The island’s most powerful trade union is accusing the Freundel Stuart-led Cabinet of disrespecting the country by not putting the alternative economic plan of senior Minister Dr David Estwick in the public domain.
General secretary of the Barbados Workers Union, Sir Roy Trotman told a Press conference this afternoon, that while he would not speak to the merits or demerits of the “Estwick Plan” the Cabinet owes it to Barbadians to let them know what it entailed, so they could judge for themselves.
“What is important is the Cabinet said it would examine it; and if the cabinet says it’s going to examine it, the cabinet owed it to the Barbados public, to have a statement made to the Barbados public,” Sir Roy argued.
“After all, we are an intelligent people; and we are a people who give respect, but respect has to be given to us as well. So the Cabinet says it’s going to discuss something, the Cabinet owes it to us, to give a response,” contended the veteran union leader.
“Indeed I am one of those people who feel that after every Cabinet meeting, there should be a public statement to the public, indicating what Cabinet discussed and what are the implications for the people. Cabinet is an important body, and the importance of Cabinet meetings should not be played down, but the public should be made privy to essential elements in Press conferences, following Cabinet meetings,” declared Sir Roy.
“[And] I think that here is a very typical example. Here is a situation where a formula is being put forward, obviously, a very critical situation, because there was certain passion and violence in the presentations; and there are certain implications for those of us who believe in democratic forms of Government, and yet we don’t hear a word of what is happening,” he declared.
“This doesn’t make sense,” he asserted, “and it surely is disrespectful, so far as I am concerned.”
Estwick, who is Minister of Agriculture and water resources management and a former Minister of Economic Affairs, has said in letters to the Prime Minister, he did not agree with the laying off of 3,000 public workers as a means of addressing the massive fiscal deficit and instead proposed the borrowing of $5 billion from the United Arab Emirates which could be placed in a sinking fund to wipe out the island’s entire national debt.