PM speaks on current impasse; warns that there can be no blackmail of his Govt

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has denied all claims that his Government is indifferent to the demands of public officers for pay increases or that he did not respond to the request for a tripartite meeting before tomorrow’s planned march by private sector and trade union members.

Speaking today at a luncheon of the Democratic Labour Party’s Christ Church West branch, held at Almond Bay Hotel, the Prime Minister made it clear that he would not allow the trade unions to dictate the Government’s fiscal policies.

Ahead of tomorrow’s planned march by the unions involving private sector workers,  Stuart however said  he would  do nothing to stop the march from going ahead, but warned that  tomorrow’s march, organized by the island’s four main trade unions and the Barbados Private Sector Association, would not force his Government to revise the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL).

He made it clear that Government would only review the tax if it fails to meet expectations.

“I heard that there was going to be this big march tomorrow which private sector employers are paying their workers to participate in . . . . Well you know, a few people got on to me, begging me to meet quickly to head it off. I do not want to head it off, I want it to happen. The people of Barbados have to see what is possible around here, and how far people will go in the pursuit of their perverse objectives,” the Prime Minister said to applause from some in those gathered.

He however said that, as far as he was concerned, there was currently no real industrial dispute in Barbados to speak of, while making it clear that no government in the world could be run on the basis of “undisguised blackmail”.

“Barbados is run by a constitution and that constitution establishes something called the rule of law. I want to make it very clear here this evening that there is no industrial dispute going on here in Barbados – not one. The only ‘dispute’ when I checked with the Ministry of Labour on Friday, that is engaging their attention, is a breakdown in salary negotiations between the Barbados Workers’ Union and the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and that matter has been referred to the Chief Labour Officer and if it breaks down there, it will be referred to the Ministry of Labour and if it breaks down there and the minister feels so inclined, she will refer it to the Prime Minister.

“Apart from that there is no industrial dispute going on in Barbados between employers and employees, ” said Stuart, who had earlier said that Government was committed to paying a wage increase to public officers once it raised the required revenues.

In this context, he maintained that “it is not true that there has been no dialogue, it is not true that the Government is indifferent to the demands of public officers for increases.”

However, he said it was true that “the Prime Minister of Barbados was told to meet or to schedule a meeting in order to avert social unrest which is a coded way of saying if you don’t meet there will be social unrest”.

But Stuart said that even though he held the portfolio for National Security and Defence, he could not deal directly with any social unrest.

“The phrase social unrest can only mean one thing, creating a situation where the society is thrown into chaos.  I have said it is a matter for the Royal Barbados Police Force . . . if we get to that stage,” he said.

Stuart added that he would be a traitor to let unelected officials determine how Government runs the country.

“I would be a traitor to those who fought for universal adult suffrage,” Stuart said of “elements that have not faced the electorate but who want final decisions on Barbados’ policies and Barbados’ future to reside with them and them alone”.

81 Responses to PM speaks on current impasse; warns that there can be no blackmail of his Govt

  1. David July 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Well said Mr.Prime Minister

    Reply
  2. Ernesta Catlyn July 23, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    But elected official are the peoples’ servants and that seem to be your challenge; you are our servants. 275 000 odd persons cannot allow 16 elected officials to do as they like. You are accountable to us.

    Reply
    • John Everatt July 23, 2017 at 7:16 pm

      Well said!

      Reply
    • Rechelle July 23, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      I think that he has forgotten.

      Reply
  3. Errol Rayside
    Errol Rayside July 23, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    one big Uncle tom goat

    Reply
  4. hewers of wood July 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    More waste money. You could have kept that luncheon at ilaro court or better yet your home.

    Reply
  5. Zoë July 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    2 arms of the social partnership asking for dialogue. They are not asking for the final say on policy matters.

    Reply
  6. Ernesta Catlyn July 23, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    And we are saying that a 400% increase in the National Social Responsibility Level and the 2% on foreign exchange transactions are too draconian to impose at one time. Why are you trying to collect $590M one time when you only need approximately $300M to ‘right the economy’? Impose the measures piecemeal and give us time to recover and then add a little more. You cannot take your 10% and then impose these measures and expect silence. Have a heart, man.

    Reply
    • straight talk July 23, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      This comment is interesting but freundel stuart and chris sinkler in changing nothing they are sticking to the plan which is 10% one way and 2% another a total of 12% which is to help pay government workers and do other things.

