Move along

Stuart dismisses criticisms of new official car

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has responded to public criticism of his decision to change his official car to a sleek new Mercedes Benz vehicle, while preaching a message of austerity to Barbadians.

Last Friday, Barbados TODAY carried a front-page caption story and photograph of Stuart’s brand new S-Class Mercedes Benz vehicle, which is reportedly valued at $350,000 duty-free or $700,000 inclusive of duties.

The story noted that with all the talk about austerity, Stuart’s new ride was fresh out of the Simpson Motors showroom in Warrens and was met with harsh criticisms of the Prime Minister, who less than 24 hours before had centred his Budget contribution in Parliament around the need for personal sacrifice on the part of Barbadians as the country grapples with severe economic challenges.

In fact, Stuart had likened the current economic burdens faced by the country to “a jockey which has gotten too heavy for the horse” and, in this context, had praised former Prime Minister Owen Arthur for the position he took in the Budget debate, that Government could no longer carry the burden and that national sacrifices would have to be made.

The Budget itself was reflective of the country’s dire situation, with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announcing a $542 million package of new austerity measures as the Stuart Government seeks to immediately redress a $537.6 million deficit position over the next nine months.

However, speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a book entitled Of Halls, Hills and Holes: Place Names of Barbados by Sir Woodville Marshall at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society Wedbesdat afternoon, the Prime Minister brushed aside the criticisms of his new car, saying he did not own it, but merely had access to it.

“First of all, the Prime Minister does not have a new vehicle, it’s the Government of Barbados that has one. I don’t own MP2; I’m driven in it,” he said, pointing out that the new vehicle was ordered in the Estimates of 2016-2017 but was only delivered a few days ago.

He argued that the situation was no different from when a replacement car was ordered in 2007 under the previous Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration and delivered to late Prime Minister David Thompson in 2008.

“I well recall, Prime Minister Thompson having to defend himself in the House of Assembly on the issue of just coming to office and getting a new car, when in fact, the car was ordered by the predecessor Government . . . and the Leader of the Opposition at that time . . . the Leader of the Opposition now, was going after Prime Minister Thompson for having a new car that they ordered,” Stuart added.

The Government leader said he was therefore not surprised about what was currently being said of his new ride.

“The truth is that MP2, the car that has been replaced, is nine years old . . . . It was breaking down all over the place. It had become very expensive to maintain.

“In fact we were advised for some considerable time, not to keep these cars too long because they become very expensive to maintain and wisdom should be on the side of getting rid of them after three years or so. So that you can sell them at a price that would be substantial enough that you wouldn’t have to make up too much in getting a new vehicle,” he added.

The Prime Minister said Government did not do that, but had tried instead to keep his other vehicle, M50, as long as possible and had only replaced it last year.

He pointed out that at 11 years old, M50 broke down one night when he was coming over Horse Hill, St Joseph and also in Wavell Avenue, Black Rock, St Michael when he went on a Town Planning site visit.

In dismissing the latest controversy, the Prime Minister therefore contended that there was no mystery surrounding the replacement of prime ministerial vehicles.

“This is normal, so I do not know what all the fuss is about. It isn’t as though we delivered the Budget on Tuesday last week and went and bought a car on Friday. The car was ordered since March 2016, but it had to be built . . . put together, cause it has to have certain special features and it was delivered to us last week,” he told reporters.

Suggesting that he was the worse person to talk to about vehicles, Stuart said he had owned two cars in his entire life – a Toyota Corolla which he said he bought in 1984 as a young lawyer and kept for 13 years and a reconditioned Toyota Corolla which he kept for another 13 years.

“And I don’t own a car now as such. The car that I drive is a little Toyota Yaris, which I inherited from my sister who died two years ago, and that car is now nine years going on ten. So I am not fascinated by cars, I am not into trying to look impressive. I am not a Prime Minister in search of status or standing. I’m a Prime Minister in search of service. So anybody who wants to get in a quarrel with me over a car that even doesn’t belong to me, but belongs to the Government, is really wasting time,” he added.

Stuart noted that prime ministers and Governors-General did not enjoy the same privileges as High Court judges and chief justices, who were allowed to buy the vehicles they were using at concessional rates, when they were retiring. He however made it clear that he was not complaining about that.

“The car belongs to the Government of Barbados, and when I cease to be Prime Minister, whoever becomes Prime Minister would have access to the car,” he said.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

47 Responses to Move along

  1. Cheryl Barrow
    Cheryl Barrow June 8, 2017 at 12:25 am

    stupes

    Reply
  2. Kaiser Sose
    Kaiser Sose June 8, 2017 at 12:29 am

    This Feckles wazzock has zero empathy for the peoples plight, yet he flaunts extravagance! stupes.

