by Donna Sealy
Untruthful and wicked!
That’s how Leader of the Opposition, Owen Arthur, today categorically dismissed Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s charge that the Barbados Labour Party would be sending home 10,000 public workers if it wins the general election.
In fact, the former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance told Barbados TODAY that his party was in power for 14 years and “nobody ever got sent home”.
“There’s a statement that Chris Sinckler is represented as having made at a branch meeting on Sunday to the effect that four of us, by name, met weekly at the University of the West Indies concocting a secret plan to send home 10,000 persons from the public service of Barbados. That statement clearly is a dishonest statement, an untruthful and dishonest statement…
“It is really shocking that a person holding a public office could make such a untruthful statement, but that person is a minister of finance of the country, who has regularly to give public accounts of important statistics where truth matters. There’s absolutely no truth in it and Sinckler knows it and it was published purely for the purpose of causing panic.
“At the core of it is the notion that there were meetings with the four of us. Mr. Mascoll has been out of the country for the last three weeks and it would be impossible for me to conceive of how Mr. Mascoll could be both out of the country and be at the same time attending meetings at the University of the West Indies but it is such an untruthful and wicked statement that I believe there is now an onus on Mr. Sinckler to present the evidence of the times these meetings have taken place, the places where they’ve taken place, and to share with the public his evidence of the plan that we have conceived.
“This is unworthy of anybody holding a public office, but it is more especially so of a person holding the office of Minister of Finance…”, Arthur stated via telephone.
Sinckler’s comments came while he was addressing a meeting of the St. James South branch of the Democratic Labour Party.
“The Labour Party will tell you that you need to cut expenditure, but they will not tell you where and how much to cut because they want to present the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too to the public of Barbados,” Sinckler said, charging that if re-elected the Bees would drastically cut employment in the public sector.
Arthur stressed, however, that while the “story has me having meetings with a number of people at university” he no longer had offices at the Cave Hill campus.
“It has me having meetings with a man who was abroad at the time, who was supposed to be have the meeting and this underscores how ridiculous it is. It would be unfortunate if at a time when there are issues between the university and the Government that the university is drawn into a partisan political matter in this unfortunate way. That seems to be part of the issue here.
“I have papers at an archives at the university but I don’t have offices there… I have offices at Grantley Adams House and the Leader of the Opposition office. This is also an unfortunate attempt to stain the university’s reputation too. It is just ridiculous and is intended to cause panic,” the Opposition Leader of asserted.
Also taking issue with Sinckler’s comments was former senator Tyrone Barker, who said in a separate conversation with Barbados TODAY that “it is patently untrue”.
“I have never been to any meeting where the issue of 10,000 jobs and retrenchment was even discussed. There was no meeting and the first time I heard about a meeting was when I read about it in Barbados TODAY yesterday.
“I’ve not been to a meeting at the university for years. When Mr. Arthur was there, before he became Opposition Leader, I used to always be up there because I was working on a project with him. We worked on a project together that ended towards the end of 2010 and I haven’t been up there to a meeting since then,” said Barker. [email protected]