Blame them

Govt and Opposition trade blows over state of the economy

A caution from Shadow Minister of the Environment Wilfred Abrahams to Government about putting the country in more debt has drawn the wrath of Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Senator Jepter Ince, who has accused the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) of unleashing “economic terrorism” on the country.

The show down occurred in the Senate on Wednesday night during debate on the Latin American Development Bank (Amendment) Bill, 2017 through which Government sought permission to purchase 1,008 ordinary shares worth $30.6 million.

Jepter Ince and Wilfred Abrahams

The share purchase would allow Government to borrow some $15 million. However, given the country’s high debt of over $12 billion, or 138.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at market prices, Abrahams expressed concern about heightened spending.

“My difficulty is that we are coming to the end of the life of this administration at which time the Government will have to face the electorate again for a new mandate, for a fresh mandate. The Government may be returned to office [or] the Government may be replaced,” Abrahams said.

“If the Government is putting itself in a position to borrow more money, then come to the people and say this money will definitely be used for these purposes. The Government knows exactly what the major issues affecting the people of Barbados are. Nobody will shoot them down for trying to address those, but do not leave us guessing.

“Let us be comfortable that we are not borrowing for borrowing sake, that we are not borrowing to spend on an election, that we are not borrowing to buy votes, that we are not borrowing to feather anybody’s nest.

“Let us let the people of Barbados feel comfortable and certain knowing what the next plan of the Government is in respect to this money that it’s going to have access to and then, when you have stated that purpose, let it be done. That has not been the record so far,” Abrahams stressed.

During yesterday’s debate, the Opposition spokesman, who is hoping to become the next parliamentary representative for Christ Church East in general elections which are constitutionally due next year, also complained that the country’s infrastructure was crumbling, its health service was in disarray and that there was no real road maintenance programme to speak of.

“Our roads are a joke. The press has now taken to highlighting potholes. The fact is that everybody is complaining about the state of the roads. Barbados is overgrown [with bush]. There are not sufficient trucksl. We are flooding every time it rains.”

He therefore asked for an account of Government’s borrowing while suggesting that “it is not going to improve the schools, because a lot of the schools are in a mess.

“It is not going to improve the things that Barbadians are crying out for. Where is it going, are we spending the money on the right things?”

Abrahams also pointed to the island’s recurring sewage problem, saying it was “a disgrace”.

“It’s been going on for a while and we hear it is being addressed, it’s being fixed. Recently we heard it was fixed [but] it’s back again,” he said.

“It is not simply a matter of sewage in the street being an unpleasant smell. It has public health implications and these are basic things that we have to get right,” he stressed.

“What about our transport system? The public transport is unreliable and inefficient at best. Many areas have no buses because there are no buses to send there. It is now to the point where Barbados is unable to run properly, people cannot make any plans. It is no wonder businesses are suffering,” he said.

However, the persistent criticism of Government’s record proved to be more than Ince could bear.

In fact, he said, he was amazed that Abrahams eyes “have now been opened” to the spending of money.

“I must remind Senator Abrahams that I would like him to read the financials of the Barbados Water Authority, read the financials of the Transport Board, read the financials of the Central Bank from 2000 to 2005,” Ince said.

“I have said it over and over again that the Barbados Labour Party committed financial terrorism in this country,” he added, while stressing that “it is amazing that Senator Abrahams would want to talk to us about transparency about a sewage project in disarray, our health sector, road infrastructure.”

Ince said when the DLP exited office in 1991, the Sanitation Service Authority had 52 trucks but on its return to office in 2008, the DLP found the BWA “flat on its face and the SSA with 10 trucks to service an entire country.

“We left office and we gave them a Barbados Water Authority that was worth $196 million without debt. The Barbados Water Authority was paying the bills of Central Government. It had no debt. The pensions of the workers of the Barbados Water Authority were paid up and we came to office and found a Barbados Water Authority $126 million in deficit, no credit lines and a Barbados Water Authority at the brink of collapsing; and we increased water rates to save Barbados Water Authority and the vulnerable people of Barbados because if we didn’t do it, the only persons that would have water were the rich and famous on the west coast,” Ince said.

