Marla Dukharan

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by Marla Dukharan

Imagine you gained independence only 40 years ago from France and the UK, you are the world’s most vulnerable country to natural disasters, you are ranked as the 30th poorest globally (right after Haiti), you are one of the world’s smallest physically (83 islands are collectively slightly larger than Jamaica) and population-wise (slightly more populous than Barbados), you only graduated from Least Developed Country Status in December 2020 (in a pandemic, months after category 5 cyclone Harold hit), you are classified as a Small Island Developing State, and you are struggling to survive, let alone overcome the…


by Marla Dukharan

On May 12th 2021, T&T’s Minister of Finance tweeted “We keep being told to go to the IMF for loan financing. What the ‘experts’ don’t disclose is that the IMF requires a commitment to structural adjustment before they give you one cent. This means retrenchment and removal of subsidies and social grants. This ‘advice’ is dangerous.” Oh, the irony.

In the first place, ‘Structural Adjustment’ is 1980’s terminology which was discontinued along with many of the reforms prescribed back then to ‘liberalize’ (developing) economies in debt / balance of payments (BoP) crises. T&T underwent an IMF Structural…


by Marla Dukharan

Determining the appropriate policy reforms to sustainably improve the socio-economic trajectory of the best-run country in the Caribbean, must feel like figuring out what gift to buy for someone who already has everything. But according to Moody’s, any developments (1) alleviating the constraints that the Cayman Islands’ small and relatively undiversified economy poses to the sovereign credit profile, (2) driving greater and more diversified economic growth that would push the per capita GDP higher than that of peers, and (3) promoting the buildup of significant fiscal buffers to address any sudden economic shocks and a policy framework…


By Damian Edghill and Marla Dukharan

Bajans ‘too love’ their pot fish. And every pot fisherman knows that when he hauls, there’s no telling what he may have trapped. After all, that is the allure and excitement of it — the anticipation of seeing the ‘silver’ rising to the surface, sets the heart ah-poundin’. Often the anticipation is 90% of the result!

A policy decision was made to set pots for tourists, hoping for a lucrative catch. Unfortunately, and inevitably, in addition to the coveted brims, snappers and chubs, a few congas, lionfish and Bajan sculpins were in the mix…


What a hectic year this has been for Europeans! On October 1st 2020, the European Union (EU) confirmed the list of jurisdictions which “pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union (‘high-risk third countries’)…identified as having strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes” such as Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar/Burma, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Syria, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Vanuatu, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. Then on October 7th, the EU published its list of “non-EU countries that encourage abusive tax practices, which erode member states’ corporate tax…


The EU’s blatantly discriminatory tax and AML/CFT policy stance has been gnawing at my insides for some time, since I first highlighted it in May 2019. Recently, much of the feedback received from Europeans in particular, cautioned against labeling this discriminatory stance as racist, suggesting perhaps the reason that every single country on the list is a relatively small, weak, non-white former-European colony, is either pure coincidence, or that we are in fact the world’s most criminal, corrupt, money-laundering, tax-shielding shady people, who deserved to be named, shamed, and schooled by those who know better. Indeed, the EU’s list of…


Co-authored by Damian Edghill dedghill@barbadoslaw.net

Roughly one year ago, I wrote about the European Union’s (EU) “Blacklist” (sic) of countries it deems non-compliant with the EU’s code of conduct and other ever-changing tax-related requirements. Not surprisingly, EU member states themselves are exempt from their “Blacklist”, as the EU weaponizes its rules by arbitrarily, unilaterally, selectively, and disproportionately imposing them on certain hapless non-EU members, WITH NO KNOWN RECOURSE for these “Blacklisted” countries.

What could possibly prompt the EU to so brazenly adopt such an unfair, non-transparent stance? Perhaps:

1. The EU is uncompetitive — Germany ran the world’s biggest current account surplus for a fourth…


What a time to be alive! Just when you dare to believe that you have some idea of what’s going on, enough to even write about it, the bottom of your smug-little-45-year-young-world drops out, and the situation becomes increasingly fluid, rendering ideas about possible solutions today, irrelevant and even ridiculous tomorrow. And because of such extreme Major Lazer/Method Studios-type shape-shifting, the policy responses being formulated now based on our best guesstimations of what could be, are almost entirely experimental.

For a genuinely benevolent policymaker, what could possibly be more exciting, but at the same time, more terrifying? Mistakes will be…


A mashup of three (unrelated) axioms “you reap what you sow, so make hay while the sun shines, and save some for a rainy day” epitomizes what I don’t see when I look around the Caribbean. One country, the Caribbean’s metaphoric Noah, has consistently over the past seven years, built an Ark of fiscal surpluses and buffers in preparation for the inevitable flood. …


While the Dutch no longer suffer from the disease they made famous, it seems they may have left behind an especially persistent strain in Suriname. Or perhaps Venezuela is contagious. Because the policy choices that gave rise to Suriname’s current and chronic conditions are similar to those of Venezuela, as debt mounts, the money supply expands, the currency overvalues, the black market for FX intensifies, and FX reserves dwindle. Much like Venezuela, the rapid growth of the monetary base in Suriname, alongside rising public deficits, signals the Central Bank’s financing of the government. The pace of expansion of the money…

Marla Dukharan

Economist and leading advisor on the Caribbean

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