No hope of recovery
Two political activists blast Sinckler over decision to extend fiscal programme
Two political pundits see no hope of economic recovery anytime soon and they suggest the ministerial statement delivered by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler on Tuesday is further proof the island is going no where.
David Comissiong and Robert “Bobby” Clarke are not only taking issue with the non-delivery of the budget, they are also blasting the Government’s decision to extend the 19-month Fiscal Consolidation programme.
“We don’t seem to be going anywhere in Barbados, this is seven years now of this Democratic Labour Party Government and there has been abysmal leadership. For seven years they have fed the Barbadian people this notion that we are helpless, there is nothing that we can do, that we are in the throes of an international recession and all we can do is wait and hope. As a result of seven years of that kind of rhetoric it has de-motivated, dispirited and depressed the Barbados population, so we are at a low now and there is absolutely nothing in the minister’s statement that offers any real leadership to the country or any real hope,” Comissiong charged.
He insisted the island was not facing an economic crisis, but a crisis of leadership and for the country to move forward there had “to be a change in the political leadership of the country”.
“You cannot tax your way out of a recession, you have to grow the economy. You have to find areas that you can focus on and inspire new growth in the economy and for seven years we had no economic growth policies in Barbados. So I really don’t know where we are going, I have basically given up on this Government!”
Comissiong said the Minister of Finance’s failure to deliver the annual budget showed a lack of understanding of “one of the most important rituals that permit Barbadian people to focus on the public affairs of the country, to focus on the Parliament”.
He further argued that important questions were not being answered as he raised concern about the real intent of the Solid Waste Municipal Tax, which Sinckler said this week would be reviewed.
“What is behind this municipal waste tax? Why are Barbadians being saddled at a time when they are taxed to the limit, overburdened to service a contract that this Government entered into with a company called Sustainable Barbados Recycling in 2009 which guarantees this Government payments of some 23 million dollars per annum for work to be done in sorting out or processing garbage or solid waste? Who is behind that company? Who are the individuals profiting from that contract? And does the contract make sense?”
For his part, Clarke said, “disappointment was too mild a word” to describe his feeling about the ministerial statement.
Charging that there was nothing “beneficial” from the statement, he said there was clear mismanagement of the country’s financial affairs.
“As Minister of Finance you take the finances you get in a country and you spend them the way your grandmother used to spend her money. You only spend what you need, what you have to have. You don’t spend all on something that you don’t have to have.
“Our budget is 2.3 billion. Our expenditure is way pass that. In energy, we are spending one billon, on the importation of food, 7. 5 million. So we only have about 500 million left to supply the salary payments for the hospitals, the schools, the ministers, the whole civil service. So we have to borrow so we are definitely off track.”
He is also frustrated by the fact that Barbadians remain silent about their plight though many are suffering.
“I am disappointed with the Barbadian people for not rising up and throwing [them] out. There is nothing wrong with marching to get rid of a Government. There is nothing that says a Government must wait for five years and people must wait for an election.”