DLP ruction

Inniss and Estwick take exception to Budget measures

The first signs of a split within the Freundel Stuart administration over the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals emerged today with two members of Stuart’s Cabinet leading separate but equally caustic attacks on the financial plan.

Minister of Commerce and International Business Donville Inniss refused to give the package of taxes his full backing, while Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick all but rubbished the package, while returning to his pet subject of debt restructuring.

In a fiery speech, Estwick made it clear that Barbados would not emerge from the crippling economic crisis, “on a taxation and expenditure consolidation alone” when it was riddled with high debt.

He said while Government had recorded some progress in its efforts to consolidate spending with a reduction in transfers and subsidies, this achievement was being undermined by the high debt.

“The problem is that while you had those reductions, your debt service went from 48 per cent to 62.6 per cent, so therefore any improvement you are getting on your consolidation exercise in regard to those measures are being undermined by your growth in your debt service, short term debt and medium to long term debt, that is a fact of life,” he said.

Estwick urged his Cabinet colleagues to undertake a serious review of measures and advised that the focus must be on debt restructuring.

“We have some options to make some adjustments after July; I am saying I think those options should be considered and we should more aggressively move Madame Deputy Speaker to refinance and restructure a significant portion of the debt of the country.”

The frank-talking Estwick said he was prepared to “stand up” to represent the People of St Philip West, warning:“I ain’t born with nobody, I will die with myself.”

For all of Estwick’s fire, it was Inniss who was more direct in his condemnation of the fiscal measures presented by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler on Tuesday, saying he had a number of concerns over the package and he felt obliged to air those concerns.

“Now I stand here, yes, as a Cabinet minister, someone sitting on the front bench, but of great importance I also stand here as the parliamentary representative for the constituency of St James South, and I draw my strength from that particular constituency.  And there are times when I will have to speak in Parliament without fear or favour as the parliamentary representative for the constituency of St James South,” he warned.

In a take-no-prisoners presentation, Inniss knocked the lack of consultation ahead of Tuesday’s presentation, saying it ran the risk of reflecting a narrow view.

“If the process of consultation is not deep and wide enough, then we are prone to make mistakes. The views of all will not be considered. And I’ve served as a Cabinet minister for nine years and I have raised concerns over and over again at the process. Because at the end of the day, if you’re not careful, what is presented is really from the perspective of one minister or one ministry,” Inniss stated.

In a further sign of cracks within the governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Inniss complained of a growing divide between decisions made in Parliament and the interpretation of those decisions, particularly in the public sector.

He also groused about the concentration of Government administration matters within the Ministry of Finance, saying it was beginning to “cause ruction in this country”.

“Every ministry, every minister must feel that we all have a role to play in the sustainable growth and development of the Barbados economy, getting it on the right track, staying on the right track, and of course building a more resilient society for us,” Inniss said.

He called for the international business sector to be exempted from paying the two per cent commission on the foreign exchange transactions due to take effect on July 1, insisting that it was “the one that is earning foreign exchange for Barbados, and therefore cannot and will not be penalized”.

The minister also said the hike in the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) from two per cent to ten per cent would result in a rise in the cost of living, and he echoed the call from Opposition Leader Mia Mottley in her reply yesterday, for provisions to be made to assist vulnerable citizens.

“All I ask is that we ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are not placed in any more of a disadvantageous or uncomfortable position,” Inniss said, while also pointing to concerns raised by the manufacturing sector over the increase in the NRSL.

“When they sell to other manufacturers the National Social Responsibility Levy is not applicable as far as I understand.  But when the manufactured goods are sold to the retailers, the National Social Responsibility Levy is applicable, and therefore that leads to an increase in the cost of goods manufactured in Barbados. But it also places us in a position to be less competitive on the local market.”

Inniss said the increase in the excise tax on petrol would drive up the cost of doing business and the cost of living, even as he stressed that the country had been under “immense pressure” in recent years.

He called for a “serious conversation and action plan” to improve efficiency and cut the cost of the public sector, stating that a number of state agencies had got out of hand and had “to be reined in”.

“Let us get real. Some of those agencies need to be merged or closed down.  And that is perhaps one of the realities that we don’t want to face,” Inniss stated.

Sinckler had stated on Tuesday that his presentation was “a national call to arms” for all Barbadians to join Government in defining the future of the country.

But Inniss said he could not fully support the measures in full, as “there are some things there that trouble my soul and I’m not going to run away from that at all.

“It was never a perfect Budget, and it would be remiss of me to stand here and say that I give it my 100 per cent support when I don’t, when there are things in it that are of concern.

“And I could only hope, Madame Deputy Speaker, that we stay focused, that we recognize that we must be open minded, listen to others who may have a different perspective, and I’m sure that Barbados will be on the right track,” the minister said.

Sandydeane@barbadostoday.bb

Marie-clairewilliams@barbadostoday.bb

17 Responses to DLP ruction

  1. Gullyboar June 2, 2017 at 12:50 am

    It was certainly not an election budget ,but come January we will get an election budget,having heard how the proposed measured which was a hard but necessary pill to take has achieved its purpose.wait and see

    Reply
  2. Sisleen Greene June 2, 2017 at 1:39 am

    I do not respect any of those men. When you can spout all the rhetoric in your presentation and then support the same budget by voting in the affirmative, tells me they are spineless and only interested in grand standing.

    Reply
  3. Troy June 2, 2017 at 6:16 am

    The DLP has no clue how to run this country. Taxation is the only thing they know. Clueless as to how to stimulate growth. And we bajans gonna sit down and take every bitter pill with out resistance. It’s time we stand up and let our voices be heard. We know the DLP’s track record and yet we still give them authority to do this cap to people every year.

