Construction magnate Sir Charles Williams has slammed Democratic Labour Party Senator Jepter Ince over his description of local business community as parasites, who are unwilling to carry their share of the economic burden.
During last Friday’s DLP lunchtime lecture, Ince accused the private sector of abdicating its leadership role in spurring economic growth and employment, forcing Government to take the helm.
The parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Finance also argued that businesses had no grounds to complain about the austerity measures which included a controversial hike in the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) as well as an increase in the excise duty on petrol and a new two per cent tax on foreign exchange transactions.
“I am going to give you a phrase that I use to describe the private sector of Barbados. I have been criticized for it and it doesn’t bother me one way or another. I have said it before and I will say it again and I want this written as Jepter Ince say so. The private sector of Barbados is an extension of the public service and a parasitic plant in the bosom of Government,” he said in response to a question from Barbados TODAY.
However, speaking on radio here Monday morning, a livid Sir Charles said that Ince had it all wrong and that it was Government red tape that was preventing the private sector from driving economic growth.
“I would like to challenge him [Ince] to a private interview to explain to him how difficult it is to step up and get things done to employ people and bring in foreign exchange,” Sir Charles said.
The leading business, who is behind the Apes Hill development, explained that it took him ten years “to get the permission” to develop that project.
“Had I gotten it even in five [years] I would have sold everything before the crash [recession] came. It took three years and an intervention by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur to get Port St Charles passed, which has brought in over $200 million into Barbados and he [Ince] is saying that the private sector has to step up,” the angry businessman said.
He stressed that with Government operating at snail’s pace, “businesses would only be stepping up to get mashed”.
“When you step up and try to do something that would employ people you get your foot stamped on and you get pushed back through the door repeatedly,” he openly complained.
The private sector is stopped from doing any better,” the founder of C O Williams Construction said, while stressing that contrary to Ince’s suggestion his company was not waiting cap in hand for Government to hand out any contracts.