Gov’t overlap criticised

THE DEMOCRATIC Labour Party has once again called into question the size and price tag of the 26 Member Cabinet of the ruling Barbados Labour Party Government.

In an assessment issued late on Saturday night of the first 100 days of the Mia Mottley-led administration, the statement charged that in some cases there are two to three Government Ministers in one Ministry.

“There are two Ministers of Housing; two Ministers of Foreign Affairs; two Ministers of Transport and Works; three Ministers of Finance and Economic Affairs. The current Cabinet comprises eleven more members than the previous administration; costing the country a minimum of $9.4 million per annum. And this was prior to the five percent wage hike.”

“Overlapping areas of ministerial responsibility creates the type of inefficiency that Governments globally have articulated causes significant financial costs and retardation of business processes, never mind the strain on the public purse.”

“How is it that things are so dire yet the very first act of this new Government was to increase expenses to ensure that a bloated Cabinet is comfortable?” the statement queries, drawing reference to the outrage expressed by the BLP when the ten percent of salaries were returned to parliamentarians less than one year ago.

It was pointed out that that figure does not take account of the salaries of personal assistants, each one being paid approximately $5,000 per month with a year-end gratuity of some $10,000.

“The costing has not included the rental of new offices, nor the construction costs associated with refurbishing existing spaces for additional Ministers who must have private bathrooms. Each one is assigned a secretary; an increased treasury burden if a clerk typist has to be upgraded which will invariably occur given the unprecedented Cabinet size.”

The statement noted that the aim of evaluating the first 100 days is a way to assess a new leader and Government after they have had enough time to implement some of their election pledges.

It is against this backdrop that the DLP described the future of Barbados under the BLP as “grim”.

Stating that “muted grumbling” and “embarrassed silence” now replaces the triumphant roars following the 30-0 defeat that the polls.

“The utility bills are in and the back-to-school expenses are being totaled by civil servants who are unsure if they will have work to support their households at the end of the year. University students will no longer pay fees; but at what cost when their parents will have no work?”

“In its first 100 days the Barbados Labour Party has turned a nation which was impatient with the slow and steady path of the former Government and a leader they said did not speak, into a nation of disappointed, fearful and disgruntled individuals whose deliriously high hopes of a new order crumble daily.”

Barbados Advocate

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