Submitted by Beresford
Hon. Denis Kellman M.P, Kellmoronic”, “broadcast on TV last Monday night – that temporary workers have been cut off so they can be made permanent…”
As more forceful condemnations come with greater frequency convicting Freundel Stuart and his DLP of gross negligence and persistent dereliction of duty in serving country first, the not unexpected responses of what is now widely regarded as a band of nincompoops are more fabrications, braying attempts at blaming and shifting responsibility to the BLP, and virulent attacks on our leader Mia Mottley.
Having humiliated themselves by lying and demolishing Barbados’ economy. The DLP with Stuart in the lead, as they scramble at every straw to maintain power and their pensions, are now tarnishing the image of office by becoming bottom feeders scraping up every piece of garbage and throwing it in desperate attempts to defend what cannot be defended and stick their slime (stink with incompetence) on someone else.
The DLP is so topsy-turvy and misled for so long, what was a small cut is now an affliction of festering sores. They are now asking for faith, patience and kindness – having been given all three for six years and ruthlessly destroying them.
How else can anyone on Earth or Mars explain, even by his own sublimely ignorant standards, the “Kellmoronic”, broadcast on TV last Monday night – that temporary workers have been cut off so they can be made permanent and that it is unfair to have people working temporary. Better to not have them working at all!!
This is the madness now endemic in the Barbados.
The IMF’s light-touch analysis looks as if it was not intended to cause offence, rather than to provide a roadmap to help the nation escape its present economic problems. Reference to the erosion of the tax base is one example, a situation cause by micro-managing, a lack of a broader policy agenda and political interference. The routine waivers and exemptions, along with the underwriting of debt, are the outcome of policy failure, which the report should have made clear, and the corruption of ideas. Nothing better illustrates this than the apparent secret deal the government has made with the Butch Stewart-owned Sandals. It is an agreement that should be made public as soon as possible, if only to stop rumour and suspicion. However, it has pinpointed the urgent need for improvements in the management of public revenue: “In addition to revenue losses from tax expenditures, staff analysis found gaps in revenue yield caused by weaknesses in collection, including for example a low ratio of tax collected to tax payable at the Inland Revenue administration and weak control and audit functions. “In addition, both revenue administrations lack management reports that could be used to improve performance monitoring.” In other words, gross incompetence across the revenue management section of the civil service, which comes directly under the remit of the prime minister or the minister of finance. Further, to obfuscate and fool the public, the recent change in the Auditor General’s report, from one in which departments were named and shamed to one in which the juxtaposition of accrual accounting figures has introduced an element of opacity.
The IMF’s report’s call to strengthen public finance management should lead to widespread sacking of all those accountable. This reminds me that sometime ago I asked a senior politician if newly appointed ministers were given any training about financial and personnel management, given that many of them came from backgrounds of being lawyers in small practices, and her/his reply was no. So, people without any experience of managing people or money, on being elected can often find themselves being accountable for budgets of millions of dollar s and staff of hundreds.
The Barbadian economy is small, fragile, and open. Because of its openness, it has always been, currently is, and will always be susceptible to the effects of exogenous shocks
The Barbadian society is materialistic and consumer oriented. Society is defined here as individuals, businesses, and Government combined.
The continual clash between economic capacity and societal need has naturally demanded a sensible response of balance and equilibrium from policymakers throughout the years. The administrations of those Prime Ministers (PM) and Ministers of Finance (MOF) who recklessly put the Barbadian economy into a state of disequilibrium to satisfy their general election (1981, 1991) political needs, and who ended up on the doorsteps of the IMF, were voted out of office the next election they faced.
If we adopt the government’s philosophical attitude of putting the society first, then we can attempt to trace how our current economic problems developed.
