Barbados, now in the midst of “difficult times”, would have benefitted significantly from the vision, wisdom and experience of the former Minister Of Finance Sir Richard Haynes.
But even though he is no longer alive, Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley said those in authority should consider implementing ideas articulated by the late physician, including his views on fiscal issues, parliamentary reform, and improvements to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The Barbados Labour Party head was speaking in the House of Assembly today as members delivered obituary speeches in tribute to the former longstanding St. Michael South Central MP.
“We are witness today to many of the things playing out, and recognising that in Richie Haynes was a man whose vision and whose capacity for strategic thinking really went beyond the ordinary.
And indeed, Sir, it is of great regret that this country will no longer be able to avail itself of his experience and of his incisive thoughts as we go through these difficult times in which we find ourselves today,” Mottley said.
With Barbados now in a fiscal crisis, she noted that Sir Richard’s views on the importance of fiscal stability in public expenditure were still relevant.
“In 1991 the voices of Richie Haynes and Owen Arthur … were loud and large in respect of warning the government then as to the dangers of what they were doing in respect of the levels of public expenditure and the low levels of reserves,” she stated.
“And in a very real sense a lesson stands to be learnt because the country did not hear the warnings, the country did not heed the warnings until the day of the dismissals and the day of the cuts.
“And it is only after the dismissals took place and it is only after the cut in salary took place that people realised that what Richie Haynes had been saying all along was in fact not only true, but the reality of what the country would come to face.”
Mottley said great leaders “see very often ahead of the crowd” and that “Richie Haynes saw ahead of the rest of the crowd all the time”. Calling him “one of the greatest Barbadians since Independence to have served in this honorable chamber”, Mottley also urged government to implement recommendations he made for QEH improvements.
“There have been recommendations which have been implemented … but there are other recommendations which stand still to be reviewed and I hope that this Minister of Health and others will continue to recognise the urgency of the reform of that institution that is now in serious need of continuous reform if it is to be relevant to the needs of Barbadians,” she said. (SC)