Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler is getting some empathy from one of his regional counterparts as the Freundel Stuart administration moves ahead with its retrenchment programme.
Grenada’s Former Minister of Finance Nazim Burke told Barbados TODAY while he would not give any advice to Sinckler, he well understood his position having walked in similar shoes.
“I understand. It is a challenge. It is not easy for anybody, and the finance minister always gets the brunt of it. It is a very painful assignment. Everybody blames you,” he said, adding that he was following the developments in Barbados closely.
Since the announcement of government’s retrenchment exercise Sinckler, along with the DLP administration, have come under heavy criticism.
Burke, who was elected leader of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) a few days ago after former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas did not seek re-election, said it was unfortunate that the minister of finance would get the blame things were not going right in the economy while noting that in the United States system no one cared who was responsible for finance and the leader of the country was the one who took responsibility.
Though not singling out Barbados, Burke suggested that the same should obtain in situations where the prime minister did not hold the portfolio of finance.
“In our system the finance minister takes all the blows. That is where I think it falls upon the prime ministers, if they happen not to be the finance minister, to really come to the defense of the finance minister. Some people understand that but it is a challenge,” added Burke, who has thrown his support behind Sinckler for granting Sandals a sweep of concessions.
He said it was “a good thing because in this economic climate it is difficult to attract credible investors”.
“Resources are scarce and investors are cautious about investing and if you are going to attract credible investors you have to provide them with some added incentives. So in assessing if this project is a good one or bad one, if it good for Grenada or another country, one has to look at the opportunities that it creates [over] the short term and the long-term,” he said.
Burke was responsible for brokering the deal with Sandals for concessions to operate in Grenada, similar to what transpired in Barbados recently.