Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has taken a swipe at the private sector, accusing some businesses of being “Government departments in disguise”.
Sinckler, who was delivering the third annual lecture of the Financial Services Commission at the Grande Salle on Thursday evening, took issue with calls from sections of society for Government to privatize some state entities.
During his more than 90-minute presentation on the topic, Transforming Statutory Corporations in Barbados: A Focus On FSC’s Development Five Years On, the minister said while Government would examine if some entities were worthy of divestment, this had to be carefully considered.
But turning his attention to the private sector, he said while there were some “wonderful” private enterprises led by competent Barbadians who should be celebrated, there was “a large part of the private sector that the same could not be said about.”
“A large part of our private sector, both in their structure and function, are really just a reflection of Government. That is just simply a fact. Many of them are really Government departments in disguise, operating as private entities, living off of the very public purse that the same statutory corporations are drawing on, as they say, ‘like vultures on the body politic of Barbados’. That is just simply a fact,” said Sinckler.
The minister said the evidence could be found in the number of local businesses that have been struggling since the onset of the financial crisis.
“If you doubt what I am saying, look and see what is happening in relation to some of our private entities now that Government is having serious financial issues and cash flow challenges; where many of the entities who exist in Barbados as private sector entities and pose everyday as being these great arbiters of success, struggle, struggle to survive and exist in the context of Barbados because for many of them their largest customer is the Government.
“These are just the realities we are talking about,” he explained, adding that both Government and the private sector ought to learn from each other’s successes and failures.