Today I intended to write about the functioning, or rather, the non-functioning of the system that was set up by the Employment Rights Act to settle disputes, particularly claims for unfair dismissal. I wanted to point out that it is at best amateurish and that it is failing miserably to meet expectations. But I felt a tug that forced me to weigh in on the furore caused by the reported attempt by the Minister of Finance to remove the Governor of the Central Bank from office.
In the fullness of time, the courts will settle the legal aspects of the matter and I will patiently await that eventuality. However, at this point, I am more concerned about the potential loss of any residual investor confidence that might still be remaining after the series of seventeen downgrades of this country’s credit rating.
As a Barbadian, no matter your political persuasion, no one should be happy to see this embarrassing saga being played out in the public domain. Not so long ago, it was being said internationally that Barbados was punching above its weight. Now I seems that this country is reeling from some head blows inflicted as a result of the poor performance of the Government over the last nine years, and now this? Can Barbados take anymore?
In 2008 the Democratic Labour Party took on the burden of the government of this country as neophytes for the most part. Unfortunately, after nine years in office, they have steadfastly maintained that neophyte quality as though their nine years in office has taught them nothing. They have presided over the affairs of this country with a reverse Midas touch that seem to destroy everything in their wake. Now it seems that they have set their deadly aim on the Central Bank as the next institution targeted for destruction.
So far, the Minister of Finance has quite rightly not made a public statement on the matter. Instead, some of his colleagues have intervened with unhelpful remarks that only goes to confirm that Cabinet is in total disarray.
The Barbados Today of Friday, February 17, 2017 reported that Minister of Housing, Denis Kellman, while addressing a gathering of party faithful earlier that same day, suggested that the decision to fire the Governor of the Central Bank was for the “greater good”. He went on to suggest that while Worrell may have been successful so far in blocking all attempts to remove him, the Freundel Stuart Administration was not backing down. That report suggest that Minister Kellman is privy to the inner workings of the Ministry of Finance on this issue.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, in his all too familiar nonchalant approach to the affairs of state, was reported to have said something markedly different in the Daily Nation of February 21, 2017. He was quoted as saying:
“I am not in any position to comment on whether the Government’s confidence in the Governor of the Central Bank underwent any change, because I preside over the Cabinet of Barbados and at no time has the issue of the Governor’s relationship with the Government come up for consideration”.
He went on to state that he has not made himself privy to all that has been happening, and I accept that as the Prime Minister is an honourable man. But I think that I must ask: since the Prime Minister did not make himself privy to the happenings, Did someone make him privy? If the answer is “no”, it would certainly seem that the Prime Minister is definitely not in control of his Cabinet and worse yet, Kellman is more informed than he is. Perish the thought, say it isn’t so!