Charges and countercharges were levelled at both sides of Parliament today, even as the no confidence motion against Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler was narrowly defeated –– 15 votes to 14.
In addressing the motion she brought, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley accused the Freundel Stuart administration of remaining silent while Barbadians experienced severe hardships in “these difficult and troubling times”.
“We have reached a peculiar stage in this country where honourable members of this Chamber clearly believe that it is not their responsibility to share with the public, nor do they understand the extent to which communication with the public is perhaps the most important thing that can be done in difficult and troubling times.
“Indeed, the average man in the street refers to the Prime Minister as still asleep, having gone back there after the general election.
“The average man in the street is responding to this motion through their own petition by reflecting the fact that this Government appears to operate in a different land, to different circumstances that [are] oblivious to their suffering.
not even appropriately studied or indeed placed for study, if we are to accept the words of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister had indicated that he had to order a study in September to determine the implications of the $50 million in cuts ordered by Sinckler in his Budgetary Statement,” the St Michael North-East MP added.
She reminded Barbadians that members on her side of the House of Assembly had sat in a Cabinet, and would not have known how to announce to the public $50 million in cuts that would instil fear and panic among public servants.
“One Thursday afternoon before the end of August, postmen were called into a meeting and told that they would not be coming back to work beyond the end of August.
“Workers employed at the Soil Conservation Commission were not paid, and still have not been paid in some instances. Workers across other Government departments and statutory corporations remained worried and in panic only to be told about a computer glitch. They were told that the Minister of Finance announced the measures without the appropriate studies being done.
“The mere fact that the Prime Minister can come last week and say that savings are being found is the next strongest piece of evidence that confirms the guilt of the Minister of Finance in failing to do his job. In circumstances where you are galloping towards a double digit deficit, for a Minister of Finance to lay Estimates in this Chamber reflecting expenditure that is neither mandatory nor immediate to
vote, suggests to us that he displayed a flagrant disregard for the need to be able to curtail expenditure as a necessary precursor for the stabilization of the economy,” Mottley
In his reply, Sinckler levelled charges of his own, accusing the BLP of being set on doing “damage to the country . . . even in the face of anything reasonable that will give them pause”.
“They [the BLP] have a cardinal disrespect and disregard for the public of Barbados. They believe in themselves that they are appointed onto themselves as the only governors possible for this country.
“They have a sense of entitlement that says that the public could be only be crazy as to even think, far less do it, [of] electing anybody else, barring the BLP from governing this country,” he said.
The minister had earlier described the Opposition’s motion as absent of strategy, where “the less accomplished members of the Opposition” were the ones who “voluntarily chose to speak”.
“I really was looking forward to hearing the member for St Peter, he didn’t speak, and has left. I was really looking forward to hearing the member for St Andrew. He didn’t speak, and he has left; and I was looking forward to hearing the member for St Joseph, and he has left.
“I think that, more than anything else really, turns this debate around, because rather than being a motion of no confidence in me, it really is a show of no confidence in the Leader of the Opposition,” Sinckler declared to the thunderous support from his ministerial counterparts.
In his submission, he further noted that he was not one to back away from responsibility, adding that he was fulfilling his role not for his own advancement, but for that of the people of Barbados. (NC/RG)
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