A commentary by Neville Bartlette
Timothy Harris deliberately distorted the truth, on several occasions, during his marathon-like session on Sugar City FM on Tuesday morning. We hold the view that Harris is more style over substance and think it is time to reassert the truth.
Harris makes confusing statements about employment versus under employment. He said: “there is a decline in manufacturing”, but the truth is very different. The manufacturing and construction sectors have boomed under this Labour administration and there are more manufacturing and construction employment opportunities available to the men and women of the Federation. Unemployment is at a record low. This is fact.
Harris spins some more about income inequality, but purposefully neglects to mention the increase in the minimum wage. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to climb the ladder of success and the Labour Party will never forget our Labour roots. This is why we are proud of programmes like the minimum wage because it speaks to the very heart of what it means to be Labour. The increase in the minimum wage demonstrates our support for working men and women of the Federation because even though we had already put in place the highest minimum wage in the entire Eastern Caribbean, we proceeded to increase it even further – by an additional 12.5%. This is fact.
Harris also made the outrageous accusation that this government “benefits from lawlessness”. This is the most disgusting accusation of all. Every loss of life is a tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of every one of God’s children unfairly taken before their time. This issue is most serious and most sensitive. The mark of a responsible government is how you tackle and move forward with law enforcement. Throwing petrol to stoke the fire, as Harris has and continues to do, is shameless, opportunist, and unbecoming of a man seeking the highest office in the land. This is fact.
Harris throws around accusations of land sales, and talks of Lindsay Grant as if this man is the patron saint of virtue – but let us not forget the Marriott scandal. This is fact.
Team Unity has promised to remove some VAT taxes that bring revenue to the state. This revenue allows the government to pay for public services such as schools, medical clinics and roads. Yet while Unity plan to take substantially less tax revenue, at the same time they promise massive increases in public spending. This unexplained expenditure is naive economics at best. Moreover, Kittitians and Nevisians have seen or heard little about how these policies will be paid for.
To fulfill Team Unity’s ill-thought promises our economy must grow faster than China’s. This isn’t possible. All their pie-in-the-sky polices are nothing more than off-the-cuff sound-bites maybe made up while Team Unity were eating their lunch. It is bar stool economics.
The members of Team Unity have ignored basic laws of economics and principles of sound fiscal policy. They promise all kinds of things but they will bring our great federation to its knees. And this is fact.