If one is to judge from the political rhetoric polluting the blogosphere this week, the delivery of the 2012 Budgetary and Financial Proposals promises to be full of drama. Whatever happens it will be a centre-piece event for several members of parliament as a much anticipated general election looms. For some it will a last opportunity before they are retired to ‘civilian life’.
It is disappointing Barbados continues to be comfortably lodged in an economic vortex precipitated by the mother of global recessions. Despite the economy being described as stable by the government’s banker, there remains heightened concern given current realities.
The focus of tomorrow’s budget presentation is the ‘licks’ which the government side promises to ‘pelt’ in Arthur. It is not lost on BU that Arthur – as Prime Minister – hid under the cloak of parliamentary privilege to deliver scathing attacks on Barbadians who were unable to answerback. Both sides it is fair to say have contributed to the poor standard of behaviour and debate in parliament in the last decade or so. It is unfortunate that what should be one of the most important debates in parliament will probably be relegated to a political slugfest.
BU is reminded from the view of opposition the purpose of the budget is to paint a picture of government’s social and economic plan. However, when in government Barbadians are encouraged to focus on the Estimates. Whether Barbadians have sufficiently mature politically to discern the games politicians play the jury may still be out.
What must be clear to even the political neophyte is that the Budget will contain goodies; the government has no choice. A political party is in the business of winning elections. The danger is present that with an ailing economy affected by the global economic shock, any attempt to shower largess on Barbadians will have a debilitating effect on the economy. The saving grace for the government is that many Barbadians believe the government needs to deliver relief in some form or fashion. The irony is that if the BLP is returned to office the post-budget period can be used as an indicator to evaluate DLP policies which will be unveiled tomorrow.
A word of advice to the actors from both sides in the debate this week. Please have a plan: what do you want to communicate to Barbadians? If you don’t have anything to ‘speachify’ about please don’t think you have to utilize the full 30 minutes of airtime.