The Barbados Labour Party’s St Michael Central Candidate claims the ruling DLP contradicts itself economically and socially

Arthur Holder - BLP’s candidate for the constituency of St Michael Central. {IMAGE COURTESY: Arthur Holder's Facebook Profile, permission granted by Mr Holder}

The economic policies currently pursued by the Democratic Labour Party contradict its mantra which says that Barbados is more than an economy but is also a society.

The former Opposition senator and attorney–at-law, Arthur Holder, made this observation on Sunday night while addressing the monthly meeting of the St Philip West branch of the Barbados Labour Party at the Gordon Walters Primary School in St Patricks, Christ Church.

Holder argued that the tax impositions over the past three years had reduced the disposable income of the average worker to such an extent that it had dampened the demand for goods and services in the country.

The former senator who is the BLP’s candidate for the constituency of St Michael Central added: “Barbadians can only consume if they have the money to spend. A worker can only patronise the village shop if he is working. Has there been an increase in your disposable income over the past three years? In his Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposal of November last year, Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, did the opposite with the increase of Value Added Tax (VAT) from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent. Workers disposable income was further reduced with the tax on entertainment and travel allowances offered to certain categories of workers.”

Holder asked: “Is this the same government that had promised civil servants duty free cars and other concessions in its 2008 manifesto?” The legal expert, who is a trained economist as well, argued the tax impositions on these two allowances had further reduced the disposable income of workers and dampened demand for goods and services.

He pointed out that Government’s cut back on its capital works programme and its reduction in transfers to statutory corporations had further reduced the circulation of money in the economy.

Holder referred to a news item carried in the print media where construction magnate, Sir Charles Williams, had complained that construction projects had dried up, and instead of hiring they were trying to maintain his staff of over 500 workers.

Addressing the issue of investment, Holder charged that the investment climate in Barbados was not conducive to investment. He further charged that on assuming office the David Thompson administration had indicated to foreign investors that certain investments in real estate were not welcomed.

Turning to the tourism industry, the one-time Opposition senator argued tourist arrivals must be translated into the money spent. He asked: “What about the spending capacity of the tourists? Are they long- stay visitors? We need to compare tourist arrivals in 2010 with peak tourist arrivals.”

Holder suggested that the last three years of negative economic growth must be examined to determine its impact on the society. He asked: “During the period 2008-2011 how many persons were added to the Welfare roll? Who has been affected by the 50 cents increase in bus fares?

Holder noted that during the Christmas Season, the Salvation Army had indicated that the number of indigent persons seeking assistance had increased significantly. The former government senator argued that with the introduction of user fees under the Drug Service in April this year, an additional financial burden will be placed on ordinary Barbadians.

Holder maintained that the increase in burglaries and crime generally was a reflection of government’s failed economic policies. The ex-Upper Chamber member reiterated his charge that instead of creating a cohesive policy as planned, government’s economic policies were destroying the social fabric. {TEXT COURTESYPR}

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