There is nothing in Government’s budget for its new financial year due to start on April 1 that will give anyone in or outside of Barbados hope.
St. James North MP Edmund Hinkson saw Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s presentation of the 2013-2014 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in the House of Assembly yesterday as visionless and unimaginative.
In his first speech in the Lower House since last month’s general election, the attorney-at-law said: “These Estimates will do nothing to advance this society, to advance this economy, it gives no hope to the people who are desperate today, who are without a job, who are suffering, who go to sleep in the night … hungry.
“It will do nothing to help pay the electricity bills, the water bills that I am sure all of us face and faced during the general election campaign from our constituents. It will do nothing to advance the cause of Barbados to move it to the smallest developed country in the world, which this [Barbados] Labour Party had earmarked for our country by the year 2025.”
The Barbados Labour Party Shadow Minister of Education and Human Resource Development told the Estimates Debate that Sinckler’s presentation “provided little if any hope to the unemployed in this society”.
“The 13 per cent odd [people] unemployed in this society I can say that in St. James North the unemployment rate is much higher than that; I estimate it at over 25 per cent and certainly among young people … it is around 35 per cent and there is little if any hope to those unemployed people … in this presentation by the Minister of Finance,” he stated.
“[It] provides little hope to the business people of this country to foreign investors, to the housewives of this country. It speaks toward the creation of 1,000 new jobs at its best by a stimulus package of $600 million. Those 1,000 new jobs, if they come to be realised … will make very little difference to the unemployment rate in Barbados.”
Hinkson said what the minister of finance should have presented was a package “informed by a philosophy of where the Government of the day wishes to locate a society and an economy in the immediate future”.
“It ought to be a policy statement and a strategy of how Barbadians, both locally and overseas, of how investors can determine their business and gauge their lives, … and what we heard yesterday in the presentation by the … Minister of Finance, Member for St. Michael North West was the usual strategy of this Government since it came into office in 2008 — a lack of vision,” the BLP spokesman noted.
“Under the Barbados Labour Party when we were last in office we had a vision of where we wished to take Barbados. We had a vision of making Barbados the smallest developed country in the world by 2025 and we brought out a strategy plan, a National Strategic Plan, which was debated in this Parliament in our second term, which sought to say how we plan to move Barbados to be the smallest developed country in the world.
“We do not see any such philosophy, any such vision, any such strategy coming from this government of the day,” he added. (SC)