Opposition MP Dale Marshall today warned that “bad governance leads to poverty”, as he urged the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) to call general elections.
The Barbados Labour Party representative for St Joseph said an early poll would give Barbadians the opportunity to decide who they wanted to govern them in the face of what he said was an empty package of Estimates, with nothing to assist struggling Barbadians.
He also suggested that the best thing to do with the 400-plus-page document was to throw it away.
Speaking in the House of Assembly this morning during debate on the 2016/2017 financial proposals, Marshall also labeled the Estimates as nothing more than “an exercise in arithmetic”.
“The figures in these Estimates are indefensible [and] this document is one that could well be thrown away. I understand that the primary schools and the secondary schools in Barbados do not have any paper to print their assignments and it looks to me like the size of this book could have been at least a realm of paper that could have been saved and sent to somebody’s school to assist them,” Marshall argued, stressing that “ this big, fat, yellow book is nothing more than an exercise in arithmetic and, in my respectful view, it is worth less than a housewife in Checker Hall [St Lucy] preparing to budget for her household tomorrow or Friday on a piece of shop paper.”
The former Attorney General in a previous BLP administration argued that instead of finding solutions to ease the pain of Barbadians, Government had sought to implement “feel good exercises”.
“These Estimates speak of hardship as Government is spending money on a number of feel good exercises, rather than on making people’s lives better,” he explained.
“In every year since 2008, the poor have become poorer, the people who were above the poor have now become poor too
. . . . We are now hopeless, we are homeless, we are moneyless, in St Joseph we are waterless, and the people of Barbados can’t dream anymore of a future and they are now dreamless,” he insisted.
Referring to the 2006/2007 Estimates, Marshall said ten years ago, the Rural Development Commission (RDC) received a vote of $11 million and the Urban Development Commission (UDC) $13 million, along with $11 million for poverty alleviation.
However, he pointed out that in the 2016/2017 Estimates, the RDC was only due to receive $4 million and the UDC $8 million, as evidence of Government’s dwindling support for these agencies.
“These Estimates, when we add it all together, it shows that this Government has been making decisions about the lives of our people and we are expected to come in here and look over [them].
However, he asked: “if a Government is not there to act in the interest of the people, then for what reason is a Government there?”