Sunday, April 14, 2024

BLP COLUMN: CLICO sufferers insulted


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Any lingering doubts about the utter unsuitability of the Dems to provide Barbadians with the inspiring and hope-stirring leadership, which they deserve, need and crave for in these chronically tough economic times, would have been brutally, totally and depressingly wiped away by yet another pathetic performance by Minister of Finance Chris “Unclear” Sinckler, in opening the House of Assembly’s debate on the 2011-2012 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.
 At a time when our hard-pressed people and businesses were hoping for at least a signal from Government that it had programmes and policies in mind to ease the squeeze on their livelihoods and future, all they got was more of the same vapid rhetorical leftovers from his November 2010 Budget Speech – as if aggressive posturing, hubris and bombast could ever be substitute for coherent and well thought out measures that would improve their situations and reignite their confidence.
 As Opposition Leader Owen Arthur put it, with these Estimates, Barbados would continue to face the same severe fiscal and economic crisis it has had to suffer before Sinckler’s presentation. Since, after some three hours of mouthings, the Dems self-taught economics guru had still failed miserably to show that the DLP was in contact with the realities of everyday life for ordinary people and businesses: ever rising food and energy prices, revenues that are steadily drying up, a fiscal deficit nearly out of control and the CLICO disaster that is gradually emerging as Barbados’ most sordid financial and political scandal of all time.
 In stark contrast, BLP political leader Arthur, after admitting that Sinckler had to grapple with the most difficult economic circumstances Barbados has ever had to face, gave the House and the nation important insights into the dangerous implications of a number of issues the DLP spokesman had either not mentioned at all, or had done so only with distant passage.
Mr Arthur was clearly using the benefits and value of his unique combination of skills and experiences, high-level professional study and training as an economist, several years of being a hands-on economics practitioner in the public services of Jamaica and Barbados, and nearly 14 unbroken years of practical experience as our Minister of Finance, successfully leading Barbados through crises and into virtually 14 years of near non-stop economic prosperity.
 All of this from the BLP leader who had been ridiculed by the Dems as “yesterday’s man” whose “shelf life had expired” and who had been “speaking from the political grave”. But all of these intended insults were meaningless when compared to what the Dems have inflicted on Barbadians’ intelligence with their somewhat hands-off treatment of the tawdry CLICO financial mess, with a better understanding of the reasons for this callous betrayal becoming more apparent with the recent filing of a lawsuit.
Even more offensive of late was Sinckler’s demeaning special pleading in begging the media and others not to “whip up a frenzy”, “inflame passions and incite actions” over CLICO. As if CLICO sufferers can’t think and feel for themselves.
 And while individual Barbadians and businesses intensify their complaints about consistently declining living standards and crumbling enterprises, the Dems maintain their seemingly blissful ignorance about what to do next to turn around our fortunes.
• Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.


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