Government must not allow any international body to bully it into accepting deals that would cause it to yield its political authority.

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur made the comment yesterday at University of the West Indies – UWI Belt and Road Research Network Symposium, at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies.

He said while Government sought financial aid from international institutions, it should not do so at the expense of its political supremacy.

“The Constitution of Barbados vests exclusive powers in the capital of Barbados, within the context of exercise of collective responsibility, yet the recently concluded IMF programme requires that there must be an independent evaluation committee to oversee the way in which Government carries out the agreement,” he said.

“The Government of Barbados must live up to the terms of the agreements with the IMF, but it should not have to answer to any entity in carrying out its executive powers on the matter . . .”

“The concept of an independent commission carries a stigma that the countries that benefit from access to IMF resources would indulge in the practice of wrongdoing.”

Arthur suggested Barbados seek financial and developmental aid from other international agencies which would not interfere in local governance. He said the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) offered Caribbean states the opportunity to accept offers with their dignity intact.

“The initiative from China affords countries access to financing and also carries a commitment stated in China’s foreign policy, to abide by the principles of non-intervention in the affairs of other nations,” he noted.

Expert on the economy, politics and security of modern China and East Asia, Professor Dragana Mitrovic from Serbia, said BRI contain over US$2 trillion that would go towards infrastructural programmes, renewable energy, policy coordination, telecommunication, investment and financing in countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

She said the initiative has covered over 70 countries so far which accounted for about 65 per cent of the world’s population and one-third of the world’s gross domestic product.