M.P. FOR ST. MICHAEL NORTH WEST, MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Christopher Peter Sinckler is a proud product of the St. Michael North West constituency he has represented since 2008. Confronted by the same challenges as his peers, he has worked hard and seized every opportunity provided by family, community and country to pursue the highest intellectual, social and political goals. He is a 1990 Honours graduate of the University of the West Indies in Political Science and holds a Master’s Degree in International Trade Policy. He is a specialist in International Trade; and for many years worked as the Executive Director of the Caribbean Policy Development Centre, the largest and most successful regional policy research and advocacy NGO in the Caribbean. In his near 20 years as a policy analyst, he collaborated with regional and international organizations, such as the World Bank, IMF, WTO, United Nations and CARICOM. He also lectured to students preparing for the Master’s Degree in International Trade Policy at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies.
When the DLP took office in 2008 Mr. Sinckler first became Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Among other things, he succeeded in signing the Economic Partnership Agreement and creating the Barbados Networkers Programme that gives members of the Barbadian Diaspora the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the sustainable development of Barbados. Later, as Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development he supervised the formation of the Constituency Councils and oversaw the stabilization and restructuring of the Urban and Rural Development Commissions pulling them out of constant controversy that bedeviled them under the previous administration. He also engineered the upgrading of the work of the National Assistance Board, including the introduction of its first Human Resources Work Manual. He also initiated the work on the Country Assessment of Living Standards (CALS) project.
Today he is Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, steering the economy during the worst financial crisis the world has seen in nearly a hundred years. On assuming this office in late 2010 Minister Sinckler found an economy in which the global recession’s impact on Barbados was at its peak. Economic growth had declined to near -4% in 2009, the deficit reached 9.1 % and the weakening debt profile of the country – substantially the result of the reckless policies of the BLP administration – had passed 100% of GDP and was on an upward trajectory. Our economy remained badly in need of restructuring, facing a potential devaluation of the Barbados dollar with grave instability as a result.
Two years later Minister Sinckler and his team at the Ministry of Finance, armed with its Medium Term Fiscal Strategy, have succeeded in stabilizing the Barbados economy. The decline in economic growth has been halted; economic growth, though marginal, has been restored for the past 7 consecutive quarters; business losses are being controlled; and some companies are beginning to return to profitability. Our fiscal deficit has been reduced from over 8% to 4.7% at the end of the last fiscal year. Job losses have been contained in the private sector, while the government has kept its promise to maintain public sector employment at pre-2010 levels. The country’s debt profile has stabilized, while the economy, with the help of government’s prudent management of its international reserves, has maintained an average of close to 1.4 billion dollars in reserves through- out the length of the economic crisis. This has allowed Barbados to defend its existing currency peg and avoid devaluation. Barbados, unlike many countries across the world has paid all of its debts on time and in full, and remunerated its public servants every pay day. All of this has been achieved while still maintaining the highest quality of social service delivery in education, health, welfare, sanitation and clean water distribution.
In addition to stabilizing our economy, Minister Sinckler has forcefully continued the process of restructuring of the Barbados economy by driving his Ministry to lead the reform process across several sectoral and administrative initiatives to improve the country’s productivity and efficiency. This work is being driven by the framework laid out in both the MTFS and the Medium Term Development Strategy. In the last 18 months Minister Sinckler was also instrumental in establishing the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to take Barbados to a higher stage of financial regulation in the non-bank financial sector. The FSC is now responsible for the regulatory functions that were previously undertaken by several entities such as the Securities Commission, the Office of the Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions, and the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies.
The Minister is at an advanced stage of establishing a Central Revenue Agency (CRA) that will reform Government’s financial management systems. It will introduce efficient methods of revenue collection, stem revenue leakage, and provide better service to customers by obviating the need for taxpayers to make several journeys to different tax administrators. The integration and modernization of systems of taxation will transform the existing processes into a modern state-of-the-art tax administration. These improvements will be undertaken in two phases, by February 2014.
The Minister is also in the process of improving the Government’s Procurement Department. A $5 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank will support the modernization of the Barbados National Procurement System, with the intention of getting more competitive prices, while reducing process time and enhancing the integrity of the procedures.
However, perhaps the greatest contribution Minister Sinckler has made to the ongoing restructuring process in the economy can be found in the bold and innovative measures he introduced to ignite the development of the national alternative energy sector. These concessions, the largest given to any single sector outside of tourism in the post-Independence period, are expected to stimulate a new group of investors in the production of alternative energy, while providing hundreds of new jobs, and reducing the country’s high energy import bill.
Notwithstanding the excessive demands of the Portfolio of Finance and Economic Affairs in the depths of the current recession, Chris Sinckler has remained committed to meeting the needs of his constituents. With the help of a competent and hard-working team, he has delivered more in five years than the last BLP’s representatives delivered in fourteen.
In the past five years Sinckler has built an impressive array of achievements across a number of areas including:
Repairing more than 15 roads;
Transferring titles to many new land owners in 4 tenantries; repairing or constructing more than 20 houses for vulnerable families through the UDC; removing 367 households from paying rents to the NHC under the government’s transfer of NHC housing units to persons living in the units for 20 years or more;
- Installing street lights in 8 streets in the constituency as well as natural gas in four districts in the area;
- Rebuilding the old Deacons Development Centre at the Farm and facilitating the initiation of the Vocational Training Board’s Skills Training programme at the Centre;
- Initiating the acquisition of the Texaco Cricket Ground for the residents of lower Black Rock;
- Repainting of the Deacons Primary School and repairing the school’s bathroom facilities.
But it is perhaps in the area of social care and community development that Mr. Sinckler has made his most significant impact in St. Michael North West. During the course of his first five-year term Mr. Sinckler has produced the following benefits:
- The annual Lawson Weeks Scholarship Programme (40 awards given to 11+ students);
Annual Schools Teenage Job Attachment Programme (with National Assistance Board, UDC, RDC, private sector businesses, etc.). Annual Back to School support programme for children and parents in the constituency (over 500 children) as well as donations of books and other support materials to primary schools in the constituency.
- Sponsorship of Deacons and St. Stephens schools bands for Kiddies Kadooment as well as a Homework Club for 11+ candidates from constituency Primary Schools.
On the basis of this impressive record it is clear that Chris Sinckler is not only an outstanding constituency representative but also a key member of the DLP Team which is destined to realize the vision of a Better Barbados. He needs your on-going support.
Contact the Candidate
Constituency Office (246) 425-8675