Apologize Chris!

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley is demanding an apology from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler over his latest remarks on the country’s dire economic situation.

With the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) threatening industrial action if Government does not scrap the tax proposals, Sinckler yesterday warned that the Freundel Stuart administration was fast running out of options and that thousands of public servants could be dismissed from the service if Government were forced to abandon the tax measures announced in its recent Budget.

“I would say that if this really is the union’s position, it is as ill-advised as it is unfortunate at this time. I do not believe that the union leadership is oblivious to the fact that the alternatives to the measures which we introduced, including an increase in the NSRL [National Social Responsibility Levy], will be far more hurtful to public officers than what is proposed,” Sinckler said.

“Indeed, lest they forget, perhaps it bears reminding that there are a growing number of persons out there who believe that Government should immediately and substantially reduce the size of the public sector, especially its wages bill. Now while that may be coded language for some, it simply means that Government should send home thousands of public servants from the service,” he told Barbados TODAY in response to the NUPW’s threat.

However, while reserving her position on the possible NUPW-led protest, Mottley today sought to take Sinckler to task for what she termed his “bizarre threat” to send public workers home, if he did not get his way with the new $500 million tax imposition.

“Public workers are not excess baggage on an overweight plane to be shed at will,” she warned, adding that “the minister must stop using Government employees as scapegoats to cover up his incompetence”.

Mottley also recalled that two years ago Government had sent home 3, 000 workers, adding that “nothing lasting resulted”.

“Our economy is still facing even more severe challenges now. Is it Minister Sinckler’s plan now to send home another 3,000 workers? Has he promised multilateral institutions that this will happen after the next elections?” she asked, while contending that “putting workers on the breadline as this Government’s first and main option will not significantly alter or enhance the economic fortunes of this country under this DLP Government”.

Mia Mottley, Chris Sinckler & Akanni McDowall

Instead, she suggested that greater emphasis should be placed on eliminating wastage and cutting Government’s overall spending.

Mottley also called for greater transparency in awarding contracts and for Government to action matters raised in successive reports by the Auditor General.

“In an environment where the private sector is itself reeling under the pressure of these measures, how would dismissed public workers find employment? How would they feed, clothe and shelter their families? Doesn’t the Minister of Finance care about this?” she further questioned.

Suggesting that Sinckler’s response to the union was both “childish and ill-conceived”, she also warned that “no amount of threats and name-calling can make bad fiscal policies become good.

“The National Union of Public Workers was very reasonable in its request for a coping subsidy to help cushion the impact of the budgetary measures, until such time as a salary increase is effected. Against this reality, the minister’s brash response was unseemly and uncalled for,” she said, while calling on Government as a whole to adopt a more conciliatory approach to addressing and resolving issues of concern to citizens and representative organizations in the country.

“If the entire country is crying out and saying it cannot bear the $500 million in new taxes, a wise and prudent Minister of Finance, together with a caring and competent Prime Minister, would stop and reflect . . . . not throw tantrums and label all who speak out as ‘enemies of the state,’” she said as she harked back to a recent offensive comment made by Minister of Housing Denis Kellman in reference to critics of the administration’s handling of the procedure for granting permission for the construction of the Hyatt Centric Resort on Bay Street, The City.

While stressing the need for the administration to sit with the Social Partners and hammer out a reasonable formula for tackling the burgeoning problems impacting the country and its economy, the Opposition Leader said Sinckler should apologize to public workers.

However, in his statement yesterday to Barbados TODAY Sinckler had been at pains to point out that the administration had rejected the recommendations to sever public workers and had chosen an alternative path, which “we are now hearing that the workers’ representatives don’t want and in fact are threatening industrial action over.

“Well at least we know where their head is even if we do not agree with them. But make no mistake about it; those are the hard choices which we face at this time. So if the NUPW leadership is prepared to make the choice of seeing large amounts of their membership lose their employment and with it the capacity to earn a living, then I would definitely consider that position to be both ill-advised and undesirable,” he warned, while stating he was prepared to discuss the issue with the union, although he gave no hints that he was prepared to budge.

The controversial $542 million package, which is to be rolled out over the next nine months, aims to close a fiscal deficit of $537 million that is deemed to be totally unsustainable.

11 Responses to Apologize Chris!

  1. Don Keyote June 14, 2017 at 5:34 am

    Chris, after the skeletonizing of the fatted calf, finds himself so full of…liquid that he has to pee or get off the po, but looking out from his perch on that accommodating utensil, he sees a rock (Mia) and a hard place (Akani) and can do neither. His pigs have come to a fine market (the public sector). And nobody can afford to buy pork. Poor Chris!

