As the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) celebrates its first year in office tomorrow, the party which they ousted from office in unprecedented fashion, claims it is yet to see any semblance of the openness and transparency promised by the Mia Mottley-led administration.
Delivering the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) lunchtime lecture on Friday, the party’s General Secretary, Guyson Mayers, suggested that Government’s report card, since taking office in May 2018, reflected the very opposite of transparency.
Referencing the $54 million controversial debt restructuring deal with the London-based White Oak Consultancy, Mayers, suggested that Barbadians were in the dark about the rationalization behind a number of decisions.
Reinforcing the argument made recently by the Opposition, Mayers contended that the logical deductions that the public is left with, regarding how the deal was struck, does not inspire faith in the way Government does business.
“If before you have a cabinet meeting, five days after coming to office, you signed a $54 million contract, then that is not transparent. Transparency comes from telling us the steps you took in getting to that contract… This could probably open itself to one of two interpretations. It could be that somebody was very reckless or maybe the better interpretation may be that this contract was being negotiated long before the election,” said Mayers.
The DLP General Secretary further contended that if the latter turns out to be true, then it would mean that someone was leaking sensitive information about Government’s finances and such a person should be “sanctioned”.
“If that was indeed the case, then the question arises as to who were these negotiators?… It means that those persons were giving [Government financial] information to White Oak. If that is indeed the case then somebody should be sanctioned,” he stressed.
Last month, Opposition spokesman Scott Weatherhead suggested that Government took a cavalier approach to a matter, which could have dire consequences later down the road.
“The sum should have been negotiated better…. [Government] did a poor job of negotiation. Maybe they didn’t negotiate at all, maybe there are reasons for not negotiating,” said Weatherhead.
He pointed out that White Oak’s bill was equivalent to ten per cent of the country’s loan from the International Monetary Fund. The entrepreneur also accused Government of being less than transparent with the process.
“So perhaps the right way of doing things in the interest of transparency was to put the contract out to tender, receive some responses and then advertise that a suitable person was not found locally and that they were going to seek international expertise. They [Government] should have announced their choice and negotiate the best possible price for the job,” he argued at the time. (CM)