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Paul: Say no to concrete jungles

Andrew Browne, [email protected]

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IN TACKLING ITS HOUSING shortage, Barbados needs to avoid creating concrete jungles.
This warning has come from Government backbencher James Paul.
Delivering his constituency report last Sunday evening at Ellerslie Secondary School, Paul complained of what he called Opposition “parro politics” that emphasised the need to create more shelter, without considering the social and environmental implications.
He told the gathering of mainly Democratic Labour Party (DLP) members and supporters that while housing remained a pressing need for many, Government must include green spaces in its new housing developments rather than focus on putting as many structures as possible into one location.
He said constituencies should not become “so built-up with houses and concrete” that children cannot find spaces to walk and play.
He argued that low-income housing should not be given a raw deal while Millennium Heights and other affluent communities boast of “lovely lawns”, Jacuzzis and well laid out walkways.
“Now that we have an opportunity in this country where we can give people who live in working class neighbourhoods an opportunity to experience that kind of life, in the gung-ho race, we want to take it away from them in one fell swoop – just because of the fact that a few people stand to make a few big bucks out of the process?” he asked.
Paul’s wide-ranging address was under the theme Empowering People, Building Community.
In it, he said he was not worried about not having been appointed Minister of Agriculture.
He told the meeting that the talk of his non-appointment was “foolishness” and part of the Opposition’s “divide-and-rule tactics”.
“I don’t have to be Minister of Agriculture to make a contribution to (development of) the agricultural sector,” he pointed out.
He also said Barbadians needed to be more respectful of their fellow countrymen’s achievement, arguing that “we seem not to glory in our people’s achievements”.
According to Paul, this was reflected in the treatment of National Hero, Sir Garfield Sobers.
White people had to tell Bajans that Sir Garfield was the greatest cricketer on earth before they got around to embracing him and even today they still made fun of him, Paul complained.
On the local economy, Paul underscored the need for Government to continue what he called its careful fiscal management.
He said if fears of a deepening of the United States’ economic troubles proved to be correct, the local tourism industry could be badly hurt.
On his stewardship, Paul said he had helped some constituents find jobs and develop small businesses in an economy that had its share of problems. He said he had also promoted sports, educational projects and community-building activities. (TY)