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Estwick: My mouth ain’t shut no more

TREVOR YEARWOOD, [email protected]

Estwick: My mouth ain’t shut no more

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DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN Barbados and oil-rich Arabs about funding to aid the local economy “are ongoing”.

Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick’s disclosed this yesterday evening, while addressing the monthly meeting of the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) constituency branch in Pie Corner, St Lucy.

Estwick said there had been “fruitful discussions” between Government and a team from the United Arab Emirates, but did not go into details.

It was Estwick who earlier this year urged Government to turn to the UAE nations for a massive loan which would effectively wipe out this country’s multimillion dollar total national debt and give the economy a needed boost.

At the time, he informed the Freundel Stuart administration that the government of the UAE had expressed “very keen” interest in working with Barbados towards restoring economic growth.

Estwick’s recommendation was part of a controversial package of alternative economic measures, frowned on by a number of colleagues.

He told the meeting the suggestions were not meant “to hurt the party”, but to simply indicate to Government there was an alternative path to development.

He said he had presented the proposals to Cabinet and how they got to the public “has nothing to do with me”.

He told the meeting that raising taxes and cutting Government expenditure to close the deficit came with a number of problems, including consumers reducing spending and Government’s revenues falling below projection.

Estwick said he had come under fire in some quarters, to the point where people were charging that he was “unstable”.

He said he had been keeping quiet for several months and not even addressing DLP branch meetings, while concentrating on challenges facing his ministry. However, St Lucy MP Denis Kellman had “brought him out” and “my mouth ain’t shut no more,” he said, promising DLP members and supporters they would see – and hear – more of him in the coming weeks. (TY)