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Urgent call for re-evaluation

The recently announced economic plans by the government of have been rounded on as vague on the one hand and draconian on the other.

Ministers who paraded the proposals as a panacea during debate are now recanting and in a sense repudiating some aspects of the 2013 budget. Sad! It thus seems to me that they neither carefully considered the aspects related to their ministry’s nor were even concerned about the impact on the people of this country. This hit-and-miss policy and thinking cannot be tolerated.

What happens next to the so called budget where tax measures are already law on pronouncement? Is the government going to bring a motion to repeal the offending parts and would this amount to voting against the whole package, since the proposals are taken as a whole and not piece meal? I don’t believe that in the history of government in Barbados has any group holding the reins of power would have to, “wheel and come again,” as they surely must do in regards to the 2013 proposals.

On the so-called growth strategy, take road building for instance. Does the government intend to pay what sums are now owed before asking the road builders to create even more debt for themselves? If no attempt is made to pay down that outstanding debt are they even going to provide mobilization monies? Remember the builders have suppliers they have to satisfy too. The government has to realise that it can’t go on forever borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. The country is in crisis and blandishments are no substitute for critical thinking and decisive action.

On the question of university education, historically governments no doubt committed to paying for a three-year undergraduate programme. It was and is therefore reckless of student and university to believe that they can easily ask a government to commit to a four or five year, medicine excepted, undergraduate programme. That should have been nipped in the bud long ago.

I would suggest that students signing up for a four year programme be required to pay tuition for the first year, as they do have options, and would have had more within the University of Barbados. Again, on the other end if a student signs up for a three year programme but finds that they are running into four or five years they would have to pay tuition for those additional years. Nothing is forever, free university education forever is a wonderful idea but not for a government bereft of ideas and a country bereft of money.

-Michael Rudder

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