Boiling point

Stuart caught in the middle of bitter sugar dispute between Estwick and Chris

The swords have been drawn and the rift between two senior ministers in the Freundel Stuart Cabinet has reached boiling point, with outspoken Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick now calling on the Prime Minister to move against Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.

But so far Estwick’s demands have been met with silence, with sources suggesting that Stuart, who is currently in Cuba attending the Fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit, still hopeful the matter can simmer down.

In a strongly worded letter to the Prime Minister last month, Estwick stopped just short of calling for Sinckler’s head on the proverbial platter or for him to be fired as Minister of Finance.

However, the Minister of Agriculture did suggest that Sinckler should be both “reprimanded and charged”, after stating that Cabinet had been misled on the proposed US$250 million Barbados Cane Industry Restructuring Project (BCIRP).

Barbados TODAY has obtained a copy of the seven-page letter to Stuart, dated November 17, 2014, in which Estwick listed nine areas, which he said were “inaccurately” presented to Cabinet.

It follows what inside sources say was a “very robust” Cabinet session on November 13, in which Estwick did not hide his feelings about his Government’s handling of the sugar revival proposal. In fact, the former economic affairs minister bitterly complained in his letter to Stuart that he was asked at short notice by the Prime Minister to give an update on the contentious BCIRP, without having prior notice so he could adequately prepare.

On the other hand, Estwick said it appeared as if the Minister of Finance was “apprised” since he came prepared with “a Ministry file in hand” from which he spoke to a memorandum of understanding between Inter-Sugar Partnership, the current negotiators of the half a billion dollar sugar restructuring loan, and Marubeni, the Japanese concern that was originally scheduled to finance the restructuring project but later pulled out.

However, in his letter Estwick told the Prime Minister that in order to protect the integrity of his ministry, the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) and the Barbados Cane Industry Corporation (BCIC), he was providing him with enough supporting documentary evidence to rebut a number of the claims made at the November 13th meeting.

Sinckler and Estwick have been at odds in recent times over a proposal to have the St Lucia-registered ISP negotiate the multi million-dollar sugar loan through the US-based National Standard Finance (NSF) for the restructuring project.

Describing the entire episode as “depressing”, Estwick was at pains to point out to the Prime Minister that the BCIRP proposal, which was at the time before the Ministry of Finance. was not a debt offer,  but an equity investment.

“It has nothing to do with the MOU between ISP and Marubeni,” said Estwick, who also summed up the November 13 discussion as not only a “brave attempt to mislead and confuse the Cabinet  but also as “diabolical       and laughable”.

Estwick also sought to warn the Prime Minister that “no minister should be allowed to deliberately mislead the Cabinet of Barbados, saying such would constitute a “grievous offence” for which the offending minister should be seriously “reprimanded and charged”.

Estwick ended his letter to the prime minister by putting him on notice that “this is the last time I will raise this matter with you”.

“I have written to you twice regarding matters of this nature and I want to give you every opportunity to define the authority of the Cabinet. I have no intention to continue to serve in a Cabinet where its instructions to ministers and ministries are not carried out with fidelity,” the outspoken St. Philip West MP declared.

Barbados TODAY understands that the proposal to fund the Barbados Cane Industry Restructuring Project of which Estwick has been complaining, is now before Cabinet for consideration.

In his November letter to Stuart, Estwick complained that the proposal had been before the Ministry of Finance for the past three months.

When contacted, Minister Sinckler was unavailable for comment, but a source within his ministry told Barbados TODAY that Government could not afford to rush into any arrangement since there was simply too much at stake.

27 Responses to Boiling point

  1. Cheryl A Rollins
    Cheryl A Rollins December 10, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Yet another distraction.

  2. Pullhead Davis
    Pullhead Davis December 10, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Haha we all know estwick going nowhere dlp cant risk loosing him and I dont think he want to loose the luxuries of being in cabinet estwick wants m.o.f give him that watch how nice pm becomes again to him

  3. Tony Webster December 10, 2014 at 2:40 am

    Classic Mexican stand-off ….wid Bajan pepper-sauce. No prize for guessing who who gine blink first.

  4. Edwin Barker
    Edwin Barker December 10, 2014 at 3:09 am

    Some more silent treatment for poor Estwick….lol

  5. Lynn Lucas
    Lynn Lucas December 10, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Stupeese!!! Another tantrum. Another distraction. Meanwhile uncollected garbage everywhere. We just not serious, but we like it so!!!

