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Take Charge

If Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit had to advise his Barbadian counterpart, he would tell him not to let Chris Sinckler, or anyone else for that matter, run the Ministry of Finance.

He has suggested that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart would run the risk of “mashing up” Barbados if he doesn’t take charge.

The unsolicited and indirect advice came from Skerrit yesterday, on the heels of former Barbadian Prime Minister and Democratic Labour Party (DLP) stalwart Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford making a similar observation.

Although he didn’t name Stuart specifically, Skerrit said Caribbean leaders must take charge of the economic reins of their respective countries.

“In small countries like ours, if the prime minister is not responsible for the purse of the country and for the economic management of the country, that country will have problems. The prime minister must and should be the minister of finance of these small countries . . . . And we’ve seen in our history when the prime minister is not the minister of finance, the minister of finance will mash up the country because the prime minister must take a keen interest in the economic management of the country,” he said as he addressed a graduation ceremony for 119 hospitality students in Roseau.

“I’m not giving the ministry of finance to no minister. When I’m out of the country they will act and when I come back I will take over the ministry of finance.”

At a recent meeting of the DLP’s St Lucy constituency branch, Sir Lloyd said he has always felt that a Pime Minister “must be in charge and have a hand in how the economy is growing or not growing – direct hands-on experience”.

However, he stressed at the time that that decision was not his and had to be left up to Prime Minister Stuart who leads the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, during his 20-minute address, Skerrit made reference to the retrenchment of 3,000 public sector workers in Barbados, a process which started at the beginning of the year and will continue until the end of next month.

Skerrit pointed out that many countries are grappling with rising joblessness.

“You hear of unemployment all over the world. In Spain, the unemploymnent among young people is as high as 50 per cent, in a developed country called Spain. In St Lucia you heard the prime minister recently on the news saying unemployment has risen in the last year in St Lucia. Barbados is sending home 3,000 people in the public service and our economy can go into the Barbados economy more than a hundred times,” he said.

He thanked the Venezuela government for providing financial support for Dominica’s national apprenticeship programme, noting that at a time when many other countries have been forced to send home workers, his administration was rising to the challenge of addressing youth unemployment. 


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