The Caribbean Prime Ministers attended a CELAC (Caribbean and Latin America States) (which includes all of Caricom members) Conference in Havana earlier this week and concluded their discussions and positions of actions on Wednesday, January 29, 2014.
CELAC was inaugurated in 2011 in Venezuela and that Conference was hosted by the late President, Hugo Chavez. The main objectives of CELAC were the development of serious trading agreements, health integration including research and development, the development of a green environment, the proper utilization of its water resources (that would mean the utilization of the Caribbean Rivers to supply drinking water through the CELAC States and cutting out the importation of bottled water from Europe and North America) and the development of energy using our oil reserves and developing wind and sun energy, among others.
One of the most important elements coming out of this last CELAC meeting can be traced back to the Grenadian Government under the late Maurice Bishop who in 1980, delivered an address at the United Nations demanding that the Caribbean Sea be declared a zone of peace, allowing no nuclear weapons or nuclear waste to be shipped through the Caribbean as it was then done to Japan. The Conference this year was held in Havana and most of the Caribbean Prime Ministers attended including, Mr. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados.
This information should have been given to the Caribbean people by the Prime Ministers but nothing was said by the Freundel Stuart Administration that he will be attending the Conference and the items to be discussed. Our Barbadian People were left in the dark as usual.
Mr. Stuart returned from Cuba and has made no mention in relation to the Conference he attended and what he agreed to on behalf of the Barbadian People. It is strange that the Prime Minister of Barbados ran the last two (2) Elections on, to paraphrase him, “This Government is about the interest of the people”…but the interest of the people doesn’t seem to come into his mind any longer and he has been unable to even discuss his basic position of the people’s humanitarian rights while stumbling along the road to nowhere.
For the last five (5) years, the main problem was, and remains the standards of living of the underpaid working class and the relatively badly paid middle class, and most importantly, the cost of living. The purpose of a Government is to run a country in the interest of all of its people but the Freundel Stuart Administration seems to think that a Government must be run in the interest of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Companies it represents, the ownership of the Hotels, Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, the interest of Members of Parliament, but nothing to do with the vast majority of Barbadians who are seeing hell.
In the Freundel Stuart Administration attempt to pay off its foreign debts, which it itself caused, he has allowed the Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) which is the most unfair tax any government can force upon its people. The lower paid workers and those just above, pay the same VAT as that of the 10% of workers at the top. That lower income group have rent to pay, children to feed, parents to assist.
It is unconscionable for the Freundel Stuart Government to continue to force pain upon that large working group and is using the fear, first mentioned by Mr. Ronald Jones, Minister of Education and other Cabinet Members to keep the Barbadian working class in line.
The Trade Union Movement has a responsibility to organize their workers to peacefully protest against Parliament for not introducing serious methods now, to alleviate the excessive pain and hardship being suffered by the majority of Barbadians.
I demand that the Government have an open meeting and hold discussions with the people of Barbados to stop this runaway depression that they have caused. In every village in Barbados there are imminent persons, and I do not mean University Grads, Doctors, Lawyers, Priest, Undertakers, Plantation Managers, Chamber of Commerce members, but the elder people in all of the villages of Barbados who understand the problems and can give relevant solutions to the problems. Little town hall meetings are not the answer. We should have evening meetings at halls in all of the thirty (30) Constituencies.
I hope these remarks give the Barbadian People something to think about.