Sat. 11th March 2017 – Barbados March of Disgust and Rally (Pt 1)

For the first time in my almost 30 years in public life, I must confess to being at a loss for words. I am truly stumped!

No way could I have imagined as callous and as indifferent a response to the state of the social and economic affairs in Barbados as that of the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, speaking to Barbadians from a Democratic Labour Party event in New York.

That the Prime Minister could have gone ahead with that trip to an anniversary Cocktail Sip for the DLP in the US, in the first place, under these circumstances, is mind boggling. No previous leader of Barbados that I know would have absconded himself from a scenario where doubt hangs over the ability of the country to pay public servants in the next week.

The issue involving the declaration of war between the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central bank, transcends consideration of jurisdictional authority. It goes to the heart of answering the question whether Government will be able to come up with the money to meet its end of month commitments without the Central Bank printing money and buying Government securities.

Therefore, it is preposterous, for the Leader of this country to say to the nation, from the sidelines of this political party event in New York, that he has not bestirred himself to get involved in the matter.

To have said in New York that he has not made himself conversant with the circumstances concerning the attempt to terminate the employment of the Governor of the Central Bank prematurely speaks volumes about Mr. Stuart’s approach to the management of the affairs of this country. It speaks to a Prime Minister entirely disconnected from and unconcerned with the affairs of State and presiding over a dysfunctional Government.

All Barbadians are, by now, aware that the Minister of Finance, Mr. Sinckler, communicated to the Governor that he should go from the Central Bank voluntarily or be sent. It is beyond belief that Mr. Sinckler would have taken such a monumental and far reaching step without first conferring with the Prime Minister and explaining the necessity for the decision. Termination of the employment of the Governor of the Central Bank is no small matter. It is a matter of the highest national importance.

If Sinckler did not communicate with Stuart, then Sinckler should be fired.
But if, as I believe, he did discuss the matter with Stuart, the Prime Minister is plainly attempting to delude and deceive Barbadians by stating that he has not made himself “privy to all that has been happening.”

From the time the story broke two weeks ago, the Prime Minister was under a duty to make himself “privy”. His abdication of the duty to inform himself about the matter is nothing short of gross incompetence and recklessness. Worst of all, he is hanging Sinckler out to dry.

And to crown Mr. Stuart’s trifling of serious matters is his statement that this matter started with the Governor of the Central Bank and not the Minister of Finance. That is absolute nonsense on stilts masquerading as a smart use of language. It was Sinckler who originated the decision to terminate the Governor. Stuart had to be “aware” of that surely, as is the rest of Barbados!

This country can no longer put up with Mr. Stuart’s absurd pretences. The Prime Minister of Barbados has once again given incontrovertible proof that he is thoroughly unfit to continue political leadership of Barbados. This is the same Prime Minister who never admitted to Parliament or the public that he had signed the Cahill MOU 6 months before it went to Cabinet or his Ministers signed. This is the same Prime Minister who said he would never send home public servants nor would his Government charge students fees at the UWI.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has now abdicated all rights to be left alone to sort out and find solutions to the problems besetting Barbados. Not even the long mooted bail out of our debt with a loan from the Chinese will have any resonance in an environment where there is a total loss of confidence in the Government’s policies and personalities.

The Prime Minister is clearly indifferent to the gravity of the crises confronting this country. The time has come, we believe, for Barbadians from all walks of life to be given an opportunity to register their disgust at the state of affairs in this country.

The Barbados Labour Party has for the past three years warned and beseeched the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to stop and take stock of the deteriorating economy and state of fiscal affairs in this country. Downgrade after downgrade has been rubbished by the Prime Minister. And the Minister of Finance continued to paint an artificial image of promise and recovery, when it was clear for all to sense, and to see, that the situation was getting worse and headed to intensive care.

Now that the Governor of the Central Bank has finally broken free of Ministerial allegiance and dictate and is telling it like it is, the Prime Minister would have us believe that this is all a side show and that his flying up to New York to speak to his party faithful at that cocktail sip, is of greater importance. Is this what leadership of Barbados has been reduced to?

Of the 275 000 Barbadians, Freundel Stuart is the only person not perplexed or anxious about the ramifications of the ongoing dispute between the Minister and the Governor. Fortunately, from what has been whispered and also insinuated from other senior members of Cabinet, it appears that in terms of this callous indifference to the issue, Freundel stands alone!

The Barbados Labour Party contends that it is now time for Barbadians to be given an opportunity to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with this state of affairs in Barbados.

National March of Disgust and Rally

The Parliamentary Opposition will be leading a National March of Disgust and Rally thereafter to protest the situation where Barbados finds itself 50 years after Independence.

We will be marching on the afternoon of Saturday, 11th March, 2017. We call upon all civic minded Barbadians to join with us in sending a message to Freundel Stuart and his Cabinet that their style of governance is not cute.

But above all else, Barbados cannot bear the weight of the indifference and the incompetence of Freundel Stuart and his Cabinet for another 12 months.

As several other commentators have said over the last two weeks, including some of their own, this crisis situation is bigger than each of us. We are therefore, determined that no one, not even the titular leader of this country, must be allowed to stand in the way of the urgent need to stop the haemorrhaging, stabilize the country and put us back on the proper path to recovery. The will of the Barbadian people may ne delayed but never denied!

The National March of Disgust and the Rally thereafter, I forewarn the country, is but the first salvo by the Barbados Labour Party to let it be known that “Enough is Enough“.

We will not sit silently and permit the wholesale destruction of Barbados simply to allow a Government to limp its way to the constitutionally stipulated finish line. This is not about finishing the 5 years given to a Government. This must be about stopping the rot and re-energising Barbados for Barbadians.

This must be about giving Barbados and Barbadians a chance.

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