Governance in this country is at an all-time low.
Speaking to an audience in Buccaneer, St. James last night, St. Lucy candidate for the Barbados Labour Party stated: “You got problems manifesting themselves in the Royal Barbados Police Force and people want to interfere with this organisation that has served Barbados well over the years…
“You have in a Cabinet where one minister can write the next, those who he is responsible for in the ministry at the Barbados Water Authority and tell them have nothing to do with The Minister of Finance — do not meet with him, do not discuss anything with him. And on other hand you have the Minister of Finance refusing to sign that important document to give the go-ahead to give the Barbados Water Authority funds to build their headquarters, and nothing being done by the Prime Minister. These things would be unheard of under Owen Arthur as Prime Minister.
“Ministries must work together for you to have effective government but not so at all with Freundel Stuart because it is a Government … out of control,” said Phillips.
Telling a growing audience to “say no to Dem”, Phillips urged the crowd not to take the vote lightly.
“We have … [Dems] who seem to have a problem, and who seem to be allergic to the truth, would not tell the truth if you pay them to,” he said, recalling the situation with the resignation of former National Housing Corporation chairman, Marilyn Rice-Bowen.
There were allegations of interference in the running of that corporation then, he stated, adding that CLICO was other situation proving that Barbados was lacking the proper governance.
Likewise, he said there was a situation where the Minister of Finance had said the national insurance schemes of Dominica and St. Vincent had agreed and were putting funds into the Four Seasons project here in Barbados.
“That is what Chris Sinckler said, but you know what? A few days after, both prime ministers said, ‘What is he talking about? We do not know anything about that. It is not true’, and not a word from the minister. No discipline,” he said.
Phillips challenged that if the public could not trust the word of ministers then they could not re-elect them.
“The citizens of a country must have at least a measure of trust in the leaders. They must feel they can trust their Government but when Government and ministers can come and say things they know are not [accurate] that is a different story,” he said.
The current administration, he said, had done things to bring the country to its knees, adding that it was suggested that it would cost more than $800 million to fix the problems with CLICO, suggesting that was only being said to convince the public nothing could be done.
“When we look now at leadership, you want in your leader a man who can take decisions, that irrespective of how difficult, if a decision has to be made then it must be made; it doesn’t matter if it is popular or not,” he said, adding that a leader must be able to control his cabinet.
“You don’t want a leader that is a wimp that will say one thing today and is afraid to act tomorrow… When a nation is in crisis they look to their leader for direction, that is how a nation ought to be governed… We need strong leadership and you can find that leadership in Owen Arthur,” he stated. (LB)