‘Yes to Chris’

Arthur ready and willing to work with Dem

He has been travelling up and down this region for several months now dishing out economic advice in one form or another.

And on that basis, former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Owen Arthur said he could hardly refuse his own country’s appeal for help, even if his response to the latest economic overtures by the Freundel Stuart Government has triggered a sea of political undercurrents.

Asked today to confirm reports that he had been approached in recent days by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to serve as Chief Economic Advisor as part of a restructured National Economic Council, Arthur told Barbados TODAY: “Yes, I can confirm that I have been approached by Mr Sinckler [and] yes I can confirm that I told him that I would be willing to serve.”

While rattling off the numerous consultancies he has been engaged in over the past few months, he added: “I could not possibly be giving advice to other people and say no to a good and honest overture to me to give advice to the Government of Barbados.”

When Barbados TODAY broke the story last night, many appeared to be taken off guard by the news, including some of Sinckler’s own Cabinet colleagues, after Sinckler, when questioned, failed to let on at his press conference earlier in the day that any such overture had been made to his former political adversary, whose economic policies have been heavily criticized by the current Democratic Labour Party Government.

However, in Sinckler’s defence and his own willingness to ‘get into bed with the Dees’, Arthur said today he felt the minister’s heart was in the right place, but that he was currently hard-pressed to deal with the colliding economic and political agendas of the day.

“Chris wants to do what is the right thing and whenever Chris and I speak Chris understands the need for the [urgent] adjustments,” Arthur reported.

However, he said Sinckler’s problem had to do with the fact that “he is a Minister of Finance who is not a prime minister.

“When I was Prime Minister and Minister of Finance when I told my Cabinet colleagues ‘no’, it was no. Chris has a difficulty, which is that a lot of his colleagues are not interested in expenditure adjustments because they want to go back to their constituents and say, ‘bring your electricity bills and bring your telephone bills, I will continue to spend,’” Arthur suggested, adding that “governments facing elections do not like to be told that there has to be prudence in the management of expenditures and I suspect that Chris has a difficulty selling the adjustment to his colleagues”.

He further suggested that while Sinckler was likely to easily retain his St Michael North West seat in the general election due next year, “other men who are in difficult contests want the Government to continue to spend and that is the political crisis in which we find ourselves”.

However, Arthur said this was no excuse for Sinckler to behave like a “lone wolf”, especially when it comes to the constitution of an economic advisory council that will be critical to the performance of the entire Government.

“To have something like this work successfully and not be a botched job, Chris has to consult with his colleagues,” Arthur stressed.

He also questioned Government’s delay in putting the consultative team together, while stating that with the Estimates of Expenditure due to be laid in Parliament next week, setting out Government’s financial policies and programme for the coming fiscal year, time was of the essence.

“A consultative group that would be put in place now clearly would not be a consultative group to advise as to what is or should be done, but merely a group that could best advise as to how to implement the policies in the Estimates,” he complained.

“Secondly, if Mr Sinckler intends to have other policies pursued by way of what we call the Budget, he would have then to come later in the year and present policies that may be at variance with what he will present in March, which could only possibly lead to further confusion,” he added.

Before his sacking last week, former Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell had indicated that there was need for a $600 million per year adjustment to correct a $50 million a month shortfall in salaries.

However, Arthur would like to know whether or not the new Estimates conform to Worrell’s thinking or not, since “$600 million adjustment just so would be wrenching on the society”.

“That is why perhaps it was so important for Chris to get consultation before he fixed the Estimates, rather than seek to get consultation after he has fixed the Estimates. But whatever else happens now there is no basis for serendipity or ‘happy days are here again in Barbados’. No matter what is done, I think the country has to be prepared for the fact that very difficult adjustment has to be made and it will affect the way of life of many people in Barbados, the standard of living of many people in Barbados,” he warned.

“We are running out of time and to consult now after the Estimates are prepared would mean that you have a year, when in fact you only have three months and that is the danger of where we are. Are Chris’ estimates going to embody the Worrell adjustment, which Worrell said on his way out needs to be done, or are they going to embody something else?

“I can’t emphasize too strongly how important it is for us to get to May, June, July with many of the questions answered that could prevent Barbados from facing a complete catastrophe. And that is why what Worrell said is of such anguish right now,” Arthur said.

kaymarjordan@barbadostoday.bb

20 Responses to ‘Yes to Chris’

  1. Greengiant March 1, 2017 at 12:28 am

    This is no business as usual situation, this is frank and straight up talk. This was always my belief, that others within the cabinet wants to continue the spenderama to try secure their seats.

    This is the country and voters created by both party’s candidates over decades, unfortunately both parties will have to address this public sector employee impregnation policy at election time. Privatization and expenditure prudence will be the new policy for the future. Private sector development, private sector lead investment, efficient, effective tax controls and administration, decent employer / employee legislation where similarly to the current PAYE pay as you earn tax principle. Employers will also earn as you produce in the sectors where production is easily measured and in time with monitoring by the social partners we can bring the other sectors in line. These changes will take time, will be challenging, but will return us to being a developing model globally. One problem remains in achieving these initiatives. Does the candidates representing these parties have the courage to make these changes? We are at the cross roads and taking a bush bath at midnight will not bring the results needed. There’s no magic to it.

