Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss is rubbishing claims that the delay by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in announcing general elections, had caused a standstill in the business community.
“I don’t accept that businesses are in limbo because historically Barbados has been a very decent and civilized society where the differences between the parties are not significant enough to cause a disruption within the mercantile communities,” Inniss told Barbados TODAY earlier this week while accusing supporters of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) of making what he deemed to be false claims and not for the first time either.
“Those who argue that election is creating some hiatus in businesses have been arguing that since 2008 from their narrow perspective. The issue is not so much about elections, it is about the policies that would be pursued that may not yet have been enunciated. The Democratic Labour Party has certainly enunciated ours, which is the recovery plan for the economy, and it is there for all business people to see and determine whether it is something they wish to work with,” he said in light of the automatic dissolution of Parliament on March 6 without the naming of a date for the national poll.
With some of the island’s business leaders also calling for elections to be held, the St James South incumbent contended that instead of being pre-occupied with the date for elections, the BLP should be concentrating on presenting a “concrete set of policies that is workable in these tough economic times”.
“The Barbados Labour Party has deliberately leaked their manifesto under the instructions of their leader and that indicates what they think is the way forward. They have said things are challenging in the economy but yet they want to get rid of the NSRL [National Social Responsibility Levy] and roll back VAT [from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent].
“These are good because I certainly would like to be paying less taxes, but the reality is, how are you going to maintain or expand the range of social services including totally free university education? Where is the money going to come from?” Inniss asked.
He urged voters not to be fooled into thinking that a change in Government was going to result in an immediate turnaround in terms of investor interest in the country.
It was on that basis that he questioned the motivation of those demanding that Stuart should call the elections sooner rather than later.
“I don’t think that if there is a change in Government tomorrow that there is going to be any massive investment whether it be domestic, regional or foreign because there are certain inherent deficiencies in the system that still have be worked out.
“I think those who are calling for elections to settle things down are invariably saying that they wish to have the same team remain in office or they wish to have their team in office to do what they want done. My attitude is that we have to do what is in the best interest of the country. Those who stand as candidates must be thoroughly questioned to see what they stand for and what their party stands for in order to determine the direction of the country,” Inniss stressed.