BLP COLUMN: Who is paying?
BLP Legacy (1994-2003): introduced the Flexible Responsibility Allowance to recompense police officers, nurses and prison officers working beyond scheduled hours; passed legislation making pension deferred income and protecting it as a legal right; granted public officers salary increases exceeding the rate of inflation and a productivity bonus to all public sector workers.
For nearly four years, this Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government failed to provide Barbadians with its clear, coherent and inspiring vision for our nation. We were further disappointed when this vision was not presented for the 50th anniversary of the DLP’s first election to Government (1961), Independence and Christmas 2011, and the 2012 New Year.
People were therefore left to wonder if this yawning expectations gully would be meaningfully filled by the 2012 celebrations of Errol Barrow Day honouring the birthday of the DLP’s iconic leader.
But even then the DLP again proved to be a miserable failure by making the highlight of the celebrations the staging of a beachside “big bash” of entertainment, thereby reinforcing the Dems’ continued preference for and reliance on feteing in attempting to make the public happy.
This brazen DLP attempt to divert the unhappy public into escapism follows that of Rihanna’s LOUD concert, funded by cash-strapped taxpayers. Now people are asking who is paying for this seemingly “free” big bash featuring the imported Luciano act at a reported minimum cost of US$20 000, to be paid for in valuable foreign exchange, at a time when the DLP administration has been piously lecturing Barbadians to focus on “needs” not “wants”.
Let big bash patron Minister of Finance Chris “Unclear” Sinckler justify why Luciano could in this dire economic climate be deemed a national “need”.
It is to be hoped that the holding of this bashment activity did not involve members of the business sector being “leaned on”, as so many of them have been complaining, even while they have been making sacrifices in the national interest by fighting to keep people employed even when their finances cannot really afford it.
No wonder private sector leaders are warning of the very likely increase in layoffs as businesses continue to struggle to stay afloat against the increasing odds of economic problems for which the DLP has shown it has no remedies whatsoever.
But it is not only with the economy that the DLP has proven its lack of capable management. The same sad state of affairs also applies to other areas of national life such as international business, our fishermen imprisoned in Trinidad and the Alexandra School affair. In all cases their response has been both slow and unconvincing, making it clear that nobody is in charge and there is no national vision.
Not only have David Thompson and Freundel Stuart failed to project visionary leadership, but the DLP has abandoned Barrow’s.
On the other hand, Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader Owen Arthur has been outlining aspects of his fresh vision and associated policies and programmes that reduced unemployment to 6.9 per cent, brought prosperity, and reduced taxes including making travelling and other allowances tax free. It is clear Barbados needs a take-charge BLP government.