Waste of an Unprecedented Mandate

To whom much is given, much will be required.

Luke 12:48

The result of the 24 May 2018 general elections delivered an unprecedented result to the Mia Mottley led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) winning ALL 30 seats in parliament. In the minds of many a clear message was sent by the voting public, it was disgusted with the performance of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government to an unimaginable degree. In the minds of many the Stuart led government surpassed the unpopularity of the Erskine Sandiford administration, no mean feat.

The 30-0 result was confirmation the two main political parties win governments by default. Rising apathy and cynicism in the electorate continues to strike at the heart of how we fashion our so called democracy. Some of the members washed into parliament in 2018 because of public discontentment, do not qualify to be servants of the people. A short three years later with a DLP still working to recover from the 2018 defeat, there is the possibility the DLP will pick up seats having done very little to promote a compelling alternative message to inspire public confidence. Sadly the duopoly is entrenched with no serious challenge from a third party movement.

The BLP inherited a stalled economy and managing during a pandemic and other challenges have not helped the cause. All reasonable Barbadians understand the hostile environment that continues to challenge economic recovery. We get it!

What some of us also see are decisions being taken by this Mia Mottley government comparable to failed former administrations. The first questionable decision was to appoint a 26 member cabinet supported by 2 parliamentary secretaries and several consultants – the justification; many hands make light work. An obvious case of trumping national interest with narrow political interest by removing the threat of a large backbench and rewarding ‘friends’ of the government. In a nutshell, the same old, same old. There is another popular saying, start wrong and you will end wrong.

The next interesting decision was to pay a boutique advisory company White Oak 27 million dollars to advise on restructuring our domestic and foreign debt. While some have agreed negotiating with foreign bondholders required a level of financial expertise to justify contracting White Oak like services, it boggles the mind why the company was retained to restructure local debt. 

Two years in the making of the cancelled ‘Little Island, Big Barbados” tourism campaign at a reported cost of USD750,000 raised questions about the sensible use of taxpayers dollars. A relatively small sum but the process which led to the cancellation of the campaign does not engender confidence in government. A parallel issue is that the birth of the Welcome Stamp idea belongs to Peter Lawrence Thompson and to date the government has not done the ethical thing by giving him recognition. Not surprisingly the DLP and other opposition agents have not seen the opportunity to advocate for the wrong being corrected.

The recent example of the Maloney Scam revelation threads a story of a government bedevilled by controversy. Ironically another controversial decision to import prefab houses from China caught the attention of a weary public. Why was Maloney – who is into construction – not selected to partner with government to supply the houses instead of brokering a deal gone south to procure COVID 19 vaccine? – see Minister Duguid, Who Are the Owners of EWBSB? What it has done is to quickly erode much of the political capital earned from May 2018. 

The blogmaster has a record of giving a new government the opportunity to find its way before levelling criticism. There is no doubt the Mia Mottley government inherited a bad hand. There is no doubt the ongoing pandemic and other challenges have complicated the task of governing Barbados. The blogmaster has been quietly observing for the last three years and what comes to mind is – what a waste of an unprecedented mandate.

To be continued…

228 thoughts on “Waste of an Unprecedented Mandate

  1. Barbados Today

    Many hands could make light work of the unbearable heaviness of being
    Making ends meet in Barbados is a daily grind for an increasing number of Barbadians and it is time Government confront the high cost of living that has further complicated thousands of lives. It is a predicament that has dogged us long before COVID-19 but is now more dire.
    For years, we have been consistently ranked as one of the world’s most expensive places to live and that pinch is hurting harder than at any time in recent memory.
    We have heard the well-worn pledge from politicians on all sides of the political divide to address high prices. It is time to move once and for all from rhetoric to real action.
    Almost daily on the call-in radio programmes and on social media, citizens are venting frustration at mounting prices for utilities, fuel and especially food from supermarkets, corner shops and vendors.
    Many lament that the price tags on basic goods appear to have extra cents and, in some cases, even dollars at virtually every purchase, straining households already forced to operate on a limited budget as salaries and wages either decline or remain fixed.
    With children now attending school online from home, parents and caretakers are digging deeper into their pockets to provide every meal.
    It’s even more difficult for scores whose livelihoods disappeared as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic upended jobs, for the elderly who depend on their pensions, and for the vulnerable who rely on welfare.
    More people are in abject survival mode.
    A picture of the current situation came last Friday from one charity on the frontline of assisting those who need help the most.
    The Salvation Army said its finances were under significant strain as more people seek assistance. Divisional Commander Major Brenda Greenidge said that with so many people out of work the number of people in need of support has jumped nearly five-fold over the last year.
    People who would normally contribute to the annual Christmas kettle campaign are now needing assistance themselves, she said.
    Six months ago, the Caribbean COVID-19 Food Security and Livelihoods Impact Survey on Barbados signalled that the pandemic had altered how people earn a living and meet their critical needs.
    The survey which involved over 1500 respondents from households averaging three persons found that food security was a major concern even with the Government providing support through a range of measures including its Adopt-a-Family programme and the distribution of care packages to vulnerable households.
    The survey said: “Many are struggling to meet their food needs, and a worrying quarter of respondents are still reducing the amount they eat. The disruptions caused by the pandemic do not affect all households in the same way. Across most indicators of wellbeing, low-income households and those working in tourism and hospitality appear to be the hardest hit, along with households that rely on informal income sources or government support.”
    With COVID-19 lingering on, hindering any real recovery despite a few positive signs, we expect pretty more of the same and in some cases further deterioration in personal circumstances.
    This state of affairs must be concerning to Government, trade unions and the private sector. We believe it is an urgent matter that requires the attention of the Social Partnership. Barbadians need relief.
    It’s is not enough to ask us to cut and contrive and to reduce spending when too many have little if anything to spend.
    We also welcome suggestions for Barbadians to grow more of what they eat, and in time we hope that it is reality, but it is not a plaster for an open sore.
    We have heard talk of price controls to rein in the situation, if necessary, but it has just been that – talk, given past administrations commitment to unfettered capitalism.
    Barbadians want solutions. Admittedly there is no clear fix, but it will mean that the Mottley administration must drill down on all policies that hamstring merchants from delivering more goods and services more cost-effectively.
    And equally, businesses will have to assess whether their markups to consumers are based on fairness, or a mere desire to extract maximum profit or shoring up waste and inefficiency.
    Reasonable Barbadians – whom we contend to be in the clear majority – fully expect to pay their fair share. What they also deserve is practical action and honest conversation on how the cost of living can be realistically addressed.
    Many hands make light work.