    Reply
  3. Trina Dwyer
    Trina Dwyer June 8, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Can’t fix the budget to help the people but he buying expensive cars claiming it’s a government car!! Well my mother and sisters pay taxes so can they borrow that car???

    Reply
  4. Lavern Hinds
    Lavern Hinds June 8, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Stupseees the man is a total doo-doo

    Reply
  5. Marcia Clarke June 8, 2017 at 12:37 am

    No need to justify anything Mr Prime Minister!!

    Reply
  6. Ras June 8, 2017 at 5:04 am

    Tom Adams had a Cadillac in 1976 this is 2017 and dem want this PM to drive in a donkey cart
    we were the Gem of the Caribbean
    we were 100% literate
    Now we are slowly drifting off into tribalism and been ignorant to the highest degree.
    o misero patria

    Reply
  7. Georgia June 8, 2017 at 5:08 am

    What’s wrong with a less expensive Mercedes….a cla, e, m. lead by example. PM living beyond our means. The people of Barbados according to the finance minister will have to tighten up. A slap in the tax payers face. Pm obviously has a separate U$ account to pay for stuff.

    Reply
  8. harry turnover June 8, 2017 at 6:03 am

    I don;t see anything wrong with the PM driving bout in a new car,As he said IT IS NOT HIS OWN so why wunna people getting on so ?
    As I see it,Stuart is making sure that Mia has something proper to be driven in next year.Wunna en got na foresight.

    Reply
    • Jennifer June 8, 2017 at 9:06 am

      hahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa

      Reply
    • hcalndre June 8, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Ras, why don`t you suggest that the PM and his ministers drive $1/4m cars. A car 9 years old in Barbados, how many thousand miles could that vehicle do in Barbados? No snow, no bad weather to speak of, 21×14 sq. miles, the mechanics and technicians don`t seem to be qualified to work on the foreign vehicles, even the buses break down ever so often. I`ve seen and known cars with over 150.000 miles with many more years of running and are not breaking down. Remember its the tax payers money.

      Reply
  9. Jea Alleyne June 8, 2017 at 7:26 am

    How many of you can buy a new car right now? There’s no shortage of tax payer’s money….DLP keep spending the money on yourselves, there are no laws against it !!

    Reply
  10. fedup June 8, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Man looking out fuh Mia. I like um.

    Reply
  11. Mack June 8, 2017 at 7:48 am

    I was of the opinion for years that these high end Mercadise had durability and can perform and last for years. Now I am hearing that they are only good for three years. Why not buy a Kia and save the tax payers some money????

    Reply
    • Big Man June 8, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Mackie where were you when Simpson’s motors were telling the Taxi men who were having problems with their Mercedes Benz that they were not made to be Taxi’s
      So wuh yuh think bout about the PM Taxi, that is a Taxi also.

      Reply
    • Jennifer June 8, 2017 at 9:14 am

      @Mack – these type of decisions are never about us (the tax payers) its usually about them. Live lavish, pretend you are working while the others UNDERNEATH suffering from foot in neck syndrome.

      Reply
    • hcalndre June 8, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      Mack, you know that they are some bajans that don`t even have bus fare and would be in support of the PM driving a $1/2m vehicle when a KIA could carry him around the 21X14 island.

      Reply
  12. Peter June 8, 2017 at 7:55 am

    You are the Prime Minister, an as far as I am concerned, you deserve the best. I have seen leaders of poverty stricken African countries being driven in similar class vehicles even Bentleys. They have three and four outriders, and even a convoy of armed personnel in SUVs. However, It cannot be a 2017 edition or model since it was allegedly ordered since 2015. I say Mr. PM, enjoy your comfort and luxury while you can. Come next election you may very well be replaced by whomever.

    Reply
    • hcalndre June 8, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Peter, they have armed personnel, think about that.

      Reply
  13. sticks and stones June 8, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Non issue .Pointless.The same ole political distractions being tecited by the opposition operatives when they have nothing else to grip about.
    The decision to purchase the Mercedes was not solely made by the PM but by all members of Parliament including B and D as part of a budget

    Reply
  14. rrr June 8, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Imagine the PM could get thirteen years from a Toyota twice but we can get nine years from a Mercedes …Wow raise you hand

    Reply
  15. Hand2mouth June 8, 2017 at 10:21 am

    absolutely ridiculous! why must the PM and ministers drive high end Mercedes which are then modified. citizens of this country now have to cut back on their spending their hard earned money while the cost of living goes up and salaries remain stagnant and these politicians that put the country in this position with their incompetence are driving luxury vehicles on the tax payers dollars. If we all must cut back and make sacrifices as with this added 8% NSRL and ever increasing gas prices then so should the PM and his ministers. we will all feel it when these are implemented. PM and ministers should be driving Hyundai, Mazda or some other type of vehicles, not high class Mercedes paid for by the people of Barbados. Not in these times of hardship! What is good for Peter is good for Paul.

