Political upheaval

If we were to review this week’s events using weather forecasting jargon, it would read like this: Weak and unstable conditions are affecting the island’s economy with Tropical Storm DeLisle set to hit Barbados at full force. Meanwhile, tropical depression Estwick is forming over the Atlantic Ocean, and is expected to bring high winds which will either blow B or D, with devaluation being the dominant feature.

This week, the political scene got another shake up as Minister of Agriculture, Water Resource Managements, Food and Fisheries Dr David Estwick publicly said that the government had failed in its economic policies stating.

“It is widely known that for much of our first term in Government that the Central Bank of Barbados printed money to support Government’s current expenditure, posing a real risk to declining reserves in the process,” Estwick wrote to the Prime Minister in a letter dated January 20, 2014, as reported by Barbados TODAY.

These remarks generated much discussion, with some persons congratulating him. One person commented:  “Well said, Dr Estwick. Sometimes the best thing one can do when you have stuck your head out is to sit quietly and be proven right.”

Others however, scolded him. “Your integrity, Mr Minister, has been compromised. You should suffer the same fate as the Governor [of the Central Bank] since he compromised his economic professionalism. . . . You, for many years, indicated that the growth path or lack thereof was incorrect, yet time after time you went to Cabinet and Parliament and supported the policies. Shame on you, Minister, shame on you. The ‘I told you so’ does not impress me one bit,” one person wrote.

Yet another: “Mr Estwick’s position is shocking. He never once raised his concerns publicly and only now when the boat is sinking – fast – is he now suggesting that he opposed the initiatives of his own government. It’s sad that he could not have done the ‘right thing’ a while ago and ‘break cover’. The lack of proper stewardship of the economy not only rests with the Government and the Central Bank Governor, but also the Board. To sit on their hands for years whilst the country descended into the mire showed a total lack of governance and responsibility. They also need to go. Stop the taking now as we need proper action.”

“Mr Estwick was part of the collective. He spoke with one side of his mouth and voted yea to all the policies he was against. He is a hypocrite to himself. Was silent for two years, now coming to say ‘I told you so’. In so doing, you are also part of the problem. If you wanted to do something you should have resigned. Your credibility would still be intact,” another reader added.

Similar comments were made by noted political scientist Dr George Belle who said in an interview with Barbados TODAY: “Dr Estwick has to go beyond saying that he told them so; he needs to bring the Government down by resigning. He has to resign from the Cabinet and vote against the Government in a no-confidence [motion] against the Government.”

Full stories: Estwick should join forces with BLP – Belle; and We’ve failed!

 Meanwhile, the opposition is gearing up for the March of Disgust!

“Enough is enough,” said a militant-sounding Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader Mia Mottley, as the party declared war on the Freundel Stuart administration. The Opposition said it was disgusted with the administration’s handling of the economy.

Many people had mixed emotions about the move by the Opposition, with some questioning whether it would be “purposeful”.

“People are more upset with the state of our economy coupled with the deafening silence and indecisive leadership or lack of leadership from Mr Stuart. It boils down to confidence. Both private and areas of our public sectors are uncomfortable but are afraid to complain publicly for fear of victimization. Mia put on your thinking cap, work with your team, brainstorm and come up with formulae that will show positivity and results. Show Barbados what you and your team can and will do. That would be your best selling point to win the next elections. I’m afraid another walk or march ain’t gonna cut it,” one person wrote.

Another blasted the planned march as nothing more than a power grabbing attempt, saying: “Barbados has its challenges which would be less if the previous administration had not made hundreds of millions of dollars disappear into thin air without a [trace] – money which the present administration has had to find.”

 To the big story this week: The embattled Governor of the Central Bank Dr DeLisle Worrell had his day in court but failed to keep his job.

On Thursday, the Court of Appeal cleared the way for his termination after it threw out the temporary injunction which barred Minister of Finance from firing him.

By the next day, he was fired.

His attorney Gregory Nicholls confirmed that his client had been given his walking papers, less than 24 hours after the Court of Appeal decision. But he insisted that was not the end and that his client would be heading to the Caribbean Court of Justice.

 Over at Waterford, classes had to be temporarily halted at the problem-plagued Combermere School as many students again fell ill.

It was the second time for the new school year that classes were disrupted. This left many of our readers asking why the authorities have not yet relocated students.

 Intern counseling psychologist at the St Michael School, Georgina Jarvis said the number of children presenting with stress was very concerning.

“I have not worked in the school system long enough to state if there is a rise in depression in school children or not, but I do find children are experiencing a lot of stress. I do see some depressive symptoms in children and I offer ongoing counseling for that. But no children that I have been seeing have been clinically diagnosed,” she said.

Many readers – and most of those who commented on the story – agreed with that assessment.

“We are all stressed. Children with stress need extra help. Parents must watch their children, we all know this. They must also remove the stigma from their minds that getting help for children means they are ‘mad’,” one person said.

“We as parents, including teachers…yes, I say teachers, should be able to recognize the symptoms and seek the required help where necessary for the kids who may be experiencing problems.”

 Lastly, in Trending Today, WhatsApp launched a new Snapchat-like feature. Have you tried it? Tell us what you think about the new move!

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