Inniss: What rift?
Industry minister downplays reports of divide in Cabinet
Minister of Commerce and Industry Donville Inniss has downplayed a reported rift between two of his colleagues –– Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick.
The outspoken St Philip West MP recently called on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to rein in Sinckler, as tensions surrounding the proposed US$250 million Barbados Cane Industry Restructuring Project (BCIRP) apparently reached boiling point.
In a letter to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart last month, Estwick contended that Sinckler misled the Cabinet on the project and called for him to be “reprimanded and charged”.
However, when ask about the situation today, Inniss told Barbados TODAY that he was not commenting on any “perceived quarrel between any members of the Cabinet”.
“I will say that after almost seven years in the Cabinet we are still one happy family. We have our differences [and] opinions from time to time, but we are still a group of dear loving people.”
In any case, Inniss said he was focused on putting the challenges of 2014 behind him, and looking forward to the possibilities for his ministry in 2015.
“I actually feel pretty upbeat about the past year and even more upbeat about the next year.
“I think 2014 is a year when many Barbadian individuals, families and the State faced the reality that it [was] not business as usual.
“For me as a politician, the year has been very challenging. I don’t think that people appreciate sometimes that we are the ones who are hearing everyday of the plights and challenges of families in our constituencies and individuals,” he told Barbados TODAY.
He explained that “the biggest challenge for my ministry was to maintain consistency in service delivery appreciating that everyone who comes through the door with an issue must be your most important client.
“ It was also challenging rolling out the best in technology to help assist in service delivery and getting the national movement going to develop and maintain the Barbados brand and sharing that with the rest of the world.”
However, Inniss, who also has responsibility for International Business and Small Business Development, has big plans to capitalize on the opportunities in the New Year.
“As we look towards 2015, I say to you I am upbeat, not just because of the proposed projects from Government and those kind of things, but more importantly because the reality is there that we have no choice but to roll up our sleeves and work harder.”
He said he was “really looking forward to small, medium and big business in Barbados doing more with the export thrust”, particularly in the United Kingdom, United States and Canadian markets.
“We are really going to boost our efforts in the Caribbean market. We are going to give greater support to helping people retool their enterprises [and] we are going to place more emphasis on the service sector,” he revealed.
Inniss also hopes to achieve his vision of making Barbados a 24/7 society.
“[What] we are going to do in 2015 is work harder on making Barbados a 24/7 society; one with greater flexible working hours, boost productivity and create more job opportunities.”
“I just think that we need to spend less time looking at challenges and look more at opportunities and 2015 to my mind is a year when those opportunities just have to come to the fore.”