    Reply
  2. Hal Austin March 1, 2017 at 4:17 am

    This is sixth form news reporting. If he editor writes this nonsense then she is not in a position to correct her junior reporters.
    Where is the balance? Where is the alternative view? If I read the press release correctly, it seems as if Arthur is preparing for a fight even before he starts his new position. Is he being paid? If so, how much? Is he now a member of the DLP? If not, has he bought in to the economic policies in the DLP manifesto?
    On those policies that he advocated as BLP leader and prime minister, which have remained unchanged under Ms Mottley, what would his advice be to Mr Sinckler? Would he now oppose them, or advise Mr Sinckler to adopt old BLP economic programmes?
    There are lots of questions to be put to Mr Arthur, none of which is in this press release.

    Reply
  3. Ernesta Catlyn March 1, 2017 at 5:39 am

    Mr Arthur has confirmed what I said only yesterday. I felt Chris was prepared to try alternatives but I think Freundel is the person that is risk-aversed and Freundel as PM has to sign off on everything that Chris as Min of Fin proposes. That is a hard place for anyone to be. Additionally I am well aware that his has been a pretty lonely walk for Chris however I do not trust him and I think that Owen, the fox that he is should only trust and feel for Chris so far and no more. You told us not to let Freundel trick us again, take your own advice. Arthur, as I said yesterday I hope your basis for accepting this appointment is out of a sincere desire for love of country – a Stateman’s decision. The world is watching. I wish you well

    Reply
  4. Tony Webster March 1, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Yep, it’s jes’ Collaeral Damage, eh? Effin then, The Good Lord…and De Devil, chat over a Bowl Of Serendipitous Soup…and DEM Masters of our Destiny gets back in……yuh SURE dem gine do what yuh say? P-U-L-E-E-Z-E!!

    Politics? Not me, bohsie.

    Reply
  5. Harry March 1, 2017 at 6:52 am

    I heard in a news report on VOB that persons sitting on this Advisory Committee are not paid.
    I see nothing wrong with Mr. Arthur chairing the committee as frankly I see him as one of the only people who can steer us back unto the correct path. If his recommendations will be followed is another matter, Sandi had formed a similar council back in the Bad ole times when he was PM and I know from a prominent businessman who had been invited to serve that not one meeting was ever held.

    Reply
    • hcalndre March 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      @Harry, After all the negatives that the DLP said of Arthur, should he demand an apology from the DLP? and in case the DLP should return to Gov.Worrell when ever should he not demand an apology also.

      Reply
  6. Kirk Fedee
    Kirk Fedee March 1, 2017 at 8:00 am

    “Bajan Comedy now”..somebody shout out xcel bovell

    Reply
  7. Vernon Harris
    Vernon Harris March 1, 2017 at 8:03 am

    After all the bad wicked things Chris and the DEMS had to say about you and your family, you would have to be a real BOW WOW to be giving them advise. Not even one with pedigree but a salmon tot retriever

    Reply
  8. Eddy Murray
    Eddy Murray March 1, 2017 at 8:29 am

    All the DEMS is saying you put us in the debt, so you get us out, now, so we can get thing going the way we want them to go.

    Reply
  9. Dwayne Durant
    Dwayne Durant March 1, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Wait is this the same man the Mr.Sinckler blame for mashing up the economy now he want him to fix it? The same Mr.Arthur that tell Mr.Sinckler he doing everything wrong? So I guess he will listen now .clearly Mr.Sinckler and Arthur strongly believe that me the public are really really stupid so they can do as they like with us Barbadian smh

    Reply
  10. Angela Griffith
    Angela Griffith March 1, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Just what to get back at Mia

    Reply
  11. Diana Cave
    Diana Cave March 1, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Eddy Murray .. It’s ( POLITICS ) they are friends . Socialized and drink together so don’t get up tight about it the true solution to is God in heaven that can solved all problems . Neither D nor B they tries their best but God is the master of it all .

    Reply
  12. Waiting March 1, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I honestly feel for my former PM Mr. Owen Arthur for he is wasting time with advising the DLP as they will not follow his advice. For years he has been giving them advice and they have ignored it. Mr. Arthur, welcome to more grey hairs and I hope you will be honest to share ALL with the country you love.

    Reply
  13. tsquires March 1, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Good morning all Barbadians. I am sure that our elder statesman Mr. Owen Arthur, fully inner stands that our financial system is in serious crisis, & needing life support before it becomes comatose.
    The major problem to be faced is that of pain before gain, every person here has to bear some of that financial pain, if we wish to once more see financial gains. The world is now a global village and our thinking MUST change, otherwise we will continue to do the same things, in the same way everyday while expecting to get different results, which Einstein tells us is the definition of insanity. We must put political agendas aside and the interest of Barbados MUST take pole position on the starting grid. Thanks for listening.

    Reply
    • hcalndre March 1, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      @tsquires, when you said that every person here (b`dos) has to bear some of that financial pain, are you including the elected politicians and their friends? do you think from the PM down could care anything about the people after they are elected? Their main objective is to get rich in the first tern because they can`t be certain about the second.

      Reply
    • Jennifer March 1, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      @tsquires – Thanks for reading that is.

      The only people suffering any pain here and will suffer further is black people. These men are two sides OF THE SAME COIN.

      Reply
  14. Alex Alleyne March 1, 2017 at 10:35 am

    POLITICS, the best playing with people game in the world…… I love it. It all started with CLYDE MASCOLL .

    Reply
  15. Harry March 1, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the Country. I only hope that they will listen & accept the recommendations. Mind you everything they implemented has failed, 17 downgrades etc. plus all of the other issues facing the Country.

    I just wonder what people like CCC & Peter Gilkes must be thinking about this developement.

    Reply
  16. Jennifer March 1, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    The EYES say a lot in this pic. Trickster and deceiver. Same Pot of pumpkin.

    Reply

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