Opposition Leader Mia Mottley today officially tabled a motion of no confidence in the Government.
This is the third such motion filed against the ruling Democratic labour Party (DLP) over the past eight years.
Following is the full text of the motion brought in Parliament by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) which had previously filed similar submissions on the CLICO issue in 2008 and one against Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in 2013 over his fiscal strategy:
“Whereas the Government of Barbados in the Budget of August 2013 delivered by the Minister of Finance announced a 19 month Home-grown Fiscal Adjustment strategy which was further revised by the Minister of Finance in his Ministerial Statements to Parliament in December 2013 and March 2014, after failed attempts from 2010 and 2011 with a Medium Term Fiscal Strategy and a Revised Medium Term Fiscal Strategy, respectively.
And whereas some of the taxation measures were extended beyond March 31st 2015 in order to meet the targets for the stabilization of the Government of Barbados fiscal affairs.
And whereas the Minister of Finance in his 2015 Budget reflected that the objectives of the said Home-grown Fiscal Adjustment Strategy were to:
- Restore and stabilise the foreign exchange reserves so as to be able to protect our fixed exchange rate;
- Reduce the fiscal deficit to sustainable levels; and
- Lay the foundation for returning the Barbados economy to a sustainable path.
And whereas according to the information provided in the December 2015 press release of the Central Bank of Barbados the foreign exchange reserves had fallen from $1,458 Million at the end of 2012 to $927 Million at the end of 2015 in spite of a reduction in payments for oil imports of $380 million and an increase in tourism arrivals in 2015.
And whereas despite the Minister of Finance in August 2013 setting a fiscal target of 2.8% of GDP to be attained at March 2015, some 31 months later (at March 2016) the overall fiscal deficit was stated in the Annual Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 2016-17 at an estimated 6.3% of GDP (on the basis used by the International Financial Institutions), and is projected to increase to 7.8% by the end of March 2017.
And whereas at the end of 2007, Government’s Gross public sector debt stood at 62 % of GDP and at the end of 2015 it had escalated by $3.996 billion to 110.3% of GDP, excluding in both instances debt owed to the National Insurance Scheme and debt owed to the Central Bank, which, if added as it must be paid, will bring Barbados’ Gross Public Sector debt to the outrageous level of 159.3% of GDP, or in absolute terms a Gross Public Sector Debt of $13 billion 883 million ($13.883 billion) up from $ 7 billion and 17 million ($7.017 billion) in 2007, the highest Debt to GDP ratio in the Caribbean.
And whereas to service this debt the Government of Barbados must provide 64 cents in each dollar of revenue earned by the Government.
And whereas the Barbados economy is now nominally smaller than it was in 2007, a phenomenon which is characterised by the following features:
- a significant deterioration in the level of investment being undertaken in Barbados by Barbadian households and businesses;
- a fall in the value of their properties and other assets;
- the said households and businesses subsisting on their savings; and
- a virtual doubling of unemployment since 2007.
And whereas the foregoing has reflected a dramatic deterioration in the disposable incomes and a decline in the quality of life of Barbadians across all income levels.
And whereas the Central Bank of Barbados has, in spite of multiple and diverse warnings, persisted in the printing of money to support the Government’s unsustainable deficit and the Government’s desire not to default on local debt, such that it now holds almost $1.1 Billion dollars in exposure to Government paper up from $20.5million in 2007, thereby putting at risk the exchange rate peg.
And whereas the NIS continues to be also used as a means of financing government’s mounting unsustainable deficit, such that at December 31st 2015 the NIS held over $3.2 Billion in government paper while at the same time being owed about $240 million in arrears by the said Government of Barbados.
And whereas Barbadians have suffered a severe reduction in disposable income resulting from:
- a wage freeze in the public sector and parts of the private sector;
- the imposition of over 33 increases in taxes and fees over the course of the last 8 years;
- the removal of allowances and deductions for income tax purposes;
- persistent increases in cost of living.
