THE BLP COLUMN: DLP tricks – Phase 2
BLP legacy: raised from $4 000 to $10 000 per year the deduction encouraging people to save for retirement; the 27 000 people already not paying income tax enjoyed more money in their pockets when the benefit was in 2007 increased from $500 to $800, with plans for it to rise to $1 100 in 2008 and to $1 300 in 2009.
Barbadians who, for the past four and a half years have been suffering from the constant bunglings of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), are now wondering if this Government will be so shameless as to try to use the June 26 Budget to inflict on them Phase Two of the greatest political hoax our nation has ever experienced.
Phase One had been the 2008 DLP election campaign and manifesto that had, among many other things, lavishly promised reduction in the cost of living, duty-free cars for civil servants, relief from chronic traffic congestion, economic growth and development, and integrity and transparency in governance, none of which has been attempted far less realized.
That’s because they fear that with this Budget being the final one before the general election, the desperate Dems are possibly going to suddenly and crudely throw at them the financial and other relief they and the Barbados Labour Party have been demanding, and which the David Thompson and Freundel Stuart administrations have stubbornly insisted could not be done because of the troubled international economic climate.
They are, for example, angry that a few weeks ago, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler did not find it possible to reduce VAT from 17.5 to 15 per cent, despite the proclamation that the increased tax had raked from the public’s pockets $60 million more than had been projected. As far as people are concerned, any VAT ease in the Budget would be insulting since they would have been forced to pay the higher VAT far longer than necessary simply to allow the DLP, for selfish political reasons, to make it seem that they are doing consumers a big favour.
It is with that same kind of healthy scepticism, based on nearly five years of DLP deception, that Barbadians will be considering any bag of “goodies” and promises the DLP will announce in the Budget, seeing that there has been no improvement in the same global economic environment it has blamed all along for the greatest and longest economic crisis Barbadians have ever suffered.
This same mistrust must be given to the personal onslaught that the DLP has already signalled it will be launching on Opposition Leader Owen Arthur to try to make people forget his 15 years of successful leadership as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, in keeping with the BLP’s tradition of prosperous management under leaders (Sir) Grantley Adams and Tom Adams.
This Budget will be the last chance for the DLP, and especially Prime Minister Stuart, to demonstrate the high calibre of leadership and vision they have glaringly lacked, causing Barbadians to wallow in despair and turn in increasing numbers and hope to Arthur and the BLP recognizing the party’s outstanding record of putting money in people’s pockets and making life better for all people.
The BLP exhibits proven achievement, not broken promises, incompetence and harangue.
Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.