Slip showing, Reggie
I WRITE IN RESPONSE to a letter in the DAILY NATION of Monday, July 19, written by Reggie Hunte, Jr., under the headline Dustbin Politics.
In the author’s feeble attempt to attack the brilliant and competent Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, he sought cover from the grim reality of the crippling state of our economy by referring to the Central Bank Governor’s statement that the Barbados economy remains stable.
Mr Hunte should have a survey done to see how many Barbadians accept the Governor’s statement.
If Mr Hunte wants to live like the proverbial ostrich and bury his head deep in the sand, then he is free to, but he should not for one minute believe that Barbadians are going to follow him and the rest of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) down this path of political suicide.
I am not at all impressed by the information now coming out of the Central Bank.
Mr Hunte charged that in her response to the Central Bank Governor’s review of the economy, Ms Mottley did not offer any alternatives.
This is a strange charge, because during Ms Mottley’s Press briefing she was very pellucid when she informed the journalists gathered that she would be inviting them to a number of follow-up briefings in which she would outline the Barbados Labour Party’s alternatives to the current state of the economy – sector by sector.
She specifically stated that the current briefing was simply to respond to the Governor’s economic review.
Mr Hunte should tell Barbadians why in less than three years into his Government’s first term in office after almost 15 years in opposition, why should he be asking the Opposition to provide alternatives to problems they created.
Surely, Mr Hunte could not be admitting that in such a short space of time this DLP Government has ran out of ideas or that – to use they own vernacular – their shelf life has expired.
Mr Hunte displayed a level of political ignorance when he sought to dismiss the Leader of the Opposition’s charge that the DLP was now borrowing money to pay its bills. He said he did not know where the Opposition Leader got that information from and asked if she could prove it.
It would be useless inviting Mr Hunte to check the Central Bank Report, simply because one would have expected that to challenge Ms Mottley’s statement, one would have checked the source from where her statement was drawn.
It is either that he had checked but does not understand what he saw, or simply has no knowledge of what he speaks. I am inclined to believe the latter.
A quick glance at the report, at Page 10, Table 4 reveals that in 2008 Government’s current account balance – or rather imbalance – where Government is spending more than it is receiving, stood at $121.6 million.
By 2009 it jumped to a whopping $412.6, and for the first five months of 2010 it stood at $182.3 million. To be helpful to Mr Hunte I would need to define what are the items that make up Government’s current account.
Government’s current account is made up wages and salaries, goods and services, interest payable loans – both domestic and external, and transfers and subsidies payable to statutory boards and so on.
It is worthy of note, Mr Hunte, that for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007, Government carried a surplus on its current account to the tune of $62.1 million, $240.2 million and $115.7 million, respectively.
Mr Hunte said that he dared anyone to underestimate his knowledge of the political operation of this country over the years, and he then went on to prove the depth of that knowledge by challenging Mia Mottley to “prove that her former administration paid all of Government’s bills, including salaries and wages, out of the Consolidated Fund and the Consolidated Fund alone”.
Whither Reggie’s knowledge? Clearly Mr Hunte, newly appointed senator and columnist for the DLP for years, is not aware that all bills paid by Government are paid out of the Consolidated Fund.