Mottley says Estimates was political charade

Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Leader Mia Mottley has taken Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to task over his latest Estimates presentation, accusing him of engaging in a political charade instead of outlining a solid plan to save the ailing economy.

Likening the dwindling reserves to that of a sick patient losing blood, Mottley said she expected Sinckler to outline the practical actions Government was prepared to take in order to “stop the bleeding” instead of engaging in “the long talk”.

She was responding to the introduction of the 2018-19 Estimates and the Barbados Sustainable Recovery Plan (BSRP) by Sinckler in Parliament today.

Mottley highlighted a number of problems which she said should have been addressed, including ongoing water and sewerage woes, issues of transportation, the backlog of cases in the judicial system and blacklisting concerns.

The BLP leader also questioned the intentions of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration to quickly tackle the rapidly declining foreign reserves, which stood at just 6.6 weeks of import cover, or $410 million as at December last year, as well as the high debt, which was hovering around 140 per cent of gross domestic product.

“We spent [five] hours today discussing a plan that should not even be called the Barbados Sustainable Recovery Plan but should be re-titled ‘Beyond the Mandate’, because there is nothing in here that they can do properly, hardly anything without a mandate from the people of Barbados after the next election. That is a fact,” said Mottley, who will lead the BLP into the next election due by the middle of this year.

“Instead, we are made to stand in here for five hours listening to a minister talk and talk and the patient is bleeding out. A full dissertation when what is required is to stop the patient from bleeding. This Opposition will not engage in this charade in this Estimates and we will speak only to the vital issue that affect this country’s stability and health,” she insisted.

Sinckler had earlier dismissed eight questions posed by Mottley over the weekend, saying he would not be bullied into giving any answers, while describing the tactic as nothing but “a game show”.

However, insisting that Government provides answers to those questions Mottley said they were from the electorate.

“This country will not go forward until a mandate is sought and the people of Barbados decide what it is they are prepared to do to stabilize this country and who should be the people leading that exercise. Until such time we are spinning top in mud and this Opposition will not legitimize that exercise which is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Barbados,” said Mottley as she dismissed the discussion on Government’s estimated revenue and expenditure for the upcoming financial year and the BSRP, which is designed to help reform the public sector, and generate economic growth, among other objectives.

Mottley insisted instead that the population wanted to know what the level of the international reserves were today; the level of Value Added Tax, income and Corporation Tax refund owed to companies and individuals; the level of arrears owed by Government to suppliers of goods and services; how Government intends to get a reduction of $87 million in transfers and subsidies.

She also called on Sinckler to say if the Central Bank had written to him with regard to the adequacy of the foreign reserves and the threat to the monetary stability and what action he intended to take; the current employment level in Government; the amount of currency printed by the Central Bank to buy Government debt in order to keep the Government afloat; and how Government proposes to create the fiscal space to effectively deal with the crumbling infrastructure affecting the country.

“We take no delight in asking these questions and we ask them one by one because they are vital,” Mottley she, as she recalled that the Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Caribbean Development Bank had all warned in recent weeks that urgent action was needed to address the economic situation facing the country.

“It is one thing to have a driver’s licence, it is another thing to be able to drive. This Government has abandoned us. Worse still, the tools that are necessary to fix this country will not be available to us in this Parliament three weeks from today. I ask in the name of the people of Barbados, I ask in the name of this country’s stability, if ever there is an opportunity for this Government to stop and pause and put the national interest first, it is now, and it is not the Opposition that is asking, it is the country,” the BLP leader stressed.

3 Responses to Mottley says Estimates was political charade

  1. Greengiant February 13, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Okay clueless Mia Mottley. What about who and how much is owed to the people? The government is the people, we the citizens have to pay those who are owed by the state. So stop saying the people want to know who government owes and things like that. Let it be known as well who are the companies that owe the people money as well.

    An election mandate is no guarantee to change things in this country. I saw already under a B L P ‘Adams’ administration you all try to build the Central Bank, Industrial access Hiway, New bus terminal, NIS building, General Post office, and a sewage project by borrowing foreign exchange, then in came the I M F, they have not left since then. Construction alone can’t bring recovery, you need to tell the people of Barbados what you are going to do, what you need them to do in the partnership you’re seeking. No government can do it without the changes in habits by our workers, and business community.

    So stop the silly season theatricals and get the business end of things sorted out by the time the real campaign starts because none of the other parties are going to lay down and play dead. Your party’s weekly investment in transporting supporters around the island to advertise a crown (rent a crowd) could be better utilised within the constituency offices with us who have ideas to prepare the way forward, and a quality manifesto. You all are spinning to in mud.

  2. Adrian Hinds February 13, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    “This country will not go forward until a mandate is sought and the people of Barbados decide what it is they are prepared to do to stabilize this country and who should be the people leading that exercise. ”

    I’ve said that Barbadians will have to dig deep to be rid of persons who do not have their progress and development at heart. As long as these people continue to be the major players in the Barbados economy, Barbadians will continue to be relegated to the consuming class enmasse with little hope or access into the entrepreneurial class, and they will always be attempts to punish you for wanting a government with policies geared towards their social and economic development – a government that is committed to all Barbadians having equal access to all aspects of the Barbados economy. Events in this country that we are witnessing are politically orchestrated by those who are committed to keeping the status quo. You must demand more than “having money in your pocket” which is the handout policy, and the trickle down economic concept some are vaguely promising to you. If you want a chance at real meaningful and sustain growth and progress you must demand a plan of action from those seeking your vote. For it looks like a return to the old approach of the oligarchic private sector retaining their dominance of the economy and you maintaining your lowly designated role of consumer. The old Master client economic approach is what you will get if you do not think through what may seem and is marketed to you as the right and obvious choice in the next election. Think this through, think long term, because if you do not you will never be able to build real wealth. Wake up Bajans this election is the ”Mutual affair part 2.”


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