Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley is suggesting that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s national address last night has left more questions than it gave answers.
In response to the Prime Minister’s televised statement on her administration’s seven-year development plan for Barbados, Bishop Atherley said the tone of the broadcast seemed defensive and suggestive of a government under pressure and struggling to persuade Barbadians that the country has improved in the last year and a half.
He suggested that the speech did not answer questions about the details related to the financial, procedural and contractual arrangements around the importation of garbage trucks and buses.
“The same applies to the proposed plans for the demolition of the NIS building and the fire station, the contractual arrangements and property ownership and management issues in that area going forward, and the extent to which these matters are connected to the Hyatt development and the Liquidation Centre acquisition.
“The content was mostly a rehash of what we have heard several times before, referencing poor performance by the last administration, touting success in rescheduling, restructuring and retreating from debt obligations; increase in reserves position again through new debt; projecting some potential investment in tourism-related capital projects,” he said.
Bishop Atherley pointed out that Barbadians heard no plans for sectoral development, including plans to make a meaningful dent in the unemployment rate of 30 per cent among young people.
“We heard no vision for emerging sectors or industries. We heard no outlined measures to restore and raise renumeration levels among Barbadian workers in either public or private sectors, to bring them more in line with the cost of living. We heard no plan to either incentivize the private sector or facilitate its expansion and further development domestically or in terms of regional penetration,” he said.
The Opposition Leader also indicated that as it relates to social policy and services, the Prime Minister only made reference to new housing designs and models to offer greater natural disaster impact resilience. He said there was nothing in the speech to provide hope to thousands seeking housing or to become aspiring land owners.
He also noted that the leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) mentioned no plans regarding making the country’s education sector more viable and developmental.
“We heard nothing about lifting health services provision to the next level or of any modernization of the physical plant or systems at Martindales Road, Black Rock, or any of our geriatric institutions,” he said.
During her one-hour address, Prime Minister Mottley encouraged the “active participation” of the majority of citizens and stated that her administration believed that over the next seven years Barbados must be transformed into a “world class” society.