Arthur: No DLP national pride
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has accused members of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) of lacking racial and national pride.
And he has called on Barbadians to stand up and be counted if they wanted to make a difference at this juncture of their political history.
Arthur made this call on Sunday night while addressing a Barbados Labour Party meeting at Haggatt Hall, St Michael.
“There is a group of people who are not committed to economic democracy. The Barbados Labour Party was formed 72 years ago to break the stranglehold of white economic power. We are now in danger of seeing a fundamental reversal of earlier gains. We have now to fear a reversal of our standard of living. We have to stand up and be counted,” he said.
Arthur told the large crowd that as Prime Minister he spent two days trying to save Neville Rowe’s business at Haggatt Hall, but bemoaned the fact that in 2010 his company faced the possibility of “going belly-up”.
Referring to earlier periods of economic recession, Arthur noted that whenever the DLP formed the government of the day Barbados has been in recession. He charged that there was a current assault on economic discipline being undertaken by Prime Minister David Thompson and other members of his party.
“Thompson espoused this philosophy and Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has accepted it. I saw the same ideology being adopted in Jamaica, where it was felt that social engineering was more important than a sound economy. We are aware of where this misguided philosophy has taken Jamaica,” he said.
Referring to statistics released by the Central Bank of Barbados, Arthur noted that last year Government revenue was down by $200 million and this year it was down by nine per cent.
He charged that with a shrinking revenue base the David Thompson administration was facing major challenges in paying its bills.
Arthur further noted that Central Bank statistics had shown that last year construction fell by 20 per cent and during the first six months of this year it fell by 13 per cent.
“Can you imagine how many people have lost jobs? Can you imagine how many households are suffering? Can you imagine how many shops in my constituency have lost business as a result of a decline in the purchasing power of carpenters and masons?” Arthur asked.
The St Peter MP noted that company deposits fell by $208 million last year and by a further $30 million in June this year.
Arthur told the gathering that the private sector was struggling and was forced to draw down savings to keep the doors of businesses open.
He asked: “Is this the time to tell one construction company that it will get the fatted herd? Forty-one houses at Frenches were given to Jada Construction to be built, but up to this date not one house has been sold. The houses were to be built by small contractors but the DLP thought otherwise. Had they been given to the small contractors there would have been a trickle-down effect.”
Meanwhile, Arthur repeated his charge that it was a waste of taxpayers money to enter into another contract for the design of the Pierhead marina.
He pointed out that under these circumstances, Government could also face a lawsuit for a breach of contract with the original company. (WG)