I am sure we all celebrated the news when we heard some time ago that Grenada’s Keith Mitchell was voted the top Finance Minister in the Caribbean and then again when just last week it was announced that Barbados PM Mia Mottley was appointed to chair two financial committees of the World Bank and the IMF respectively, it was again a time for our chauvinistic cups to be filled and become overflowing with regional pride, that another one of our own had attained international transcendence in the field of economics and finance.
When Mitchell took over the Ministry of Finance portfolio in his island the debt ratio was 104% to the country’s GDP and in just couple years of his creativity he reduced it to an astounding 53%, explaining why he was regarded the top finance minister in the Caribbean.
Here’s Mitchell’ magic: While the bogeyman in T&T is the omnipresent Tax-man, picking the pockets of its citizens for every cent it needs, Mitchell removed the personal income tax which triggered a construction boom and an impressive growth rate and becoming branded as the OECS economic tiger, a comparison to the economic gains of Singapore.
Via imaginative economic policies and planning, small islands like Grenada, Anguilla, the Cayman Islands etc. continue to grow and develop economically although bereft of natural resources, although poor by comparison with oil rich T&T which has run this economy not on the natural wealth it possesses but on the spite, vindictiveness and the underqualified staffing of the political directorate.
Keith Mitchell has a doctorate in Mathematics and Mottley studied at the prestigious London school of Economics, so if you think it all happened for them by luck or the grace of god, think again; realise that a lot of brainpower that Barbados and Grenada use more than compensate for the natural resources they lack. It is all about doing the best with what you have and ensuring that it works, that in both their cases, Mottley and Mitchell won all their seats in the general election in their country, proving that the rank and file across their country were satisfied with the equal dispensation of resources to them and none felt discriminated against.
Instead of taking a leaf from the book of economic management from Grenada and Barbados, our newly reelected PM of T&T in his forecast of doom and gloom, promises this country another two years of financial hardship which when added to the previous five years total seven consecutive years of hell on earth for T&T.
With the kind of OJT-type incompetence in control of our country’s finances, would anybody from here reach the heights of Mitchell and Mottley? The PNM has run this country from 1956 to now and at no time did they see their job as a business you undertake to make money, to take a parlor and make it grow into a supermarket into a corporation, but Like Manley of Jamaica said, money to us was like a dose of Epsom salt which we ejected faster than we absorbed it; which Williams said was no problem and so like Escobar gave it away to whomever came cap in hand to him so that they could refine their infrastructure, roads, water to first world standard while ours remain third world.
Politics is supposed to evolved into a form of entrepreneurial business, so that when leaders see money they use it to make more with it in the same way Sehwag says in cricket, see ball, hit ball. Here we say, see money, full pocket. The managing of our money has to evolve from the easy come, easy go psychology to the storage concept psychology of save for the rainy day; there are people who understand this concept and when we are choosing our Finance Minister it’s that person we need to appoint. It’s Keith Mitchell we need to vote for.
All in favour of Mitchell, say Aye.
L. Siddhartha Orie