AND whereas the Government’s severe cash flow difficulties are reflected in the inability to pay:
- substantial arrears in income, corporation and Value Added Tax refunds; and
- agencies and individuals locally and internationally for goods and services provided to central Government and Statutory Corporations.
And whereas the Government in its choice of its capital projects and in its pattern of payments of bills and invoices from its creditors has contributed to an unacceptable concentration and consolidation of wealth such that:
- some entities have easier access to business opportunities and funding;
- job losses are evident in particular households and communities;
- there has been marginalisation of certain categories of workers; and
- there has been an escalating rate of failure among Barbadian businesses.
And whereas the Government of Barbados has presided over a series of 6 downgrades of Barbados’ bond ratings since 2009, the most recent of which was issued by Moody’s International Credit Rating Service on April 1st 2016, and which have had the collective effect of making it more difficult and more expensive for the Government of Barbados and Barbadian companies to raise capital outside of Barbados.
And whereas the Government of Barbados has failed to either address fully and comprehensively the true state of the Barbadian economy or to produce documents pertaining to independent assessments of the Barbadian economy, such as the International Monetary Fund 2015 Article IV Report in the country’s national interest contrary to the conventional practice.
And whereas the Government of Barbados has stated a policy intention of presiding over the construction of a US$ 500M sugar factory in the context of a steep annual decline in the island’s sugar production (with an estimated paltry 7 000 tons in 2016), while at the same time failing to meet the obligation to adequately incentivise the sugar cane producers in their effort to prepare for upcoming crop seasons.
And whereas the Government of Barbados has persistently refused to take the citizens of Barbados into its confidence in relation to new and/or revised policy pronouncements which threaten to have a negative impact on the wellbeing and fundamental rights of the populace; for example, the proposed dismantling of the Catastrophe Fund (managed by the National Insurance Scheme and established to mitigate the losses of Barbadians from natural disasters) and, separately, the subjecting of Barbadian citizens to compulsory fingerprinting at the ports of entry.
And whereas the Government of Barbados, contrary to their stated commitment to provide freedom of information and to be transparent and accountable, has acted in a high handed and contemptuous manner by refusing to disclose the particulars of several Memoranda of Understanding or other Agreements (including but not limited to the Sandals MOU and the diverse Cahill Agreements) into which they have entered in the name of the people of Barbados and which have an impact on the wellbeing of the population, environment and economy of the country.
And whereas the Prime Minister and various Ministers of Government have failed to address appropriately or at all and/or to update the people of Barbados on matters of critical concern including, but not limited to levels of crime, industrial unrest, the stability of the National Insurance Scheme and the condition of the healthcare system while at the same time presiding over an imbalance of fair reporting on stories or events at the country’s only free to air television station.
And whereas the Government of Barbados has presided over a severe deterioration in the industrial relations climate of Barbados characterised by labour unrest at various statutory and state-owned corporations including, but not limited to, the the Barbados Water Authority, Sanitation Services Authority, Customs Department, Grantley Adams International Airport, the Bridgetown Port, the BIDC and in the teaching profession.
And whereas the Government has failed to adequately or at all address in the short or medium term the existing crisis, which is plaguing one in every four Barbadians across at least 8 parishes in the island, with respect to their access to potable water in their homes, their businesses and all public facilities, especially schools, thereby placing at risk the public health of the citizens and visitors to the island.
And whereas statutory corporations and Government departments have been systematically deprived of the necessary financial and human resources to execute their mandate, resulting in an inadequacy of equipment and essential supplies for the provision of necessary services to citizens and residents, including garbage collection, healthcare, public transportation, education, sporting, welfare and child support services, causing a deterioration and/or deprivation of critical social services to Barbadian households and communities.
BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House has no confidence in the Government of Barbados to properly and effectively manage the affairs of state over the next 22 months of its constitutional term of office, in the best interest of the Country and its people. “(Ends)
Notice of this Resolution was given on 3rd May, 2016