Opposition Leader Mia Mottley.
Mottley: Estimates an exercise in futility
“An exercise in futility” and “an insult to the intelligence of the people of Barbados”.
These were the terms used by Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley to describe the current Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the financial year 2018-2019, presented by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, together with the Barbados Sustainable Recovery Programme. As she delivered her Reply in the House of Assembly yesterday on the Appropriation Bill, 2018, Mottley stressed that Parliament will be dissolved in three weeks’ time and as such, the tools needed to fix the country will not be available to those presently in the House. What’s more, she said Government has now come up with “a glorified to-do list” on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament, after ignoring pressing issues such as its debt problem and crisis situations in the country, all along. She further pointed out that the Barbados Sustainable Recovery Programme (BSRP) is not adequate to stabilise the country.
“Let me say from the outset, that in our view, the view of the Opposition, this exercise is an exercise in futility. This Parliament dissolves in three weeks from today and this Parliament is seeking to discuss this country’s future, at perhaps the most crucial juncture in its modern life, since Independence,” Mottley declared.
“The situation in which we find ourselves today, is worse than that which the country found itself in, in 1991. The situation with respect to our debt continues to balloon,” she continued.
“How long will the Minister of Finance (Christopher Sinckler) and the Prime Minister (The Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart), continue to bury their heads in the sand, knowing that this country stands on the brink, while this government continues to play around, waiting purely to protect their own narrow political interests, with a Parliament that is dissolving? Bringing a plan that requires Parliamentary action for 90 per cent of the actions in here, but no Parliament will exist in three weeks’ time, but we spend two and half hours today, discussing a plan that really should not be called the Barbados Sustainable Recovery Plan, but should be retitled, ‘Beyond The Mandate’, because there is nothing in here that they can do properly, hardly anything, without a mandate from the people of Barbados, after the next election,” Mottley stressed.
“We are left to stand in here for five hours, listening to a Minister talk and talk and talk and talk and the patient is bleeding out. A doctoral dissertation, when what is required is to stop the patient from bleeding. This Opposition will not participate in this charade in this Estimates and we will speak only to the vital issues that affect this country’s stability and health,” Mottley added.
She meanwhile called attention to some of those vital issues that need to be urgently addressed including the South Coast sewage mess, the lack of adequate buses for transportation, indiscipline and violence amongst young people in school, the backlog of criminal cases and the poor state of Barbadian roads, to name a few.
She then stated, “This government has abandoned its responsibilities to the people of this country and it is now loitering on the premises of the Parliament and the Executive seat in this country. I say that this country will not go forward until a mandate is sought and the people of Barbados decide what it is they are prepared to do to stablise this country and who should be the people leading that exercise. Until such time, we are spinning top in mud and this Opposition will not legitimise that exercise, which is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Barbados.” (RSM)