A retired banker, who is one of the newest members of the Senate, is concerned that areas of financial improvements recommended by the Auditor General are apparently being ignored.
Senator Tony Marshall, speaking in the Upper House today during the Estimates Debate, said taking such issues seriously, as well as meaningful cooperation across the political and intellectual divide, were needed if Barbados was to emerge from its current difficult economic state.
“The Auditor General despite the introduction of public sector reform, year after year, recites tales of woe, if not indiscretion, occurring in several departments as well as in statutory corporations, and these go seemingly unnoticed and without prescription or penalty,” he lamented.
“Because of my involvement in another place,… I have had the last seven or eight Auditor General reports and I can tell you that there is repetition upon repetition, but we talk about being a first world country, we talk about excellence, but we read the report, more often than not with a smile, and that is the end of the report.
“I am prepared to say that the Auditor General’s reports is almost made to be a nonsense due to inactivity on the part of anyone in a position of leadership in this country.”
The former radio talk show host said the time had also come for Barbados to “display and demonstrate an intended consequence of our sound education, our appreciation for our high standard of health care, by taking the bold step of casting aside political labels and assemble our best brains in one place, find a workable and sustainable solution to the challenges we now face”.
“The question is: How much longer can we afford to draw lines in the sand and to call a roll call and ask some to stand on one side and the others, despite their known abilities and intellectual capacity, and whose only sin is that of a relentless commitment to individual thought, to stand on the other side?” he asked.
“The country can boast of having supplied many countries, developed and developing, with sons and daughters who have been highly respected, adored with laurels for their outstanding efficiency and contribution to man’s survival. I refer especially to those whose contribution and work in medicine and related fields in the United States of America particularly has been held aloft for the world to applaud.
“We have shown the world our ability to compete on the international stage. Our cricket until recently has been the toast of many countries. We have shown, although with a flickering torch, that we can compete in the international arena of athletics, [and] a place in the theatre and entertainment has been our most recent accomplishment,” he added.
Marshall said despite these achievements “we seem hesitant to perfect other areas where we have made appreciable progress”.
“Why are we not the undisputed suppliers of solar energy to the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond. It is now, I am sure, somewhere approaching some 35 years that we have been pioneers in solar energy, but yet our name is not associated with it across the Caribbean,” he stated.
“Why are we not basking in the sun of the black belly sheep? In fact, word on the ground suggests that we may soon lose the identity which is presently attached to Barbados.” (SC)