Government Senator Jepter Ince has apologized “unreservedly” for describing the local business community as parasites who were only bellyaching about the recently announced budgetary measures because they were unwilling to carry their share of the economic burden.
Delivering the ruling Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) lunchtime lecture at the party’s George Street headquarters last month, Ince, the parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Finance, did not mince his words when he suggested that businesses should quit their whining and stop sponging off Government.
“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.,” a fired up Ince had said at the time.
While citing several examples, the Senator had also accused the private sector of abdicating its leadership role in spurring economic growth and employment, forcing Government to take the helm.
The statements were deemed offensive by the business community, including construction magnate Sir Charles Williams who was among the first to publicly condemn Ince’s remarks.
In a subsequent meeting with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler at Government Headquarters, the President of the Barbados Private Sector Association Charles Herbert also demanded that an apology be made and when contacted by Barbados TODAY this morning, Herbert confirmed that one had indeed been tendered and accepted.
“Well, we called for it and we got it,” Herbert said.
In his letter of apology dated June 26, 2017, which was addressed to Herbert, Ince said the statements were made “in a moment of unguarded excess do not represent my personal views or that of the Democratic Labour Party of which I am a member. Neither do they represent the views of the Government of Barbados in which I serve.”
He also assured that “the use of such words would be totally incongruous with the respect that the political party to which I belong and the Government in which I serve, hold for the private sector as an integral part of the institution known as the Social Partnership.
“I am indeed cognizant of the fact that the private sector, the trade union movement and the political party that I am a member of and represent can all equally lay claim to being the founders of the Social Partnership created in the early 1990s, and which, as it was then, remains an invaluable partner in the good governance of Barbados.
“I wish to unreservedly withdraw any comments or statements which may have been interpreted as being inimical to the ordinarily harmonious relationship enjoyed by the parties over the years.
“I sincerely hope that this letter outlining my own personal view which [is] in harmony with that of the Democratic Labour Party of which I am a member and the Government of Barbados in which I serve is accepted in the spirit in which it is given, and I regret any potential mistrust that I may have caused within the partnership,” he added.