      Reply
    • andy g July 24, 2017 at 11:03 am

      The union should have step in when the government took back their 10%.they kept their mouth shut.Mia walked out.When Tom Adams became prime minister,he abolish the 5% sales tax and replaced it with a 13% comsumption tax.Barbados right now is between a rock and a hard place.We all are waiting patiently

      Reply
  7. chris hill July 23, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    well here we go. firstly his first paragraph says it all “he will not be pressured into fiscal policy. so he is steadfast on the NSRL increase no matter what or who or how many march. man bring the election and keep your big words.

    Reply
  8. Barker Antony
    Barker Antony July 23, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I’m sorry but I am in agreement here!!! it was also agreed that the tax would be reviewed after three months!!!

    Reply
    • Charles Alleyne
      Charles Alleyne July 23, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      I have no problem with you agreeing ..but this Prime Minister act as though Barbados belong to him and he will rule indefinitely.The people elected him and not only his party supporters who have no back bone or spine to say enough is enough.No one is dictating government policies ,but once those policies will continue to bring hardship he has to hear the voice of the people ,and do not come here in the eleventh hour to try to avert what our constitution allow us to do that is free to associate and protest.This Prime Minister refuse to act in the best interest of the Barbadian people.Every time he speaks it is before the party faithful ,but any leader of a country always address its people because it shows you are an effective leader and your ears are open to their cries.There is an appointed time and it is elections in the Christian realm we call it judgment and he will be judge on his stewardship as Prime Minister and it is going to harsh .

      Reply
    • Jerry Amos
      Jerry Amos July 23, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      It was agreed that no one would be sent home, it was agreed that UWI would remain free. It was also agreed that the 2.5 percent hike in vat would be for 18 months.

      Reply
    • Barker Antony
      Barker Antony July 23, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      The problem is if this tax had been imposed strictly on the Barbadian worker and the private sector did not have to pay upfront, there would be no protest tomorrow only grumbling. The government will be dealt with in the next election. What we cannot tolerate is the bullying attitude by any interest group to influence economic policies of any Government BLP or DLP. I may not agree with everything the government does but the business class and unions find it convenient to get the workers to do their bidding and the joke is even if the tax is removed prices ain’t going down!!!!!

      Reply
      • John Everatt July 23, 2017 at 9:45 pm

        Yes but prices will go up if the tax is not removed.

        Reply
    • Dan Louis
      Dan Louis July 23, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Barker Antony wait till Mottley come it’s going to be worst than a Games of Thrones. More taxes.

      Reply
    • Dan Louis
      Dan Louis July 23, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Charles Alleyne Barker Antony wait till Mottley come it’s going to be worst than a Games of Thrones. More taxes.

      Reply
    • Barker Antony
      Barker Antony July 23, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Jerry Amos Politics is politics and economic reality is economic reality UWI was unsustainable because there was no revenue model and governmemt has to foot the bill, the public service has more employees than is necessary and the same private sector tells Gov’t to cut expenditure. Every body wants everything for free!!!

      Reply
    • Barker Antony
      Barker Antony July 23, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      This is what people don’t understand these issues will transcend to the next government so when you don’t want to pay today the middle class will suffer tomorrow. THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY ARE BEING PAWNED REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL AFFILATION!!!!

      Reply
    • Jerry Amos
      Jerry Amos July 23, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      Stick to the point, if you want to talk economics then raise a point on such. I responded to you on ” it was also agreed”.

      Reply
    • Jerry Amos
      Jerry Amos July 23, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      It is minutes to 12 where I am but I will engage you. What is the size of Government now different to 2007 and why?

      Reply
    • Barker Antony
      Barker Antony July 23, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      I stand to be corrected but in 1991 it was around 18000 the previous government increased it to around 27000 as of 2007 I think but based on discussions another 3000-6000 has to go!!!

      Reply
  9. hewers of wood July 23, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    We the masses would be traitors to Sit down and let you continue to tax us because of your bad monetary spending and poor fiscal management. The masses is not marching with no private sector people business owners either. ALL of u people work with them. Lies and translucency will do much damage.

    Reply
  10. Bajan Girl to the Bone. July 23, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Wait he finally wake up?

    Reply
    • Rechelle July 23, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      Yeah, it would seem so.

      Reply
  11. Bajan Girl to the Bone. July 23, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Wait he finally wake up?

    Reply
  12. John Da Silva
    John Da Silva July 23, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I hope he ready for the biggest demonstration Barbados has ever seen tomorrow.

    Reply
  13. Boyce Jr Angus
    Boyce Jr Angus July 23, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    His is the most disrespectful, indifferent government ever ta grace Barbados

    Reply
  14. Taylor Dane
    Taylor Dane July 23, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Only those few you need to speak with and not the populace. If that’s your plan it’s not working.