    Reply
  16. ch June 8, 2017 at 10:29 am

    I see my people choose to be enslaved by their own ignorance. The car itself- when and who ordered it and who actually owns it are distractions from the real issues of leadership and its requirement for empathy and humanity…and basic common sense.
    ” The three most important ways to lead people are by example- by example- by example.”- Albert Schweitzer

    Reply
  17. nothing but lint in my pockets June 8, 2017 at 10:34 am

    If it was up to me …based on his performance and the performance of his ministers they would all be driving Kia Picantos. they would be lucky to get even that because they deserve less I would even say bicycles. Put your MP licence plate on that

    Reply
  18. seagul June 8, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Our donkey cart economy can never be compared to the Swiss bank economy……

    Reply
  19. lester June 8, 2017 at 10:53 am

    some people just politically stupid, catching at RED herrings

    Reply
  20. Lee R June 8, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Even though the car would have been ordered previously, it just doesn’t look good that you are receiving it now. With phrases like “hold strain” and “we have to make sacrifices”, it just came at the worst possible time.

    Reply
  21. Greengiant June 8, 2017 at 11:39 am

    The car, the state, or the state of our economy? Which is most important? How could any educated, informed, intelligent or politically informed Barbadian find the time to be discussing the purchasing of a replacement vehicle for MP 50?

    Firstly, it’s a state owned vehicle, maintenance is on the state, it’s only used to transport the PM he doesn’t own it, but it shows the nature of our people during the silly season. The PM reminded me of the occasion when the B L P administration had ordered a new vehicle, which was only delivered after they left office. Then the current opposition leader could play with the ignorant electorate by proclaiming from the floor of the house that Thomson had only just become PM and had ordered a new vehicle.

    These vehicles used for this purpose must be customized for security purposes, so they can’t be readied in a few months, and it’s best like anything else mechanical to be sold off within a certain period when still valuable. All high end products can only incur high end maintenance cost.

    Problem is, as my grandfather always said, ” when your fruits hanging low everybody will pass and pick them, and when a man on his death bed few will try to revive him, most will be trying ti kill him “. Unfortunately this is the plight of the current D L P administration, but I will also ask this question. ” How could those declared dead in 2008 suddenly rise again “? There’s no new life in the B L P, if you look at them you still have an 85% cadaver population. If we look at their team, it’s a team who should be getting non – contributory pension from their time spent in the House of Assembly, because they have contributed nothing.

    So are we really going to send this sorry bunch back to our house of assembly again so they can obtain money by deception? They have gotten paid to work for the people, they instead have worked against the people. This statement applies to both B L P and D L P. It’s time to give an opportunity to others with the educational qualifications, business experience, and sworn commitment to run our affairs. Forget about, religious affiliation, sexual preference, school attended, area residing, or social affiliations. If we examine the representatives of both leading parties over the decades they’ve been in existence, they have attracted, and accepted members of all types, from all backgrounds, various sexual persuasions and religious denominations into their ranks to assist them with shaping the people’s policies. Why now in the year 2017 these same things should be highly on the agenda of any party or the electorate. What matters is simply managing our affairs properly, and both leading parties have failed to do this effectively.

    Time has past them by.

    Reply
  22. Bajan June 8, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Why couldn’t we buy a cheaper car? The car was budgeted for last year but most likely it was ordered from the car dealership this year around February-March. The government had enough time to consider a cheaper car.

    Reply
    • harry turnover June 8, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Like what ?..a LADA ? the man is THE PRIME ( TOP ) MINISTER a PM is one who LEADS and that is exactly what he is doing …continuing the trend driving bout in one of the ( TOP of the line ) LEADING cars.
      ….and how do you know that the Government didn’t consider a cheaper car ? and decided against it for fear of people like you accusing them of having another downgrade.. the Office .of the PM this time?

      Reply
      • Bajan June 8, 2017 at 3:57 pm

        Harry Turnover..Point taken.

        Reply
  23. Milli Watt June 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    PM next time order a BEAST like Obama and mek dem pay. What you want is one for all the ministers without the special additions to make sure you got de top ride. ship sinking but you riding tall I like um keep on keeping on PM. I encouraged Jonesy to keep talking I will encourage you to keep buying. I suggest you buy a spare in case this brek down given you only getting 10 years for a Mercedes.

