“Impact of Budget 2013” by MIA AMOR MOTTLEY, Q.C., M.P.

The Barbados Labour Party shares the shock and outrage of thousands across the public service who are being directly impacted by the callous manner in which Government has gone about its retrenchment and diminution of benefits exercise.

Not only is the sending home of workers now being pursued as a first, rather than the last, option as the Minister of Finance indicated in the Budget, but it is scandalous that junior public officers are being asked to break this news to workers, while key Ministers of Government have sheepishly gone on holiday or vanished, totally indifferent to the impact of the 2013 budget on the welfare and well-being of Barbadians.

The result is chaos, mass confusion, mental anguish and rapidly declining morale, at a time when the country needs all stakeholders operating at full throttle.

The result is chaos, mass confusion, mental anguish and rapidly declining morale, at a time when the country needs all stakeholders operating at full throttle.

The Barbados Labour Party said in its official response to the 2013 budget that the measures were ill conceived and would impact Barbadians in a manner least expected but that we would wait and see. We have now started to see.

Less than 15 working days thereafter we now have the abominable situation where at least two major glaring errors related to the “Solid Waste Land Tax” and the Consolidation Tax have been identified in the presentation delivered by the Minister of Finance, effectively paralyzing accounting systems across the country.

This necessitates, we believe, an early recall of Parliament before October 15th, 2013 as at least one of these measures is due to take effect from Sunday 1st September, 2013. Surely, the Government must know that the words of the Minister of Finance have the force of law upon his speaking and no Government department nor Government official nor, indeed, any other Minister can alter or correct his words in a press release or advertisement. These mistakes can only be corrected by actually amending legislation or by the delivery of a new Budgetary Statement from the Minister of Finance.

This is incompetence of the worst kind!

The Barbados Labour Party demands that greater sensitivity be shown to the impact of the sudden and across the board retrenchment on workers. It cannot be right that 10 days before the start of the new school year, households with a sole breadwinner are being plunged into total panic, not knowing how to proceed with readying their children for school.

The Barbados Labour Party demands that greater sensitivity be shown to the impact of the sudden and across the board retrenchment on workers. It cannot be right that 10 days before the start of the new school year, households with a sole breadwinner are being plunged into total panic, not knowing how to proceed with readying their children for school.

We are aware that the Post Office is but the first of many departments targeted for mass retrenchment in the days ahead. This cannot be right… given assurances to the country by none other than the Honourable Prime Minister of Barbados less than one week ago who tried to assure workers who were taken off the pay sheets for August that it was a computer glitch. It is clear that the computer glitch is now a sentence of unemployment!

Where is the Prime Minister’s voice now? He took pains to remind the country last week that HE is the Minister of Civil Service. How many people will be cut? What are the criteria? From where? Will the Government lead from in front and make the cuts from their own Cabinet and from their political expenditure?

Where is the Prime Minister’s voice now? He took pains to remind the country last week that HE is the Minister of Civil Service. How many people will be cut? What are the criteria? From where? Will the Government lead from in front and make the cuts from their own Cabinet and from their political expenditure?

We believe that this rapidly declining state of affairs demands an urgent reconstituting of the Social Partnership. In this regard, we call on the Barbados Workers Union and Sir Roy Trotman, in the interest of Barbados and the workers of this country, to rethink and reverse its decision to withdraw from the Social Partnership at this crucial time. The current trajectory of the industrial climate demands the involvement and leadership of the country’s oldest and most trusted worker representative body.

As Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and buttressed by the support of over 70 000 odd voters in the last general elections, the Barbados Labour Party once again extends the hand of cooperation to the Barbados Government. We insist that mass retrenchment should not and does not have to be a measure of first resort. We insist also that the scheduled mass cuts in allocations for education and health, in particular, are dangerous and unwarranted. There are other options and avenues available to the Government.

The Barbados Labour Party stands ready to serve in any national consultative framework geared at the urgent revisiting of the measures of the 2013 Budget to arrive at a formula for addressing the fiscal crisis confronting the nation while at the same time containing the suffering of those who can least afford to carry the greater load at this time and laying a credible platform for growth for Barbados. {August 30, 2013}

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