(There is a banker Marla Dukharan from Trinidad and Tobago who seems to have a hard on for The Bahamas. She used to work for the Royal Bank of Canada as an economist and was noted for her sharp tongue, preaching doom and gloom about The Bahamas and its economy. Every prediction that she made failed. It got so bad that the Minister for Economic Affairs actually met with her and showed her the facts about the economy. She announced that she was convinced for her wrongdoing. But now she is back with her message of doom and gloom, saying that our debt profile is such that we should turn to the International Monetary Fund for rescue. She is a damn fool. Andre Allen, the attorney wrote a letter on the subject with which we agree—Editor)
By Andrew Allen
FOR those of us who are accustomed to Caribbean economist Marla Dukharan’s frequently off-base and usually disproved observations about the nature and prospects of the Bahamian economy, her comments at Tuesday’s RF Economic Outlook were of little surprise.
Some of her assertions relative to our supposed over-dependence on tourism were just plain wrong on their face, while others demonstrated either a limited understanding of our circumstances or a deliberate mischaracterisation of them.
For instance, she lists “deteriorating human development” in support of her argument against our basic development model, when in fact, according to the latest (2022) report, The Bahamas has maintained its status in the “very high human development” category and actually risen three places from 58th to 55th in the world, while its nearest regional rival, Barbados, has fallen from 58th to 70th.
She also makes false comparisons in her analysis, such as comparing our debt history with that of Barbados without pointing out that Barbados has had progressive income tax since before its independence and we (alone among independent countries in the Americas) have none. If we did, our economy would have been in surplus since independence and poverty rates would be minuscule.
Ms Dukharan herself acknowledges this (to quote her: “the tax system is regressive and therefore pro-poverty”). But instead of recommending that we simply fix it, she quickly reverts to her default recommendation that we cozy up to the International Monetary Fund – a monstrous, neoliberal institution that is hopefully headed into oblivion – together with the remaining architecture of post-war western global hegemony.
Instead of admitting that freely chosen top-down economics and a freely chosen regressive tax structure are in fact the whole story of The Bahamas’ self-imposed debt “problem”, she instead advocates that we tie our fortunes to the world’s worst promoter of toxic neoliberal economics whose “cures” have caused Barbados’ precipitous fall from grace in terms of human development.
No that you, Ms Dukharan.
15 March 2023