Political scientist Dr Tennyson Joseph has suggested that yesterday’s Budget signals that the economy is in more trouble that the Freundel Stuart administration has admitted, and that the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has accepted its political defeat.
The main sign, he said, was that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced increased taxation on the population on the eve of an election.
Responding to the measures announced by Sinckler in Parliament, Joseph said “the real critical thing is not even so much the implications for the economy as a whole, but what it says for the economy already.
“The fact that we are in an election year and everybody was expecting the minister of finance to start to . . . ease up the taxes and allow persons to have greater spending power and so forth, but it is the opposite . . . . The Freundel Stuart administration is in a more perplexed state than we have been made to understand. This clearly is a minister whose hands are so tied that he was unable to do the things that would be in his own political interest,” the Head of the Department of Government, Sociology and Social Work at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) told Barbados TODAY.
“The pressure of the economy was so tight that the minister of finance had to forego the political advantages that would have been allowed to him and impose harsher measures on the population such as the increase in taxation which would lead to an increase in the inflation rates.”
Joseph said Sinckler taking the usual approach of taxation also showed a lack of creativity and innovation.
Reflecting on the minister’s reference to former Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford (now Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford) in his speech, the senior UWI lecturer suggested that was symbolic of the administration accepting political defeat.
Sinckler had referred to how the former Barbadian leader “stood steadfast in the breach, and doggedly pushed through an unpopular programme that eventually led to the steadying of the ship of state and the laying of the groundwork for more than a decade of strong and sustainable economic growth and development in Barbados.
“His [Sir Lloyd’s] mission was not popular; his policies were disliked, and even he was despised, ridiculed and mocked, but that never deterred him from sticking to that mission to save Barbados. He put Barbados first even though many Barbadians didn’t appreciate it at the time,” Sinckler added.
That Budget, however, preceded a successful no-confidence motion against the then Prime Minister.
Joseph suggested that Sinckler’s reference to the former leader’s words months before an election was constitutionally due, signals that the party has admitted defeat, given the state of the economy.