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NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]


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NEWLY APPOINTED MINISTER of FINANCE Chris Sinckler has given the thumbs up to the stewardship of Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stewart, but has refused to be drawn into any controversy regarding Dr David Estwick.
And on the economic front he has urged Barbadians to unite in building strong bonds between the private sector and the Government and to put God first in all that they do.
It is going to take more than economic planning to get Barbados out of the recession, but Barbadians “should be able to pull through”, said Sinckler who today takes over as Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs.
He told the DAILY NATION that apart from economic planning, improving the troubled economy would hinge on factors including letting God “lead the charge” as well as Barbadians uniting in love and working to build strong bonds between industry, Government and labour.
“The main challenge for Barbados is to put God first,” he said in an interview yesterday after attending a church service at the New Dimensions Ministries, in Barbarees Hill, St Michael.
“Once we do that, we will be okay. There will be more than enough time to address those [major economic] issues . . . .”
In a Cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister David Thompson last Thursday, Sinckler was moved from the Ministry of Social Care.
He replaces Thompson as Minister of Finance and Dr Estwick as Minister of Economic Affairs.
Sinckler said he would not be drawn into commenting on reports that Estwick was disappointed that he was not given the Finance and Economic Affairs portfolio.
He also reported that he would address the issue of the national budget presentation in due course, while brushing aside speculation about disunity within the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Rather, he told the DAILY NATION, he hoped to take into his confidence the business sector, the wider community, the informal and formal communities in a bid to “find a way to get what we have to do done” to improve the economy.
Sinckler, who said he accepted the portfolio “in all humility”,  described his job as pretty big and challenging, given what is happening in Barbados and in the global economy.
“But I think if we heed the words of the Prime Minister to unite in love and to work to build bonds between industry, Government and labour, we should be able to weather this storm.
“We’ve been through recessions before and think that we are on a correct course and once we stay the course we should be able to pull through this . . . .”
He added that it was important to invoke God’s blessings in these tough times.
Sinckler also commented on complaints by the business sector and Opposition charges that leadership was lacking in recent months due to Thompson’s illness.
In this regard he said Stuart “has provided as good a leadership as you will get anywhere”.
He went on: “We all need to step up and be leaders. The business community must provide leadership. The politicians must provide leadership.
The church must provide leadership.
“We have to provide leadership to Barbados and, once we look at it like that, that this is our project, this is ours and we have to ensure that we get up every day hoping to make this place a better place, then we will achieve our objectives.” (TY)