  2. Govt has no intentions of helping barbadians if govt intentions to help were of great concern
    Govt would have implemented a stimulus pkg one which is workable sufficient and enough to help rebuild the economy and revived confidence in the local market
    Money place in the hands of the people is a safe and sure policy that would have returned money to the treasury rebuilt local business confidence and could have stimulate a workable plan for govt and local business to reach a midpoint agreement of price control
    With COVID on the ground and the stress of the global problems interacting with countries economy world wide govt plan of holding a stubborn approach of waiting for the one nest basket to recover and (while the local market stagnates) is one that is foolhardy time consuming and is not enough to cover and make do for an economy that is all but ready to collapse
    The policy of borrowing without having a solution to repay is tantamount to a drowning man catching at a straw

  3. St.kitts Nevis govt steps up and helps the people during Covid
    Question what has the govt of Barbados done for the people
    Empty vessels makes the loudest noise than much can be said of the Barbados govt


    More than 3000 people have benefitted by receiving three payments from the second stimulus package, according to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Timothy Harris.

    The second stimulus programme, which was announced in July by PM Harris, is designed to help the less fortunate better cope with the financial hardship caused by COVID-19, and to further stimulate the Federation’s economy.

    Under this initiative, persons who remain unemployed since March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will be provided $1,000 per month, for three months. The stimulus measures also included a fuel subsidy of $400 per month to passenger bus operators for a period of three months and a stipend for households with children living with disabilities.

    Dr Harris said that the third round of payments was made this week under the second stimulus That features the Income Support Program, Fuel Subsidy Program and Disability Support program.

    “A third round of payments under this program was made. The sum, in this case, was $2.6M which were paid out yesterday (Monday). Thus far, a total of 2973 persons have benefited from this program which has so far recorded a total payment of over the last three months of $7.7M since its launch.

    The PM revealed that under the fuel subsidy, more than $100,000 has been paid to bus drivers.

    “A total of 118 individuals have submitted applications to the ministry as of October 15… The total payout to date is $129,800.

    Dr Harris said that under the disability support program, the Treasury has made the third round of payments to 155 applicants.

    “The total payout to date is $248,000. $233,000 has been paid directly to individual applicants and a further $15,000 was paid to Ade’s place.”

    Among other measures of the second stimulus are:
    1. The waiving of commercial rent for 6 months (July to December 2021) for small businesses which lease space from the Government, through the Ministry of Tourism and Transport – these would include small businesses that rent booths at the Ferry and Bus Terminals, the Amina Craft Market and the Pelican Mall.

    Reduction in the VAT rate for 3 months (July to September 2021) from 10% to 5% on commercial rent for small businesses with 25 or fewer employees and a valid business license.
    The reinstatement of the annual Import Duty exemption for 16 tyres (4 tyres per quarter), 4 pairs of brake pads and 3 pairs of brake shoes for ‘H’ passenger
    A fuel subsidy of $400 per month to passenger bus operators for 3 months, and;
    The waiving of stall fees for vendors using the public market until December 31st.

  4. Hear thee
    Barbados has not become officially a Republic
    However however one of the IMF pay masters tells Barbadians that govt doesn’t have to produce an annual budget
    Never knew his name was placed on the 2018 ballot and he became Minister of Finance
    Now he spews unconstitutional mouthings on good governance and what is acceptable for govt to be accountable and transparent to the people

  5. IMF is now in control…so the little misleaders can only follow instructions and ask HOW HIGH..

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