    Reply
  15. Jack Ryan
    Jack Ryan July 23, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I would love the prime ministers of the other countries to ban him. Until he either calls elections early or start listening to us and treating us with respect. Whenever I hear him speak I have to remember to watch what I type cause I can’t really express my feelings towards him here publicly. ONE COULD ONLY WISH

    Reply
  16. XO July 23, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Social unrest is not civil disobedience – why is the PM talking about police? We have a constitutionally protected right to associate. To suggest that Bajans should not march borders on undemocratic.

    Reply
    • Rechelle July 23, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      I think he wants to incite social unrest.

      Reply
  17. Amanda Greaves
    Amanda Greaves July 23, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Whatever i didn’t even ready it but I done know its nonsense just call elections NOW

    Reply
  18. Miguel Griffith
    Miguel Griffith July 23, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Well well well He does not speak often but when he does I am at a lost for words. I don’t share your ideals Mr Prime Minister but I agree with you on this one. You were elected to do a job and no person should force you to go against the mandate of the people. Do your job or the lack thereof until the bell rings.

    Reply
    • Roger Headley July 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      What is the mandate of the people?

      Reply
  19. keen observer July 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Errol Rayside show some respect. Is that a phrase which you picked up in the USA? The reality is Herbert is very out of place. This is the same Private Sector that wanted an apology for Jepter Ince.

    Reply
    • Milli Watt July 23, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      stupse I don’t know why Jepter apologise for the same thing he say coming to pass…………..he mek me shame

      Reply
  20. Sean King
    Sean King July 23, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    As usual he can only speak to party supporters at DLP functions as though the rest of Barbadians do not exist .Not only did persons that attend branch functions elected you .Time for this PM to interact better with the public before he leaves office.

    Reply
  21. Lynda Bonnett
    Lynda Bonnett July 23, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    According to Obama.. he didn’t create Trump!!!!! Wtf create uglish

    Reply
  22. Greengiant July 23, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Why could’nt these private sector entities adjust their opening hours so their employees could support the former employees of Sandy Lane Hotel, and The Royal Shop in their time of need?

    I smell something ingenuine here. We are not silly, they’re other ways to address this grevience than to add further damage to the country’s economy.

    Reply
    • Real Bajan July 23, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      The employees of Sandy Lane Hotel and the Royal Shop were wrong in those instances.

      Reply
  23. Demetrio Moore
    Demetrio Moore July 23, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    So basically… it doesn’t make a difference how many people march… nothing will change.

    Reply
  24. Lauren Kierulf
    Lauren Kierulf July 23, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    What amazes me is the gall to reinstate their 10% and then stick it to us with these draconian taxes. Sheer gall.

    Reply
    • John Da Silva
      John Da Silva July 23, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      The US$350,000 DUTY FREE car was also completely inappropriate.

      Reply
      • Sherlock Holmes. July 24, 2017 at 7:39 am

        I agree a white Prime minister should be the only one afforded such a luxury right John.

        Reply
  25. Lauren Kierulf
    Lauren Kierulf July 23, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    They seem to be laughing in the face of the people that voted them
    Into power.

    Reply
  26. Tracy Brown
    Tracy Brown July 23, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Yes boss!!

    Reply
  27. Dave D. Thompson
    Dave D. Thompson July 23, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    The gov claims they have no money but took back their 10 percent retroactively while the masses await income tax and benefits from years ago , they have no money to pay workers or grant a raise but can employ additional workers recently …now it’s too difficult to meet and avert industrial action …does this sound like a gov that have the workers interest at heart ??

    Reply
  28. joan Worrell July 23, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    The man felt emboldened by the support he is getting from the three black union leaders and spoke without thinking. I said only three blacks for good reason . We are back to the early years of the 19th century i.e before emancipation declaration. I hope that the Government doesn’t celebrate Emancipation day on August 1st. It is meaningless in Barbados.

    Reply
    • hewers of wood July 23, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      well said. I have been saying this for some time now, this day is nothing more than a fasaud and blind folds for educated people in this place. Paying attention in the history class was the problem. Those YOKES OF IRON is still on and getting tighter. This system is like elastic, – streaching to fit the masses.

      Reply
  29. hewers of wood July 23, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Problems are we got groups here keeping thsee government doing as they like. The middle class educated well to do lot who don’t even own a business, just high paying servants. Then we got the die hard yardfowls up in dey. Then we got the don’t give a f@#$ lot who ain’t supporting nothing. Then we got the true strugglers who living hand to mouth seeing no ease and complaining . The first 3 lol is the main problem for the last lot. Then we got two parties which mirror each other in more ways than one. From frying pan to fire. I can see perilous times ahead.
    @charles Alleyne – there is not only elections but a MASS AWAKENING.
    .

