Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Freundel Stuart with supporters ahead of his speech at a Democratic Labour Party political meeting held at the St. Michael School on Sunday night.
PM: B’dos not a business
Barbados is not a business.
This reminder from Prime Minister , the Right Hon. Freundel Stuart as he addressed party faithful during a Democratic Labour Party political meeting held at the St. Michael School on Sunday night.
According to the Prime Minister, “There is a business dimension to what we do as a government, but Barbados is not a business. We are a country. Luxuries that businesses enjoy, countries do not enjoy. If businesses are unhappy with workers, as Sir Roy Trotman from the BWU used to put and still puts it – they could cut them off with a hoe stick…”
“While business can talk about satisfying their shareholders who are putting money by way of investment in those businesses and their first objective is to make profits to their shareholders, the shareholders of the government, of any Government of Barbados are the workers, the aged, the disabled, women, men children, the same businesses. Every single thing that has life in Barbados is the shareholder of the Government.”
“We have to treat it like a country and therefore we cannot run Barbados in the same way as private people run businesses and can concentrate on the bottom line, with the singleness of purpose that we see evident in businesses all around here in Barbados and across the world.”
His comment came as he pointed to the fact that countries have their ups and downs economically.
“When you hear that Barbados’ fiscal deficit is large, or larger than desired, all it means is that we are spending more money on the people of Barbados through health, education, labour, social security and so on than we are earning by way of taxes. In order to close the deficit, you either have to earn more taxes or stop spending on the people and those are the choices Governments have to make.”
When you hear that our foreign reserves are under pressure, it is because of what we import and what we see on the supermarket shelves we see. It is not that anybody is stealing foreign currency and carrying home and putting it under their bed.”
In fact, he noted that it was recently revealed by the Minister of Transport that there are currently 130 000 vehicles on the streets of Barbados, all of which he noted were bought with foreign currency, along with the multiple choices of imported goods on supermarket shelves.
The Prime Minister also spoke of the need for greater responsibility in the general public noting that this must be the way forward, after enjoying 50 years of entitlement in the post-independence era. He also made the point that persons must not unload their personal responsibilities on government, whether DLP or BLP.
The Prime Minister used the example of garbage disposal which he noted is treated as though it is government’s property, rather than the consumer. “I’ve said it in parliament already – garbage you accumulate at your place, does not belong to the Government. The garbage you accumulate at your place belongs to you. Therefore you have to manage it.”
“Your garbage has to be collected, I am not excusing the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) or the private waste haulers but I am saying you have to manage your garbage in such a way that it causes no offence to other people.”
“You use what is to be used but somehow the garbage belongs to the government. It is your garbage and you have to manage it. The responsibility of the government through the SSA is to make sure it is collected regularly and on a basis that you know when it is going to be collected. (JH)