    Reply
  4. NOLAN HALL June 2, 2017 at 7:04 am

    “Now I stand here, yes, as a Cabinet minister, someone sitting on the front bench, but of great importance I also stand here as the parliamentary representative for the constituency of St James South, and I draw my strength from that particular constituency. And there are times when I will have to speak in Parliament without fear or favour as the parliamentary representative for the constituency of St James South,” . And Blaa Blaa Blaa.

    Speaking without fair or favour does not impress anyone. Voting to approve measures that you are against show a man who is spineless and lacks conviction. Hope your constituents are not fooled.

    Reply
  5. harry turnover June 2, 2017 at 7:23 am

    …..and the two ah DEM STILL VOTED for the measures ?????…enough hot air to fill a hot air balloon and drift aloft with all ah DEM in the GONDOLA

    Reply
  6. Carson C Cadogan June 2, 2017 at 8:13 am

    This shows the maturity of the Democratic Labour Party.

    Dissenting actions and views are encouraged and more than tolerated unlike the draconian Barbados Labour Party.

    If this had taken place within the Barbados Labour Party by this morning measures would be afoot within the Barbados Labour Party leadership to expel both of these members.

    I am sure that we all remember what happen to Maria Agard. The scruffy way she was treated by the Leadership of the BLP leading up to her removal from the crooked Barbados.

    Reply
  7. Carson C Cadogan June 2, 2017 at 8:23 am

    The Democratic Labour Party is the party made of Granite, the Govt. will continue to make decisions which are in the interest of the country not matter the amount of sabotage by the crooked Barbados Labour Party operatives.

    Just remember “..the jockey has become too heavy for the horse…”

    Reply
    • Leroy June 2, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Who is this jockey he speaks of?

      I need bajans to understand that this remark is insulting and disingenuous to the public he swore to serve by calling them an “obese jockey”.

      The public is not the obese jockey of this economy, guess who is.

      Reply
  8. The Rock June 2, 2017 at 8:23 am

    These two men are jokers. A lot of long talk. Estwick could take his seat at the bar in six roads and Donville could go and fly a kite. Sick of DEM all of DEM.

    Reply
  9. Alex Alleyne June 2, 2017 at 9:19 am

    2 MEN who are willing to “tell it like it is” and looking forward to be the 2 leading the opposition of the DLP after next elections. Just making sure the are out front ahead of the pack.
    COUNTRY FIRST……….Make BARBADOS the GEM of the CARIBBEAN again.

    Reply
  10. Greengiant June 2, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Why do we think they’re jokers? We saw Liz, Ronald, and recently Maria ostracized by their party leaders for going against the grain. There was Simmons, Hall, some others, now Estwick and Inniss being critical of some of the measures in the budgetary proposals, but voting with the administration. This is unheard of under any
    B L P government or opposition, yes lets face it these two would have been slaughtered, Simmons, Hall and others would not have been welcomed at Grantley Adam’s House as they are in George Street. So before you all get to talking for the sake of supporting your party, face the facts.

    If you all had any spine, you would not be championing the cause of either the B L P or D L P. They have both contributed to increasing our public dept with the increasing of statutory corporations ( employees, rental cost, vehicles, energy cost, pensions cost, loans, grants, consultancy fees, legal fees and I can go on ) Sadly these parties only see the need to divest or merge these entities when in opposition.

    GAIA, Barbados Port Inc, Needham’s Point, B T I, N C C, B W A,
    N P C, B N T C, B N O C, N C F, C B C, U D C, R D C, N H C, Enterprise Growth Fund, Pan African Commission, B R A, and I can go on. Check which administration registered the most statutory corporations in Barbados, and you will see who increased the national wage bill for votes. Both parties have talked about divestment of some of these corporations, but how many have they divested? They only sell off when they need foreign exchange, so worst still most time foreign entities get the ownership.

    Is this what we will continue to vote for? The economy will be stabilized, we will get the dept reduced, our foreign exchange earnings will improve, thereby our G D P will improve. Sadly our two leading parties once either of them are in government will use those hard sacrificial gains of the nation for their selfish electoral gains. The answer will be the same in three or so decades with either of the leading parties.

    Oh, by the way, the opposition leader was critical of the budgetary proposals like most of us are. During her reply, apart from criticism of the proposals did we hear any solutions? Arthur and Estwick continue to offer the same solution, though through different sources. Our economists gives different opinions depending on which party they support. So we need a party with alternative solutions, who are not in bed with economist, or the political grass hoppers, and parasitical contributors.

    Reply
  11. joan Worrell June 2, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Greengiant

    Great post. I wonder if Mascoll and Straughn had made a contribution to the reply to the budget and the Opposition Leader chose not to use the data given. The only economic model we heard of, was the Trump Model i.e Make Barbados Strong Again by voting for us. Nothing of substance . Wow!!

    Reply
  12. Milli Watt June 2, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Inniss on record as saying he can’t take a pay cut cause he got a family…….clearly he got de last family. As for estwick he on record as not being a minister of agriculture hence his rants on economics. Looking at a swing to take both the idlers out next time and it looking possible. just keep talking boys just keep talking.

    Reply
  13. Lee R June 2, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    You can’t disagree with the measures and turn around and vote for these same measures. That is total ignorance. I hope the constituents of both of those ministers punish them on election day.

    Reply
  14. Milli Watt June 2, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    the increase the boys gave themselves remind me of sandiford he increased wages for the boys and then cut by 8%. this crowd did the same knowing that tax coming…………..boss move gentlemen. shame de BLP giving theirs to charity cud give it to me.

    Reply
  15. Rumboy June 2, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Carson Cadogan alias MK cpuld teally Shut up. Toime to call Elections – Beyond time actually

    Reply
  16. Bajan Pride June 2, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Millie Watt I feel the same way about that Salary balance with taxes technique that they only used for themselves

    Reply

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