Democratic Labour Party leader Prime Minister Freundel Stuart does not see his job as responding to calls for statements on various issues, but getting about the work of managing the nation.
That was the message Stuart left at the George Street Auditorium full of the party faithful as he ended his feature address on Sunday, the final day of the two-weekend-long 60th annual conference.
The party leader departed from his presentation script to comment on requests by the Opposition and other persons for him to give voice to various national issues.
“I know the temptation was great for you to be distracted by a lot of the incoherent noises you were hearing coming from other quarters, but understand it is not the role of governments to get involved in infertile crosstalk,” he said to applause of the DLP members.
“The role of governments is to govern, because when the day of reckoning comes, voters do not ask how many times you answered the Opposition; they ask: what have you done to make Barbados a better place.
“And that is why we get on with our business,” he said, adding: “We’ve been having to deal with problem after problem inherited from a shameless Opposition party.”
Stuart turned attention to the persons in his Cabinet who deal with the nation’s business and gave them sound votes of confidence.
Expressing happiness with Government’s measures to address a tight financial situation, he said: “The programme has been working, as we have seen our fiscal deficit slashed in half and our foreign reserves situation stabilized.”
On this achievement he commended Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, saying: “I have therefore frowned on the repeated calls for his removal, from some rather predictable but unhallowed quarters.”
He said Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy was similarly reviled, and he countered: “Minister Sealy has, with exemplary calm and strength of character, been nursing the tourism sector to ever higher levels of performance. In so doing he continues to place all who wish Barbados well in his debt.”
Stuart spoke of Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick dealing “creatively and courageously” with issues around sugar and non-sugar agriculture, along with water resource and water management.
“Minister [of International Business] Donville Inniss faces down the plethora of challenges with which the international business and financial services sector has bristled.
“Minister [of Health] John Boyce superintends the issues related to health and health care with a view to keeping alive the link between a healthy nation and a wealthy nation.
“Minister [of Education] Ronald Jones preserves and promotes the culture of education for self-assuredness and self-reliance.
“Minister [of Transport and Works] Michael Lashley manages our infrastructure and the public transport system to stimulate and encourage the generating of economic activity and facilitate productivity.
“Minister [of Culture, Youth and Sports] Stephen Lashley mobilizes the energy of our youth through the creative use of culture and sports.
“Minister [of Housing] Denis Kellman responds to the exigencies of low and middle-income housing solutions in Barbados.
“Minister [of the Environment] Denis Lowe responds to the challenge of creating an environmentally sound Barbados.
“Minister [of Social Care and Community Development] Stephen Blackett performs his role of using the concepts of social care and community development to realize the goal of creating a Barbados that is socially balanced.”
Stuart spoke of Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Senator Darcy Boyce “adeptly transforming initiatives in the energy sector”.
He said Minister of Social Security Senator Esther Byer was harnessing and developing the island’s human resource endowment.
The Prime Minister complimented Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean for her “untiring efforts” using relations with other states and organizations to maximise benefits to Barbados.