If president of the Unity Workers Union (UWU) Caswell Franklyn had his way, Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss would have very little to say about anything, since, in his estimation, Inniss is nothing more than “a bluffer”.
“He is not properly informed, he does not understand what is happening and he is a bluffer [but] he wants to give people the impression he knows everything [when] . . . he knows very little,” was the harsh response that Franklyn gave to some equally undiplomatic remarks made by Inniss at the weekend.
Commenting on the current delay in transitioning the Customs & Excise Department into the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA), Inniss said in his address a customs brokers’ meeting that while BRA may be experiencing personnel and financial challenges, “what must never be allowed to rule the ultimate goal is self-serving, egotistical attitudes of a few individuals or entities whose survival depends on a membership fee”.
In a further dig at the trade union movement, the Government minister contended that the full transition into BRA must be settled, even if it meant the discomfort of a few.
“This matter with BRA is causing too much frustration among ordinary Barbadians,” the Minister of Commerce added. However, Franklyn fired back Tuesday suggesting that he should mind his own business and keep out of matters he knew nothing about.
“He should stick to what he knows and that is nothing,” the UWU leader said.
Suggesting that Inniss’ remarks were targeted at him, Franklyn said the minister wanted to get at his union but did not want to call him by name.
He also claimed that Inniss was seeking to be the next leader of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and wanted to give the impression that he was the only one in the DLP who could speak on “everything” and do it sensibly.
“And in so doing, he wants to get involved in everything that does not call him . . . [and] that he is not equipped to handle. He is singing to the gallery. He has this need to be the leader . . . he wants to be leader by stealth. But he talking to people who do not understand the issues. Ask him to go into depth on things he is talking about and he cannot. A few catch phrases here and a few catch phrases there and people think, ‘oh he is the best,’ but there ain’t much difference between he and [Denis] Kellman [the Minister of Housing & Lands],” the union boss added.