Opposition leader Mia Mottley today renewed calls for the Freundel Stuart administration to call general elections, in light of the fiscal challenges facing the country.
Mottley’s call came on the heels of the latest downgrade, this time by the Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCRIS) this week. The downgrade followed a stark warning by Governor of the Central Bank Dr Delisle Worrell earlier this month, that there is need for tighter fiscal measures to avoid currency devaluation.
“The drift must stop,” Mottley told a press conference at Parliament building this morning.
She argued for transparency in government and the dissemination of information to the general public, stating that in its ninth year of governance the Democratic Labour Party should not run the country as “personal conglomerates”.
“The sad thing about this is that we are not dealing with the running of Stuart Enterprises Ltd or Sinckler Enterprises Ltd. This is the government of Barbados to which people are entitled to be told the information in order to plan our lives,” Mottley argued.
“The Barbados Labour Party is determined that Barbados cannot and will not drift along like this for another 12 months. It is either we are told the true state and are permitted to input in finding a solution or the government cut short the drift and return to the people for a mandate,” she added.
The opposition leader also accused the government of only responding to public outrage “when its back is against the wall”, as evidenced late last year with the sewage problems along the south coast, and the water shortages across the island.
She stated further that the “silence and indifference” from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler are “literally killing people and slowly killing business activity”.
Mottley demanded answers from both Stuart and Sinckler on the state of the economy.
“Is an IMF austerity programme on the cards for Barbados? Why in spite of assurances from the minister of finance that the economy had turned the bend has the Barbados economy continued to fail to meet targets for economic growth and deficit and debt reduction?
“Why is it in spite of the celebrated increase in tourism arrivals and with falling oil prices, our foreign reserves have continued to decline to the point where at December 31st, 2016 they fell to a 20 year low . . . how do they explain this?” Mottley questioned.
She insisted that there is “too much uncertainty surrounding the future of the Barbados economy, the well-being of our business and indeed the stability of our households”.