Despite economic downgrade number 19 in nine years under the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss is urging party faithful to hold their heads up and be proud of the achievements of the Freundel Stuart administration.
Speaking today at the party’s conference entitled ‘Facts’, held at the Queen’s College auditorium, Inniss said that upon reflection he was “amazed at the amount of work” which the Government has done.
“I would like to thank the General Secretary of the party, George Pilgrim, for putting this conference together. It is very timely and gives us a chance to remind ourselves of what we have done as a political party in the midst of the most challenging economic times,” Inniss said.
Standard and Poor’s (S&P) announced yet another downgrade for the island yesterday, this time to ‘CCC+/C’, based on Government’s limited financing alternatives and low international reserves. And if the conditions do not improve, there will be a further downgrade within the next year, S&P warned.
It also explained that its negative outlook reflected its view that Government was either unable or unwilling to take timely steps to redress the situation.
However, Inniss contended that if the tables were turned and the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) took the reins of Government, they would not have done any better under the same harsh economic climate.
“A lot of focus these days is on what is being said by the rating agencies and the economic data coming out but I want to encourage you fellow DEMs do not be down heartened, our party has fought hard and we have done well under the circumstances,” he said.
“There are those who are going to come around, whether it be on social media or at your doors, and they are going to criticize everything that we have done and say we have done nothing. I ask you simply to ask them; what would they do if they were in our position under the circumstances? They would not give you an answer. Take that moment of silence from their end and use it to remind them of all things we have done as a Government in the last eight years.”
Inniss also suggested that dividend for the sacrifice of the Barbadian people was right around the corner and now was not the time to give it up to the BLP.
“Now is the time for all of us to band together and roll up our sleeves and get into the trenches and get on the road towards winning the next election whenever [Prime Minister] Freundel [Stuart] calls that election,” Inniss added.