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Barbados opposition demands finance minister's resignation

Published: Sunday December 22, 2013 | 10:02 am Comments 0

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Dec. 22, CMC – Leader of the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), Mia Mottley, has called for the resignation of Finance Minister Chris Sinckler based on his handling of the economy.

At a press conference yesterday, Mottley blamed Sinckler for the state of the economy, saying - “For Barbados to grow, the minister of finance must go.”

She continued: “Chris Sinckler has done more damage to the short and medium term prospects of Barbados and to the lives and livelihood of Barbadians than any Hurricane Sandy did. It is almost unpatriotic now to support Chris Sinckler as Minister of Finance,” she said.

Mottley, who brought a no-confidence motion against Sinckler in October but later abandoned it, declared that Barbados is faced with a crisis.

“We are deep in a crisis and the Government has lost control…The prime minister and the minister of finance must come clean with the country and stop spinning tot in mud. Persons are asked to make sacrifices if it will lead to stability or improved circumstances. The question must be asked, “Where will these sacrifices take the country and our economy?”

“Time has come for persons in influential positions to start putting Barbados first and that, in spite of Christmas, time is of immediate essence. The magnitude and scale of the problems must be shared with the public and institutions. Further, those who are aware must stop burying their heads in the sand too,” she added.

According to Mottley, it is time for the opposition party to return to the issue of confidence and the incompetence of the Minister of Finance.

“Bloomberg last weekend and now Forbes Magazine this week are now referring to Barbados in the most unflattering of terms and even calling Barbados, “Cyprus West” to communicate the scale of the problem to international investors and capital markets.”

She said the time has come for urgent action from where it matters most and there are only two possible sources that hold the balance of power and pointed to “Either any of the other 15 elected members of the Government Benches in the House of Assembly and the leadership of the Trade Union movement and the Private Sector.”

“Special interest groups must now act in the interest of the country. We are not talking about hundreds of groups but a hand full of groups. They are given legitimacy by the population by reason of the titles and positions they hold. They have a duty to the same population, even beyond to their sectoral group or interest,” she said.

The opposition leader urged “ all concerned and well meaning Barbadians” to lobby the groups over the season and in the New Year.

“ We need action from these people to give Barbados a chance to rebound from this catastrophe. And Barbadians from all walks of life must now make it clear to them that they cannot sit on the fence anymore and wait for outcomes that will not happen. They cannot bury their heads in the sand anymore.”

Her appeal came in the wake of the most recent downgrade from Moody’s Investors Service.
On Friday, Moody’s downgraded the government bond rating from Ba1 to Ba3, citing poor economic growth and rising fiscal deficits.

“The prime minister and the minister must stop handling the downgrades in this childish and irresponsible manner that they have been doing it – trivializing them. Our ignoring them will not solve our problems in the same way that a person who ignores the advice from the Doctor that their blood count is down cannot get better.”

The opposition leader announced that she will speak to Barbadians in January in a State of the Nation address in which she will lay out in detail all of the facts on the state of the economy.

She said several things must be in place in 2014 including, “a restoration of confidence on the competence of the Minister of Finance of Barbados; a Governor who will come to us on a monthly basis from now on, not quarterly and a national advisory group to the Government that is competent, credible and will act in the national interest.”

According to Mottley, the prime minister needs to establish an Eminent Person Group to address national economic concerns with urgency.

“This group should be set up no later than the 6th January 2014 and should be given 4 weeks to report back to the country as to all of the necessary actions to be taken to truly stabalise Barbados and return us to growth.”

She said the group should be no more than 6 or 7 persons.

“Nominations should come from the Government, Labour, Private Sector and the Opposition. We are prepared to nominate persons of the highest caliber to serve.”

“If we are serious about putting Barbados first and to give us our last, last chance to get out of this with facing the worst and without asking for meaningless sacrifices, then we must act now. There will be adjustments, there will be sacrifice but they must count for something and lead us to safety. They must not be in vain,” she said.

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