Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, wants an apology from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, who she contends misled the House of Assembly on whether he knew of a Cabinet decision to increase the allowances of National Insurance Scheme (NIS) directors.
Addressing a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) rally at the junction of Baxter’s and Westbury roads last night, Mottley produced a document, which she said ‘fell off a truck’, and showed that Cabinet sent a note to the Ministry of Social Security authorising that increase last year.
The BLP had advertised last night’s meeting as ‘The Moment of Truth – Come and hear who misled the House of Assembly and the people of Barbados. Come and see the evidence’.
Before revealing the Cabinet note, the BLP leader got her sound engineers to replay an excerpt of last week’s parliamentary session, where Sinckler could be clearly heard denying knowing that the directors were in for a pay raise.
Mottley’s complaint in the House had been that Cabinet was about to approve, or had approved, an increase of allowance for NIS board members from $300 to $900, “in circumstances where other Barbadians are having to literally scotch to be able to eat food”.
According to the parliamentary recording, re-played on a jumbo screen for the rally audience, Sinckler objected at this point to Mottley’s claim and said, “I can categorically deny that I have any knowledge of, or information pertaining to any such matter between the Minister of Labour and the National Insurance”.
After having former Cabinet minister and BLP candidate, Reverend Joseph Atherley go on stage and authenticate the document as Cabinet correspondence, Mottley said, “I come here tonight not to ask the Prime Minister to reshuffle him out from the Cabinet, or to re-shuffle him from Finance.
” [But] to tell Chris Sinckler … apologise to the people of Barbados for what transpired in Parliament this week.”
According to the what was revealed by Mottley, the note from the Cabinet secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s permanent secretary, stated, “the following extract from the confirmed minutes of a meeting of the Cabinet held on October 15, 2015 is forwarded for early action”.
It went on to detail, among other things, fees payable to members of the National Insurance Board as $1,800 per month for the chairman and $900 per month for the deputy chairman and members each.