    Reply
    • dsun June 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      I sorry he aint buy helicopter. Roads dangerous bot hey.

      Reply
  24. Troy June 8, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I hope the Mercedes-Benz don’t catch.a flat on these horrible roads.

    Reply
  25. Peter June 8, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    hcalndre. So does almost all other presidents and world leaders around the world. It is called armed protection. That kind of security comes with the capacity. My property has eight well positioned CCTV or IDS – Intrusion detection systems. which are intelligent and linked to both computer and Mobile, and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. These vehicles are also outfitted with sophisticated cameras which can tell you if another is following you, how long and how many miles they have been behind you, identify their registration number, color and make and some can even disable them. You can guess how. read man read. Reading radiates light.

    Reply
  26. Ras June 8, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    BLP Tom Adams and Don Blackman started the Ministry of Mercedes Benz in 1976 after the Cadillac started breking down, less we forget. Just after them tell the masses to tighten them belt and then raise all the MP’S salaries, that is when all the dirtiness started 1976-1986, Ask Owen cause Tom Adams did not wan’t Owen in St. Peter he wanted Clyde Griffith talk about nastiness BLP is it.
    Now we bringing back Sodom and Gomorrah as Barbados is not a Christian country anymore, even the Reverend mixing up in the nastiness.

    Reply
  27. Tony Waterman June 8, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    I am going to Ass!!!!!Ume that they Government (s) of Barbados have all researched Digilently “LEASING” of these Vehicles instead of Purchasing, as Leasing would Probably allow for Writing off of the Expense incurred in using the LEASED Vehicle.
    Does anyone care to expand on “LEASING” as against “PURCHASING”

    LEASE with Maintenance as against PURCHASE Plus Maintenance.
    Tax Write off for Depreciation etc. what say ye???

    Reply
  28. Zeus June 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    lol……some of wunna say he keeping for Mia lolol …..it good enough for she but not for him …..I surprise she ain’t come out and say when she get in she will replace it with something cheaper ……..while we talking about cutting cost let’s start with members of the opposition wheather B or D why do they receive a salary ……they have openly admitted that they can’t do anything for people because they are not in power so tell me why they are paid

    Reply
  29. Lorenzo June 8, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Zeusif you want to cut start with the bloated cabinet half of whom are not performing and the parliamentary secretaries most of whom were rejected by the electorate and foisted on the public like Mrs byer-suckoo,Irene Sandiford Garner and Patrick Todd.As far as the vehicle is concerned,it is totally unnecessary at this time of hardship.

    Reply
  30. Richard Johnston June 8, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    In difficult times it would be appropriate for government officials to set a good example by doing without unnecessary luxuries. This vehicle could have been a Toyota.

    Reply
  31. sticks and stones June 8, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    The Banana republic mentality out in full force. Just imagine the PM and leader of state arriving at the Queens Jubilee in a Toyata lol and one that is breaking down . Social media along with world would wide media would have a field day. You guys just do not get it . do you. Our country cannot get on a global world stage and look and act as if the country and its represtations are still living in the dark ages . Our country must show an impression that is as attractive as any other country when we stand shoulder to shoulder on the world stage.

    Reply
    • jackqulin cox June 9, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      It should never be at the peoples expense….a government should be for the people… Impressions aside….

      Reply
  32. Sandra basc June 8, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    If i remember correctly 2016-2017 estimates there was no ease on the people of this country we were suppose to be tightening our belts. The 2017-2018 estimates have now got us on the brink of strangling ourselves with the belt from being so tight. So PM well done!! I applaud you and your ministers on your tenacity to rise above it all and continue joking at the lowly jackasses of this country.

    I hope you enjoy your sweet ride. If only i could afford a donkey cart.

    Reply
  33. Kal El June 8, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    The jockey getting too heavy for the horse but the Benz ain’t too heavy for the horse eh?? $700,000 brush for one car an the government suppose to be break…

    Reply
  34. Roger Headley June 8, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    If it belongs to the people of Barbados, he should have asked us if we wanted it before he bought it.

    Reply
  35. Kal El June 8, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    The jockey getting too heavy for the horse but the Benz ain’t too heavy for the horse eh??.. $700,000 for one car but the government suppose to be broke…

    Reply
  36. jackqulin con June 9, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    All I’m wondering is why is it that we the people have to make sacrifices bit the government can’t settle for a lesser car than a Mercedes Benz?…the same way major project aan be stalled for years a different car could have been ordered…if the previous government had order a jalopy you see how fast something else could have been order so don’t think that we buying that fake out

    Reply

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