The nation’s first female Prime Minister was showered with the love of supporters this afternoon at she arrived at Parliament Buildings to deliver her maiden Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.
Mottley was swarmed with hugs and kisses from well-wishers who assembled outside the gates of Parliament Buildings.
But among the best wishes and declarations of allegiance were hopes for an ease in the pain of austerity measures enduring since October.
Some were dressed in Labour Party red, while one man waved a large red flag as the Prime Minister spent a few moments interacting with the men and women gathered.
While some vocal onlookers openly declared what they wanted to hear in the Budget, others said they would embrace whatever measures the Prime Minister put in place to assist in the economy’s recovery and growth.
BLP supporter Wendy McConney said she was aware that the medicine Mottley had in store to rectify the country’s woes may not taste good to some Barbadians, but she believes it is needed.
But McConney said: “I hope that the bus fare wouldn’t go up high, because that would have an impact on myself, who is a pensioner, and the low income workers.”
Audrey Miller also appealed to the Prime Minister not to raise the bus fare from $2, suggesting instead that school children should be made to pay for their rides to and from school once again.
Miller said: “Make them pay bus fare. Them destroying the buses, so make the school children pay bus fare, even if them pay $1. Ease my Prime Minister, she want easing. Send the people into the supermarket. The things too ‘dear’, people suffering.
“The pension can’t pay for them ‘dear’ things, even macaroni gone up. You know when macaroni gone up everything up. But my Prime Minister here to stay, you are not moving her. She here for the next 20 years.”
Miller also pointed out that she hoped Barbadians would not have to pay more for water.
Kim Trotman said she, too, was prepared to accept whatever decisions Prime Minister Mottley made.
“I know the country was in a state when Miss Mottley first took office, so she is trying her best to put us back on track,” Trotman said.
Elsewhere in Parliament Yard, Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley said he was ready to listen to the Prime Minister’s presentation.
Atherley said: “I want to see better for Barbados. I want to know that people are going to be employed, that the economy is going to be growing, that taxes are not going to be burdensome. I want to hear that social welfare policies are still intact and not fallen victim to the IMF programme.”
Government’s Special Advisor on the Economy Professor Avinash Persuad, National Union of Public Worker (NUPW) President Akanni McDowall, and NUPW’s Acting General Secretary Delcia Burke, were among some of those who made their way into the public gallery to witness the speech.
Persaud asserted that Barbadians have nothing to fear in the Budget, but should look forward to a number of new initiatives expected to return the country to growth.
The economist said: “We have finished the stabilization phase and now we have growth and transformation, and as you could imagine, there is much growth to be done on that. Nothing to fear.
“I think there will be much to inspire, much to excite, I think we are setting out some great opportunities for Barbadians to grasp and to help us to return to where we once were and to move beyond that.”
Around 3:25 p.m., Mottley and her team of Cabinet Ministers made their way to the Lower Chamber, for the presentation’s 3:30 p.m. start. (AH)