Estwick’s cure

Outspoken Cabinet minister Dr David Estwick said today the Freundel Stuart administration was using the wrong medicine to cure the country’s worrying  economic problems.

Estwick, who is the Minister of Agriculture and a former Minister of Economic Affairs, also said that while he understood the strategy being adopted by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank, it was not going  to achieve the desired goal of fixing a $1.4 billion current           account deficit.

”So you can’t cut and tax out of that, which is the old budgetary tool, which is a classic IMF [International Monetary Fund] way of delivering it.  I am not afraid to say what I have to say because I stand by my inferences and by my reasoning and my common sense. Where that leads me, it will lead me,” he asserted in an interview with Barbados TODAY.

The minister said instead of the Government focusing on cutting wages and salaries, it should be concentrating on addressing what, he argued, was a $10.9 billion debt service.

He informed this newspaper that he expected to present his alternative economic measures to Cabinet on Thursday, which he is confident would solve the problem.

”What I have to do now is to ask the Prime Minister to accede to a full power point presentation with the entire Cabinet . . . because all the members were not at the meeting yesterday. Once that happens, and the Cabinet is in agreement, then I am in a position, with the agreement of the Prime Minister, to come to the public and say, ‘Look, these are the things we think we can add and do, X,Y,Z.  So what I was trying to do was to get a hearing, so they (Cabinet members) understand that these tools require supporting tools to achieve what I want to achieve; that is nationally economic development and growth.

“So it’s not a matter of, as some people were trying to suggest, of fighting against [Minister of Finance Chris] Sinckler,” Estwick asserted.

“You need to look at other things,” he added. “So that is really what I push for and it is the other things I will speak to fully, publicly, once I get the Cabinet concurrence and once I get the support of the other members and the Prime Minister.”

“But I am confident,” the minister declared, “that the measures are going to be measures that will stand on their own reasoning and as a result of that, will stand on their own inferences as to what conclusions will come from those particular measures.

“I am hoping that that happens [presentation of measures on Thursday to Cabinet]. Minister [ Donville] Inniss indicated to me he has spoken to the Prime Minister. I intend to speak with him today and ask him [Inniss] to facilitate . . . and he can do this as general secretary of the party and also as a minister; so that I can do a full power point presentation, and so to get the cabinet to appreciate what I am trying to suggest,” the former Minister of Economic Affairs told Barbados TODAY.

“You see, the fundamental point is this. You cannot tax and cut out of a current account deficit of $1.4 billion at the end of fiscal year 2013/14 by the old traditional methods.  You cannot do it, if you don’t have concomitant growth going along the same time, so that you can absorb any of the public sector contractions by loss of jobs.  We don’t have the growth strategy going, because the growth strategy is compromised by cost. And all that happens because of the high debt and the high fiscal deficit position. So we are in a vicious cycle,” suggested Estwick.

“The only way you can get out of that cycle, you have to use other tools to help you in that cycle.  And the thesis really stems from medicine, how you treat patients.

“I can’t go to treat a patient and half treat. My job is to make you well.  So whatever I do to you, at the end of the day, I must make sure that I have cured your particular illness.

“So I am simply saying this [Government’s strategy] is not going to cure the illness. It’s going to prolong the illness. That’s another problem. Let’s cure the illness. And these new tool are going to cure the illness.”

Responding to a perceived rift between himself and his Government following a statement last week where he warned he would soon speak out on publicly on his administration’s economic strategy, the Cabinet member said: “I am committed to Barbados. Barbados is my first responsibility. The tool through which I am executing that responsibility, is through the Democratic Labour Party.

“So therefore, my allegiance to the Democratic Labour Party will stay strong as long as I am confident that the Democratic Labour Party’s allegiance is to the development of this country, and particularly protecting its people and its resources. If the time comes that I believe strongly, that there is evidence that the opposite occurs, then I will leave the Democratic Labour Party.

“And if that time comes, I will make my determination as to my political future, whether I sit as an Independent or I go and join the Barbados Labour Party,” Estwick pointed out.

8 Responses to Estwick’s cure

  1. Fiona Waldron February 4, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Flabbergasted! First, if you have to go this extent to be listened to by your colleagues, then you are not a valued part of the team. Will this be a common occurrence? (Rhetorical question!!!!) This speaks to ineffective intra-Cabinet consultation and the lack of common vision on a way forward. Moreover, it points squarely to a lack of leadership from the one who is supposed to be ‘primus inter pares’.

    Secondly, why is Minister Inniss the one who is turned to as an intermediary between the PM and an appointed Minister? (I can understand an interlocutor on a party matter, but a Cabinet matter??)

    Thirdly, how does one resolve questions on economic policy and strategy where there are differences between the line Minister (Minister of Finance) and another Minister. In a normally functioning system, it would be logical to defer to the Minister of Finance….. but in this dysfunctional environment and given public sentiment on the performance of the present Minister of Finance, it would seem better to replace him…

    Finally, how heaven’s name can such a confused state of affairs and poor inter-personal relations be expected to engender the confidence of the populace.

    The Barbados economic circus seems to be never ending. Excuse me if my tears over the state of our country prevent me from laughing…..

    The present debacle on the heels of the uproar following the BLP’s internecine battle on proposed members of the the Eminent Persons leave us begging for the emergence of a credible third party as an alternative to this madness…

  2. Tony Webster February 4, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Soft, runny, and malodorous.

  3. Angela Thompson Branch
    Angela Thompson Branch February 4, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Doc want a cure.

    • Ryan Bayne
      Ryan Bayne February 4, 2014 at 10:15 am

      I wonder what that cure gine be myself.

  4. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner February 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    This is why politicians cannot be trusted understand he speaks his mind but to be in one party and even remotely thinking or talking about moving to another party pretty much explains politicians.These people regardless of party just opportunist plain and simple.

  5. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner February 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    This is why politicians cannot be trusted understand he speaks his mind but to be in one party and even remotely thinking or talking about moving to another party pretty much explains politicians.These people regardless of party just opportunist plain and simple.

  6. Cat Rock
    Cat Rock February 4, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    That was a long article essentially saying nothing constructive. No actual suggestions. Sounding like a PR stunt to get column inches

  7. David E Hall
    David E Hall February 4, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Were you asleep during the No confidence vote against the Minister of Finance?


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