It is difficult to feel cheerful in the Yuletide season when so many things in Barbados seem to be deteriorating. It is difficult to feel confident if a minister of cabinet publicly expresses his lack of confidence in how the Cabinet is managing “process and procedure’’. He is on the inside isn’t he? It is ridiculous a cabinet minister who should be guided by the code of collective responsibility of cabinet feels compelled to come public with his concerns and remain a part of Cabinet. All it does is to undermine the confidence of fatigued Barbadians to engage as citizens. It is laughable minister Donville Inniss instead of responding to Estwick’s concerns prefers to engage in the same palavering he recently criticised to explained the decision by government to issue a ministerial statement a few days before Christmas. It is the height of ignorance Prime Minister Freundel Stuart appears to be married to a policy of non intervention when it comes to managing a large and dysfunctional Cabinet.
The news in the last 24 hours that Standard & Poor’s has lowered its long-term sovereign credit ratings on Barbados to ‘B’ from ‘BB-’ explains the government’s rush to deliver a Ministerial Statement devoid of discrete actions to be taken to infuse confidence in civil society players and other external parties. It is so obvious that it is not funny any longer. Barbados has become the laughing stock around the region made so by the unwillingness of private sector entities to speak out about the lack of credibility of the government. We have two recent examples – Minister of Education Ronald Jones, supported by Parliamentary Secretary Harry Husbands promising (committed to) 3,000 UWI, Cave Hill bursaries six months ago and not feeling obligated – in our system of democracy – to update Barbadians on the matter. According to a recent press report when asked about it he said he had nothing to say.
The other laughable issue is CLICO Judicial Manager (JM) Patrick Toppin disclosing this week that there was no choice but to liquidate the Clico Life Insurance (CIL) by way of liquidation in the absence of funding for the implementation in Barbados of the first phase of a regional restructuring plan for CIL. Toppin’s announcement drew a response from government that he (Toppin) should be aware government cannot transfer resources from the Consolidated Fund but instead it must be done through a ‘’new company’’. Coincidently the “new company” headed by retired banker Clennell Goodman recently met with the minister of finance. The big question – why is the government and the Judicial Manager not on the same page? It is a laughable scene playing out where government and the JM would be so far apart on an issue affecting the lifes of thousands of Barbadians some who have died since the fiasco started. How can such a state of affairs breed confidence in a beleaguered people?
BU has stated countless times government’s policy must be implemented in a climate where civil society is optimistic and hopeful there is a high possibility of achievement. With the best will in the world the government with its inclination to engage in superfluous promises of fixing the judiciary, restarting Paradise Beach (Four Seasons), enacting transparency and new domestic legislation, restoring Empire Building, honouring the court order for the Barrack payment, operationalizing the creative industries bill, passing on market price of fuel to Barbadians consumers….
What should be obvious by now – even to the Prime Minister – is that he must do something. We can’t take anymore of the ineptness of the government. Promise us Mr. Prime Minister that in the same way you were prodded to awaken from your slumber during the build up to the last general election NOW is a good time to deliver a repeat performance.
Please tell Minister Donville Inniss to shut to hell up!