Minister David Estwick
Cabinet collective responsibility is constitutional convention in governments using the Westminster System that members of the Cabinet must publicly support all governmental decisions made in Cabinet, even if they do not privately agree with them. This support includes voting for the government in the legislature. Some Communist political parties apply a similar convention of democratic centralism to their central committee – WIKIPEDIA
The Estwick Affair has started to gather momentum contrary to what the goto political scientists of Messrs Bell and Wickham ‘originally’ predicted. Whether the DLPites like it or not Estwick now commands the attention of the country and beyond given the current state of the Barbados economy which has started to severely interact with another reality; a 2-seat majority government. While the current tension between Estwick is cause for concern for the government, of greater concern is the likely impact on the need to effuse confidence at a most challenging time in our post Independence history.
Local media has been quoting an inside source (attributed to a member of Cabinet) suggesting Estwick should adhere to the tenet of collective responsibility practiced by the Cabinet in the Westminster System. BU’s response is: do we practice a true true Westminster system of governance in Barbados respecting “codified and uncodified” procedures?
We are all agreed that the economic arguments which have engulfed Barbados for the last six years have now been fully exhausted and most people have taken sides. Those who believe that the government is on the right track are firm in their belief, and those of us, the vast majority, who believe that the government has no clear strategy for rescuing the economy are convinced we are right. But there is also another gap in our national conversation, and that in many ways is even more fundamental than the short-term one about the current account deficit or, in many ways, the debt to GDP ratio. To my mind, what is dangerously lacking is a vision: how we see ourselves in a fast-moving globalising world which, paradoxically, is also at the same time witnessing the growth of a countervailing inward-looking nationalism. Future
One of the huge failures of this national conversation are our academics at Cave Hill whose role it is to explain the nation to itself. It is almost embarrassing to witness their silence, or for the brave ones who do speak, the clipped, short, one sentence outbursts that, in real terms, mean very little. Apart from ‘Professor’ Frank Alleyne, whose views on modern economics to my mind are totally irrelevant, all we are getting are statements, such as that the Barbados dollar should not be devalued. But the advocates of this position are not saying why it should not be devalued or what benefits the nation gets from continuing to peg to the Greenback, despite the global currency volatility. Sadly, the journalists whose job it is to interrogate these people are intellectually ill-equipped to do so, or are intimidated by the reputations of these economic conservatives. However, even economic professors can be wrong, and the great defenders of the Bajan/Greenback peg in the current economic climate are dead wrong. I shall return to this argument in the near future.
Robert Clarke, Attorney-at-Law and Vice President of People’s Empowerment Party
Would the Prime Minister of Barbados state and let the People of Barbados know what information he has that the Barbadian Public might take to violence to try to ‘bring down the Government’? Would the Prime Minister of Barbados state and let the People of Barbados know how many guns and rubber bullets the Government has imported into Barbados within the last six (6) months and for what purpose these weapons have been imported?
Is it possible that the Government Ministers by their statements are trying to induce the Barbadian People to react violently because of their current economic condition by the ineptitude and inability of the Government to deal with the cause of the economic problems facing Barbados? Would the Prime Minister of Barbados and the Minister of Finance explain in detail to the People of Barbados their inability or lack of understanding that our major problem is the cost of the heavy import of food stuff, imported by the major Companies who operate the Barbados Chamber of Commerce; and by their heavy imports of gas, diesel and kerosene oil which facilitates the running of the energy sector which together represent approximately two thirds of our National Budget and is a drain on our foreign reserves?
Submitted by Anthony Davis
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler
Blame me! That was the proclamation from Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, in a close to two-hour news conference from Government Headquarters, broadcast live on national radio this afternoon. He told journalists that he was taking full responsibility for ‘any and all failures’, including the ones that he was ‘not responsible for’ within the Ministry of Finance. – Painful decision SINCKLER SAYS GOVERNMENT TRIED DIFFERENT SCENARIOS TO KEEP BARBADOS STEADY AND AFLOAT” on page 3 of “Barbados Today” dated 06 January, 2014
Whom do you think that we should blame for the mess you have gotten us into, Mr. Sinckler? Owen Arthur? He got his share of blame when he was Minister of Finance, but he did not make such a song and dance about it! Or do you expect us to blame Dennis the Menace, or gremlins?
