Mia Mottley is this week beginning talks on Barbados’ economy and its management with two of the three outfits that make up the island’s Social Partnership, unions and the private sector.
Announcing her intention last night, Mottley made clear that the agencies involved had no choice but to sit and talk because she was acting with the constitutional powers invested in her as Leader of Barbados’ Parliamentary Opposition and the political party that commanded almost half the votes cast in the last election.
“I would start to do so formally not as Mia Mottley, but on behalf of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition and Barbados Labour Party, a party that garnered 75,000 votes last election when the Government garnered 78 or 79 [thousand]; and a party that says that in all consciousness now we must stand and speak the truth to you,” she announced amid loud applause of supporters during a People’s Assembly meeting at the Graydon Sealy Secondary School.
Mottley’s decision to demand things her way comes exactly one week after delivering an ultimatum to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to get rid of his Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, failing which Stuart himself must leave office, and there being no favourable response from Government to her demands.
“I am not prepared to speak across the platform, now that the IMF report is out, now that the Prime Minister has shown his hand to express confidence in Sinckler’s management of the economy, it is my wish and intention now formally to ask to meet with the unions and the private sector agencies of the country.”
Indicating these meetings that she is requesting with authority will get under way within days, she said the leadership of the National Union of Public Workers had already agreed to be the first agency to meet her this week.
But the Barbados Labour Party leader, who was addressing the tenth People’s Assembly, purportedly organised to get the feel of the people across Barbados, at the same time sought to include other players in Barbados society outside the Social Partnership in a call to action.
Referring to the published IMF report on Barbados’ performance that calls for more belt-tightening, she urged leaders of the church and media houses to take independent advice on conclusions of the document.
“. . . And if at the end of the day they believe that the direction of Barbados’ fiscal and monetary policy is being led well by Sinckler, or going in the right direction, well let us press ahead as a country.”
But, asserting that the report gave the Barbados Government a failing grade, and noting the thumbs down delivered by my commentators, she asked the church and the media: “. . . Can you in all conscience keep quiet and say that Barbados must continue in the direction in which it is going in the management of the fiscal and monetary affairs of this country?”