Cutting out wastage, stamping out corruption and reprioritizing the country’s expenditure, will give a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Government all the money it needs to fulfill all of its campaign promises.
This from Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, who went into a little more detail about how her party intends to pay for some of its signature plans, which include the repeal the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), restoring free tertiary education, raising pensions and fixing the south coast sewage problem.
Along with the plans unveiled over the last several months, Mottley promised civil servants, who have been pushing for a salary increase for almost two years, that she would be meeting with the trade unions shortly after taking office to discuss this issue. She also revealed that if it is determined that an increase cannot be immediately afforded, a living allowance would be provided within three months.
Speaking to more than 20,000 people (estimated by party officials) at Weymouth at the official launch of the BLP’s campaign ahead of the May 24 general election, Mottley attempted to answer her critics, who continuously demand that she shows the math behind what they deem to be overly ambitious promises.
“There are those naysayers who say ‘well how you going pay for it?’ We I have come to Weymouth tonight to talk to you the people of Barbados. I have come tonight to tell you that this country of ours that has a $10 billion economy and a $4 billion Government expenditure, can be no different from what each an every one of you householders have to face every day and every week in this country,” Mottley said.
The BLP leader argued that in like manner to a discerning householder, those with the responsibility for Barbados finances must know when to restructure debt as well as possess the ability to determine the country’s wants from the urgent needs.
“When they [ruling Democratic Labour Party] ask with temerity, ‘how you going do it?’ they know as well as I do that they have had at their fingertips the tools to make decisions about choices and about rejigging how we spend our money. I have come to Weymouth to tell you that this is not rocket science,” Mottley said.
In her hour-long speech, the Opposition Leader explained that the BLP was not making promises which were out of whack with the economic times but rather they were outlining the social safety nets and institutions to be safeguarded in the period of belt tightening to come.
“Education means something to us and your ability to go the QEH [Queen Elizabeth Hospital] and go for treatment means something to us. In order to do this there has to be a cutting out of the wastage, and the corruption and what we have seen is this Government over and over, making decisions that put you the people at the bottom of the totem pole. How do you build a five storey building at Vaucluse and forget to buy 35 garbage trucks,” questioned Mottley, who was referring to the estimate $29 million to build a new headquarters for the Sanitation Service Authority.
“Do you mean to tell me that a Government that has $4 billion in expenditure cannot buy 40 buses to put your children and your parents in buses on time? We will do it. We will buy the 30 garbage trucks that are necessary to keep Barbados clean. We will deal with the south coast sewage problem immediately. The days of pensioners getting $77.50 will be no more. From June 1 pensioners will get $225 every two weeks,” Mottley said to an eruption of applause.