There already seems to be gremlins at work in the NIS Department as they have been having a “technical difficulty” since November, and the IT Department cannot find the problem and solve it up to now. Stand up and take your medicine like a man, instead of resorting to such theatricals. We do not need your crocodile tears.
Mrs. Redman, head of the BUT, stated that you as Minister of Finance gave her the assurance that none of her members will be among the 3000 public servants who will be fired by Government between this month and 15 March. At your press conference yesterday (06 January, 2014) you did not refute her statement, so one can only come to the conclusion that once again this Government has made a sweetheart deal with her. The teachers who went on strike at the Alexandra Secondary School last year didn’t act as if they needed the work so I do not see why some of them should not be sent home. On top of that this Government paid them for striking. Who is to say they wouldn’t walk out of the class room again, and leave students at some other school – and their parents/guardians – up the creek without a paddle again? They were uncompromising about not teaching our children then so why should we have compassion on them now?
As we recover from the exuberance of the seasonal celebrations, we still have to face the reality of tough decisions as a nation. There is no hiding place, it is as Frank Sinatra said, the end is near and we are facing the final curtain. So far, predictably, neither our political leaders nor policymakers have indicated that the urgency of the situation has struck home. They are behaving as if time waits on the slothful, Barbadian workers and their arrogant and obstinate representatives before moving on. We only have to read the nonsense talked by the general secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (didn’t they get a Bds$6m loan from government? If so, why?)
Of the workers sent home from the drainage department, he is reported as saying: “They would have been given fixed term contracts and in a lot of cases with the people from Drainage, their fixed term contracts would have come to an end on the 31st day of December. “Nobody is looking at the fact that these are persons who would have been on four, sometimes five years, in a temporary situation, who, in my view, should have been appointed to the post that they were in.” What an admission of incompetence, of poor leadership, of betrayal of his own members. When did he realise that these temporary workers were in such contracts? Why, as union leader, did he not resolve this matter, and forcefully?
Of course the workers should not be on such long-term contracts. More than six months in an acting position should be confirmed as a permanent job. We now have a society in which even those in good, secure public sector jobs, with ‘guaranteed’ salaries live in fear of the sack, traumatised by the reality that they are only two or three pay packets away from destitution. A society in which envy, greed, bitterness have replaced dynamism and talent; one in which more energy is expended on being resentful of one’s neighbours’ material possession than in trying to improve one’s own intellectual and career prospects.
Unless Barbadians ‘force change’ soon and put this county on a different path, by April 2014, Barbados is not going to be a pretty or pleasant place to be! Tourists are already staying-away and capital is running!
What sense will it make having “new fancy looking money” that nobody in the Caribbean wants to see because no country within the region is willing to accept it?
You really have to be “terrified” of a Government that will celebrate the birth of Jesus in December and a few days after – fire 3,000 people! Think about that for a while: the same DLP, which created this mess all across Barbados, expect and intend to keep their jobs but will fire 3,000 workers now engaged in the Public Service of Barbados, as its first order of business in January 2014!
As the IMF troops gather at the gate, the people of Barbados have little time to reflect on how a once proud nation has found itself in this economic mess. But, as night follows day, it had to come; it is a modern-day example of Sodom and Gomorrah, of a people living so much beyond their means, partying and fornicating, that they forgot how hard work and good ethical behaviour has its rewards. For the national decline is not just economic, only that this time it is manifesting itself in an economic meltdown, but it goes right across the range of our social and cultural values. Although we can blame the 14 years of the Arthur administration for sowing the seeds of this predictable car crash, and rightly so, after nearly six years in government the DLP government can no longer use that excuse. The failure to manage the economy is theirs and theirs alone, first with the Thompson regime being caught off guard when it won the general election, and the political ignorance of Freundel Stuart to impose his mark on the post-Thompson government. But we are where we are and it is no good crying over lost opportunities. However, to kick off this period of tighter fiscal controls, government should impose a Bds$50m windfall tax on the commercial banks and use that money to fund a post Office bank; also encourage the credit unions to establish a joint credit union bank, both operating on balance sheet principles.