    Reply
  30. John Everatt July 23, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Seems that fumbles is a bit worried as he is threatening that the police force will be called on to keep the peace. Civil unrest does not mean violence. So these are to be viewed as threats as far as I can see. There is already civil unrest but no violence. The prime minister really only talks with the party faithful but let him talk with the Barbados public. He never even sees them. He and his government just keep spending money like water while the normal folk keep paying for all this over spending on vehicles and everything else.

    Reply
  31. Real Bajan July 23, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    He should have address the country.

    Reply
  32. Sue Donym July 23, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Dear Mr PM, “social unrest” CAN have more than one meaning and Bajans are not known for “societies thrown into chaos”.

    There is another word for the “unelected” – voters; and one for your “elememts that have not faced the electorate” – that being electorate, which would serve you well if added to your admirable vocabulary. Another word which you might find useful is “democracy” and I predict that you will find reason to claim familiarity with this in coming months.

    On a vaguely related point, I discovered that ‘traitor’ has the same number of letters as ‘cabinet’ when VAT was not reverted to 15% and for some reason remembered this again when MP’s 10% was restored. But I digress… or maybe not.

    Reply
  33. Alex Alleyne July 23, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Mr. PM Sir, all this speech you just gave should have been said at a press conference held on CBC, tv. (You owe it to the Country).
    The AG and the Police department just met on the radio and gave the public a bit.

    Reply
  34. Milli Watt July 23, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Fruns like he digging in………….I like um, it on ALL NOW

    Reply
  35. Mr. Crowley July 23, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    The Empire strikes back

    Reply
  36. joan Worrell July 23, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Mr. Prime Minister I am calling on you once more to place a temporary ban on Emancipation celebration 2017. Make the 1ST of August a normal working day so that the rest of the world would know that massa still giving orders to the Elected Government of the land and if they aren’t carried out, there will be social unrest.

    Reply
    • Sherlock Holmes. July 24, 2017 at 7:46 am

      Hmmm why you seem to be making so much sense.

      Reply
  37. Loretta Griffith July 23, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    As an unintelligent citizen of Barbados, the Prime Minister has my wholeheartedly support.
    I also share Anthony Barker’s views.
    As a person who does not get into this black and white thing, I am smelling a rat. Clock handles seem to be turning back.

    Reply
  38. Kris July 23, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    I guess that according to what I heard, the public workers can pay themselves and supplement other government programmes as well. In short, we can have a situation where taxes and NRL can reduce net disposable income by $200.00 and the government will grant an increase in salary of $50.00. Very good thinking Mr. PM. Love it, you are the best!!

    Reply
  39. blackman July 23, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Somebody organise a march against plantocracy nuh

    Reply
  40. Real Bajan July 23, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Black, white, red or yellow it doesn’t matter everyone has their own agenda. The union, private sector association and the individual businesses are fighting the same cause but for different reasons. what we should watch is that the opposition (BLP) is waiting and hoping that the government falls, instead of fighting for us in the House of Assembly. The next march should be against the opposition

    Reply
  41. Mack July 23, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    What’s up with all of these Lunchion and dinners the prime minister hosting and attending. Who is paying for them. can his wife cook???? Could anyone tell me please!!!

    Reply
  42. Kevin Branch July 24, 2017 at 5:37 am

    “A man who stands for nothing ..will fall for anything”

    Malcolm X

    Reply
  43. Jennifer July 24, 2017 at 5:43 am

    All that I read is that no one is willing to sacrifice. Just complain. Solutions. Limit the imports too many stores just selling nonsense, how many shoes and hair can one person own. Limit agricultural imports that can be grown locally. Who in the private sector have come up with an idea that can generate foreign exchange? Our private sector needs to step up and overall we need to be productive. Solutions any ideas people?

    Reply
  44. jrsmith July 24, 2017 at 5:45 am

    The priminister is …… rumbled-ed …………………. Now the bajan black masses seeing the real ( Priminister ) he is threatening the people, especially the unions , easy targets.. … As I said lots of times before , the only mouth piece for the black masses is the trade unions and If he really had his way he would be banning the unions …………………….
    That’s why I am always saying barbados needs something to control these crooked politicians…………. They have to know they place,, his excuse , the people blackmailing the government , this march is a decade over due, ……….. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    What I would love to see put in place before the up coming elections ,, an act of parliament namely so the (Accountable Act) which give the voters an automatic right to remove from office (MPs) who are not , working in the interest of the people ……….
    ****************************************************
    Mr Priminister , answer this question now your awake and threatening our people,,,, would you explain to the masses our black people and others , who share no real concern, ………What has happen to the ( Audit General’s ) report and the missing 900 millions bds dollars which by now could be 1 billion………….
    Some of us bajans is not scared to says our bit , ……………….

