addressed the 80th annual conference of the governing Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in Bridgetown.
Phillips noted that what became known as the ‘Great Recession’ in some quarters, left Caribbean states reeling as a result of declining earnings from tourism and mineral exports, commodity exports and unfair trading.
In the case of Jamaica and Barbados, both of which were forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance, Phillips said high debt, declining incomes and rising crime were major forces against their advancement.
“There is probably no other region in the world where the crisis was as widespread, or its effects as prolonged, as it was in the Caribbean,” the PNP president stated.
Other countries that turned to the IMF in the aftermath of the recession were St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada. In the case of Barbados, it has just entered into an arrangement with the multilateral lending agency.
Meanwhile, Phillips said the Caribbean was facing its most serious challenge yet since independence. He said this was caused by a combination of the economic challenges arising from the restructuring of the world economy due to the emergence of the new power centres and the seeming abandonment of multiculturalism.
Phillips warned that Caribbean progress was under threat from a rise in anti-immigration policies in rich countries. He told BLP supporters that the region must take serious note of the re-emergence of anti- migration policies, all of which would affect the region as countries that have benefited from global migration.
“The doctrines which support a revival of military interventionism, threaten small countries like ours. We have no armies, no leverage available to match the great trading centres and powers of the world. Our people can only hope and dream of development in a world bolstered by the rule of law, and not by might. Our only beneficial course is to support the rule of international law,” he continued.
Phillips said the denial of climate change, the evidence of the re-emergence of ideologies and policies which seek to reverse the open and free global trading system, coupled with a pattern of unilateralism, replacing multilateralism in the exercise of trade policies, were among the concerns in the region.
Despite the challenges, Phillips warned that the Caribbean should not expect to benefit from debt forgiveness. As such, he said the region must manage its resources well.
The PNP President told BLP supporters that, “Managing these resources will require a great revival of the national spirit and a rededication to the principles of our movement which inspired our founding leaders. It will require a new determination to pay the price necessary so that we can make our own decisions on the progress and survival of the region. It will require a recommitment to the essential principles of social progress, the philosophy on which both our parties originated.