It’s madness!

Government condemns public/private sector strike

Members of the Freundel Stuart administration are not at all amused by Monday’s protest action by members of the public and private sectors.

In fact, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has termed it as nothing short of “madness” while Minister of Education Ronald Jones has labelled it a not so veiled attempt by supporters of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to overthrow the Government, which has been desperately seeking to avoid sending home thousands of workers amid worsening economic challenges.

“So you have a situation where you have as much dialogue as possible . . .  [and] all throughout Barbados you are hearing that we have a revenue problem, we need to cut our expenses . . . . [And] so you have taken a decision, because you don’t want to send home workers from the Transport Board, [but] you know they gone and strike for us taking a decision to keep them employed. You don’t want to send home people from NHC, but you know they gone and strike for us keeping them employed,” said Brathwaite, while asking: ‘What kind of madness is going on in this country?”

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite

During a Facts meeting convened by the ruling Democratic Labour Party in St Michael East Sunday night in support of its new candidate Nicholas Alleyne, the Attorney General also refuted suggestions made by both the unions and the private sector that Government had been reluctant to hold discussions with them in light of the $542 million austerity package announced by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler on May 30 with a view to addressing a $537 million deficit.

The most contentious measure announced in the package was a 400 per cent increase in the National Social Responsibility Levy, which moved from two per cent to ten per cent on July 1 and has been met with demands from both the public sector trade unions and the private sector for either immediate rollback or a coping subsidy for workers.

But with Government so far refusing to budge on those demands, the situation descended into protests led by the trade unions, with Brathwaite suggesting Sunday night that the action was totally unnecessary.

While stopping just short of calling the union leaders “idiots”, he stressed: “Only madmen would take the kind of decisions that have been taken over the last couple of weeks.

“Your first order is protection of the most vulnerable, protection of the workers. We say to you that these are the alternatives – we either raise some additional revenue as we are doing, or we cut the expenditure, which means send home your workers and you say, ‘Let’s go marching, Let’s agree with the same private sector organizations whose only remedy to us has been to cut expenditure . . . [and] you need to send home workers’ . . . and imagine now the workers representatives are planning to walk behind them [the private sector] because you can’t lead these fellas, you have to walk behind them,” said Brathwaite, in expressing his extreme disappointment over the decision by the unions and the private sector to hold a joint march.

“I am very, very disappointed. You know sometimes I ask if we are getting good value for money in terms of education because some of our people who are allegedly in leadership positions, don’t seem to be able to think through things carefully anymore and don’t understand when they are being led.

‘So the leader of the Opposition and her gang are sitting down quietly behind the scenes, but this is all part of the plan,” he added.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones was equally caustic, while suggesting that there was an Opposition-led plot to overthrow the current Government.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones

He made it clear that he was not opposed to workers marching for legitimate reasons as was their democratic right, but strongly condemned what he said was a “hatch up set of situations” and a “pull together, hodgepodge, wickedness” with “disrespectful undertones and overtones” based on a “desire to manipulate persons who don’t think correctly.  “The motivation behind all of this is to bring down this Government,” he told the gathering of DLP supporters.

“They rushed to say after the WhatsApps [message] and other little things start to leak out, ‘that’s not true’.

“[But] let us move, they said, for a vote of no confidence in the Government of Barbados and when you look at all of them and their names, and their associations, you know to whom they are associated – he, sorry, she who cannot wait,” Jones stressed.

His comments came on the heels of a stern warning issued by the Prime Minister Sunday that his Government would not be blackmailed into rescinding its package of tax measures, in particular the National Social Responsibility Levy which the unions and the private sector have deemed repressive.

Addressing a party luncheon on Sunday, Stuart had also denied ever refusing to hold dialogue on the issue with members of the country’s Social Partnership.

In support of Stuart’s position, Minister of Health John Boyce told Sunday night’s meeting that Government was not at all opposed to dialogue with the unions or the private sector.

Minister of Health John Boyce

In fact, he expressed confidence that under Stuart’s leadership, “good sense will prevail and that this matter will be brought under proper control in very short order.

“I know that he has never not indicated his willingness to dialogue with all of the parties concerned and this is exactly what we need to have, but what we do not, or what we should not be looking to have is persons giving deadlines in situations where deadlines are not appropriate or where there is an absence of any level of consideration for the persons to whom we seek to engage,” Boyce said.

“I think that we always have to keep our thinking caps on so to speak and I pray too that all sectors concerned will recognize and respect each other in a way that can bring about urgent dialogue on these matters,” he added.

35 Responses to It’s madness!

  1. Mervin Stevenson
    Mervin Stevenson July 25, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Looks who’s talking part 4

    Reply
  2. Tracy Brown
    Tracy Brown July 25, 2017 at 1:28 am

    Smh you aĺl will see madness when all those people that march vote unuh out…

    Reply
  3. Ibukunoluwa Ayanfe Ozioma
    Ibukunoluwa Ayanfe Ozioma July 25, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Holding jobs over the heads of the people? How tacky! Stuart hoped to drag this thing out as long as possible and frustrate the people! Raising much needed funds to pay off a national debt should not require hiking the Levy so drastically! How about ideas to generate national income? You have to spend money in order to generate revenue. The youth needs work!! Hopeless!

