Faced with a continued challenge from the global economic downturn, Government is preparing to take corrective action.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, speaking to the media moments after witnessing the swearing in of the majority of his Cabinet this morning at Government House, said he and other members of his re-elected administration could no longer afford to “sit back and fold our hands”.
Barbadians will likely get their first clear signal of Government’s intentions from Stuart and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler during the upcoming Estimates debate in the House of Assembly.
“The western world continues to be challenged by the global economic downturn, things in the Euro Zone have not been improving – in fact they have been getting worse – and we have to be constantly watching that situation. But we can’t sit back and fold our hands and decide that we are going to just wait until things change globally,” the Prime Minister said.
“Although we cannot act recklessly we still have to be circumspect in what we do, but we have to take some initiatives here, which do not imperil our foreign exchange position, but at the same time gives a little life to what is going on locally at the business level and put consumers in a position where by their spending they can stimulate business activity and so on.
“So these are priorities and of course fortuitously and fortunately we have the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure to be debated in two or three weeks time and during that debate the Minister of Finance and myself will be talking through some of those issues so that the country will be clear where it is we intend to go over the next few months,” he added.
Another priority for the DLP Government will be restructuring the Barbados economy and focussing on renewable energy.
“Throughout the campaign we have been talking about the need to restructure, or to continue the restructuring of the Barbados economy around the use of renewable energy and of course more efficient use of our energy resources; that is a front burner issue,” he stated.
“In the Prime Minister’s Office of course Minister Darcy Boyce will have a specific remit to deal with issues related to energy and telecommunications and so on, but of course I am the ultimate Minister of Energy and I am having scrupulous oversight of what is happening there to make sure that we get that programme pushed as quickly as possible.”
Stuart said members of his administration were “looking forward with eager anticipation to the Parliamentary term, which is suppose to begin on Wednesday next with the state opening of Parliament and the reading of the Throne Speech by His Excellency the Governor General”.
“The Government is quite excited about the programme it has in place for the next five years and the prospects for Barbados once we get that programme implemented. We came out of a very challenging campaign, but we were able to confound all of the dismal prophesies and all of the dark predictions about our prospects, so you witnessed this morning the swearing of the Cabinet,” he said. (SC)