    Reply
  45. Greengiant July 24, 2017 at 6:38 am

    The real issue here is that the merchant class, and their supporters has seen an opportunity to take back this country. They want to dictate to the government how to run the country, and they will use the workers whom they’ve refused to pay properly for decades as pawns to achieve what they want.

    Reply
  46. Peter Thompson July 24, 2017 at 7:11 am

    No-one threatened Prime Minister. Herbert warned him that the budget policies will cause social unrest because they will not work. Anyone who understands economics knows this. White people are afraid of social unrest because they know that they will be the targets of such events

    Reply
  47. Freeagent July 24, 2017 at 7:13 am

    To those business owners who will participate in today’s march against the National Social Responsibility Level how much taxes – VAT, NIS, rent etc do you owe the government? Don’t you think that things would be better if you paid up the millions of dollars that you owe? Maybe the government would then be able to reduce the levy.

    Reply
  48. MAP July 24, 2017 at 8:34 am

    What is clear is that the Prime Minister and the present DLP government’s policy is to ‘Tax’ their way out of a recession, meaning more taxes will bring more revenue but the reverse is apparent. The economy has contracted and they are collecting less than they estimate each budget. If you read the Sunday Nation newspaper for July 2nd, 2017 entitled Tax Toll, it outlines some of this government’s 22 Billion dollar collection of tax revenue. The question is where has government spent what was collected. To frame the current situation in a ‘negative light’ and call it ‘blackmail’, is typical of a Prime Minister and government who has ‘no care’ of how the current status of Barbados has evolved to its present ‘state of affairs’. They are almost immune to the current ‘Tax situation’ because ‘pockets are fat’ and they can live above it, while the average Barbadian has to endure their ‘policies of ignorance’ …

    Reply
  49. lswiltshire July 24, 2017 at 8:58 am

    hllo

    Reply
  50. Tennyson Drakes July 24, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Once again, let us cut out the emotion in our arguments and deal with the situation rationally. Barbados has a huge fiscal deficit. It needs to be narrowed. How are we going to achieve this?. Grow the Economy, yes. But that is a medium term strategy. Reduce spending. Yes. But how?. Can we send home people in mass. No. That will result in a social upheaval. Should we borrow more. No. Should we go to the IMF. No. The IMF money comes with very harsh conditions, like the paying of all University fees, and the paying for our basic health care. We must consider these things very carefully. Last thing, you all people are only setting Mia Mottley to be a complete failure if she becomes the next Prime Minister. Reason: She will have to institute the exact same measures that are being enacted at this time, and that will make her very unpopular. Let us be rational and practical in our in our thinking.

    Reply
  51. F.A.Rudder July 24, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Once again “May I ask of you How is your tourism product doing and how competitive are you in the region while all of this “go slow and strike talk continues”? It looks as though you may be balancing out with a secondary economic product ? Just thought I might ask you brilliant contributors?

    Reply
  52. jrsmith July 24, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    The present government is not ( Accountable ) to the masses , yet still the black masses are the ones who taxes is enforced upon because , lots of people who should shoulder paying taxes get away from paying and government shows no real interest in collecting taxes efficiently…………
    …… @, Tennyson ,D, hail , hail, your 10.02 is a good swing , but why this government has gotten away , for 2 terms without being challenge by the masses or the opposition party , stripping our barbados treasury of near to 1 billion bds dollars ….What a difference this money would have made , crooks or corruption …
    Dont know which is worst the guns or the politicians………………..

    Reply
  53. jrsmith July 24, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    @,Tennyson D, hail, hail, (Audit General’s ) report almost 1 billion bds dollars missing from treasury cannot be accounted for , who is to blame almost a decade of the same government…………..

    Reply
  54. Buun July 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Who is holding our income return’s and taxing us? Talk about ransom?

    Reply
  55. Kevin July 24, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I agree with the PM on this point.

    Reply
  56. BaJan boy July 24, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    What is his portfolio again. His lazy ass has little or nothing to do and just finds everything to do about nothin…

    Reply
  57. colleta July 25, 2017 at 3:38 am

    No unelected people to run the Government, still he’s carrying a lot of rejects, some who never offer themselves as a candidate to help run the government, really got his foot in his mouth.

    Reply

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