From time to time the blogmaster retrieves the various manifestos shared over the years by the two main political parties in Barbados and it makes for interesting reflection. It is obvious the objective by the BLP and DLP is to baffle a gullible electorate. Have a read if you are a doubting Thomas – http://www.caribbeanelections.com/eDocs/manifestos/bb/blp_manifesto_2018.pdf.
The blogmaster was drawn page 30 of the BLP manifesto titled Rebuilding the Economy, Financing National transformation. Notwithstanding the country had to battle the Covid 19 pandemic for the last 3 years there is a view that with an unprecedented large Cabinet the government should have made more progress implementing several of the promises made in the 2018 manifesto.
Last week the government received a donation of personal equipment supplies and Minister of Health (former chairman of the controversial NIS) took the opportunity to remind Barbadians so far, fighting the pandemic has costed government about 100 million dollars. The ministry of health should be congratulated for being transparent and efficient to share the cost with the public. We will wait to have the number validated by the Auditor General.
While congratulating the Minister of Health for being able to share the cost to fight the pandemic so far – why should we be congratulating for this anyway – the public has seen roadblocks to ascertain the cost of the Barbados Digital ID Project. It is ironic that Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology Davidson Ishmael has been unable to share projected and or actual cost given the type of ministry he is responsible. It is too much of a big pill for the public to swallow he has no idea the cost of the project. He was quoted in the press as saying – “I am going to provide the public with the costs related to this project very soon. The thing is, we have the information relative to the cost [but] that information is spread across many financial years, many different components, many different agencies, departments and ministries”.
The blogmaster understands the ID project has had several iterations across financial years straddling BOTH administrations. Is Minister Ishmael saying that at minimum he is unable to share cost incurred under his BLP government with the caveat information will come at a later date regarding prior years expense? It is the height of arrogance by the minister and flies in the face of this government’s pledge to be transparent. Is this another case of public servants messing up the bookkeeping by being complicit with politicians in the award of contracts to private sector players?
In today’s Nation the editor in chief Carol Martindale calls out government ministers for not returning calls to journalists pursuing information in the public’s interest. Again a read of the 2018 BLP Manifesto promised a government committed to being transparent. In reality, it is about making promises to win votes from a gullible public, or shall we say damn lies. Is the proclamation of Integrity and Freedom of Information legislation still a promise?
We have a Ministry of Health quick to toss around a 100 million dollar price tag for propaganda purposes, BUT, in a another ministry there is a veil of confusion about how tax payers dollars have been allocated to the Barbados ID project. Why do we have annual Estimates debates and Appropriations Bills? Surely Minister Ismael can tell the public he serves monies allocated to the project under his term? Is this a case for the Auditor General to unravel in a special audit? This maybe the case based on what the blogmaster was been made aware. If only public servants would do the damn job and stop politicians from interfering ways.