Is the Freundel Stuart administration gearing up for possible civil unrest in the country following the announcement of layoffs in the public sector?
Attorney-at-law and vice-president of the People’s Empowerment Party, Robert “Bobby” Clarke, raised this question and others following claims that over the past six months the Government has imported guns and rubber bullets.
Raising concern over the claim, Clarke asked: “Is it possible that the Government ministers by their statements are trying to induce the Barbadian people to react violently because of their current economic condition arising through the ineptitude and inability of the Government to deal with the cause of the economic problems facing Barbados.
“Would the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance explain in detail to the people of Barbados their inability or lack of understanding that our major problem is the cost of the heavy import of foodstuff by the major companies that operate the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and by their heavy importation of gas, diesel and kerosine oil which facilitate the running of the energy sector which together represent approximately two thirds of our national budget and is a drain on our foreign reserves? “ Clarke added.
He suggested that the Government can cut back on the importation of food which the country can produce, and noted that Barbados was nearly self-sufficient in poultry.
Clarke further suggested that Barbados could develop the pig and Black Belly sheep industries on a larger scale and stop the importation of lamb from New Zealand.
Identifying other areas where foreign exchange can be saved, Clarke said: “There are other areas of agriculture that we can establish. In terms of energy, we can open discussions immediately with the Venezuelan government and Petro-Caribe and ALBA on the supply of petrol.”
He suggested that Barbados could enter into discussions with the Chinese and Brazilian governments on either the importation of solar systems, or the setting up of a solar system factory in Barbados to produce these panels.
Clarke maintained that the Government could ensure that all buildings were fitted with solar energy systems.
“I think it is imperative that the Government respond to the above if it really has the interest of the people of Barbados at heart and negate any possibility of people unrest,” Clarke concluded.