Mottley: Budgetary proposals too vague

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler making his way into Parliament.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler making his way into Parliament.

Claiming that Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler was not “really” ready to present yesterday’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has suggested that the “vagueness” of those measures, would create a “reign of terror in the public service”.

Delivering the Opposition’s response to the Budget in the House of Assembly this afternoon, Mottley also said that the vagueness of the proposals did not give her the confidence they could be implemented by September 1, 2013 or October 1, 2013.

She said she did not understand what the proposed 12 per cent cut in transfers meant or who or what would be affected by the more than $475 million in reductions.

The political leader of the Barbados Labour Party suggested that every worker employed by statutory corporations should “start running for cover”, considering that the cuts allocated to statutory bodies not captured in this Budget would apply later.

“Bajans went sleep last night thinking that the burden of taxation on their backs was only $150.9 million. Do you know Mr Speaker, that the minister, … I could only say in the eyes of an innocent bystander, by stealth; but that would be unparliamentary and I wouldn’t say so in here — that there is now to be … an increased fees to meet the revenue adjustments that have to be met by this initiative,” she added.

“Will this mean increased bus fares or reduced services at the Transport Board. Does this mean layoffs, or the short week, that the … Minister of Transport was so fast to deny, while not telling the people there was a meeting, chaired by the Minister of Finance at which he attended and at which they were told, there are getting no more than 30 something million this year, or that the initiative which was expressed, for workers to get a three-day week and management be given a week off, reflecting a disparity between management and workers yet again — that this government has perfected, for management would give up 25 per cent of income and that workers would give up 40 per cent income.”

She questioned if this meant that if there was no rise in bus fares, people would now be subjected to reduced bus service because Government wanted to “cut here and cut there, without understanding that the cuts have long term consequences for the health of individual Barbadians, for the jobs of individual Barbadians, for the savings of individual Barbadians, for prosperity and survival of Barbadian companies and service providers; without understanding that cutting university education, has a major negative impact on the society to remain stable, economically and socially, and be able to grow in the future.” Mottley also put the Government on notice, that her party would fight any attempt to merge constituency councils into another department, while Barbadians are asked to sacrifice.

“It is one thing to ask Barbadians to make a sacrifice. It is another thing to ask them to make a sacrifice while seeking to maintain advantage with party political spending.

“This party will under no circumstances support any merger, elimination, sending home, short week of anybody …, any sacrifice to be undertaken by anybody in Barbados, while the Democratic Labour Party retains constituency councils as part of its expenditure from the taxpayers’ money,” the Opposition Leader asserted. (EJ)


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