Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and his Cabinet have been given a three-day ultimatum to respond to Dr David Estwick’s alternative economic measures for Barbados.
Only after that, said the outspoken Minister of Agriculture this morning, will he make his next move.
Estwick told reporters he was giving the Prime Minister and other Cabinet colleagues three working days, starting Friday and ending on Tuesday, to say how they were going to treat the alternative fiscal proposals which he presented to them last Thursday, designed to restore growth in the economy.
Estwick, who was speaking at the end of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Barbados Water Authority’s mains water pipeline extension project at the Belle Pumping Station, insisted that he thought it right to give the Prime Minister –– and Cabinet –– time to study his “reasonable and credible” alternative, before deciding his next step.
The senior Government minister is on record as saying that his administration’s current economic measures were not working, and that “we cannot cut and tax our way out of a current account deficit of this magnitude [$1.1 billion], without seriously undermining economic growth, as we are attempting to do with the present round of austerity measures”.
He has even rejected his Government’s decision to send home 3,000 public sector workers, a policy which would have been collectively agreed to by Cabinet, of which he is a member.
When Estwick spoke with reporters this morning, he made it clear that whatever decision he took once he heard from Prime Minister Stuart, he would let his innner spirit be the motivator.
Asked what his political future would be if the Cabinet rejected his proposals, the Minister of Agriculture responded: “I will wait and see what it is that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are going to do in regards to the things that I have said. And I think it is right to give them that opportunity; not for me to pronounce what I would do in the event that they don’t do.
“Once yuh start getting into that area, yuh start heading down a tit for tat road that I am not interested in getting involved in at this time,” he added.
“I usually allow my inner spirit to guide me in scenarios like these. And when that time comes that I believe that I need to take another stand, you could rest assured, that I will take it,” declared the senior Cabinet member.
”As I said before, I have to be true to myself, and I have to be true to the way I am trained; I have to be true to the way I perceive myself to be as a human being. So one thing I am not going to be is a liar and a hypocrite to myself. That is not going to happen. So wherever that ends, well it will end,” he stressed.
“[But] I will have to wait until the Cabinet and the Prime Minister come to some determination as to how it will [be] . . . ,” he added.
Estwick reminded journalists that when he first promised to go public on his proposals some weeks ago, he had also said he would give Cabinet the opportunity to hear his measures before doing so.
“I thought it was the right thing to do, and that is what I did. We had a full presentation Thursday, and obviously because of Cabinet secrecy, I can’t divulge what would have happened in Cabinet. But it honoured my responbility: that was to speak to the Cabinet of Barbados and present to them what I thought was a reasonable and credible alternative that we could possibly pursue,” recalled the former Minister of Economic Affairs.
”So I think the right thing for me to do now, is to give the Prime Minister some time. So it’s only, basically, three working days. We talking about Friday, Monday, Tuesday. I have to give them time to determine whether he would look at what I am saying favourably; how he would manage it with respect to the path we are on; how he is going make [that] judgement; if he is going to make a judgement; and so on. It is only the right thing to do, to give him and the Cabinet that opportunity,” Estwick asserted.