Loose the noose
BLP legacy: made Property Transfer Tax payable by the vendor only; provided financial support for the operation of the Small Business Secretariat and a head office at Fontabelle; provided millions of dollars in venture capital funding for small businesses; and in 1999 passed the Small Business Development Act which provides a regulatory framework for growing the sector through financial incentives.
NOT THAT IT WAS NEEDED, but the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) recently gave further proof of its unsuitability for continuation in Government and its disconnection with the reality of everyday life for ordinary Barbadians.
Such painful reinforcement came with the February 14, 2012 Ministerial Statement in the House of Assembly by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development Steve Blackett on the Country Assessment Of Living Conditions 2010 Study (CALC).
Maybe the DLP had misguidedly thought that delivering the Statement on Valentine’s Day would simplistically symbolize its “care and love” for the public.
Blackett even began by saying he was “pleased” to provide the study’s “preliminary findings”. However, by completion people could only consider it an act of the political sadism by the DLP desperate to demonstrate the appearance of achievement without sensitivity to content.
Firstly, it is difficult to understand how or what pleasure could be found in the conclusions of the study that officially confirmed what Barbadians already knew from their own personal daily experience or that of family, friends and even persons merely observed around them.
Namely, that by 2010 the poverty rate had skyrocketed to 19.3 per cent compared to 8.7 per cent in 1998 when the first such study was done by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) under Prime Minister Owen Arthur.
Of course it is recognized that the disturbingly high level of poverty in 2010 would have risen even higher since then, given the punishing rates of taxation and other impoverishing measures the DLP, now accepted across Barbadian society as our most incompetent Government ever, has brutally imposed on people battered by rising prices, increasing unemployment and ever dwindling money in their pockets.
Secondly, even though presenting results almost two years after the study, Blackett shockingly did not provide immediate solutions nor even indicate when any would come. Instead he waffled about steps to be taken in a so-called “highly participatory process” without saying when that would end, and promised a “detailed Poverty Reduction Strategy” at the “earliest opportunity”.
Contrast this with the BLP.
Its study ended in 1998 and 1999 through swiftness of ideas and action it established poverty eradicating institutions and programmes including the Ministry of Social Transformation, Urban Development Commission, Rural Development Commission, Reverse Tax Credit and Poverty Reduction Fund.
No wonder Arthur, as a first step, has called for the DLP to “loose the noose” of the taxation that is pauperising even the middle class and sinking increasing numbers of persons in poverty. The BLP has other and more long-term anti-poverty policies that will be presented to the public prior to and during the coming general election campaign.
• Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.