by Anesta Henry
Economist Crystal Drakes has identified what she says is a cash-poor, debt-ridden middle class in Barbados.
She contended on Wednesday that many of those perceived to be in that economic group have found themselves depending on personal loans and credit to meet their needs, while also having to pay their mortgages, car loans and other financial obligations.
The Independent Senator made the observation as she contributed to debate in the Upper House on the Pandemic Contribution Levy Bill, 2022.
Under the legislation, public and private sector employees with salaries of $6 250 or more per month are required to pay one per cent of their earnings in the Pandemic Contribution Levy, for a one-year period.
However, Senator Drakes was curious about how Government had arrived at that threshold and questioned whether it would have been more appropriate to target persons making $10 000 per month.
“That is a significantly different income bracket than a person making $6 250. And, Sir, this is based on the premise that in Barbados, like most other societies, the top earners own a large share of the income of their country,” she contended.
“Sir, there is a research paper titled A Community Divided: Top Incomes in CARICOM Member States. As of 2015, the average household income of the richest 10 per cent in Barbados was three times that of the general population.