Embattled Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has served notice of his intention to publicly challenge Opposition Leader Mia Mottley on the issue of the economy, saying the hour is drawing near when the people of Barbados would have to decide who is more competent.
“Her hour will come,” he said, later adding: “Let her have her say, let her beat up on me as she wants, but I know whether I am in this office, in Government or other of it, the facts are going to be put on the table and we will see who is competent to manage and who is not in Barbados. But I want the largest audience. . . ,” he said.
The Minister of Finance was speaking at a joint meeting of the DLP’s St Michael North and his St Michael North-West branches last night.
Responding to strident Opposition calls for his resignation, the Minister of Finance said he did not need political office to validate himself and would readily relinquish office if he was asked to do so by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
“If I have to leave office, you feel I’m going to go somewhere and cry? I ain’t going nowhere and cry. I’m in this to help my country. That is why I am here. I didn’t run anywhere to be Minister of Finance. I didn’t go to David Thompson on his deathbed and beg him to be Minister of Finance. He called me; I didn’t call him,” Sinckler said.
“Mr Stuart has expressed his confidence in me and I thank him for it. We work together on a number of issues. I meet with the Prime Minister as often as I can and he meets with me as often as he requires to meet with me and we work together in the interest of Barbados.”
Referring to the ongoing meetings being held by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party with various interest groups such as trade unions, the Minister of Finance said the BLP strategy was worrying for the country.
“We have to take a stand, whilst they are going around trying to meet with everybody, trying to see if they can get the country whipped up into a frenzy. They’re meeting with the unions and trying to get the unions to march because all else have failed, trying to frighten people into marching.
“Some of them are meeting with the private sector . . . and they even have the economics worked out of devaluation because they’re telling the private sector the Barbados dollar will be devalued in August,” he charged.
Sinckler’s comments came two days after the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) marked the first year of its second term in office.
The Minister of Finance told the meeting that the party had nothing to be ashamed of as it was able to hold the economy together and maintain adequate levels of foreign reserves up to May last year.
He said too that the Freundel Stuart administration, which had clearly shown its political mettle, was forced to do what was necessary to bring the island’s finances under control, including making the hard decision to send home public sector workers.
“It is the most painful decision any manager could have to make,” he said of the plan to send home 3,000 workers by the end of next month, adding: “It would have been irresponsible not to do anything.”
His comments came as Mottley addressed a public meeting of her BLP last night at which she again challenged Sinckler’s handling of the economy.