Minister of Small Business Dwight Sutherland declared he was misunderstood as he tried to explain comments he made recently about independent small car importers who would face additional regulation of their operations because of their impact on established dealerships.
As debate continued in the House of Assembly on the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) Amendment Bill and the Utilities Regulation Amendment Bill, Sutherland again took fire for his controversial comments, this time from Opposition Leader Joseph Atherley, who dubbed him the “former minister of small business”.
While opening debate during the pre-lunch session, the Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce said his comments calling for a “level playing field” were completely misunderstood by many in the small business community.
Sutherland said: “When I talked about the level playing field it was misinterpreted. But creating a level playing field in business is creating that platform where all can operate… where you correct all the historical inequities that existed within the business system in this country.
“But I am not vexed with the public because the public elected us to lead them and if they are not comfortable with a statement, they have a right to say what they want to say. I am not upset with the public. What this has taught me is that communication is very important – effective communication.
“When I sat down with those used car dealers, those small businessmen in my office, I cancelled every appointment… and people asked why I’m so upbeat and I said my conscience is clear. I have the interests of small businesses at heart and I have demonstrated it. Judge me by my actions.”
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