Chris Sinckler, Minister of Finance
Minister of Finance (MoF) Chris Sinckler has promised a press conference on Monday [27/10/2014] at 10AM. Given the anaemic performance of the Barbados economy over the last 6 years, AND what is projected in the near term, there is an air of doom and gloom that has understandably settled over Barbados.
One positive that may yet come from the MoF press conference is that he finds himself in a position to elucidate on the Central Bank Press Release Current Economic Performance for September 2014. At a time when clarity is required to ensure stakeholders in civil society are able to strategize for success there is continuing confusion if we are to judge by the statements coming from the heads of the Private Sector Association (PSA) and Barbados Chamber of Commerce (BCCI). It is an understatement to suggest confidence has been dwindling in the pronouncements of the Governor of the Central Bank. His most recent projection that the local economy will grow by 2% echoes a similar statement in January 2011, instead, Barbadians have witnessed economic decline.
The sudden cancellation of press conferences post delivery of Governor Worrell’s economic performance briefings has largely gone unchallenged by local media. What we had was a spirited response by the Nation newspaper to the decision to expel them from Central Bank press conferences to which the Governor and his Central Bank Board responded by cancelling press briefings altogether. The Governor has gotten the last laugh with local media receiving a black eye and by extension the public it is ethically setup to serve.
What about the law suits?
Are we not a little ticked off at the lack of respect elected politicians and others have for us, the electorate? Why do many of us allow political partisanship to influence good reason and in the process give politicians especially a free pass.
BU recalls when the Eager 11 story broke a few government members of parliament claim the article damaged their reputation and promised to sue the Nation newspaper. To quote Minister David Estwick, “this is innuendo and is defamatory in law. Pleased be advised that I have given my lawyers the instruction to see that my integrity in public and private advocation remains untarnished and unsullied”. Dr. Estwick went on to indicate there are one or two other members who have been implied to be part of that 11 who will take similar action.
What happened Dr. David Estwick?
In the build up to the last general election there was the hot issue of the Democratic Labour Party accusing the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) of retrenching “10,000’’ public servants if they were voted to office. In response Opposition Leader at the time threatened to sue Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.
What happened Owen Arthur?
Recently, partly as a result of the continuing failure of Chris Sinckler as minister of finance and prime minister Freundel Stuart’s hesitance in removing him from office, questions have been raised about the constitutionality of a Cabinet reshuffle. It is a subject that will take up a considerable amount of time by constitutional experts such as lawyers, political ‘scientists’, parliamentary historians, legal philosophers and others. However, for a non-lawyer with a cursory interest in politics and in how the Westminster/Whitehall model has shaped Caribbean politics, I find the subject one of intrigue. One person who has added his highly informed, articulate and knowledgeable voice to the debate is Caswell Franklyn. Mr Franklyn has a wealth of knowledge about Barbadian Constitutional law and his suggestion, to paraphrase him, that before the prime minister could carry out a Cabinet reshuffle he must first make seek the approval of the Governor General, the Queen’s representative, raised a number of questions in my mind. I will not be so bold as to challenge Mr Franklyn about the constitutionality of a Cabinet reshuffle in the local jurisdiction, my contention, however, is that if parliamentary politics in Barbados have adopted the so-called Westminster/Whitehall model, then this is strange.
The controversy started because of the state of the economy and the government’s apparent inability to devise a rescue plan. In such circumstances attention obviously focuses on the incumbents in the high offices of state, principally the prime minister and minister of finance.
Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart, responsible for the Civil Service
Now that Minister of Finance has spoken to confirm the Sinckler Plan to retrench 3,000 workers, we are left to ponder where do we go from here as a country. The DLP now has the unenviable reputation of having sent home public workers twice in the last 25 years. History will pay very close attention the price the DLP will have to pay.
The decision to send home workers has come as no surprise to BU. The government has shown an inability since taking up office to effectively manage the current account deficit. Instead of intelligently managing how it hires, encourage early retirement, pressuring department heads to adhere to budget plan numbers, avoid political interference in the hiring process (something both political parties have engaged) the DLP continued business as usual. There is a view gaining currency this is a government comprised of incompetents led by a prime minister who is uncomfortable in the role.
Whether the final number is 3,000, 4,000 or even 6,000 the Sinckler Plan to retrench will not solve our economic problem. As a nation we have to discover growth strategies. The government has to encourage our people to be more productive citizens. Our people must feel the vision emanating from the leadership of the country which will unleash their potential. The culture of mendicancy and entitlement which has taken root in Barbados has become a blocker for success. Our neighbours who have historically looked to Barbados for leadership and have held deep admiration for the way we have managed our country have become perplexed at our inability to manage the current crisis.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler
Minster Chris Sinckler in October 2013 informed parliament during a no confidence motion brought against him that his life had been threatened – see Barbados Today report. BU is surprised there has been little public reaction to this startling revelation. A threat to kill anyone is a serious matter and if it involves a minister of the crown more so. Anyone observing Minister Sinckler since the announcement has hardly observed trepidation on his part as he moves around Barbados.
If BU had the authority to commission an investigation into this matter we would consider it money well spent. For a second time in 24 hours when opining about the action of a leading political figure we hesitate to call Sinckler a liar. Sinckler, the government and the police owe it to Barbadians to bring closure to this matter. Barbadians do not threaten our politicians. We do not even throw eggs or tomatoes in their direction when they upset us. There was that one time we marched for naught.
Submitted by Pachamama
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler
Today Christopher Sinckler, as Minister of Finance (MOF) is in the middle of delivering some bitter medicine to the people of Barbados – read Ministerial Statement On Government’s Fiscal Consolidation Programme 2013-15 presented to the House of Assembly by The Hon. Christopher P. Sinckler, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. This after years of hide and seek by a government still wedded to a political-economy model that is in decay, universally. Like a magician Sinckler continues to believe that our current problems could be solved by continuously tinkering with a chronically unwell economy model when more aggressive and transformative actions were clearly required, even decades ago.
All other things being equal Sinckler will be repeating doses of his snake oil in coming months. This first tranche comes mere months after the last budget. Of course, there could be an intervention by the people of Barbados in their own defense, but that is unlikely to happen, though it may prove unavoidable. To us it seems that Sinckler and indeed the Government of Barbados is stubbornly unwilling to address the fundamental issues at work. As the proverbial neo-Keynesian, it remains impossible for Sinckler to see that another economic world is possible. We are lock step in a death march off a cliff. The words of Dr. Kennedy are indeed proven true by Sinckler’s admission today that his recent budget was a national mis-direction.
Read about the concessions government has given to CPH Property Holdings (Barbados) Limited and Grande Cass Management (Barbados) Limited together known as SANDALS – Click image