A Let-Down Compounded by Cold, Brutal Betrayal of Trust and Yet, a Hard Sell?
THIS WAS JUST RECEIVED VIA ONE OF THOSE ELECTRONIC REMAILERS FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, THIS ONE SAYS ‘Austria‘ BUT COULD EASILY BE ‘Hong Kong‘…
In many ways, it can be said that the ruling DLP continues to make a number of serious and costly errors, effortlessly but should consider itself fortunate that the Opposition BLP is not capitalizing because it lacks focus on what is important to the people. By allowing itself to be distracted, the Owen Arthur led BLP is running the risk of being accused of failing in its fiduciary responsibility to hold the Government’s feet to the fire, in the interest of and defense of the people of Barbados. The Opposition now seems motivated ‘only’ by the thought of obtaining the very prize, which can only be conferred on it by the same Barbadians it alleges – are suffering as a result of the policies of the DLP. Isn’t this ironic? Given the BLP’s allegation – that it would still be compelled to make such an extra-ordinary effort (as it is now doing) is saying a lot. But, the BLP does not seem to get the point!
I like to call a spade a spade. The BLP got it absolutely correct on CLICO; on housing and when it called for a humane immigration policy, as examples. Merely saying why electricity bills are high is not enough, especially when the central issues have always been and remain: the BNOC debt, the Pricing Formula for petroleum products and the increase in Excise Tax by 50%.
On August 10th 2011, in a widely publicize Face book article, captioned: ‘Next Tuesday’s DLP Budget: An Instant Sugar Rush of Feel-Good,” the article read in part:
“Any Opposition with well-honed-skills would immediately ask the Minister about the status of that $80 million BNOC debt. This is important, especially since it was the excuse used to increase the Excise Tax. If the BNOC debt has, in fact been repaid, then the Excise Tax should immediately be slashed, or reduce to reflect the amount already repaid, especially since the Government would, essentially – now be collecting money illegally. This would either require a refund (hardly likely) or a Validation Act (seems more logical).”
On August 11, 2011 in an article captioned: ‘DLP Still Price Gouging & Choking and Robbing Barbadians,’ the author again wrote: “Surely by now that alleged BDS$80 million BNOC debt has to be repaid! If it is, then the Excise Tax should be slashed and announced in the up-coming Budget but the greater point would be that (in the absence of any Validation Act) the DLP is also collecting money illegally, especially since the Minister outlined that the Excise Tax would only remain at its current rate, to repay the BNOC debt. This entire DLP-price-gouging-fiasco warrants an urgent public inquiry! Somebody ought to be made to appear before a Committee of both Houses of Parliament, to give evidence…”
Having not asked the right questions during the recent budget debate, even with live television air-time – the BLP is now making a sound and dance after the fact. But it would never have escaped the scrutiny of any Opposition that was focused and alert, that the BNOC debt, which was said in the 2008 budget to have been $50 million and later adjusted to $80 million, was being alleged by Minister Sinckler in the recent budget to be: US$80 million – a 100% increase. Why?
Since the BLP got it horribly wrong before and given that during his budget presentation, Minister Sealy confessed that the DLP is actually now “gambling with its economic policy” or essentially” “oil futures,” [concern for the balance of payments] then the question the BLP must now ask on behalf of the people, is: (1) When did the DLP embarked on its secret policy to trade in oil futures? And (2) what was the status of the BDS$80 million BNOC debt [the entire country was told and accepted that that is what it was] at the time the DLP started engaging in oil futures? This is important because Barbadians never objected to repaying that BDS$80 million BNOC debt, especially since they benefitted from the subsidy. But it would be vulgar, were the DLP to now seek to adjust that BDS$80 million by stealth, to compensate for any cost being incurred, as a result of its ‘secret experiment of gambling in oil futures.’
Anyone who is not blinded by party-politics would agree that this is the case the BLP ought to have put in Parliament during the recent budget debate when it ‘mattered most,’ especially since under the caption: “Good Governance,” on page 47 of its 2008 Manifesto, the Democratic Labour Party said: “the DLP administration’s attitude to accountability will be based on the understanding that as servants and representatives of the people there can be no secrets or matters to be hidden from the population. Consequently, a DLP administration will be accountable for its actions and policies and take the public into its confidence. Under a DLP government, the people will be kept informed of what the government is doing on their behalf…”
Engaging in oil futures, even though it was foreseeable that if the DLP got it wrong – such an error would have been offensive to the people who would have been denied enjoying the very savings outlined in the DLP’s Pricing Formula – is a breach of truth. It is also scandalous for the DLP to have engaged in oil futures by stealth in the first place, because that action, not only violates its Manifesto, but above all – is a cold and brutal betrayal of the trust and confidence placed in it by the people of Barbados.
To add insult to injury, it would appear that Barbadians are now being called upon to pay for the most recent DLP error, which may explain why a BNOC BDS$80 million debt, suddenly and surprisingly climbed to $200 million, as announced by the DLP in its Column last Friday, August 19, 2011.
So what do we have: On one side, a DLP that keeps getting it wrong; on the other – an Owen Arthur led BLP that seems consumed with a desire for power and in the middle are the people, who are feeling the pain.