In a comment reminiscent of his “enemies of the state” remarks three months ago, Minister of Housing Denis Kellman Tuesday accused the trade union movement here of being anti-Barbados.
Speaking in Parliament Tuesday morning during debate on the VAT Amendment Bill 2017, Kellman criticized Monday’s march by the leading trade unions and the private sector against the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), saying the organizers were seeking to sink the country into a deep economic hole.
“The unions need to explain to the public of Barbados how they could be out there marching on Barbados, because they did not march on the Government . . . because when they put that argument out there, they are now anti-Barbados, not the Democratic Labour Party,” he said.
Kellman argued that by demanding a rollback of the onerous tax or a coping subsidy for public workers, the unions were encouraging Government to cut revenue and increase expenditure.
This, he said, was economic madness and would put Barbados “in a deeper fiscal problem and we cannot get out of it”, adding if the country continued to increase losses, “it is going to be a judgment time.
“And that is why you find trade unions who should know better by now in these times, would come and tell you that the Government is wrong in introducing a NSRL. In one breath they would say, cut the NSRL because they see it was a deficit and in the other breath they would ask you to increase your expenditure because they do not understand that if you cut your revenue and you increase your expenditure you are increasing your losses,” he contended.
During debate in April on a resolution on Crown Lands (Vesting and Disposal) on London Bourne Towers, Kellman had described opponents of the controversial Hyatt Centric project as “enemies of the State”, in was a clear reference to legal action taken by attorney-at-law David Comissiong against the construction of the multi-million dollar hotel.
“I find it very shortsighted of some people who cannot appreciate that any development that comes close to London Bourne Towers or Nelson Street or so on, can only be a positive and not a negative.
“And anybody who stands in the way should be seen as an enemy not only of the State, but must be seen as an enemy to the people who are also living in the London Bourne Towers, because they are depriving them of an opportunity of having a job, of being able to provide a service to service the debt, or service the liability that they have with the NHC [National Housing Corporation] at some point in time,” Kellman had told the Lower House.