PRIME MINISTER FREUNDEL STUART has been called on to fire three of his ministers since Government is in danger of facing legal action over a liability to shareholders in the stalled Four Seasons luxury resort project.
Making the call was Opposition Member of Parliament Kerrie Symmonds who, in his response to Government’s Resolution to approve a guarantee of $5.55 million to be borrowed by Hotel & Resorts Limited from the RBC Royal Bank (Barbados) Limited to facilitate debt repayments, informed yesterday that there was a liability on the part of the Government to shareholders who must be given the assurance that the best price is achieved once Four Seasons is sold.
Saying he would not elaborate, Symmonds said it was not the time for Government to be careless in this matter since it could put Barbados in an exceptionally “serious and perilous position”.
He added that, as a Barbadian citizen, he had found it horrendous that in the face of the country’s high fiscal deficit and a shocking decline in foreign reserves, it was possible to hear stories about leaving foreign exchange “off the table” to strike deals with partners.
He said Government could either treat his warning as a word to the wise or dismiss it, but he knew that when the Government could be given legal notice from Britain and senior lawyers were being retained to follow through on it, the national leaders should be worried about the costs of unnecessary litigation and the likelihood of losing that litigation.
“Mr Prime Minister, it is time to take stock and save the country from this legal mess,” he told the Lower Chamber in the post-lunch session.
“A stroke of his pen tonight could save us from the confusion foisted upon us by the Minister of Finance. . . . In fact, there is an abundance of opportunity for this Prime Minister to save this country at least three ministerial salaries without affecting the ability of the Government to do what it has to do. You don’t only have to think about foisting pay cuts on the people. Send home three of them, Mr Prime Minister, send home three. I could help you now put them out,” said Symmonds.
Not worth paper
He added there were at least three or four Government ministers who were “not worth paper in terms of value to what the process is”.
“You have to begin to make decisions at the level of Prime Minister if you’re going to rein in the holocaust,” he reiterated, adding that it was a golden opportunity to pause and reflect.
“I genuinely do not believe that it makes sense inviting upon ourselves litigation that will run us into hundreds of thousands of dollars and damages that will substantially be millions if we can avoid it by making serious and wise decisions,” he stated. (RJ)