by Emmanuel Joseph
With this island’s two major political parties already hot on the campaign trail for upcoming general elections, one of the newest parties has announced its intention to formally launch its bid for Parliament around mid-month.
President of the Guardians of Barbados, Grace Showan, told Barbados TODAY this morning, that her “God-ordained” party, while ideally desirous of contesting all 30 seats in the Lower Chamber of Parliament, would settle for no fewer than 17.
“(However) by month end, we will determine if we will contest the polls. I am appealing to all serious-minded persons to join us, to help us take Barbados to a place it has never been before,” Showan declared.
She said her party was all about socio-economic programming and transformation in terms of the Barbadian political and economic outlook. Showan, while not identifying those in the hierarchy of the political entity at this time, gave Barbadians a brief insight into its “solutions-
based manifesto”. “We have done a lot of research to come up with solutions for the socio-
economic issues affecting suffering Barbadians. We have looked at critical issues such as energy, agriculture, tourism, health, immigration, taxes and leadership. We have a major plan for energy which could reduce the cost to consumers right across the board,” pointed out the professional consultant and motivational speaker.
However, she added, I cannot go into details right now because of the delicate stage at which talks with our overseas partners currently exist,” the prospective political leader noted.
As far as taxes were concerned, her party proposed to remove the Value Added Tax from all foods, but would retain the existing 17.5 per cent rate. She was of the opinion that, to resort to the previous 15 per cent VAT, could put the economy in a tail spin.
The Guardians of Barbados also planned to remove VAT on all construction materials, rebrand the local tourism product in which social groups and small shops could benefit, more aggressively market agricultural produce to include neglected commodities such as breadfruit.
“I have seen banana leaves on sale in Canada, that’s a big market. We must also reduce the entry cost of raw materials coming into the country,” suggested Showan.
Health, which she said, was dear to her heart, also required more urgent attention. For example, the political aspirant is suggesting the establishment of a cancer treatment centre in the island to avoid having to go to Trinidad and also prevent the long delays in patients receiving timely attention.
“Why is it we have qualified oncologists in Barbados and can’t have a cancer treatment centre. In some instances we are paying excessive sums of money when it is not necessary,” stated Showan.
The new party head is also recommending that all doctors in Barbados be made accountable for their actions and that the levels of fees charged, should be regulated.
If the Guardians of Barbados had their way, they would most likely scrap the free bus fares for school children.
“The summer day camps and the bus fares were working well before (the government intervened). Those free bus fares are destroying the Transport Board. The decision by the Government was like giving something in one hand and taking it back with the other, because, while parents didn’t have to pay the fares, the VAT went up,” declared the professional businesswoman.
The party is also proposing enforcement of the Praedial Larceny Act, to help protect farmers.
“The focus of our party will be securing the heritage of Barbados and providing a viable future for our citizens,” contended Showan. [email protected]