Sinckler: DLP to restructure economy
And Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler told his party’s manifesto launch at West Terrace, St. James tonight, that the first plank was to protect the island’s foreign exchange at the Central Bank of Barbados and earn more of it.
Sinckler, the candidate for St. Michael North West, informed a massive crowd of blue and yellow gathered in the car park of the National Cultural Foundation, that this could be done through conserving foreign exchange by investing in sectors such as renewable energy, which he described as the kernel of economic policies going forward.
He also rejected taking money from the Barbados National Oil Company as a solution to stimulating the economy. Sinckler argued that removing the BNOC’s profits would break the economy and shut it down. His answer was to exploit alternative sources in order to bring down the cost of energy and the cost of doing business.
“This is the DLP’s policy going forward,” Sinckler added.
He promised that immediately on retaining office, a new Dems Government would pass the Renewable Energy Act, which provided for the largest and most extensive suite of concessions in terms of taxation to any sector, apart from tourism, in the last 46 years.
On the second plank, the minister of finance identified the reform of the agricultural sector “in a serious and fundamental way” as critical.
Sinckler revealed that the Freundel Stuart Administration, if returned at next Thursday’s general elections, would allocate about $150 million for farmers who needed financing to improve their plant. He noted that much of what was currently done in agriculture was subsistence. However, what the DLP was proposing, was diversification of agriculture by introducing such sectors such as agro-processing.
He pinpointed a non-traditional sector such as the cultural industries as the third plank for restructuring the local economy and avoid dependence on the “very vulnerable” tourism sector.
Sinckler noted that Cabinet had already approved the Cultural Industries Bill and it would be one of the first measures to be laid in Parliament under a new DLP regime.
The fourth plank, he continued, would be to buttress the traditional sectors such as tourism, pointing out that the Tourism Master Plan was being done and would speak to traditional and non-traditional markets.
“We will look at additional markets in places like Scandinavia. We will reform the Barbados Tourism Authority, not only as a marketing tool but to develop a better tourist product in the market,” Sinckler announced. (EJ)