Spending cuts a must
Government must ensure that taxes are collected on a timely basis, but it must also pay refunds that it owes in a timely manner.
These were two of the suggestions offered by former Independent Senator Dr Frances Chandler as the Freundel Stuart administration continues to grapple with an ever expanding fiscal deficit.
In addition Chandler asked the question:“Why do we need 51 members of parliament (30 in the House of Assembly and 21 in the Senate) and some 18 ministers, many of whom seem to have overlapping functions, to run this little dot
of a country?”
Stressing that Barbadians do not need any fancy economists to tell them that they cannot spend more than they earn before they end up in bankruptcy, Chandler said: “As we all know, Barbados’ main problem is its high deficit- in other words Government is spending more than it is earning. It then borrows to support the spending habit and this leads to out of control debt.”
Arguing that the harsh economic conditions call for strong leadership, the Former senator said: “After months of denial Government seems at last to have taken a stand to reduce the size of the Civil Service by announcing that 3,000 temporary workers would be sent home in the next three months.
They have started by terminating 300 Drainage Unit workers. Hopefully, they will not be swayed by the unions and will do what has to be done, in spite of how painful it may seem.
“The truth is that many of these workers should probably never have been employed in the first place and would knowingly accepted the positions as ‘election rewards’. This practice seems to have become the norm over the years and it is time we stem the tide,” said the plain-spoken former member of the Senate.
Reminding Barbadians that privatization had become a bad word during the February 21 general election, Chandler identified the Barbados Port Inc., the Transport Board, the Barbados Water Authority, the Sanitation Services Authority, Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, the National Housing Corporation and the School Meals Programme as some of the statutory boards that should be privatized.
Chandler recalled that as far back as May 2012, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had said: “Even a blind man on a trotting horse, sitting down backwards would be able to see that too many of the statutory organizations had become too wholly inefficient in service delivery, extremely costly to maintain and weak in some managerial and operational systems as well – much like the very Central Government administration they were created to assist.”