A Government MP is standing firmly behind the economic policies and programmes of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration.
In fact, speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of the DLP’s 62nd annual conference at the George Street auditorium last weekend, Member of Parliament for St Michael West Central James Paul suggested that the Freundel Stuart administration, which has been under pressure in recent months over its imposition of a new set of onerous taxes, had delivered the best form of economic medicine to the island.
In the wake of widespread concerns over the increase in the National Social Responsibility Levy from two per cent to ten per cent and the imposition of a foreign exchange levy and other measures which were announced by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in his May 30 Budget, Paul further suggested that the medicine, though bitter, was effective in addressing the island’s economic woes.
“I think that we have given the country at this time the best the country can afford,” Paul told Barbados TODAY, while warning that “Barbadians should not fool themselves that what this party is doing is in their [the DLP’s] own interests”.
With discussions on pay increases between Government and the trade unions having reached a stalemate, Paul insisted that the DLP’s number one priority was to look after the interests of citizens.
“We do not compromise the social stability of this country and I think in trying to put Barbados back on the path of stable economic recovery we have done so, paying attention to the fact that we also need to focus on people, making sure that they are the centre of economic development,” Paul said.
He also responded to private sector complaints about Government’s management of the economy, contending that the ruling DLP was doing its best in the circumstances.
“I believe it is disingenuous of anybody to give the impression to Barbadians that we can continue to manage in the same way that we did in the past,” Paul said, adding that “we have to recognize where we are, always remembering that people are at the centre of development”.
However, he acknowledged that the biggest challenge facing the ruling party in the lead up to the next general election was to convince the populace that it had done its best in the face of what he said were “alternative facts” and “smoke and mirrors” being tossed into the public by the political opposition.