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Sunday, December 21 2014 @ 06:38 AM AST

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Total Chaos hosts Christmas in Palmiste Park 2014



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Jamaica currency depreciation rate halved, RBC says

From over 15% in November 2013 to 7.35% in November 2014.



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Barbados' finance minister's full statement on the economy

Mr. Speaker Sir, precisely sixteen months ago we called on all Barbadians to sacrifice in order that we can reap the benefits of necessary stabilization and adjustment in the economy. Today I can say to the country that, based on actual performance and projections for the immediate future, we have not labored in vain: Barbados is on a growth path once again! Our foreign exchange reserves have stabilized, our fiscal deficit is on a downward trajectory and economic growth is returning. By any objective standard the programme is working!

Sir, some weeks ago during a national press conference to report on the Barbados economy I hinted that government would shortly initiate the process that would lead to the presentation of the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals for 2014. Though I had not specified a date, it was my initial intention to complete this presentation during December.

Indeed in preparation for this, my ministry began the process of system-wide consultations with public and private sector agencies. On the whole, and with only a very few exceptions, we were able to complete those preliminary consultations on a variety of issues not only affecting our economy but also geared towards assisting the country in further enhancing our efforts at fiscal consolidation, economic reform and the resumption of growth.

Following this first round of consultations with our partners and a complete analysis of the existing situation in our 19 month stabilisation programme, the Cabinet has accepted the advice of the Ministry of Finance to defer the presentation of the Budget after the end of the programme in March, 2015.

This decision will allow the Ministry and its strategic agencies and partners to more properly consult on key policy initiatives that will impact on critical aspects of our economic, financial and social care sectors and our efforts for fiscal consolidation and growth.

This will be particularly necessary in carrying out the appropriate level of impact analyses of required reforms in our tax policy, investment grid, and social services financing models. These are all critical aspects of our socio-economic system and must of necessity be accorded such a generous enough examination as presenting the Budget statement this month would not allow.

Equally as well Sir, the decision to defer the presentation will afford the government the opportunity to initiate and complete a comprehensive review of the current programme to cover the final months of the exercise so as to allow for any critical adjustments going forward.

In light of the fact that this decision has been taken, I have been authorized by the Cabinet of Barbados to present this official Ministerial Statement updating on the current status of our programme, including some more recent economic figures, the road map towards achieving our fiscal targets for end of fiscal 2014-15 and beyond, and existing prospects for economic growth and reform in 2015.