The Barbados filled with suffering people and on the brink of collapse is a figment of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party’s imagination.
And its view that Barbados is not being affected by a continued global economic downturn is also a fairy tale, said Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
The Democratic Labour Party leader dismissed the BLP’s criticism of government’s 2013-2014 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure as he contributed to debate in the House of Assembly this afternoon.
Stuart said while the Opposition was preoccupied with “the politics of arithmetic [and] percentages”, Government intended to implement the programme endorsed by Barbadians during last month’s general election.
“I listened and could not recognise the Barbados that I was hearing described on the other side of the House, in the same way of course that I couldn’t recognise the Barbados … in the period leading up to the dissolution of Parliament. This Barbados in which people are suffering so badly and all is gloom and doom and everybody is walking around with a frown on the face,” the Prime Minister told the Lower House.
“I do not live in that Barbados and I don’t know many people who live in it either, except for the navel-gazers on the other side of the House, who believe their own rhetoric.
“It is common knowledge that the world has been going through its worst crisis in a hundred years … and to pretend that you can have a crisis of this magnitude and of this duration and that Barbados can remain unaffected by it is really … to indulge in a strange kind of self deception.”
Stuart told BLP members that the people of Barbados were “not Robinson Crusoes living on our own little island touching no one and no one touching us. Whatever goes on in the world … now affects Barbados because we are part of the world economy”.
He said he believed it was “disingenuous to suggest that the world can be out there in turmoil, but somehow Barbados can insulate itself from any influences coming from outside of Barbados and that we can be one bright city set on a hill where everybody needs are being satisfied and there is no need to complain about anything”.
Stuart also said he did not see the Estimates as merely a statistical exercise, and that “undergirding the Estimates and undergirding any Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure should be an overall vision of the Government of the future of the country over whose destiny it presides”.
“I thought that I had been repeating on platforms over and over again, night after night, that the Democratic Labour Party’s vision for Barbados is the creation of a Barbados that is socially balanced, that is economically viable, that is environmentally sound and a Barbados characterised by good and transparent governance,” he stated.
“That for me is a destination and it is a destination which the people of Barbados, having heard it articulated on our platforms, accepted and that is the vision we continue to pursue. It is not a vision that is so new that it creates any significant departure from what the Democratic Labour Party has always represented.
“So we are not just dealing with a statistical exercise, we are dealing with the pursuit of a vision… We move steadily and inexorably and in a focussed way towards the realisation of the vision we set for ourselves and that is what this debate is intended to be about,” he added.
Stuart also criticised BLP members for contradictory views when on one hand they knocked Government for cutting spending, but yet were calling for increased spending in their constituencies. (SC)