BLP COLUMN: Estimates to nowhere
Barbados Labour Party legacy: thanks to the BLP’s setting up of the Fair Trading Commission, consumers now benefit from: guarantees on purchasing goods and services; rights of redress when goods and services fail to live up to guarantees and warranties; and the requirement that Public Utilities maximise efficiency while operating under a price cap.
The opening day of the Estimates Debate would have completely erased any lingering thoughts among Barbadians that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in the dying months of its government could offer them a hopeful way out the economic and social stranglehold into which they had been placed by an administration clearly out of its governance depth from year one.
For with the last credible opportunity to salvage public hopes and aspirations for a better future under the Dems, Minister of Finance Chris “Unclear” Sinckler for some four-and-a-half hours showed that he remains incapable of rising above bombast and stridency, even with all of the public service expertise at his disposal.
Thus Sinckler was shallow, unstructured and unfocused; embarrassingly lacking in meaningful programmes and policies in the Estimates that did not even hint at renewed growth and development leading back to progress and prosperity.
Trying to seem confident and capable, he instead came across as offensively complacent and mistakenly marking time and going nowhere with so-called “economic stability”. He defended the DLP’s disastrous policies as its best policies and ideas, seemingly not recognizing that for the public the DLP’s best was far from good enough. Not even his belated promise to use Barbados National Oil Company to lower the exceedingly high cost of diesel, gasolene and electricity, the very same thing the BLP had long been demanding.
Fortunately, the downtrodden spirits of Barbadians were made to soar with the presentation of the BLP’s Mia Mottley who fully justified the decision by Opposition Leader Owen Arthur to have her respond for the party.
Where Sinckler was trying to overwhelm with volume and volubility, Ms Mottley rationally, logically and factually exposed the Estimates as nothing more than “political and financial cosmetics” being applied in an election year, but doing nothing to reduce soaring poverty, lack of economic growth, out of control prices and the absence of transparency and accountability.
Meanwhile, to a defensive Sinckler’s do-nothing Estimates camouflaged in more of the DLP’s four-year verbal torrent of “blame the last Government”, she offered clear and sensible BLP alternatives on matters ranging from Constituency Councils to the scorching CLICO, and exposed highly questionable multimillion contracts awarded for the Barbados Water Authority and Caribbean Examination Council headquarters buildings, by a Government that promised to wipe out corruption.
However, Miss Mottley’s much welcomed uplifting of the debate and the national mood was dragged back down by Dennis “Open Mouth” Kellman’s political buffoonery, patently showing that the DLP wished that her demonstrated and convincing mismatch against Sinckler on a serious and important occasion, could be forgotten if followed by oratorical and economic comic relief.
More reason for the BLP to Rescue. Rebuild. Restore.