Barbadians who are owed money by Government are being told by a ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) senator to wait for payment in silence.
Referencing workers still to paid for services rendered during Barbados’ hosting of the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA XIII) back in August, Senator Reginald Hunte warned that there were consequences for those who opt to make a scene over the length of time Government was taking to pay them.
Hunte argued that it was part and parcel of Barbadian culture to wait for what is owed and Barbadians should therefore not get bent out of shape if Government were also slow to pay.
He pointed that past administration including the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) had frowned upon people who bellyached over late payments.
“I have heard today about people who worked in CARIFESTA not getting their money yet. Well in 1981 there were persons who had worked in that CARIFESTA, including ZR drivers. I remember one ZR driver took his case to the newspapers [because he had not been paid his $600 week after the event concluded]. Within a couple of years then Prime Minister Tom Adams taxed every ZR 400 times more,” he charged.
“This is a necessary argument in this debate because wherever there is an action there is a reaction. This is part of our culture; you got to wait for your money,” Hunte said during this afternoon’s debate in the Upper House on the Cultural Industries Development (Validation) Bill 2017.
While the Government senator did not provide reasons for the delay in paying those who had worked during the regional festival, he suggested that there was little point to getting angry if the state did not have the funds available for disbursement.
“You have to wait until you get pay. What are you going to do? Wait until you are paid. All the bills don’t necessarily come in. It is an operation and we need to clearly understand how it functions. I understand that if a man got a little berry for you that you will want it. But what you going do if he don’t have it? You going kill him?”
However, Hunte’s comments played into earlier criticisms of the festival by Opposition leader Mia Mottley, who had condemned the planning that led to some visiting delegations seeing poor turnout for their performances.
“I am not the one calling it Carifiasco . . . .It is the people of this country and on social media who have passed the judgment on the absolute logistical madness and failure,” Mottley had said.
Stressing that the schedule had been poorly planned with competing events taking away from audience turnout, the BLP leader Mottley also contended that Government mnisters were noticeably absent at CARIFESTA events – something she attributed to a “boycott” of Culture Minister Stephen Lashley.