Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Yearwood: Government failing all around


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The current administration is failing the people of Barbados.

That was the one of the views expressed by Democratic Labour Party (DLP) President Dr Ronnie Yearwood during a public meeting on Sunday night at the corner of Pine Plantation Road and Collymore Rock, St Michael in which he addressed a wide range of issues.

He criticised the Government’s inability to follow through on what it proposed to do, stating that the high cost of living, economic downturn and faltering education and health systems were clear signs it was failing Barbadians.

Former DLP president Verla De Peiza (with cup) chatting with some of the listeners. (Picture by Lennox Devonish)

Yearwood, who was elected president in May, said: “Barbados finds itself in a very, very strange place. On paper this is supposed to be a talented government. We have 24-hour communication, hyper communication yet everything feels out of control – failing tourism product, failing schools, no big projects started, no economic growth, unemployment, consultants by the bucket loads, roads being fixed that don’t need to be fixed but roads in areas that should be fixed aren’t fixed.

“The abuse of the damning report from the Government Industrial School and nothing to address it. The Identification card project, do we know how much it costs? The Minister effectively told us it was none of our business how much it costs. It’s none of our business that you are spending taxpayers’ money and not failing to explain to us how much it costs. At its core, this Government is suffering from a problem of competency.”

The state of the National Insurance Scheme was also a point of focus.

He added: “Thousands of you worked hard, trusting Government bonds. However you saw your retirement savings lost. The Credit Union lost $33 million, the National Insurance Scheme lost $1.2 billion in restructuring and we have a Government pretending that the restructuring and the loss in the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) was not a big deal.

“In one breath they are saying the NIS is not in crisis but in another they say they want solutions from us. Stop trying to play it down and recognise the NIS is in crisis. It is a crisis for older Barbadians who have heard that their pensions are in peril. It is a crisis for parents who want to know what the future holds for their children. It is a crisis for my generation that was told it was essentially a way to live out the Barbadian dream.”

These people braved the weather to attend the Democratic Labour Party public meeting. (Picture by Lennox Devonish)

Yearwood’s comments on the NIS come after Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley gave an assurance on August 10 that it was not in crisis in a press briefing focusing on issues relating to the fund and efforts to reform it.

Mottley said “We are not in a crisis, but we want to avoid a crisis 15 years from now. That is therefore going to mean that those of us who have the responsibility for taking decisions can do so at the earliest possible opportunity. There are countries in the Caribbean that are five or six years away from the moment that we are talking about. We don’t want that to happen to us.” (JC)


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