Although the poor state of the economy has been on everybody’s lips of late, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler last night warned that it will not be the only decider in the next general election.
Addressing a political meeting of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) at the Deighton Griffith Secondary School, Sinckler suggested that the upcoming poll, which is constitutionally due by early 2018, should really be won or lost on moral grounds, while warning the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) not to pop the cork on the victory champagne just yet.
And while declaring that the ruling DLP was not about to “roll over and play dead”, he told party supporters that it was really up to them to protect “the moral heart of the country”.
“I am going to speak about the economy, but I want to make this point very clear tonight . . . you can’t have an election and not discuss the economy. That is a given fact, but I know, in my mind, if it is not in other people’s minds, that the next election is also going to be fought for the moral heart of this country,” declared Sinckler to loud applause.
He cautioned that there were “[political] forces gathering that have a particular agenda to impose on the people of Barbados and it was not the agenda that you or I or that our parents and our children and that right thinking people in Barbados want or can afford at this time in the 50th year of our independence”.
And in a naked appeal to the religious element, he said: “The discourse in this election, whenever it is called, will have to be about the morals of Barbados, because if they [Opposition political forces] feel that many of us good Christian soldiers are going to roll over and play dead, whilst they rampage around Barbados and bring their form of thinking to this country, they have another thing coming.”
Telling DLP supporters that he was serving notice to them of what they needed to start thinking about, Sinckler urged them to “think about all the issues”, including roads, electricity, economic growth, water and the country’s fiscal deficit.
However, against the backdrop of recent discussion about legalization of homosexuality, which the DLP maintains is still against the law, he suggested that at the end of the day, it was morals that really mattered.
“When you lay down at nights and you get up with the Grace of God in the morning, think about the ethics and morals that underpin this country. That is what brought us where we are,” he told the meeting.
During a fiery speech that was punctuated by applause, Sinckler also responded to a suggestion made by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley during her party’s annual conference on Saturday that he was among DLP politicians with designs on DLP leader and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s job.
On the contrary, Sinckler said he was prepared to stick with Stuart and the ruling DLP, “come hell or high water”.
In fact, he boldly declared in his address to the South Alive political meeting that “I am loyal to the Democratic Labour Party, as I am to the leadership of the Democratic Labour Party, and I make absolutely no excuse for it.
“When this ship floats, I will float with it and if it has to sink electorally, I am going down with it too. So for those who feel that in politics it’s a game of ultra pragmatism and when things are not going the way you feel they should go, or the person that you feel should lead is not leading or leading the way that you think they should lead that you just jump off the ship and run, if they feel that that is the type of people we breed in the Democratic Labour Party, that is not true,” said Sinckler, adding, “I am not that type of person and you are not those type of persons and therefore we will stick with the Democratic Labour Party come hell or high water”.
However, he suggested that this was not the case within the BLP, which he said has been in election mode since 2013 and was already declaring victory, even though there has been no hint of an election announcement from the Prime Minister.