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TALK BACK: Readers take aim at Govt


Carol Martindale

TALK BACK: Readers take aim at Govt

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Last week online readers put pressure on the Government.
They first asked: “Exactly who do you think you are?’” after reading that people who own family heirlooms or items deemed important historical relics could face the possibility of Government’s compulsorily acquiring them.
Then, following the story highlighting one woman’s run-in with poor construction, many of them urged the Government to hasten to implement a building code.
Many readers were against Government’s plan to move ahead with the heirlooms action, which is likely if the new Preservation Of Antiquities and Relics Bill is passed into law.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley explained in Parliament last week that the process would be administered by the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.  
This is what some readers said:
Michael Atwell: “Are they really serious? This is definitely a reduction in the human rights of the owners of these items. I don’t own any [but] I would not be giving them up easily.”
Julius St Simons: “What? I can’t believe what I am reading. The Barbados Government will give itself the power to enter a private individual’s household and confiscate privately owned items merely because they are deemed to be “heirlooms”? Who will make these decisions? Will one be compensated financially and if so, adequately?
“Where will such intrusions stop? What’s to prevent this or any subsequent administration from passing further legislation (or not even bothering to do so) to confiscate other private property? Barbadians should be wary of such measures. . . .”
Andrew Carter: “Wait, are we living in a communist state now? The place to seize these heirlooms is at the seaport and airport when they are being shipped abroad. So long as they remain on the island, we are good. This is not the way to treat your citizenry.”
Tony Waterman: “Mr Minister, wheel and come again. I can see him instituting some form of registry for these items and asking the owners to consider selling them to the museum if and when they are ready to rid themselves of these items.”
When it came to the story highlighting Christine Miller-Banfield’s bad break, which left her with a leaning house, this is what readers said:
Michael Goddard: “Once again, will Government please ensure we enact the proposed building code? How many more will have to go through problems like this? Robust codes and enforcement of them will not materially add to the cost of construction. But it will ensure our housing stock is stronger. A house is the largest lifetime investment for the vast majority of Bajans. Government should establish a regulatory framework that protects that investment.”
Kenneth King: “Really sorry for the family that in these hard times has to endure a heavy price for incompetent contractors. I hope we pass a bill that states a qualified contractor must have some sort of certificate giving them the right to construct houses in the future in this country. This should never have happened and now Mrs Miller-Banfield has learnt the hard way. . . . This is really sad and the cost to reconstruct will be phenomenal.”

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