The return of Barbados Labour Party (BLP) MPs to Parliament tomorrow will be a forerunner to the Opposition’s plan to make the 2015 Estimates a referendum on Government’s financial performance.
“The Estimates debate is coming up in a week’s time, and we will seize the opportunity once again to outline to Barbadians the bizarre actions, or more accurately inaction, of this Government that is keeping our economy in the doldrums,” BLP leader Mia Mottley said yesterday.
“[Prime Minister] Freundel Stuart and [Minister of Finance] Chris Sinckler are . . . stuck in a time warp, not recognizing that if Barbados is to move out of this slump, they are the ones to make things happen.
”Mottley said that was one of the objectives when the Opposition MPs return to the Lower Chamber. The others will be to have a debate on a motion of no confidence against Speaker of the House Michael Carrington, and discussion on a report of the Committee of Privileges on Carrington’s conduct.
She laid out the BLP’s position as she announced the end of an almost two month-long boycott in protest of the attorney-at-law remaining the Speaker’s chair before the Committee of Privileges report on a matter involving his non-payment of funds to a client was tabled.
On the issue of Government’s financial performance, Mottley said: “What is pretty clear to us is that this Government has a credibility problem when it comes to believability.”
“What can you believe in terms of their policies and programmes when 95 per cent of what they have said over the last five years they would do, just simply has not been done? The upcoming Estimates therefore will be crucial, as we will have to assess them based on what was accomplished from the last two or three sets of Estimates debates presented in this country,” she added.
The Opposition Leader also said if the House permitted the no confidence motion to be heard, the BLP parliamentarians would be ready and eager to debate it.She said they would also be ready to deal with the report from the Committee of Privileges if it was laid in Parliament.
“And if they choose to continue to sidestep the issue and plod along in a business-as-usual manner, then we believe this issue is significantly and sufficiently ventilated that it is now for the voters of Barbados to deliberate upon and pass their judgment when the times comes,” Mottley said.
She referred to the election loss of the incumbent government in St Kitts and Nevis last month, contending that it was how the electorate reacted to matters being shut down in that twin-island federation’s parliament.
“The people of St Kitts showed what happens when there are seven years of sidestepping and sweeping crucial an contentious issues under the carpet . . . The elected members chose not to debate the motion, but the people did,” she saiad.
“My position now is that, similarly, I turn such issues over to voters of Barbados. Next election day they will have to pronounce not just on the behaviour of the Speaker in this matter, they will pass judgment on the CLICO issue, on the Sandals issue and on a number of other issues, particularly the massive layoffs and the difficult conditions under which ordinary people and our businesses have had to live in the last few years.
”Parliament’s Order Paper for tomorrow makes no mention of the no-confidence motion that Mottley said Leader of Opposition Business in Parliament Santia Bradshaw had filed last Wednesday.
And while the list of agenda items does include consideration of Committee of Privileges reports, the matter first has to be tabled and discussion allowed by the Speaker.