Not even a Chefette sandwich, Forde says of Budget provision
Too little, too late!
That was how Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde responded to Tuesday’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals presented by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in the House of Assembly.
Reacting to Sinckler’s announcement that there would be a $10 per week increase for pensioners, the outspoken parliamentarian argued it could not even buy a chicken sandwich from Chefette.
“I can imagine them carrying the $10 to a vegetable shop. They will probably get three cucumbers, two tomatoes, and six carrots if so many, to be able to meet the diets they need. Our standards of living have dropped where our senior citizens and children are suffering because they cannot benefit from a proper diet. I have tremendous difficulty in understanding what this Government is doing. It is definitely too little, too late,” she told Barbados TODAY in an immediate response soon after Sinckler completed his presentation.
Forde took the opportunity to lash out at the Freundel Stuart administration for its retrenchment programme in 2014, which saw 3,000 public servants going home.
The Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) legislator said they too were still hurting and would not benefit from the budget.
“These retrenched workers are hungry, they are losing their properties, they are falling ill and the Government has not looked to respond to them,” Forde said.
While welcoming the announcement that Government would embark on a de-bushing programme, she recalled that she had been calling for such a programme for a long time in her quest to help reduce the rodent and mosquito populations.
Forde extended an invitation to everyone to visit her constituency where they would encounter squalor, poor drainage and a poor network of roads, a suggestion that none of these problems received attention in the financial statement.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Bridgetown Committee Lalu Vaswani was more upbeat, welcoming the increase for the Special Development Areas Act so that the entire Greater Bridgetown area could be eligible for investment.
“That is a very positive development and also duty-free shopping in foreign currencies in different areas including Bridgetown,” Vaswani, who over the years has spearheaded calls for the revitalization of Bridgetown, told Barbados TODAY.
Vaswani, one of Barbados’ leading businessmen, saw it as a positive development to encourage locals to shop in Barbados and save foreign exchange.
“From the perspective of the Bridgetown Committee, the revitalization of Bridgetown falls strictly within our mandate. I feel that businesses that have investments should utilize this opportunity to grow their businesses by utilizing these legitimate incentives for investments,” he declared.