Political scientist Professor Neville Duncan offered this advice to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today during an interview with Barbados TODAY.
Explaining why Stuart should reshuffle his Cabinet but keep Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs in his place, Duncan said: “Obviously I think Stuart is likely to stick with Sinckler because to do otherwise would indicate that the party did not know what it was doing in the first place. Sinckler did not take his decisions on his own. Minister of Agriculture, David Estwick must be asked to stay with the team otherwise he will be seen as sabotaging the Government. Either Estwick or Stuart will have to say we will have to part ways peacefully.”
Asked to comment on the timing of the dispute, the political scientist said: “In these difficult times a party should have had these discussions in private. It is a tactical error on the part of David Estwick. It opens a challenge for the leadership of the party. He is hoping that others will come across to his side and make it difficult for Stuart to continue as leader of the country.
“Stuart probably thinks he has strong support for the position he has taken because he could not have taken that step on his own especially on the number of persons to be laid off in the public sector. There may be persons loyal to him so he will fight it. The dispute has weakened the ruling party. The ruling party should have had discussions with the opposition on the major economic challenges facing the country but this has not happened,” Duncan added.
Duncan, who was a long-standing lecturer at the University of the West Indies, suggested that Stuart should call a cabinet meeting and seek the advice from his political advisers.
He further suggested that Stuart should not drag out the economic challenge like Jamaica thereby prolonging the crisis.
The professor said: “At least former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Sandiford took harsh and bitter medicine and the country quickly came out of the crisis of his day.”
Asked to comment on the apparent rift in the Barbados Labour Party, Duncan said: “Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur feels that opposition leader Mia Mottley is aggressive in attacking the Government. Arthur thinks that she is not making demands on the Government.”
Commenting on the People’s Meetings currently being held by the opposition, Duncan said he has not seen any clear alternative programmes being presented at the meetings.
Taking a critical look at the role currently being played by the International Monetary Fund, Duncan said: “The IMF is thinking merely about cutting back expenditure sufficiently to stimulate growth and make Barbados’ economy attractive to domestic and foreign investment. The Government seems to think that the IMF is the only option, but it should look to China and institutions where the influence of western countries are not overpowering.”