BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday February 24, 2014, CMC – The ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is observing its first year in office telling supporters that despite the ongoing economic crisis in Barbados, it was still confident that its policies will bear fruit.
Finance Minister Chris Sinckler, addressing DLP supporters in the St Michael North constituencies on Sunday night, said the Freundel Stuart administration had been able to hold the economy together and maintain adequate levels of foreign reserves up to May last year.
The government has been forced to implement a retrenchment programme that would result in at least 3,000 public servants losing their jobs within the coming months and also said it would not be seeking to fill vacancies in a hurry.
Sinckler, who has come under increasing pressure to step down as a result of the state of the local economy, told supporters of the ruling party that the government had no choice but to institute the new economic strategy.
“We did what we had to do to support the people of Barbados,” he said, noting that the plan to send home workers was “the most painful decision any manager could have to make.
“It would have been irresponsible not to do anything,” he said, adding that he would only leave office is asked to do so by Prime Minister Stuart.
“If I have to leave office you feel I’m going to go somewhere and cry? I ain’t going nowhere and cry. I’m in this to help my country. That is why I am here. I didn’t run anywhere to be minister of finance. I didn’t go to David Thompson on his death bed and beg him to be minister of finance. He called me, I didn’t call him.
“Mr Stuart has expressed his confidence in me and I thank him for it. We work together on a number of issues. I meet with the prime minister as often as I can and he meets with me as often as he requires to meet with me and we work together in the interest of Barbados.”
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, who has been calling for Sinckler’s removal, has said she would carry out an in-depth analysis of the upcoming Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, demanding that the government give an account for every penny it plans to spend.
She told supporters of the main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) on Sunday night that it would not be business as usual when the government tables the fiscal package.
Mottley has accused the government of withholding data, creating a false picture of the economy and its borrowing, and ignoring public cries in the midst of its widespread lay-offs.
Opposition legislator, Santia Bradshaw told the meeting that the time had come for peaceful demonstrations in the country.
“I want to put a placard in my hand and tell them they can’t silence me,” she said, adding “I have one question for Freundel Stuart and the Democratic Labour Party and I want them to go.
“The Barbados Labour Party is ready to hit the road, and we are going to do so peacefully,” Bradshaw added.
In the last general elections, the DLP won 16 of the 30 seats in the Parliament.