Political activist David Comissiong is not at all surprised that former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has been approached to head up Government’s Economic Advisory Council, since, in his estimation there is no real difference between Arthur and the Freundel Stuart Government.
“We have now had a consolidation of the right wing, anti-social democracy, pro-privatization, pro-local elite and foreign investor forces in the form of Owen Arthur, Freundel Stuart, Donville Inniss and Chris Sinckler axis,” Comissiong told Barbados TODAY in response to Arthur’s revelation this week that he had been approached to lead the Government’s team of economic advisors and to make recommendations for restoring the ailing economy to a path of economic growth.
However, Comissiong suggested that Arthur should be the last person that the DLP should be turning to for advice on the economy, charging that it was his former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration that had plunged the country into “a crisis of economic, social and cultural decline”.
In this regard, he zeroed in on the vexed issue of privatization, arguing that Arthur and the ruling DLP were already one on this issue.
“The sad truth is that the DLP administration of the late David Thompson and Stuart have really been a continuation of that last disastrous Arthur administration,” the political activist charged.
“While Arthur started the process by privatizing our country’s one and only indigenous bank, the Barbados National Bank, the DLP administration completed the process of selling off the BNB to Trinidadian capitalists,” he added.
He also made reference to the then Arthur administration’s award of the Ionics Fresh Water Ltd contract to businessman Ralph Bizzy Williams, as well as the Stuart administration’s award of “outrageously privileged” contracts to companies associated with businessman Mark Maloney.
Comissiong also argued that Arthur, Stuart and Sinckler were of the same mindset when it came to issues of education, health care and foreign investment.
“[They] really belong together. They all share in common the belief that our state-owned entities must be sold off to private sector capitalists. They believe that our free education must be dismantled, that our people must be made to pay for their health services and that the foreign investor, rather than native Barbadians must be made the linchpin of our national economic development policy,” he said while suggesting that Arthur’s latest move to join forces with the Government should be a clear signal to every member of the Mia Mottley-led BLP that there could be no going back to Arthur after this.