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  2. sticks and stones June 14, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Speaking of bizarre .Mottley you need to shut up. Your silly utterances make no sense

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  3. greengiant June 14, 2017 at 8:01 am

    I’m really ashamed of the response from the Opposition leader here. You have reserved your opinion on the proposed march. Why can you not state clearly whether or not the march is in the best interest of the workers at this time. We all know the advice the government was given by the selected working group prior to the budget. Honestly Mia, do you really think cutting wastage, better tendering practices, cutting government’s overall spending will generate the revenue needed to pay public workers salaries? Taxes paid by the said workers has been the revenue used to pay their salaries from decades ago, so what are you really saying? We can’t print money, can’t go to the international market, can’t borrow from the local market. So Madam opposition leader maybe you have a stash somewhere waiting to become leader, maybe your uncaring business associates are storing up cash to mobilize your government while Barbadians suffer. Tell us your side to this situation, there’s nothing for the finance minister to apologize for. he’s only placed his government’s alternative on the table for us all to see. You need to do the same, as in this case ” your silence is not golden ”.

    Your staunch supporter, and leader of the B C C I has made it clear to the union that their approach is wrong at this time. Yet you’re only attacking the finance minister, but mum on any advice to the union. Your behavior on this matter is highly irresponsible and totally unbecoming of anyone who desires to lead this country.

    The fiscal deficit is unsustainable, we all agree. what’s the time frame for improvement with these new initiatives? You should be bringing your alternatives but sadly your advisers are saying the same things, I M F, massive lay offs, or refinancing of the dept. Whichever route you drive Mia, there will need to be a significant reduction in the public sector’s wage bill, reduced appetite for foreign exchange spending, a wage freeze across all sectors, increased productivity, foreign direct investment, the passing of critical legislation for improved business startups, and transactions. I’m not waiting on you, I know what the solutions are, but you should be telling the people, not just criticizing, and playing with the emotions of the electorate. You are playing a game called, ” Kill a man when he’s down “. Unfortunately while you engage in your selfish little political game an entire nation’s future is on it’s death bed as well. As of yesterday, you were still a very credible attorney at law, even though your qualifications are being questioned, but you’re surely not a doctor ( political or otherwise ).

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  4. joan Worrell June 14, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Wow!! Greengiant, you are a real giant. You couldn’t have said it better. All I can add to the above is that Barbados economists are either post-Keynesian or Neoclassical/Neoliberal economists. Their views are diametrically opposite. I don’t know which ones are advising the BLP but they are finding it difficult to respond to the measures without putting the Leader in a bind if/when the Government changes. Why do you think she wasted 3 hours wid she hands in the air and pooching back two Wednesday ago on the floor of the House of Assembly? lol

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  5. Lee R June 14, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Joan Worrell and Greengiant. Both of you need to understand that what the minister has been proposing for the last 7 years or so has not been working. Sinckler is trying to tell the ppl of this country that he has no other alternatives if not public sector workers are going home. Can’t he see that what needs to be done is to create some room for all citizens to spend. So his focus should be reducing taxes not increasing. All citizens spending more is what is going to create growth in this economy.

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  6. Milli Watt June 14, 2017 at 11:45 am

    stupse….mia you know the reason you didn’t call a divide is because you did not want to have your vote PUBLICLY registered about this budget. You want Chris to succeed at cleaning this mess up and fail at the polls. If he fails to clean it up there is no record BY VOTE that you dissented thus leaving the option available to YOU (if you win) IF.

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  7. Milli Watt June 14, 2017 at 11:49 am

    as for the dynamic duo NUPW AND BWU………I suppose you cud try a ting but your membership don’t have the staying power of a Venezuela they got the last mortgage, car loan, child at school, two trips a year, cell phone and outside man and woman to support but you cud test that and see what happens.

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  8. Milli Watt June 14, 2017 at 11:55 am

    as for Chris …………first time he mek a firm statement the thing is can he stand by it. not a favorite of mine at all and I suspect that this was done for as much selfish reasons because it don’t mek no sense living in opposition with corn on de bank and the country broke.

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  9. Maureen Fields June 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Lee R, I agree with you. But those two seem to be recipients of the “fatted calf”. They belong to Dems ‘tribe’, nothing that they say makes complete sense to us suffering Bajans.

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  10. greengiant June 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Lee R we are not saying it has been working. That’s not the issue here. The real issue and I hope you will agree is, all we’re getting is criticism from those who have desire to govern us.

    Nothing is wrong with criticism, but there’s still need for solutions, and the opposition who wants to be an alternative government are offering no alternatives. We the people need to realize they’re other options to a B L P or D L P government with any significant majority. Actually we probably should be looking at a citizens advisory group on an amended constitution, where all citizens of voting age vote for members of parliament for a particular portfolio, instead of this constituency system that creates these so called ‘national swings’. These swings only give parties large majorities that works to the disadvantage of the people.

    Credible persons with the necessary skills should be nominated and seconded to fill ministries, those elected by the people should then vote among themselves for a P M and A G. Maybe that will serve us better. We are really between a political rock and an electoral hard place.

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  11. Lorenzo June 15, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Maureen Fields don,be surprised by statements from Joan Worrell and GreenGiant nothing this government does is wrong to them and a few more like Zeus ,Ricci Khan ,coralita ,Sticks and stones,Ras ,Saga Boy,Ccc Mark my Word and a few others all DLP,yardfowls who I believe feeding at the trough,but sweet life do not last long and their time will come because no one with a conscience could support this budget or the PM getting a new vehicle at this time.,,somehow they do.

    Reply

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