The economy is set to take a hit as big as $25 million during the two-week lockdown that comes into effect a week from Wednesday, said Prime Minister Mia Mottley, declaring that she was not willing to sacrifice Barbadian lives to stabilise the economy.
Mottley also said she expressed this sentiment to a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during a recent meeting with Government.
She insisted that the 10 lives lost so far to COVID-19 were ten too many.
She told the nation: “I can’t guarantee that we won’t lose others but we are going to guarantee that we fight like hell not to lose any. What will it cost us? Probably a significant amount, probably close to $20-$25 million over the next two weeks and probably deeper in terms of wider economic impact.
“For sure the economy is going to be seriously affected but as we discussed with the International Monetary Fund’s fiscal affairs mission up to yesterday, we must spend what we will and we will keep the receipts and be accountable.
“But what we are not going to do is we are not going to sacrifice people at the altar of expediency or at the altar of simply trying to hold on to a dollar that is likely to be lost because of the level of deaths in the long run.”
The Prime Minister made an impassioned plea to Barbadians to “come together as one” during these tough times.
“We need to bring the country back to a level of stability and to recognize that there will be sacrifices, there will be difficulties and we have to rebuild this economy from scratch again, but I feel we can do it because having done it once I know we can do it twice,” she said.
“But what I cannot do is to bring back those three people who have passed. I ask all Barbadians to recognize that we are in this together. Life has always been valued in this country.
“There are many nations across the world that have lost hundreds, thousands and in some instances millions. We have lost 10 but for us that is 10 too many.”
She said with the help of all Barbadians she was confident Barbados would beat COVID-19.
“I am saying to you that may be in the same way that we recognize that this pandemic has come to give the Earth a chance to breathe, that maybe this pandemic has come to also reinforce in us what truly matters in terms of our humanity and to make us recognize that which all of our leaders have said from the time of Independence, maybe not sufficiently strong but they have said it nonetheless, that we have to take responsibility first for ourselves, for our families, for our community and for our country.
“I ask you, my friends, to join us at this juncture in our nation’s history to choose to come out of this crisis better, to choose to wage war on this invisible, cunning enemy called COVID and that of dengue through the mosquitoes, and to do so collectively because when this country acts together as one there is no battle that we cannot win. We may be bruised, we may be battered, but there is no battle that we cannot win,” Mottley said.
Headline photo caption: Prime Minister Mia Mottley