From crisis to crisis
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley last night lamented that Barbados was lurching from crisis to crisis, led by a Prime Minister who remains silent on critical issues and who allows “misbehaviour” to go unchecked.
She charged that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had, over the last two years, “tolerated all forms of bad behaviour” because he was fearful that with the Democratic Labour Party’s slim majority in the House of Assembly, disciplining offenders could lead to defection that could bring down the administration.
“That survival at all costs that he is practicing comes because he has no room,” she told those gathered for a Barbados Labour Party rally. “The electorate of this country gave them 16 seats out of 30.”
Mottley identified the most recent crisis as the legal troubles facing Speaker of the House Michael Carrington over his failure to hand over approximately $210,000 to a former client after handling the estate of that client’s deceased aunt.
The matter is now before Parliament’s Committee of Privileges which will determine whether Carrington should vacate his seat.
Addressing the crowd that gathered just off Kennedy Drive, in the St Michael West constituency of Carrington, who is an attorney-at-law, Mottley blasted Stuart for defending Carrington’s decision to sit as Speaker of Parliament while the Committee deliberates.
She said the Prime Minister had trivialized the issue surrounding the Speaker by describing it as simply a matter reported in a newspaper.
“It was as if he was talking about something that was being talked about in a rum shop,” she said.
The BLP leader than chastised Stuart for being silent on other critical issues affecting the country.
“He didn’t break his silence to talk about the credit unions being taxed by his Government . . . We are now to create history by becoming the first government in the Caribbean to take poor people savings in the credit unions,” she said, referring to the Tax on Assets Act which would add credit unions to the financial institutions that would have to pay a tax on assets $40 million or more.
She also referred to “a Minister of Agriculture who writes a 20-page letter condemning Government’s economic policy”.
“But the Prime Minister can’t touch a man, will not touch a man, because he puts himself above country. He puts his party above country,” Mottley charged.
Outlining other issues, she added: “The Unemployment Benefit Fund, which is broke, or the National Insurance Scheme which is owed $220 million by the Government that has not paid NIS for over a year.
“Pensioners in CLICO who heard the week before that they were not to get one red cent in pensions because Clico has no cash to pay them . . .
“You have a [Minister of the Environment] Dennis Lowe who . . . sent home people with eight years, and ten years, and 12 years [service], and people with one, two and three [years service] . . . all working,” the Opposition Leader complained.
She also referred to the “broken promise on bursaries for UWI students”, and utterances of “cracking heads and shooting people” from the same minister who has so far not been able to fulfill that promise of financial aid for students at the Cave Hill Campus.
“Do you understand that the person to whom this country ought to be looking at this moment in time refused to stand up and uphold what is righteous behavior in this country?” Mottley asked.
“When you have a prime minister who cannot confront the list of issues . . . it means that this country is lurching from crisis to crisis. This is not the Barbados that we know.”