“We came and found the Transport Board functioning on a bank overdraft of $10 million a month at the rate of 9.75 per cent. We had to stop that bank overdraft of $10 million a month.

“They [the BLP] weren’t interested in the people of Barbados. All they were interested in were Sparticus and Rome,” Ince added.

His colleague, Government Senator Patrick Todd, said the DLP administration undertook what he described as a very successful, massive island wide pothole repair programme which was lauded by the masses.

He added that on Tuesday of this week, Government approved millions of dollars for a de-bushing programme which would have employed hundreds of Barbadians.

“The member Is misleading the chamber to suggest that the DLP is seeking to borrow money without plans. I would have identified a number of projects – sewage works, infrastructural development at the bus terminus, roadwork, multi-million-dollar massive road refurbishing, massive Fairchild Street bus terminus and market projects, hundreds of millions of dollars,” Todd said.

16 Responses to Blame them

  1. Breadfruit. October 19, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Is this a typo? please help me!

    They wanta buy $30M in shares so that they can borrow $15M???

    Spend $30M to borrow 15M that has to be paid back with interest makes no sense to me. someone please tell me these figures are wrong.

  2. Yaaqov Abioye
    Yaaqov Abioye October 19, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    This sound like pure madness. Why put the country in so much debt.

  3. Oliver Smith October 20, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Why not use just spend your own $30m. These boys too bright for me.

  4. John Jones
    John Jones October 20, 2017 at 4:28 am

    Jepter Must be Jupiter must be crazy.. “economic terrorism”… you and your colleagues have destroyed a nation that bajans were proud of.. you people are bold and silly with it .. you big joker! This government has run debt from zero in 2008 to billions in 2017.. no income tax returns for 2-3 years but taxation on the backs of poor bajans!! Get the hell out of here !DLPs excuses are always the ” past administration ” and ” the recession”! Bajans would be silly to go thru this any longer under this government!! Fed Up!

    • Rechelle October 20, 2017 at 6:42 am

      Could not have been said any better. We await elections 2018.

  5. Harry October 20, 2017 at 4:40 am

    with a MOF who has NO finance background or qualifications why am i not surprised.

  6. Tony Webster October 20, 2017 at 6:26 am

    @Breadfruit, Yaagov & John; and Harry too. Cool it guys…this is just the “New Public Finance Syndrome”. It is in no way, shape or form, related to Financial Asphyxiation Syndrome”….or elections. It is NOT an act of Desperate Men, doing desperate things.
    It’s just amazing. The cure for this malady? Turn on brain; place an (indelible) “X” on it.
    Next USD loan coming up: to pay govt’s tel. and light for last month….”to strengthen and secure communications and public safety”.
    Lord, hear our prayers.

  7. harry turnover October 20, 2017 at 6:41 am

    Wunna blaming the BLP for wunna mistakes and the BLP gine be blame when all a wunna get kick out too.
    ERROL BARROW was the one who BROKE TIES with ENGLAND….if someone is to be blame HE IS THE ONE…he OPENED THE FLOOD GATES fa MPs and others to DO AS DE LIKE.

  8. Randolph October 20, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Jester the clown is at it again.

  9. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba October 20, 2017 at 8:10 am


  10. Johnathan October 20, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Tell Jepter it would affect the PHYSICAL deficit.

  11. Milli Watt October 20, 2017 at 10:19 am

    the last time Jepter open he mouth he had to close it…….careful Jepter we know you mean well but you clearly don’t have the stomach to stand.

  12. Ras October 20, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Sell Greenland and get back some of the $30 millions that spend down there and BLP can’t show nothing for the money that get spend

    • ebaje October 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Interestingly, you’re still talking about Greenland 20 years later but haven’t mentioned the more recent $120M poured into Four Seasons. Please tell us what can be shown at Four Seasons?

  13. Ossie Moore October 20, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Lord mek peace Jepter!! I Ossie only went to Brumley’s but to tell you de truth dem figures you just recall carry a lotta weight. if what you say is recorded and factual then I see where de salt beef get tek out de rice.

  14. Sheron Inniss October 20, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    L O L


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