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50th show will go on – PM

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has defended the over $5 million budget for this year’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, saying it is a once in a lifetime achievement for Barbados, and it will be recognized.

Responding in Parliament yesterday to criticisms of the proposed spending by members of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party, Stuart was adamant that the show would go on, insisting that the island, at age 50, had much to celebrate.

“I know that a number of questions have been raised, some snide remarks have been dropped, the independence celebrations have been slandered by members on the other side, and all sorts of dark motives have been attributed to the Government for having Barbadians celebrate the golden jubilee of their independence,” he said, in making his contribution to the debate on the 2016/2017 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.

Under the Prime Minister’s Office, a total of $5,111,542 has been allocated for the coming financial year, which begins in April, to cover the expenses of the National Independence Secretariat, which is in charge of the yearlong activities.

This is in addition to the $1.27 million set aside for the celebrations in the last fiscal year.

A further $75,000 has also been budgeted for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to cover the operating expenses of the overseas missions for the jubilee celebrations.

While accusing members of the Opposition of engaging in “shame and scandal politics”, Stuart said: “I understand well the tactic of saying the monies allocated for the 50th anniversary celebrations should more properly be allocated to the service of the causes of the poor and the most vulnerable elements of this society.  I heard the same thing when this Parliament was celebrating its 375th anniversary.

However, he pointed out that Barbados would only have one chance to celebrate its 50th birthday.

“This is a one-time opportunity for the country and it is an opportunity we have to seize now. It’s not a period for extravagance and uncontrolled merriment, . . . it is also a time for reflection because Barbados has to look at itself, we have to understand where it is we came from, we have to understand where we are and we have to be clear where it is we are going.”

The Prime Minister stressed that the festivities were “not up for negotiation”, noting that similar criticism were levelled in Parliament ahead of the declaration of independence in 1966.

“It’s the party that I lead that took this country into independence. Interestingly enough some of the same arguments were heard 50 years ago in this House as well.  On that occasion, it was that we shouldn’t have independence at all. Or if we’re going to have it, we should have it within the context of a Federation. History repeats itself and I would have thought that it was a sufficiently important national moment for the country to unite, look back at what we’ve achieved, and resolve to do better over the next 50 years,” Stuart said.

The Prime Minister noted Barbados’ sister Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, Guyana, is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and the government in Georgetown has set aside funds for that purpose.

5 Responses to 50th show will go on – PM

  1. BaJan boy March 18, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Tell them you want election funds and they could talk or sing you does do whatever you like and they could like it or lump and you will give not even discuss it.

  2. Graham B Bannister
    Graham B Bannister March 18, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Once in a lifetime achievement.. TYell that to the families that cant feed their children or send them to school because they have no work or no money. Tell that to the hard working people in this country whose tax returns you still cant return… Tell that to the many hardworking Public Servants who you cant pay. Once in a lifetime achievement my ass…. You just not happy still you and your jokers keep spending the people money on crap…. Just state exactly.. what the hell are you spending $5 – $7 million on anyway.. give specifics.TIME FOR CHANGE

  3. Sunshine Sunny Shine March 18, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Mr. Prime Minister, you seem to think that bajans cannot do any independent thinking on their own. You really believe that the opposition has to preach scare and shame tactics in order to sensitize the public about the doings of your administration? You make it too obvious what you care about and interested in. But I have to give you credit for how vocal you are these days. Must be the election wind blowing at this time. You really are defending your celebration with a passion. It would have been nice too, Mr. Prime mInister, to see you come out and speak to the people concerning the controversial Cahill Waste to Energy project displaying the same passion and rhetoric. Imagine if the opposition did not expose the secrecy surrounding Cahill WtE, that all right-thinking bajans agreed with, you would have pushed that through the back door without bajans knowing about it or understanding what it was all about. People are upset with the celebration spending because Barbados need that money to go towards dealing with some of the major issues affecting the island badly. That is why people are mad. You, however, seem not to give two hoots because, for you, 50 years is a milestone and a milestone like this deserves a massive celebration regardless of what the island is dealing with. Let’s hope we get some returns on this investment.

  4. Olutoye Walrond March 18, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Seven million dollars in celebrations. Yes. The Prime Minister is unrepentant about this heavy expenditure for the golden anniversary of independence. This occasion will not happen again, so no amount of spending on it is too much.

    Surely, he knows something that the rest of us don’t.
    Does he know – like the rest of us – of the dire straights into which the local economy has fallen over the past seven years? Does he know of the heavy erosion in the spending power of the average Barbadian, caused by tax after tax after tax without the balance of an increase in salaries?

    Does he know that welfare recipients are finding it hard to get help from government?
    Does he know of the thousands at home unemployed because the government “has no money” to pay them. Does he know of the under-equipping of the Sanitation Department, resulting in dirty neighbourhoods with garbage all over the place?

    Does he know of the many working class young people who have had to forego university education because “there is no money” to pay for it?

    Does he know that the health of Barbadians is being compromised because of the under-funding of the QEH, again because “there is no money” Does he know of the poor state of many of our roads, especially in rural parishes like St. John, St. Lucy and St. Peter?

    I shall have to conclude that he is blissfully unaware of any of these things and therefore sees nothing wrong with spending seven million dollars wining and dining and dancing for the 50th. anniversary independence, just like he wines and dines visitors to the island at Ilaro Court ever so often.

    After all they don’t call Barbados the fete capital for nothing.

  5. J. Payne March 26, 2016 at 2:22 am

    Reminds me of de ship captain thet sailed Titanic. The wheel just waiting to fall off de box cart that is the DLP led economy.


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