Barbados Labour Party (BLP) St Michael North candidate Ronald Toppin has launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, suggesting that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) leader cannot be taken at his word.
Speaking at a BLP meeting in Redman’s Village, St Thomas on Tuesday night, Toppin specifically accused Stuart of reneging on a promise made over six years ago not to abolish free tertiary education.
“He stood [before] a graduating class at the Barbados Community College on November 24th, 2011, and said that tertiary education would remain free.
“His words were, ‘I firmly believe that it would be a retrograde step if we were to dismantle free education in Barbados.’” Toppin said.
However, the BLP spokesman charged that about 20 months later the Prime Minister sat in silence as Minister of Finance Chis Sinckler stood on the floor of Parliament in his 2013 Budget presentation and imposed the tuition fees on Barbadian students attending the University of the West Indies.
“When he was pressed by us he said, ‘in life things change’, [but] if you can’t trust the word of your own Prime Minister, whose word can you trust?” the St Michael North representative asked, while suggesting that Stuart was hypocritical.
“This man who always professes his humble origins and saying that they [the DLP] understand the importance of education, after he gets through, he kick down the ladder.
“I’m not only talking about the sheer incompetence of Freundel Stuart because that is well known, I am talking about the untrustworthiness of his words . . . . Without people trusting the word of their leader, they can never go forward,” he cautioned, while complaining that the current DLP-led administration had left the country in its worst position ever.
“We cannot say that we are better off today than we were ten years ago. The failure of this country has to do with the leadership of this country over the last eight years or so,” he said before suggesting that the public could have a trustworthy leader in Mia Mottley.
“We have Mia Amor Mottley whose words can always be trusted when it is given.”