Former Minister of the Environment, Liz Thompson, made this proud boast last night while addressing a mass meeting at Villa Road, Brittons Hill, St. Michael.
She called on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to collect his generous prime ministerial gratuity and pension and leave in the name of God. Thompson, who was in a fiery mood, identified similar personality traits in Stuart and in former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford.
Thompson, who was the former parliamentary representative for St. James South said that both represented the constituency of St. Michael South; each became prime minister on the death of a charismatic leader; they look alike; they speak in the same deliberate manner; both have said harsh things; nobody ever voted for them to be Prime Minister; they had similar leadership styles and both are solitary men.
She recalled that 11 members of parliament had said that he must go and she suggested that there was no guarantee that he would be selected as Prime Minister if the DLP succeeded at the polls.
Thompson, who now works at an international organisation of the United Nations, took issue with those who speak glowingly of his integrity but reminded her audience that they cannot take integrity to the supermarket.
She told the crowd that they can like Stuart, but they can cast their vote against him.
Thompson said: “Stuart’s personality is not a bankable commodity. You cannot take it to the shop. We want a Mr. Competent not a Mr. Nice. This is a contest about having money in your pocket.”
She recalled that in 1991, then Opposition Leader, Sir Henry Forde, had warned that the country was heading for a crisis. Thompson further recalled that three months later thousands of workers were marching on the streets.†She told the large crowd gathered that if they were to save Barbados they must act immediately.
Thompson pointed out that in 2008, the International Monetary Fund, the rating agencies and the Inter-American Development Bank had given Barbados an A rating. She reminded her audience that at that time these agencies had stated that the economy was strong.
If the Freundel Stuart Administration had followed the policies pursued by the Owen Arthur administration, she added, the country would not find itself in the current economic quagmire.†She said she noticed with some sadness that in the last quarter of last year, Barbados got a junk bond rating for the first time.
Thompson noted that in the recent past Barbados was ranked with such high fliers as Singapore and Malaysia as a model for small developing states. The former MP for St. James South said she has noticed with some concern that Stuart was yet to make a statement on the country’s relegation to junk bond status.
Thompson also expressed grave concern that the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies was still owed $200 million.†She lamented the fact too that Barbados’ cost of living was in the top three in the Caribbean.
Addressing the issue of debt, Thompson noted that in five years, Barbados debt had increased by a staggering $2.75 billion, while after 14 years in government the national debt had stood at $5 billion.
Thompson recalled that when Arthur became the Prime Minister in 1994, the foreign reserves stood at $348 million and he was able to bring the foreign reserves to over $2 billion when he left office in 2008.†(NC)