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BLP COLUMN: Troubling signs


by the Barbados Labour Party

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Uneasiness is settling over the country. There is a renewed lapse into inertia by the Government. It is worrying for those who were hoping for some attempt at recovery.Truth be told, there are still too many unresolved problems hampering any chance of a recovery and no one in the Government is stepping up to the plate. While we empathise with the Prime Minister on a personal level, we also have a duty to the other three hundred thousand souls who live on this island. CLICO hangs around the Government’s neck like the proverbial albatross. After two years of indecision and half-hearted attempts at bailouts, it is growing putrid and threatening to infect the entire economy.The Government only has itself to blame. Both Mia Mottley and the IMF warned the Democratic Labour Party that should CLICO’s $300 million liability fall on the taxpayers it would be a crippling burden on the country. With a debt portfolio already stretched to the limit, this could be the straw that tips the scales towards an IMF standby arrangement.And still they persist. With state spending reduced on every single social service, this Government has determined that it must buyout Sam Lord’s Castle. What is the rush? Why not wait until the report of the Oversight Committee is published? Why not put the acquisition on hold until then? The Oversight Committee’s remit came to an end on June 12th and not a word has come from Government. The money to buy Sam Lords could surely be better spent on advertising the island, giving concessions to our manufacturers and hoteliers and breathing new life into agriculture. Use the money in areas that will generate foreign exchange and jobs for the country now. Not on the acquisition of a derelict property that the Government has neither the wherewithal nor the expertise to turn into a revenue earning venture anytime in the near future.Why is the Government not promoting a solution similar to the Four Seasons deal, where local interests raise private, foreign capital to develop a new tourism product? How long will the tourism aspect of any future development languish after the Minister of Housing has hived off house spots for his constituents?Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s has warned Barbadians to expect further job losses this year. Not a word from anyone in authority. It is as if the Government is on mute. Is there such a lack of depth in the Government that no one can step into the breach? Of course, we know that running a country entails much more than the meet and greet cocktail circuit that the Acting Prime Minister has mastered in recent months.Barbadians who recognise the importance of having a Government that can give direction through policy are becoming concerned that it is June and there is no sign of a Budget. It is not an answer to state that the BLP came late with the Budget in the past. The circumstances were different and there is a dire need now for budgetary intervention to help the productive sectors recover. The country is crying out for a recovery plan. The Government offers the same old, same old in smaller, less impactful portions – a cosmetic giveaway here, a cosmetic giveaway there and nothing to earn revenue to run the country.This is a tragedy of monumental proportions in the making. Nero will have nothing on this Government by the time the next cycle of Sahara dust finally settles. Every day lost adds weeks to the recovery process. An interesting summer lies ahead of us. The future well-being of the nation appears at risk. We will not resile from our duty to speak out in defence of our country.The DLP propaganda that we owe our perilous economic position to the international recession is no longer an excuse for inaction. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. In fact the tunnel is in danger of collapse. Regardless, we shall remain true to our mandate to provide solutions to the country’s problems.

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