“‘Budget had nothing for poor’”

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Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn believes that Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s 2019 budget was not one for the poor people.

He was speaking to THE NATION shortly after Leader of the Opposition Bishop Joe Atherley began his reply.

“It was the longest five hours of my life and all she did was curse the former government for three-and-a-half hours. She didn’t say anything that was structural or relevant to Barbados today. She was just entertaining people,” he said.

Franklyn said “poor people” were now going to face hard times especially where the new bus fare was concerned.

“Ask the poor people now who pay bus fare. $3.50 for bus fare is just too much. We have people in Barbados who still work for $250 a week and have to catch two buses. If you live in St Lucy and you have to catch a bus to Speightstown or Bridgetown and God help you if you have to catch another one. She wasn’t thinking about the poor people. Her decisions and actions show that she wasn’t thinking anything about the poor people. She seems to be pleasing the people who have money,” Franklyn vented.

He said, however, he was pleased to hear that the income tax returns were coming.

“They aren’t getting back what they should but at least they’re getting something,” he said.

Around the grounds of Parliament and the outskirts there wasn’t the usual fanfare associated with the Budget, in fact, it was eerily quiet when Atherley walked out flanked by his wife Esther, Opposition Senator Crystal Drakes and some of his team.

A group of Barbados Labour Party supporters wearing “Stay the Course” shirts quietly observed him but didn’t even give him so much as a wave.

Atherley didn’t linger in the courtyard and went swiftly up the steps a few seconds before the bell rung signalling the start of the sitting of the House of Assembly.

When the BLP MPs showed up, the small but exuberant crowd greeted them with hugs, kisses and well wishes.

Some of the supporters said they had no issue with the Budget and agreed with the rise in bus fare.

Lilian Williams said she supported the move by the Prime Minister.

“All I would like to say is bus fare is reasonable. I don’t need to pay bus fare because I have my pass but I will not be using it and I will pay the bus fare in support of the country,” Williams said. (DB)