    Reply
  4. John Everatt July 25, 2017 at 2:37 am

    I am just flabbergasted at the government response to this. Do you people not realize that 20,000 people just marched peacefully to show their disgust for you arrogant lot. And if you think this is over then you need to think again. Unless you change your arrogant ways you are in for a big surprise.

    Reply
  5. colleta July 25, 2017 at 4:18 am

    When Frank Walcott later Sir Frank Walcott called out the people during the C&W strike it wasn’t madness then, now it’s madness. Same union different leaders with different political agendas. One a DLP politician the other a representative for it’s members / workers.

    Reply
  6. Justobserving July 25, 2017 at 6:13 am

    I find this so funny, the AG speaking about education and value. What de badword. This man is the most stupid person to ever enter parliament.

    Jonesee is my boy, just playing politics.

    John Boyce singing for his supper. He will soon tell us how come transmissions were costing $30, 000 dollars each.

    Reply
  7. Bajan boy July 25, 2017 at 6:18 am

    You have to give Stuart deadlines,sure you guys know how lazy his ass is and he likes playing for time. Given that time he will make a few promises hope to win the elections and disrespectful ignore them again. Another 5 years would pass where he does as he likes and not one cent increase. You guys keep ignoring the people of this country and saying they are passive. Can tell you they sure know how to be aggressive in the ballot box.

    Reply
    • Sherlock Holmes. July 25, 2017 at 7:16 am

      You would not stop with your insulting language to the office of the PM, you believe that you are untouchable in this forum? You can make your points more respectfully you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

      Reply
      • Wayne July 25, 2017 at 10:27 am

        Sherlock, some persons comments are not printed pending review, whilst others like the one you addressed can say whatever, whenever or wherever.

        Reply
  8. Sheron Inniss July 25, 2017 at 6:21 am

    The writing already on the wall ’cause GOD don’t sleep.

    Proverb 21, v 13

    Reply
  9. chris hill July 25, 2017 at 7:20 am

    just get the election on. enough of this dlp shouting down at us regular folk. we are faced with power drunk politicians that right now will do anything to quiet the voting public and notice where they spill their anger, in front of a few DLP supporters that are left. They should have come to Queens Park and face the crowd themselves.

    Reply
  10. fedup July 25, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Doan mind DEM..duh frighten enough. Steupse.

    Reply
  11. Carl July 25, 2017 at 7:26 am

    How come it’s all about sacrifice to avoid sending home workers due to the economic situation yet the politicians, who already getting fat salaries and allowances, reclaimed their 10%. Some of the same workers lsr their jobs and homes. The little that is left taxes gives us head ache to spend but yet the answer is more taxes to further increase the strain. How patriotic is the government? Lead by example. Show that you care. Sacrifice first and show us that you are willing to do as you want us to. Lead by example.

    Reply
  12. Bajan July 25, 2017 at 7:37 am

    They won’t call elections, as they are shore to loose with 20,000 voting against them . So they choose to party till the ship goes down. Bunch of cowards. Man up and prove yourselves hold an election.

    Loosers!!!

    Reply
  13. Bobolee Popo July 25, 2017 at 7:38 am

    wunnuh dems are toxic,bitter ant cannot communicate with the masses unless wunnuh deliver poison.

    Reply
  14. Randolph July 25, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Imagine taking back 10% and then adding a burdensome increase of taxes on the people.Come next election they will lose massively.At the moment they are making sure they secure their pensions.God don’t like ugly,I hope they enjoy their pensions.

    Reply
  15. Maria July 25, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Where is VAT money going? Aren’t government workers paid from our taxes? Let’s do better than threats to people standing up for their respective rights.

    Reply
  16. Marva July 25, 2017 at 7:58 am

    So when Ronald Jones march in the 1990s, was that right, was the protest led by the opposition? Is a protest only correct if he is in it? is he the only trade union leader ever wid sense. Stupse>>>

    Reply
  17. Alex Alleyne July 25, 2017 at 8:34 am

    They shirt (s) said it all.

    Reply
  18. Seaweed July 25, 2017 at 9:08 am

    No dialogue, no meetings between the government and social partners? Seems to me the Stuart administration is the reluctant party here. They are backed into a corner with few options, and just playing for time before the inevitable happens. The government has to cut spending, period.

    Reply
  19. Lee July 25, 2017 at 9:44 am

    It’s madness caused by the anxiety the DLP has given the country. And thanks to your tactlessness, Barbadians DO want a change in the guard. You have been a round disappointment and purport now to make things worse . . . . . it would therefore definitely be an insanity to continue bearing with you even until election day, DLP.

