Leader of the Opposition Owen Arthur declared at a political meeting recently that the entertainment budget of the Central Bank is one million dollars. He made the point to attack government’s decision to resist reinstating the travel allowance. BU is not in a position to confirm or deny Arthur’s statement. What we know is that there has not been any public response to his claim from Central Bank officials or the Prime Minister of Barbados.
The statement by Arthur has brought front into focus the issue of expense control by central government and quasi government agencies. We hear about ministers, public servants and partners travelling to China, countries in Africa, South America and others. Are we satisfied that decision makers in government and the public sector are making the best ‘budget’ decisions? Retired Permanent Secretary William Layne stated recently that government is bloated and he was very harsh in his position regarding Statutory Corporations.
Unlike the United Kingdom which has a living Freedom of Information Law, Barbadians do not have ready access to general information held by government. We are expected to participate in our democracy but how can we if ready access to information is blocked? The current system means WE can be fed koolaid. A passive media does NOT help!