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‘Government must be accountable’

Gercine Carter

‘Government must be accountable’
Leader of the Opposition Bishop Joseph Atherley. (FILE)

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Leader of the Opposition Bishop Joseph Atherley has called for government accountability.

With the refrain “the people have a right to know” following the many concerns he voiced, Atherley on Tuesday questioned Government’s policies, including its award of certain contracts for services; payments for consultancies and the extent of government’s involvement in the recent matter surrounding a failed attempt by a private sector operation to procure COVID-19 vaccines for Barbados and suggested the people were being left out of those decisions.

He also demanded that a budget be presented “to the people of Barbados” by Government.

The Opposition Leader vented his frustration over what he perceived as lack of accountability by Government during debate on the Debt Settlement (Arrears) Bill, 2021, which makes provision for government to settle arrears to Barbadians for compulsory land acquisitions, as well as outstanding debt in other areas.

“We are still operating under a parliamentary system of government. If the cabinet system of government breaks down and ministers don’t know what is going down, that is one thing, but this Parliament ought to know,” Atherley insisted.

He expressed concern about Government’s level of borrowing – noting it had borrowed “$1.5 billion” last year alone – and charged that the future of Barbados’ children was being “mortgaged”.

On the bill before the House, Atherley contended the motivation to make good on its debts was not an initiative of government but a requirement of the International Monetary Fund.

“We are kicking this debt down the road and wrapping the debt like a millstone around the necks of our children,” Atherley said. (GC)