Former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is receiving backing for his defense of the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) stewardship of the country in the ten years prior to losing all 30 seats at the May 2018 polls.
This morning a former member of the Stuart Cabinet, who did not want to be identified, stressed that while he is no longer involved in active politics, he too stood proudly behind the DLP’s handling of the country’s affairs during a period which is referred to by some as the “lost decade” because of the economic inertia which the country experienced.
Like Stuart, the former minister contends that the government at the time was forced to contend with some very tough external challenges and that the Stuart-led administration would have done the best that they could have to weather the storm. However, he made it clear that he was by no means suggesting that mistakes were not made.
“I view our tenure two years later, the same way that I viewed it two hours after. I thought and still believe that it was a challenging period but there were achievements for sure. It was a difficult time to govern and I was part of a government that had its fair share of international challenges. I do not accept any characterization of some decade where nothing took place,” he said.
The former minister was referring to issues such as uncertainty within the major tourism source market of Britain due to Brexit, the world recession of 2008, instability of oil prices which hit record highs and a struggling international business sector. During the DLP tenure Barbados experienced 23 credit downgrades from the main international and regional credit rating agencies as well as falling foreign reserves which threatened the stability of the dollar.
However, in his interview with Barbados TODAY, the source contended that there was not much he could point to during the two-year tenure of the Mia Mottley-led administration that would indicate that Barbadians’ lives have been improved.
“If we are going to describe our ten years as a period of nothingness, then how would you describe the last two years? Other than spin, hype and PR, what is there to show? If we were lost prior 2018, are we now found? Where are all the jobs? Where are all the promised construction? The schools are in a mess and crime is out of control, taxes are killing people and people can’t get no money to raise their children. Crime is in a mess, could you imagine that 49 people got murdered last year. If ours was the decade of nothing, then I just want somebody to tell me what we should call the last two years?” he questioned.
Last Sunday a resolute Stuart, maintained that the DLP administration, tasked with tackling the fallout from the world’s greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression had performed admirably in the circumstances.
“The Democratic Labour Party between 2008 and 2018 did not have the luxury that Barrow had or that Tom Adams had or Sandiford or Arthur had. We had to deal with the worst crisis that happened in the western world since the Great Depression and some people say was the worst in 100 years…The crisis with which we had to deal was much more severe,” said Stuart.