BLP COLUMN – Why is Stuart hiding?
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” – SiddharthaOne of the questions that remained unanswered after an hour of Darcy Boyce on DLP TV last week is why the Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Freundel Stuart did not address the nation and face the Press? If we were to hazard a guess it could be that Stuart does not feel competent enough to field questions on the economy, even though he is now the Minister of Finance. Or it could be that Boyce is being set up as the fall guy for the Government’s mismanagement of the economy over the last two-and-a-half years.
This might explain why he was so “touchous” when Miss Geralyn Edward asked him if he was leading the Ministry of Finance. Where else in the world but Barbados would a Minister of State – Finance, freely admit that you can borrow for capital or you can borrow for current expenditure? For three consecutive financial years Boyce? Which school of economics taught you that? Small wonder that our economy is in shambles.And then there is Darcy’s and the Dems idea of what constitutes a stimulus. It was difficult to tell from his contradictory answers if he even knew why we needed one, but he finally settled on summer camps and free bus rides. A stimulus that results in recurring annual expenditure with no growth in the economy to show for it. Is this the best you can do Darcy? Really?A friend has suggested that Darcy be presented with a T-shirt that says: “Summer camps is the answer. What is the question?” This has to be the most irresponsible solution to stimulating the economy in the history of Cabinet government in Barbados.The Dems have sat astride a runaway fiscal deficit and refused to pull on the reins. Far from pulling on the reins they went to the whip. Just another ten million more here for transfers to the Transport Board – Whax! And another six million there for summer camps – Whax! Oh and can’t forget those constituency councils – Whax! And subsidies to the National Housing – Whax! The poor horse almost dead from exhaustion and Darcy’s preaching about protecting our children. It was embarrassing for a man the Dems trumpet as their economist. The economic guru (read accountant) was well and truly exposed.The best way to protect our children is to ensure that their parents have reliable, full-time employment and not have to depend on DLP handouts. Ah, but then you would have to know how to manage the economy, wouldn’t you? Ooops! Guess Hartley’s worn out PR won’t help here, will it?An entire country is now in danger of hurtling over the precipice because of this Government’s incompetence, mismanagement and downright stubbornness. What is worse they are playing politics with the economy. An economy that still has some resilience in it if only for a steady pair of hands on the reins.Mia Mottley has been pointing out the dangers of the Government’s path for the last two-and-a-half years. She has promised to bring some sanity back to the national debate on the economy by engaging the country on what is required to get the productive sectors working as the best solution to increasing Government revenues and reducing the deficit by earning rather than cutting. It will take the dedication and hard work of the entire nation to return us to a sound growth path. It will also take a restoration of public confidence in the ability of our country’s leader to be part of the solution and not the problem. We know that Miss Mottley has what it takes. We invite you to listen.
Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.