News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Dec. 8, 2020: A Caribbean prime minister and current chairman of the Caribbean Community, (CARICOM), says the region could see an economic “bloodbath” next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, told a Caribbean Economic Forum organized by the Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) on Tuesday night that despite projections of a four per cent economic growth next year for the region, it will not be enough to prevent a “metaphorical bloodbath.”
According to CMC, he told the panel of the forum titled “Repositioning Caribbean Economies: Lessons from 2020: “We are having contraction of a very deep kind because most of these economies are tourism dependent. We are having therefore a lot of layoffs; we are having falling government revenues except in one or two countries you may see the revenues holding a little.”
“It is going to get worse in the next few months, not better because we are not going to see the uptick for the upcoming season in a significant way to offset the problems in the first half or three quarters of next year,” CMC quoted him as saying.
Gonsalves described the scenario facing the region “as very difficult,” and added that the Caribbean is going to require of the international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the IMF “to have new instruments and new initiatives.”
“So, people are being laid off, people are having lower incomes … government revenues declining, the debt is increasing, the deficit is widening significantly because even in the case of St. Vincent and the Grenadines where we see …our revenues are about five per cent, expenditure is up 20 per cent because we have to take care of people and we have to take care of firms, families and we have to try and get some investments going,” the prime minister explained.
The panel also included Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the Director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, Alenjandro Werner.
Mottley for her part called for the establishment of a Caribbean Recovery and Resilient Trust Fund to assist the region to deal with the impact of COVID-19 as well as natural and other disasters.