The current standard of debate displayed in The Estimates 2011-2012 in parliament can be described as disappointing. Given the economic storm which Barbados continues to navigate, one might have reasonably expected our policymakers to have used the opportunity to engage in a debate to convince Barbadians they are attuned to the challenges which current realities dictate. Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler delivered a presentation littered with statistical jargon, Opposition Leader Owen Arthur sought to create fear by stressing on government’s running of a current account deficit which is 8% of GDP. He also found the time to reminisce about his tenure as an assistant economist in Jamaica in 1974. His suggestions of a way forward seem to be dependent on the tired model which has gotten us thus far.
Neither presentations inspired the BU household into believing our policymakers have fully grasped that adversity breeds opportunity. In contrast BU gives kudos to Mia Motley’s presentation. It should be plain to see that Mottley since being sacked as leader of the opposition is transforming her public profile and it has resulted in her ‘upping her game’. She is speaking to issues which resonate with the PEOPLE. She has not been afraid to disagree with her colleagues in house debates. She was the first to offer any creative ideas to the government on how to reposition Barbados in a fiercely competitive global market. Frankly it was refreshing to listen to her contribution. Her suggestion how government can easily enable a Wi-Fi space as a means to generate revenue is a top drawer suggestion given the demand for that technology across socioeconomic strata. To believe that our democracy demands we had to listen to the drivel delivered by other members of parliament, on both sides, and Mottley restricted to the same time limit smacks of some kind of injustice. Such are the vicissitudes of life!
The rebuttal from DLP supporters and others will be swift to ask why she did not operate at this level when she was leader of the opposition. BU cannot answer and frankly does not care. The point is, she is where we would like to see her now. It would be disingenuous of BU not to advise Mottley to curb that rambunctious lifestyle for which she has developed a reputation. As she prepares herself for the mantle of leadership she should take comfort that Barbadians are an easy going lot and will readily embrace the repentant.
The time has come for Fruendel Stuart – Mottley alluded to it in her contribution to the Estimates Debate – to understand that we are at a moment in our existence where he can define the history of Barbados like some before him. To operate in a business as usual mode is to cheat on the fact he is known to be a philosopher, and therefore should be able to reflect with passion at the prospect such an outlook affords at this time.