Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has one week to fire Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, failing which the Prime Minister himself will have to leave as Head of Government.
Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley issued that ultimatum last night as she addressed the ninth People’s Assembly at Ellerslie Secondary School.
“For this economy to grow, Chris Sinckler must go. And I say to Freundel Stuart that if by next Sunday Chris Sinckler is still Minister of Finance . . . then Freundel too must go,” she told a cheering crowd that filled the auditorium and spilled over into the schoolyard.
“He has one week to move Chris Sinckler as Minister of Finance.”
Mottley said today [Monday] is the starting marker for that week, as this is the date set by the International Monetary Fund’s executive board to review and make pronouncement on Barbados’ economy and economic policies, which she is confident will give Government a failing grade.
She declared: “He can avoid this woman [herself], any time so. He can avoid the IDB, avoid the CDB, he can avoid everybody. But when the IMF tells you tomorrow what I suspect they will tell them, for Chris Sinckler to remain in charge of this economy will be the biggest act of contempt by a leader of Barbados since Independence.”
Mottley did not say what action would be taken if Sinckler remains in the post of Minister of Finance by the end of the week and in turn if Stuart continues to hold the position of Head of Government.
She pointedly avoided an answer to the question from the floor by saying: “Hold tight. Since when you hear I come to town to talk my business?”
In spite of Mottley’s dodging the question, she had earlier told the gathering: “I ask tonight for this party to understand that we equally have a duty. We’re not going to sit idly by . . . . But we have equally to strengthen ourselves and it is in that context that over the next few weeks . . . there will be a series of workshops starting in just over ten to 12 days time to which every branch and every organ of this party will be in support.”
Continuing to use the IMF report as the lynchpin upon which action must be taken, Mottley said: “Tomorrow marks a new judgment on the Barbados economy, and if as I suspect it will say what everybody else has said, the people of Barbados must now go to a higher level and a firm purpose to recognise that the crisis is now not only upon us but confirmed in the judgment
in the international community.
“And the only thing that can allow the crisis to eat us alive, is allowing this Government to continue to make decisions.”
Alluding to signs of disunity within the governing Democratic Labour Party stemming from recent public statements by Cabinet minister Dr David Estwick, she added: “This country does not have the luxury of a political distraction in the Democratic Labour Party that is fighting for its very political survival.”