There was no PowerPoint presentation by Dr David Estwick in Cabinet today.
In fact, the Minister’s attempt to get Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and the full team of Cabinet to consider his alternative plan for saving the Barbados economy failed to materialize.
A visibly upset Estwick, who is the Minister of Agriculture and a former Minister of Economic Affairs, emerged from Cabinet just before three o’clock this afternoon – half an hour ahead of his colleagues.
Estwick confirmed that he did not make the presentation, but declined to go into details about the matter before departing Government Headquarters.
It was not immediately clear what would be Estwick’s next move but in an interview with Barbados TODAY earlier this week he had made clear his intention to put his economic “solution” to the full Cabinet by PowerPoint, focusing on ways of addressing the Government’s debt service, which he estimated to be $10.9 billion.
The outspoken minister had said then, his Government was using the wrong strategy of cutting wages and salaries and applying taxes in order to close a current account deficit, calculated by him to be $1.4 billion.
Estwick had said that while he understood the strategy being adopted by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank, it was not going to achieve the desired goal of fixing that deficit.
”So you can’t cut and tax out of that, which is the old budgetary tool, which is a classic IMF [International Monetary Fund] way of delivering it. I am not afraid to say what I have to say because I stand by my inferences and by my reasoning and my common sense. Where that leads me, it will lead me,” he said in an earlier interview with this paper.
He had also said he was confident his measures would solve the island’s economic difficulties and avoid the need to send home people.
“What I have to do now is to ask the Prime Minister to accede to a full PowerPoint presentation with the entire Cabinet . . . . Once that happens, and the Cabinet is in agreement, then I am in a position, with the agreement of the Prime Minister, to come to the public and say, ‘Look, these are the things we think we can add and do X,Y,Z. So what I was trying to do was to get a hearing, so they [Cabinet members] understand that these tools require supporting tools to achieve what I want to achieve; that is nationally economic development and growth,” he had stated.