And according to St. Andrew candidate for the Democratic Labour Party, Irene Sandiford-Garner, the people of Barbados have had no such challenge, regardless of the claims made by the Barbados Labour Party.
Telling the people of St. Lucy at a meeting in Checker Hall on behalf of incumbent Denis Kellman that the majority of the debt Government now has to service is due to the actions of the previous BLP administration, the St. Andrew woman noted that Government had shielded, supported and provided safety nets to keep the country going.
In fact, those safety nets, she said, would keep the economy moving and slowly climbing upwards, despite the fact that half the deficit in the country was debt which she placed squarely at the feet of the BLP.
The BLP, Sandiford-Garner said, was suggesting that 45 per cent of the jobs that were created prior to the change of Government in 2008 were now lost. She said though that such was the case around the globe — in the UK which had manufacturing, exports and a thriving tourism sector and also in the US — even as the Barbados Labour Party made much of the downgrades by various rating agencies.
“But Owen [Arthur] will not tell you … that at the height of the economic success of this country, when they were wukking up in a whirlpool of money this country was still being downgraded by the ratings agencies and it was downgraded more times then than it has been now under us. It is our job to remind you, to enlighten you and educate you that they should never get back into the corridors of power.
“When they tell you they are here to guide you, you know they will be guiding you into the long pond of economic debt. They will make sure our dollar is devalued. We have made sure that what we have done is walk that economic tightrope so that the parity of our dollar remains stable.
“None of you have had any problems in all these years accessing US dollars. The litmus test of a government that is in serious trouble is when you cannot get US money. From the time you cannot get US money, you know that your country is in trouble.
“This Freundel Stuart Administration has ensured that you have not had those types of fears or experiences. We have taken the steps to ensure you have been cushioned, because we understand that this is about people not power,” she told a large audience in the most northern parish.
All the initiatives implemented by Government, she insisted, were indirect and aimed at assisting Barbadians with tackling the cost of living.
“This Government has looked at every area to ensure you have been cushioned. So when they keep talking about what happens in the supermarket that is a boogeyman thing. You have to tell them we increase disability benefits three times; while in power we set up an energy grant. From time they start to talk think of the reverse and everything they say you can counter,” she said.
Insisting that the party had been able to fix several problems left by the BLP in just five years, Sandiford-Garner asked for five more to continue the work, especially since Barbados was on a growth path. (LB)