A Few Questions For Minister of Finance Mr. Chris Sinckler

Submitted by Phil Collins

Chris Sinckler, Minister of Finance and Senator Darcy Boyce at the centre of the Pierhead dispute

The controversy over the Pierhead Marina and the award of the contract to non-bidder, SMI Infrastructure Solutions (SMI) is well known. For the sake of completeness it should be noted that the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SMI since February 2011 when the Minister of Finance, with much fan fare announced shortly thereafter that construction work on the Marina would commence within 12 months.

Under section 5.0 of the MOU it was agreed that: “SMI will arrange financing through a third party for the work to be done under this MOU”. In other words SMI would be responsible for funding the new Marina design which was being undertaken by its prime marine engineering consultant, W F Baird and Associates.

On Monday 31st October 2011Citicorp Merchant Bank Limited advised the Government of Barbados that it was unable to raise the Bds$40.0 million on behalf of SMI. On the 1st November 2011 the CEO and Chairman of BTI were invited to meet with the Permanent Secretary of Investment in the Ministry of Finance and the Minister of Finance, Mr. Chris Sinckler to discuss the situation.

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It’s ‘Silly Season’ BLP Style

Hartley Henry - Principal Political Advisor to the Hon. Prime Minister

I would have won the money! Had I taken the bet with my neighbor, I would have won. When on Monday I saw the newspaper headline “A Mess” and Owen Arthur was on the back foot talking about the Pierhead Project and the functioning of the Barbados economy, I said to my neighbor, “First, there must be another side to that story that we, the public, need to hear about’. Second, I told him, ‘watch out for Mia Mottley. She is bound to lash back with an even more sensational and alarming headline’.

Now having worked in the newspaper industry for many years, I know the person quoted in the article does not have a say in determining the headline, but, in this business, an experienced operator can use adjectives and superlatives to influence the type of headline he or she wishes.

So once again this past week we have seen the battle for headlines intensifying between Arthur and Mottley, with little Dale Marshall putting in his two cents worth. The International Monetary Fund said in Saturday’s press, interestingly not worthy of headline status, that moderate growth could be expected next year. It blamed the current squeeze on the global economic crisis but maintained full support for the Government’s short and Medium Term Fiscal Strategy.

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