Not biting

Sinckler refuses to be drawn into disclosing details of Hilton deal

A robust effort by Member of Parliament for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds to force Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to disclose details of the reported sale of the Hilton Barbados Resort came to naught today.

During his contribution to the second reading of the National Insurance and Social Security Amendment Bill, which sought to increase the number of persons sitting on the board of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Symmonds chided Sinckler for tabling the bill when there was much speculation about the sale of the Needham’s Point property.

He charged that it was “a slap in the face of the people” for the minister to bring such an amendment without discussing the sale, which he said, was of great concern to Barbadians.

“I thought the sale of the patrimony of Barbados, or part thereof, would be of sufficient fundamental nature that you would sit down with the public and say that we have come to an agreement, who we have come to an agreement with and these are the circumstances which will give rise to what will follow,” the Opposition Barbados Labour Party legislator said.

Citing media reports that Government had signed off on the sale of the hotel for US$80 million, Symmonds was adamant that the NIS should have been informed given that it had significant interest in the property which first opened its doors just as the island became independent in 1966.

“We have a circumstance where the NIS stands exposed as a bond holder, ain’t know nothing about the sale; stands exposed as a creditor, ain’t know nothing about the sale; the NIS stands exposed as minority shareholder, have shares in the property, aint’ know nothing about the sale, and the people of Barbados who would be claimants for benefits, who would be pensioners who wait in a line expectantly, ain’t know nothing about no sale.”

As Symmonds read out his charge sheet, there was mumbling on the Government side but not a word from the Minister of Finance.

However, undeterred, the BLP parliamentarian questioned the final sum being paid for the recently refurbished prime property, saying that the reported sum was not near enough to ensure that Government meets its statutory obligations to the hotel’s employees in the event that they are severed by the new owners.

“What is the arrangement that falls in place for these workers?” he asked.

“This is a slap in the face of the people to try to make an amendment without speaking to these fundamental issue that touch and concern the lives of the people, because every worker at the Hilton needs to be given an assurance as to what is happening with their severance payment,” Symmonds insisted.

The concerns were however ignored by Sinckler who told the House as he wrapped up debate on the bill that “at some future date I would address the fundamental other issues that were raised about the NIS and its investments and so forth because there are a number of things that we need to bring to light and to speak to generally”.

It was last month that Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy assured that the jobs of Hilton employees were safe, telling a Democratic Labour Party political meeting that the sale was premised on strict condition, “that not a single member of staff is to be affected or impacted” by the transition.

14 Responses to Not biting

  1. milli watt December 15, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Christopher MESSI…………man is a real WORLD BOSS!

    Reply
  2. John Everatt December 15, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Increase the number of board members on NIS? We have too may board members throughout the island. A board for every school? A board for every government corporation? a board for this and an board for that. And these people are all paid and most are appointed politically. Does this not ell you something?

    Reply
  3. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore December 16, 2017 at 12:10 am

    The problem with this DLP; DEM behaving as though the reigns of govt, for which DEM have responsibility, is DEM private play thing. Not today perhaps, but you’ll soon be answerable to the electorate. Then we, not you, will do all the talking.

    Reply
    • Barker Antony
      Barker Antony December 16, 2017 at 8:34 am

      what makes you think the other side would not do the same.

      Reply
      • Ralph Greene December 16, 2017 at 9:40 am

        @Barker Anthony. So this makes the current administration right to do so, if you are thinking the opposition would have done the same thing?

        Reply
  4. Sandra Madea
    Sandra Madea December 16, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Day does run till night catch it #DlpmustGo

    Reply
  5. Jamar Hinkson
    Jamar Hinkson December 16, 2017 at 1:28 am

    Like how not one single worker was going home from the public sector?? Stupse.. call elections do

    Reply
  6. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce December 16, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Sewage.

    Reply
  7. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd December 16, 2017 at 5:32 am

    CHRIS WHEN WILL YOU TELL THE TRUTH???

    Reply
  8. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn December 16, 2017 at 7:04 am

    People taking Bribe. They selling out .

    Reply
  9. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd December 16, 2017 at 7:59 am
    Reply
  10. harry turnover December 16, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Chris Sinckler next year EVERY DAMN THING gine come out.

    Reply
  11. Alex Alleyne December 16, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Sell the PARLIMANT building.
    That should bring a pretty penny. You all and the rest can hold meetings in QUEENS PARK.

    Reply
  12. Tony Webster December 17, 2017 at 6:30 am

    It is no small irony, that the political party which gave birth to our country, is now selling-off our patrimony..an arm here…a leg there. These past nine years, the every earth screamed for an appreciation of the deep-rooted nature of our fiscal and economic problems. Earlier policy-changes would have been to privatise those public services which are a huge drain on purse….and avoided BOTH the misery of continually-increasing taxes…ANd would have saved those icons which once lost, will NEVER be recovered. How many times can the Hilton be sold?

    Grenada’s gov’t owns not ONE sanitation truck…not ONE bus, but their roads, their services work like clock-work..and they have just been voted BEST CARIBBEAN DESTINATION. Hmmmm…..

    “Those who the Gods wouldst destroy…they first make mad.”

    Reply

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