Campaign manager for the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Robert Bobby Morris has promised that its manifesto for the May 24 general election will be a tough but responsible one.
While dismissing the recently released Barbados Labour Party (BLP) manifesto as unrealistic and unattainable, Morris further promised that the DLP document would be focused on fixing the island’s ailing economy.
“Our manifesto launch is on Thursday night at Oistins and I don’t want you to be wary yet . . . but it will be a responsible manifesto. Don’t look for giveaways that are impossible,” Morris told the crowd gathered at the DLP’s spot meeting in Kingsland, Christ Church last night.
“If you have a flat roof we are not promising that we are going to make it gable. I don’t know how many there are and I don’t know what that would cost,” he said in poking fun at the BLP’s 70-page promissory document released last Thursday.
And “I am not telling you that it makes sense moving from road tax paid by the individual to a tax of gasoline,” he said in reference to another BLP proposal, adding, “don’t look for an attempt to buy votes”.
Release of the DLP’s manifesto comes against the backdrop of a 0.7 per cent contraction of the island’s economy for the first three months of this year.
Delivering the disappointing news at his quarterly media conference earlier this month, Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes said the decline was due mainly to a slowdown in construction, a decline in tourism activities and the late start of this year’s sugar harvest.
Haynes said while the island’s foreign reserves grew by $14 million to reach $423 million for the period under review, this was still below the 12 weeks import benchmark with decisive action needed to further drive down the national deficit, which declined by 1.5 per cent to reach 4.2 per cent between January and March this year.
With this in mind, Morris, a former trade unionist and ex-Caribbean Community diplomat, maintained that even though Barbados had been through trying times, Government had made all the tough decisions in an effort to save the country.
He cautioned persons that there was no easy fix to the country’s economic woes.
“I hope that in your hearts and in your eyes you can say, ‘well done DLP’. It has not been easy, but we are moving onto the Promise Land and after May 24, 2018, this DLP will tell you that if the things in the world remain as they are and don’t get any worse, then we in Barbados will see a new beginning.”