Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur says recent statements by Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick to the effect that Government’s economic policiy is headed down the wrong track are very telling.
And in the midst of the worrying retrenchment of thousands of Government workers, he says the Government urgently needs to address what he considers to be a serious crisis of “confidence”.
“Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler himself has said it is about a lack of confidence,” says Arthur who strongly argues that “you cannot have confidence existing or confidence restored, if members of the same Cabinet are expressing different points of view on Government’s economic policies.
“I believe that it is a matter that is to be regretted because if a minister of the Government says he has no confidence in Government’s economic policies, what is the rest of the society left to do?
“I think that Estwick wants to make a contribution. Estwick’s view seems to be rather than address the issue of expenditure control by way of wage control, he feels that it should be addressed by finding fiscal space by restructuring the debt. Whether or not this would wash . . . depends on whether the Government has already agreed with the International Monetary Fund. If the matter was to be embraced, it ought to have been embraced up front. I do not know if it can be embraced at this stage,” he told reporters today.
The former leader said he had a vested interest in seeing his country succeed, but regreted that “the last election was not used as an opportunity by both sides to put before the country with candour the matters that could have made the difference.
“The question as to what should be the role of the state relative to the private sector. Those are some of the issues that we sought to engage in the last election,” he said.
Asked to explain his own recent surprise disclosure that he had no confidence in his leader Mia Mottley, the former Prime Minister said: “In spite of what people are saying, I am not hungry for power.
“I feel fulfilled. I have reached the pinnacle of my political career, being Prime Minister of Barbados for 14 years. I have been a member of the Barbados Labour Party for 30 years and have no interest in being a discordant element in the party. But in the nature of politics, from time to time you are under bombardment, not on your own manufacture and therefore a man is entitled to defend himself.”