Owen Baffled

Why are vital sectors such as energy, international business and sugar still in the hands of Senator Darcy Boyce?

That was the concern expressed by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur last Sunday as he questioned Boyce’s performance as Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, especially in light of Barbados’ flagging economy.

Arthur said energy fell within the ambit of his responsibility and that sector was floundering. He added that the sugar also fell within Boyce’s responsibility and that was near collapse.

The St Peter MP, who was speaking at a Barbados Labour Party Christ Church West branch meeting at Arthur Smith Primary School, said even though there was a Minister of International Business (George Hutson), Boyce was responsible for international business. And, he stressed, that sector had fallen by 50 per cent.

“Barbados needs a rescue package to rescue our enterprises. We need a direction for the economy. But you have a minister who is like an Arctic river, frozen at the mouth,  while the country is looking for direction, a voice and a purpose,” Arthur stated.

He explained that one of the major problems that the current administration had was the belief that they had to govern exactly as they did when they vacated office in 1994.

“In 1994, the Ministry of Finance had responsibility for energy; it had responsibility for the agricultural sector; for sugar. And it was for good reason because the [Barbados National Bank] debt had to be taken over by two institutions. So you had a financial issue that required the sugar industry to be under the Ministry of Finance. The international business sector too was under the Ministry of Finance and David Thompson was Minister of Finance . . . . They have recreated a Ministry of Finance exactly as it was supposed to have been when Thompson was the minister.”

Arthur suggested that in Thompson’s absence, Boyce should be “stepping up to the plate”.

He also called on Boyce to reveal why two serious-minded individuals such as Jerry Thorne (chairman) and Paul Bernstein (member) had resigned from the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTII) under his watch.

www.nationnews.com

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