    Reply
  20. Alex Alleyne July 25, 2017 at 9:58 am

    3 that pop the chain,…..so far, after yesterday march , Pitbull still chained. Where is KELLY ?????? , hiding under his Leader shirt tail. LOL, LOL, LOL.

    Reply
  21. Tony Webster July 25, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Madness? Who mad? I walked, and I know why I walked. I real happy I sweat…and walked. And I gine walk again….and again…until I can walk into my polling booth!
    Wunna would like to know why I walked….but that is MY business. You look after wunna own *ss….whichin’ only smoking now…but we gine put it fire!

    Reply
  22. Gearbox1964 July 25, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Boy I hoping some uh these Dems come face to face wid me at a rumshop when duh campaigning.

    Reply
  23. Kemal harvey bowen July 25, 2017 at 11:46 am

    wanna aint realise soca on de hill was sunday and de ones who felt left out so then had a day jump before 4 day

    Reply
  24. Alex Alleyne July 25, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    MADNESS or MADMEN ?????????

    Reply
  25. Richard July 25, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Jones please address the issues like the overburden of taxes, the high cost of living and the personal insecurity of citizens who fear leaving their homes after dark, far less to go into an ATM location. Ponder why your economic mis-Management Team policies have brought us 19 credit downgrades in 7 years such that we can’t borrow money outside of Barbados anymore! Answer these issues instead of playing the homophobic card against the BLP leader and the race card to confuse the massive amount of voters that will throw you out in 7 months time! Show us what you are doing with your returned 10% of a Minister’s Salary to help the poorest constituents in your area? What is 10% of $150,000/year plus perks?

    Reply
  26. Greg Harewood July 25, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Lunacy!!! The AG is right. There must be some incongruence in education. Barbados is rated ninth in the world in education with a literacy rate of 98%; yet the level of debate between the unions, the private sector, and the opposition against the Government is reflective of a population that rants rather than presents lucid arguments.
    The AG is right. For a country with scare resources, that expends so highly on education, one must expect more from it’s leaders and it’s people. Critical thinking anyone? Alternative solutions, not just ideas!

    The story of the Pied Piper is more than a children’s story;
    you have to pay your debt or be strangled by that debt in the short run.

    Tell the people the truth!!!

    Reply
    • Greg Harewood July 25, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Lunacy!!! The AG is right. There must be some incongruence in education. Barbados is rated ninth in the world in education with a literacy rate of 98%; yet the level of debate between the unions, the private sector, and the opposition against the Government is reflective of a population that rants rather than presents lucid arguments.
      The AG is right. For a country with scare resources, that expends so highly on education, one must expect more from it’s leaders and it’s people. Critical thinking anyone? Ideas and solutions are not synonymous.
      The story of the Pied Piper is more than a children’s story;
      you have to pay your debt or be strangled by that debt in the short run.

      Tell the people the truth!!!

      Reply
  27. Randy Bridgeman July 25, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    If the estimated figure of 20,000 marchers is accurate, this is not a good sign for the present government. As far as can be ascertained, they were orderly and that’s a good thing. One of the features of a representative democracy is that citizens are permitted to freely express themselves in a non-violent manner. So i say hats off to the organizers as well as those who attended for conducting themselves in the professional way they did.

    Good governance calls for leaders to huddle in order to find fair, equitable and satisfactory solutions to problems which affect the entire nation. One of the drawbacks of governments around the globe is their unwillingness to listen to and consider the thoughts, opinions, ideas and so forth of the people whom it serves. Heavy-handed governance always brings about resentment from the populace which acts to compound a situation which is already grave. We certainly don’t want this labor matter to get out of hand. For if it does, there would be dire repercussions for our nation as a whole.

    All entities in this matter must strive to be reasonable, possessing a willingness to compromise by putting the nation first. Egos, pride, arrogance etc. must be checked in at the entrance door as they have no place at the bargaining table, especially when the issue has across-the-board implications. This is the time for all parties to exhibit genuine statesmanship as opposed to ‘one-upmanship.’

    May the presence of our Lord be evident in all negotiations ensuring a just solution to this rather vexing problem. Blessings to all members of the Bajan family.

    Reply
  28. Alex Alleyne July 25, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    If this Group get vote out of office, will some of them wind up in DODDS ?????????.

    Reply
  29. Milli Watt July 25, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I would not write this crowd off just yet……….you all missing the bigger picture and could potentially make the same mistake you made in 2013

    Reply
  30. Jherri Santana July 25, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    @Alex Alleyne

    All ya 4get the Eager 11…….lol….

    Time will reveal all…the ones who keeping de most noise!!!

    Reply
  31. Vengeance is mine. July 27, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Ronald Jones you should be the last to talk. You should be ashamed.

    Reply
  32. Vengeance is mine. July 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    You Ronald Jones should be ashamed. Shut up. Dishonest and disgusting are some words to describe you.

    Reply

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