Barbadians are anxiously awaiting tomorrow’s first full Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals of the ten-month-old Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration.
A Barbados TODAY team visited Bridgetown and its environs to sample the mood and thoughts of the average Barbadian ahead of the Budget and many persons were cautious about what they hoped to see coming from the Prime Minister.
Mary Gibson, a retired nurse said she wanted to see more nurses assigned to the Thelma Vaughn Memorial Home, the Geriatric Hospital and the Accident and Emergency Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
“At the Thelma Vaughn Home the children need to have more volunteers and in the Geriatric Hospital there is a need for more nurses. The medical fraternity needs to be overhauled especially in the Accident and Emergency and the polyclinics [to help] with the long waits at the hospital,” she told Barbados TODAY.
A craftsman who was plying his trade on the Chamberlain Bridge said he appreciates what the Prime Minister of Barbados is doing to turn the economy around but he would appreciate an ease in taxation when the budget is revealed tomorrow.
“A little ease would be nice to help out small businesses a little more,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Joyce Forde, on the other hand, wants an ease in her household’s water bill. She said, “I would just like to see that they lower the water bill a bit because some people are really struggling to pay the water. That is my view.”
However, Gloria Jack said she would like to see a more effective transportation system emerge. “I would love to have a better transport system . . . for the bus service to improve in any way they can do it,” she said.
Over at Green Hill, St Michael persons remained tight-lipped about a wish list in advance of the Budget which is scheduled to start in the Lower Chamber of the House of Assembly at 3:30 p.m.
While one woman noted “Regardless of what is in the budget I still have to live with it,” another was clear that she had her hopes set on a cut in some of the expenses which confront her monthly.
Former banker Colin Roach said he would like to hear Prime Minister Mia Mottley announce that Barbados once again has its own national bank.
“What I would like to hear from the Prime Minister is when are we going to get our own national bank. I worked in three private banks and I understand the difference between private and public. All of our money is leaving these five private banks and we have no national bank to hold these billions of dollars that are leaving to help feed our infrastructure.
“We are not asking for this, we are not begging for this. You represent the people. We need a national bank,” he suggested to the country’s leadership.
Terrel Yearwood said he would like the budget to focus on manufacturing as a way to cut Barbados’ growing importation bill.
“We are not optimizing our potential in agriculture from what people would call niche products and so on. We have to get back to seeing what Barbados can produce so we can substitute the excessive importation into the country,” he said.
He added: “If we could introduce a project where we are planting more food and building more houses then I believe we could bring down the price of housing and food which are some of the major areas we spend money on,” he said.