PM not worried about strike threats

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (left) examining some of the products at this booth during his tour of BMEX yesterday.

If there is one person who is not worried too much about the likelihood of a national strike or ongoing protests in various sectors, it is Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

Stuart, who has in the past come under harsh criticisms for keeping silent on a number of national issues or for seeming not to be addressing some matters with urgency, told members of the media on Saturday, in a brief interview, that the ongoing protests and noises regarding some changes in Government agencies were “little mountains we have to climb” before things could improve.

And he believes it will all “pan out” in due course.

Stuart gave his assessment of labour relations issues as he responded to a question from this newspaper during a tour on Day 2 of the annual Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

For just over a week private haulers and movers have protested the Government’s controversial $25 tipping fee, with hopes of a compromise. However, on Friday the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, gave the impression that the Government would be sticking to its guns on that tax.

And with just over a month to go before the Customs Department is merged into the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA), Customs officers and their union representatives have been bitterly complaining that they remain in the dark over key aspects of the process, which is to result in the establishment of a new revenue collection and enforcement unit called the External Taxes and Border Control Division.

The PM even took time to sample some of the food on hand.

In protest over the BRA move, Customs officers at the Bridgetown Port went on a go-slow earlier this week, with president of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tracey Shuffler expressing  grave concern about the impact on business.

Also this week the General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Toni Moore served notice of a national strike due to outstanding issues in a range of sectors.

However, responding to those concerns on Saturday, Stuart said: “I don’t think we need to worry too much about that”.

“As I said on May Day when I addressed the Barbados Workers Union, trade unions are supposed to make noise on behalf of the persons they represent. A trade unionist who sits quiet and gives his constituency the impression that there are no issues to fight from his or her behalf is really no trade unionist at all. So these noises have to be made,” said Stuart, adding that he was 100 per cent sure that trade unions were committed to the best interest of the island.

“There are issues with which we are dealing. You mentioned the haulers, that issue is engaging the Ministry of the Environment. When new issues are put on the table, necessarily, the very fact that the issues are new lend to a certain measure of shock and there are always issues to iron out, that is happening now. I mean, on any objective assessment of that issue, it is not as intense today, as it was earlier in the week because the more people talk and the more people get to understand, the more scaling down of the tension there is,” pointed out Stuart.

In relation to the Customs transition, Stuart highlighted that a similar path was tread before with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). He said like with the Customs there was “a lot of trade union agitation then too”.

And he acknowledged that people would necessarily have questions about the move, pointing out that it was the responsibility of the Government and the BRA officials to answer those questions.

“But when all is said and done, there is going to be a Barbados Revenue Authority and the Customs Department is going to be a part of it, the revenue collection in the country is going to improve, but these are little mountains we have to climb on the way there,” said a frank speaking Stuart.

“So I wouldn’t advise them to get too agitated about any of this. All this will pan out eventually and all will be well,” he assured. (MM)

27 Responses to PM not worried about strike threats

  1. Heather Cole
    Heather Cole May 24, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Ms. Toni Moore how are you going to respond to that slap in the face that you are only making “noise?”

  2. Anthony Weekes
    Anthony Weekes May 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    This PM really don’t give a rats ass about Barbados or Bajans on the whole to be making a statement like that. Stupidity at its best

  3. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock May 24, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Heather, you ain’t lying, just making noise.

  4. Thomas Katt
    Thomas Katt May 24, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Heather, the unions, just like the two political parties, are old and tired.

    • Heather Cole
      Heather Cole May 24, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      She just took over.. I am awaiting her response before I pass judgment

    • Gavin Dawson
      Gavin Dawson May 24, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Heather Cole, let us see if Toni Moore’s bite is as goodas her bark, new or not now is the time to prove herself, we are waiting.

    • Heather Cole
      Heather Cole May 24, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      I agree. So I will wait.

    • Gavin Dawson
      Gavin Dawson May 24, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Toni Moore, the ball is in your court you say you will fight for workers rights the starting BELL has just been RUNG!!

  5. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne May 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    No, Fumble’s not but when elections come there’s gonna be a serious revolution in this land even though he said the revolution quiet.

  6. Angela Thompson Branch
    Angela Thompson Branch May 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Do not say much for the unions.

  7. Gavin Dawson
    Gavin Dawson May 24, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Of course Stuart would say it does not bother him this so called person is so ignorant he looks down all the time at the people of Barbados, free meals driven every where,it is to be hoped every one and I mean every one who voted DLP feel so proud of youselfs, look by voting for this party you have virtually condemmed Barbados and it’s people to lengthy suffering.

  8. Greitcha Smith
    Greitcha Smith May 24, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    All singing “Don’t worry be happy”!

  9. Artneal Bear Abbey
    Artneal Bear Abbey May 24, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    He pretended to cared when he wanted votes. And am not vex with him either he know how stupid Bajans are Jolla hard but no action,politicians does barely alight at wanna.

  10. Artneal Bear Abbey
    Artneal Bear Abbey May 24, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    This is very disrespectful to the people,in other words I don’t give a Damon about u. You can march all u like I don’t care. That’s what he is say in Bajans terms.

  11. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce May 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Wait……Who let he out the fowl cub? It will ‘pan out’ alright, in he guts.

  12. Karin Russell
    Karin Russell May 25, 2015 at 12:10 am

    With all of this long talk in these comments, I wonder who here has the testicular fortitude to take part in a national shut down. Since he ain’t worried bout all the “noise” the people making, maybe we ought to show him why he SHOULD BE!!!!

    • ken May 28, 2015 at 6:38 am

      I agree, he needs to be taught a lesson. He doesn’t know how much the people of this nation dislike him, how much our opinions and thoughts about him have changed so drastically over the years.

  13. Matthew Greaves
    Matthew Greaves May 25, 2015 at 7:23 am

    The man even said he don’t read newspapers so he couldn’t care less lol

  14. jus me May 25, 2015 at 3:47 pm


    SANDIFORD Reincarnated.


    You chumps voted this dawg in!!

  15. ken May 28, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Stuart and members of his administration have shown a pattern of disrespect to the people of this nation. He does not represent the ideals of what the party was founded on. He and some members of his administration is a disgrace to the DLP and this country; from his refusal to communicate to us, to him advising a corrupt activity involving the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars, to his non involvement when one of his ministers commented that this country’s citizens need their skulls cracked etc this shows that our well being is not on their agenda.


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