PM: “Keep the faith”
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart wants Democratic Labour Party (DLP) members to keep the faith, saying there are positive signs ahead and this year’s budget is a challenge to do better.
Stuart today delivered the keynote address at the second weekend session of the DLP’s 61st annual conference at the party’s George Street headquarters.
“I urge the family of the Democratic Labour Party to continue to have faith in the future and in the promise of Barbados. This is our country and it has been very good to all of us,” he said.
Advising members not to panic in the face of opposition contentions that “the bulk of the people in the country are suffering” he told the conference that “members of the Cabinet have stuck to the task and positive signs have been emerging in Barbados’ economic fortunes”.
“Those signs will become more evident as we implement the programme just announced in the recently delivered Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals,” Stuart said.
He also admitted that the 2016-2017 budget, presented by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler last Tuesday, contained challenges for the country,
“The (budgetary) proposals are a challenge particularly to the private sector, through promised amendments to the Special Development Areas Act; a challenge to the small business sector through the $50m being made available to the sector by way of a blend of grants and soft loans; a challenge to students to continue to work hard and aim high encouraged by the recapitalization of the Student Revolving Loan Fund; a challenge to defaulting taxpayers through yet another amnesty given to them to regularize their tax status; and a challenge to those public officers whose employment status will be put on a footing more secure,” Stuart said.
During his 40-minute address the Prime Minister conceded that all is not well in a number of areas of Barbados’ development, however he said his presentation today was not intended “to exhaust the residue of challenges in agriculture, in statutory boards, in water and in the economy”.
Nevertheless he assured that “reforms are underway to put Barbados and its economy on a more secure footing”.
Stuart noted escalating costs to health care and the search for a solution, which he said will come at a price.
He also told party members that Government is committed to ensuring the Transport Board receives assistance in providing a satisfactory service, and that solid waste disposal remains a high agenda item for Cabinet.