Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is being painted as incapable of sympathizing with ordinary Barbadians because he has “clothed his personality in the robes of a monarch”.
In addition, attorney-at-law and Barbados Labour Party candidate in Christ Church South Ralph Thorne contended, Stuart is displaying a worrying inability to grasp his own National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), making it difficult for him to deal with the concerns raised by the private sector and the island’s trade unions about the burdensome tax.
“The Prime Minister has distanced himself from any substantial ministerial portfolio that involves full-time labour and seems to have clothed his personality in the robes of a monarch who makes occasional intervention by way of commentary into the more substantive work of his other ministers,” Thorne told Barbados TODAY after an estimated 20,000 people answered the call of the unions and the business community to take to the streets of Bridgetown to demonstrate their opposition to the NSRL.
“The Prime Minister is altogether ill-equipped to review or change something he knows nothing about . . . . He therefore appears to speak with little authority on the subject [of the economy] and substitutes that lack of authority for statements that are condescending at best, and at worst, bereft of any academic merit.”
The last comment was in reference to Stuart’s defiant position expressed at a luncheon organized by the ruling Democratic Labour Party’s Christ Church West branch at Almond Bay Hotel on Sunday.
It was there that the Prime Minister had made it clear that he would not allow the trade unions to dictate Government’s fiscal policies, and that the march would not force his Government to revise the controversial levy.
Despite the Prime Minister’s defiance, Thorne said the turnout at Monday’s march was a triumphant rejection of the administration’s tax policies.