Opposition MP Dwight Sutherland has accused Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler of failing to offer any solutions to the island’s economic problems in his 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.
The St George South parliamentary representative levelled the accusation as he contributed to the budget debate Thursday.
Sutherland charged that rather than getting solutions to the crisis from Sinckler, what the people of Barbados were dealt was a continuation of the legacy of “dream killing” and “hope shattering” that has come to characterize the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government.
“We were treated with excuses on top of excuses for lack of implementation, for failure by ministers and lack of proper governance. We were given many excuses in this Chamber. What distinguishes the Barbados Labour Party from the Democratic Labour Party in times of crisis in this country [is that] we have often come to the rescue of the citizens of this country with a team and a leader with vision,” he contended.
“Our team of men and women would have come with a track record of implementation that would have seen us deliver this country more than once from the hands of the DLP.”
Sutherland argued that the most disappointing element of the Budget was not the unprecedented level of taxation, but the failure to offer solutions to the economic crisis which confronts the country.
Responding to Sinckler’s assertion that there would be widespread consultations with Barbadians later down the road, the opposition MP said: “Too late, too late, shall be your cry. You have muddled everything over the last nine years, and you expect that nine months to go before an election you would come with strategies that would save this country.
“I am saying you cannot save the country at this stage. Our Leader Mia Mottley showed yesterday that our party is ready to take on the mantle of leadership and governance in this country.”
Commenting on the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) which will increase from two per cent to ten per cent from July 1, Sutherland said it will have “a cascade effect on businesses, on middle-class people in this country, on poor people in this country, people from all walks of life and demographics in this country”.
“A man from Workman’s or Todds, St George who is producing a product that carries a label, even if that label is produced locally, is subject to the NSRL and also VAT. The small businesses in St George South, such as hairdressers and the nail technicians, they have to buy products that are subject to the NSRL and also VAT. So, when I look at some of my constituents who do hair, these ladies will have a tremendous challenge in maintaining their businesses,” he added.