Finance Minister Chris Sinckler made an early appeal for Barbadians to make “major sacrifices” to rescue the ailing economy as he began the presentation of the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals in Parliament just after 4 p.m.
Warning that the Government could not continue to provide all services “ that we have grown accustomed to and in the magnitude that we desire”, he stressed that urgent action was needed.
“Are we prepared to stand together as one in a concerted effort to stabilize our economy and protect and defend the strength of our currency, the standard and quality or our lives and even our sovereignty as a nation? Or are we prepared to surrender to any narrow agendas whether political, social or economic?” he asked.
Sinckler stressed that the time had come for the country to engage in a national discourse to build consensus on a sustainable national economic and social reform programme to resuscitate the economy, revitalize the island’s social systems and “liberate us from the deleterious impacts of deficits, debt, downgrades and possible devaluation”.
“Are we prepared to put Barbados first?” he stressed.
The Finance Minister declared that Barbadians have no desire to see their country collapse and would be “more than prepared to support all reasonable efforts by this or any government to protect our economy, maintain our social systems and protect the vulnerable among us. They are prepared to do this even if it means that we will have to sacrifice and be inconvenienced a little more,” he told Parliament.