Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford is “very disappointed” that the performing arts centre he conceptualised for Sherbourne Conference Centre has been abandoned for a car park instead. And he charges that while “the Barbados Labour Party boarded it up, it was my own party that decided to knock that out of the plan altogether and to build office space and car park instead. “Could they not find anywhere else to put up car park?” Sir Lloyd asked. In a wide-ranging interview with the Sunday Sun before returning to China yesterday, the former Prime Minister, now this country’s envoy to the People’s Republic of China complained: “Something like that which is nearing completion, you do not go and push it down.” “They named it [Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre] after me, the Chinese worked to get it completed, they did not build it,” he mused. Sir Lloyd, himself a lover of music, said the idea for such a facility was born out of his thinking that Barbados needed a place where large orchestras could perform, and said he had deliberately instructed the architect who designed the former Sherbourne Conference Centre to include such a feature in the design. He added that provision had been made for an orchestral pit from which there would have been the dramatic feature of a rising stage on which the orchestra would have been seated, while the auditorium’s seating accommodation was intended for 1 000. Sir Lloyd however is satisfied that the convention centre has fulfilled its purpose, noting: “It has won about three or four awards as the most outstanding centre in the Caribbean for conventions.” Responding to another question concerning the Opposition Barbados Labour Party’s criticism of the DLP Government’s handling of the economy, Sir Lloyd observed: “The economics side of Government has always been in need of strengthening. We have never had enough people in position to do the analysis and to come up with the suggestions. We have always been short-staffed.” But in his opinion the best estimate of the economic performance of a country was the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index, which ranks countries not only on per capita income, but also takes other indicators into account in arriving at their assessment of the performance of a country. He made the observation that “in 1992 Barbados stood at position No. 21 on that index”. He recalled Barbados was at 22 in that ranking when he left office. “Since 1994, the position of Barbados on that index has been falling. I believe Barbados is now down to No. 37, and countries that were behind Barbados are still ranking in the 20s.” “Those critics who charge that this Government is weak on economic management and performance need to honestly look at these statistics,” Sir Lloyd suggested.