Barbadians are reeling from tremendous challenges and the 2013-2014 Estimates have not addressed them.
So said the Barbados Labour Party representative for St. Thomas, Cynthia Forde. In her contribution to the Estimates in the House of Assembly this week, she warned Barbadians to “hold firm” and “tighten your belt”.
“Use your creative skills, families must help others, families must help neighbours in these hard time, churches must continue to do what they are doing well because it is a terrible forecast for this country.
“I believe that in these Estimates that have now undergone so many cuts in every sector, that they really do not meet the needs of Barbadians at this time. I trust that this Government will come up with some creative ideas to get people re-employed, to be able to engage us and to help us to be able to see those glory days that we have seen before,” she said.
Also facing “tremendous challenges” specifically, were persons in the small business sector, Forde said. She noted that while there were measure which could ease them, the Estimates had not sought to address or implement them.
“[The small business sector] cannot meet the daily demands, utilities bills are killing them, water bills, diesel is so expensive for some of those in the manufacturing sector. They were relying on the 40 per cent opportunity to be able to have contracts for the School Meals Department, Geriatric Hospital, the Child Care Board and other institutions [but] that has not materialised.
“The diesel rebates that they are awaiting come to over $1 million, the VAT refunds that they have not received, $13 million, the goods $12 million, services to Government and other entities $14 million, providers of works $4 million and the corporate tax refund $3.9 million.
“That’s almost $50 million that those persons in the small business sector are relying on. Small shops are shutting down, taxi drivers are complaining, the vendors are complaining, teachers are complaining — all sectors of Barbados are complaining because they are reeling under the pressure and I say it looks like we are getting closer the to 1991/94 situation,” said Forde. (KC)††