Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is being asked to urgently intervene to ease the discontent and anxiety of Barbadians over the uncertainty of the economy and its future.
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley told a hurriedly-called Press conference this afternoon at her office, that the time for waiting on Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s long-promised comprehensive state-of-the-nation address was over and that the Prime Minister needed to assume the reigns of true leadership to help save the country.
Mottley noted that Sinckler had promised, four weeks ago, to address the nation on the economy and the progress made on the expenditure measures from the Budget and the performance of vital sectors in the period following the 2013 Budget presentation.
Pointing out that it is now less than 13 days to Christmas and the promised statement has not been forthcoming, the Opposition Leader stated: “Many business enterprises had put all plans on hold, in anticipation of further light being shed on the application of several new tax measures, as well as the government’s intended response to requests for a reduction in the prohibitive costs of doing business in Barbados.”
Mottley told reporters that in the interim there had been heightened speculation about the possibility of job cuts in the public service and the consequential impact on spending at Christmas time.
The St Michael North-East MP also factored in what she said was anticipation about a re-look at the “no privatisation” dictum, “a seemingly out of control monthly fall in foreign reserves, coupled with reports of the persistent printing of money by the Central Bank and another downgrade of the country’s credit rating three weeks ago.”
Mottley explained that it is for this reason, the BLP Parliamentary Opposition was calling on Prime Minister Stuart “to urgently assume the reigns of true leadership in this country and come now and come clean and clear with the country on the true state of affairs and the specific measures the government intends to take to turn this calamitous situation around,” asserted the BLP leader.
She suggested that it will not be enough for Sinckler to come belatedly and re-add a script prepared by public relations consultants.
“Too many lives and enterprises,” continued Mottley, “are at stake in this country. The time has come for the prime minister to start to lead Barbados out of this crisis or it will be left to the people to decide who fills the void at the top that his inertia and inaction has created.”
The Opposition Leader said her party has reason to believe that something may be said prior to tomorrow afternoon as there will most likely be an attempt to beat the International Monetary Fund Article 4 guillotine.
This, she observed, denotes that the IMF’s report covering the period of its current visit to Barbados, would take into consideration and reflect only any measures announced prior to its departure. (EJ)