  6. Artneal Bear Abbey
    Artneal Bear Abbey December 10, 2014 at 4:09 am

    Do you guys rsalise that there are a lot of killers out there. Lots of unsolved murders equals to lots of killers on the streets.

  7. John Nicholls
    John Nicholls December 10, 2014 at 5:35 am

    As I said before simply another distraction. This will go nowhere. We have seen it all before. Just more theatrics.

  8. Angela Thompson Branch
    Angela Thompson Branch December 10, 2014 at 5:53 am

    A case of one silent minister who does nothing or say nothing.Another minister who white washes every thing and sugar coat his speeches to make them sound real and never keep promises.Another Minister who is cast about,but really tries to find out about the ministry he is working with.Only thing is he is trying to make that ministry work which is what he is not suppose to do cause the two above will always say too much at risk and will never commit to any thing.The way I see it Barbados cooked .

  9. Andrew Hulsmeier
    Andrew Hulsmeier December 10, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Would you let these people run your company

  10. seagul December 10, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Time is money—so let’s work this out. We, the people need mechanisms not disunity!

  11. Glenda Ifill Applewhaite December 10, 2014 at 8:27 am

    I cringe every time ! The voters who gave these inept people a mandate to run this country needs to think long and hard about the horrible mistake they made. If this was a business they would have ALL been fired. What a mess!

  12. Carl Harper December 10, 2014 at 8:45 am

    And the good people of Barbados re-elected them. SMH

  13. Pluto Merick December 10, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Esse is the whipping boy when the DEMs need a good distraction.Why is this not the third time that we have been here before?
    Point is come next elections will his constituents ever take him as a serious candidate?

    TIME TO STOP …..Distractions and collect some of the islands garbage boys.. which smells in the Black rock area..phew!

  14. Asiba December 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Barbadians have taken leave of their senses.

  15. Drian Xyers
    Drian Xyers December 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm
  16. GloriaHoneycomb Wiggins
    GloriaHoneycomb Wiggins December 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm
  17. Princess Tiny Neferua
    Princess Tiny Neferua December 10, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Not Again……..OMG my head is hurting….I wonder who will get charge for my stress and anxiety attack………

  18. Stuart December 10, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    As an outsider, from Canada, I must say,I am saddened by just how lost you’ve all become. To the point. Your country requires drastic reorganization of all levels of your blotted governmental organizations. Too much money spent feeding and keeping the structure unaffected. Too many chiefs, not enough Indians. Half the governant in half, that drastic. Tell yourselves the truth before it’s to late. Paradise must survive. Regards, Stuart.

  19. Stuart December 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Is my comment still waiting for moderation. Apparently the press might be part of the problem too. Regards, Stuart.

  20. Nita Holligan
    Nita Holligan December 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    When will you folks get it together and stop playing with poor people livelihood.

  21. John Nicholls
    John Nicholls December 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Repeat of 2013,same time as well ;just before Xmas.

  22. Tony Waterman December 10, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Stop the weeping and Wailking and Gnashing of Teeth, and don’t worry, be Happy. The House of Cards is about to Crumble.
    A Cabinet CRISIS and our Venerable Leader Freundel decides to Escape to Cuba.

  23. Lorraine Lewis
    Lorraine Lewis December 10, 2014 at 9:31 pm
  24. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne December 10, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    DLP is on the brink of collapse. I know it all too well.

  25. Jacinta Lashley
    Jacinta Lashley December 10, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Couldn’t this have been trashed out at headquarters? Smh!!

  26. Keep it real December 11, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Makes me wonder who is behind the St Lucia registered company ISP….hope the motives here are not the same sinister ones as prevailed with the pier head project..remember that inexperienced St Lucia registered company that appeared at the last minute and got the $500m+ contract over a much experienced British company,quickly signed and agreement with government and received $12m on signing and the project seem to be on hold. Strange things are happening with yet stranger ones to come.

  27. Maxine Baker December 11, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    I will beg Mr Sinckler and Dr Estwick not to air dirty linens in public because there are more Barbadians who cannot read and understand than those who can do so. Such persons listen, swallow and take as gospel the words that come from some persons on the other side who appear to them to be better able to manage the country. Stop giving the other side “ammunition” with which they will fight you in the nest election!!!


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