Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler says he is willing to work with former Prime Minister and Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader Owen Arthur in the national interest.
Earlier this month, Arthur revealed to Barbados TODAY that he had been approached by Sinckler to replace the retiring Sir Frank Alleyne as head of Government’s independent advisory council on the economy.
Today, Sinckler did not confirm or deny that such an appointment was on the cards, but he said Arthur, who is a respected economist, had a contribution to make “and in the fullness of time we will be able to see how that contribution can be made.”
In response to critics who say the former Prime Minister should not be given the post of lead economic advisor to Government because of his long affiliation with the Opposition BLP, Sinckler said: “Mr Arthur was a Prime Minister and Minister of Finance for 14 years. He’s been in politics for 40 years, 30 of those active, and his views are well known.”
Sinckler also pointed out that “everybody knows the views of myself, my economic team and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), so you can’t fool people or try to give the impression that we see things the same way, or eye to eye on every point.
“But if there are areas – and there are areas –– in which we can put our heads together in the interest of Barbados, then we do that. If we can’t, then we don’t. Simple!
“We agree to disagree and move on,” he stated.
The Minister of Finance pointed to the fact that in the United States, former presidents, former senators and former congressmen were invited by sitting office holders to participate in panels and task forces.
He argued that if a developed country like the United States could embrace such a move, Barbados should have no problem in following suit.
“Mr [Bill] Clinton is still President Clinton and Mr [George] Bush is still President Bush. They participated and worked together having been bitter political rivals for the presidency, on issues that affect not just the United States, but the world.
“So why should we, a small developing country with limited resources in terms of the numbers of persons we have, believe that we can continue a situation where a person who is Prime Minister stops being Prime Minister, and as soon as that person has left office, off they go.
“I don’t think we can afford that luxury. If bigger, far greater resource countries can’t afford that luxury, I think we should try and look at what we are doing.”